Small victories can sometimes add up to a larger result, and that’s how I feel about the past weekend. I don’t feel like I got any one big thing done, but I made a lot of progress on several fronts. My FitBit tells me I walked 15,000 steps and 64 floors of stairs, and I sure do feel that in my legs today.
First, we had Christopher come in from New York on Friday night, which was great; he’s always fun to have staying with us and a great excuse to get out of the house and do interesting things. Unfortunately, Baltimore was boring this past weekend so we couldn’t take him to an awesome exhibit in D.C. or an art happening here in Baltimore, so we settled for K-Pop Disco Theater Barbecue on Friday night. Saturday was windy but sunny so I took advantage of that to pick up some supplies at Lowe’s to repair the garage lights and the greenhouse door.
Jen’s eye was hurting (she scratched her cornea on Friday) so she took a nap and Christopher, Finn and I drove to Second Chance to walk through the warehouse and poke around at the merchandise. I was there to look at doors to replace the one between the blue room and the new bathroom, and found a beautiful 12-panel French door in almost the right size as well as a full-light door in exactly the size. Jen was asleep so I punted until later. Then we hit Housewerks and poked through the odd merchandise there, stopping to admire a porcelain autopsy table parked outside.
That evening we drove into Baltimore for dinner at Peter’s, our old neighborhood haunt from my Canton days. Jen had read they suffered a fire last year but had reopened this spring, and we were lucky to get a parking spot around the corner and seated in half an hour (no mean feat for a popular restaurant with 18 tables). As usual, the service was excellent, the food was delicious, and we left sated and happy and went straight home to bed.
Sunday I continued working on the garage light (the light switch had gone bad), the greenhouse door (fitting a storm door handle to aluminum channel took some engineering) and then the greenhouse footer, while stopping to help Finn set up a jewelry stand out in front of the house. Mama and I were skeptical but she wound up selling two necklaces for $8. I think she’s on to something.
I don’t usually make a big deal out of my birthday, which is kind of stupid, because I love birthdays. When I was a kid, I loved having all my friends over for the day, opening presents, and having fun (and let’s face it, who doesn’t like to be the center of the party?). Since I got out of college, I’ve kept the day sort of on the down-low, and with a few exceptions it’s been a quiet occasion.
Because money is tight, I told Jen the perfect gift would be to hit our old haunt Peter’s in Fell’s Point for a quiet dinner together. Sometime in the middle of last week, she asked me if switching to the Helmand would be OK for a change of pace. Having always wanted to try Afghan food, I agreed immediately (it’s on the long list of places-we-want-to-go but never do).
Imagine my surprise when we walked to the back of the restaurant and I recognized the profiles of our friends Matt and Emily sitting at the bar, and suddenly realized there were four other couples waiting to surprise me. What a great evening! We were seated at a large table in back and proceeded to eat, drink, and catch up with great friends over delicious exotic Afghan cuisine. For anyone who hasn’t tried it, I recommend the Helmand and their waitstaff highly.
From there, we headed up Charles Street for a cocktail and conversation, and stayed out until midnight like grownup cosmopolitan adults, something we haven’t done in months. I didn’t know how much I needed to get out and be with friends until Jen made it happen, and it was the best gift she could have given me. Thanks, baby, and thanks, everybody! (and to the folks who couldn’t make it—we’ll see you soon.)
To Do list:
- Donate money to the ACLU. They’re gonna need it.
- Contact the local Democratic party headquarters and volunteer.
- Get involved more in local organizations and effect change from the inside.
- Raise a family of pinko liberal hippie educated activist Democrats.
- Make, pack, and send some care packages to soldiers serving in Iraq.
Any other suggestions? I’m all ears.
Props. Special shout-outs to the following people, whom I haven’t mentioned but in passing the last few days:
- Renie, my sister, for driving six and a half hours to stand on a ladder and scrape the Oldest Wallpaper Known To Man from the plaster in our hallway. Hopefully, the lobster feast, trip to Peter’s, homemade quiche and booze made it worthwhile.
- Dave, our good friend, who dropped by to haul away a pile of dry brush from our driveway on Tuesday, and who sat through an hour of our deepening depression as the election results came in. He could not be tempted with either pizza or Hefeweizen, so we owe him something special. Chewbacca thanks you, Dave.
- Molly, for the excellent T-shirt she sent over just in time for an anniversary present. Jen looked at it and laughed, and I suggested she wear it at Christmas. We’ll see how that goes.
Updates. I went through the Lockardugan Photo Archive this morning to dig out a bunch of beginning photos of the house for comparison’s sake. I’m going to be posting them over the next day or so as I get the time- there’s a bunch of them. This should be interesting.
This morning I heard ‘Riders on the Storm’ by the Doors while on my way into work; a fairly portentous and ominous song, but a great bassline and fitting melancholy mood for a gray morning. Then I heard ‘Merry Christmas (Come Home Baby)’ by the Eagles twice before I got to work.
We went out on Saturday night with T. and J. here from work, and got some dinner at Peter’s; afterwards we drove over to Lager’s Pub and threw back until they put all the chairs up on the tables. T. and J. were up late and crashed at the house; by the time we woke up from our slumber, wiped the cobwebs from our eyes and took a few advil, I realized we had nothing to eat, so I walked J. down to the store, got some grub, and returned home to find Kate, Dan, and four other people staring T. and Jen down on the couch. They took off for the Cyclocross race up in the park and Jen and I commenced to fixing some breakfast for the weary.
The Cyclocross race was very interestingabout 3,000 people in Patterson Park with a crazy-ass course up and down the stairs, hills and across the grass. Those crazy fools rode for an hoursomething like ten lapson this course, doing 7-minute times on road frames where I would have done about 30 minutes on my mountain bike.
I read today that the lead singer of Big Country was found dead in Hawaii today. I went and downloaded ‘In a Big Country’ on Morpheus today. RIP, man. (via cnn.com)
I ran one mile today in 10 minutes! woo-hoo! (please don’t laugh at me when my hamstrings contract into vise-grips and I lay screaming on the floor under my desk clutching my broken, mangled ankles…)
Jen and I got back from Virginia yesterday, after a fantastic weekend in the back woods looking for wineries. We found three of four vineyards in a tour, and had some great wine, only getting lost once. Saturday we took our time getting up and moving and made it down to Fredericksburg right around dinnertime; bypassing the crappy strip-mall fare right off the interstate, we followed the signs into the middle of the town and parked, then walked about 2 blocks to a restaurant we found called Le Petite Auberge. Inside, after walking up a wide hall decorated with very tacky Leroy Neiman ripoff paintings, we had an outstanding meal together: lobster bisque and cream of tomato soup; I had a sirloin covered in roquefort cheese and pecans (sounds like too much, but damn, it was good) and Jen had a filet with a peppercorn sauce-that was great.
After a restful night spent at the Ramada Inn and a breakfast thrown at us at an Aunt Sarah’s, we followed the maps into the heart of cantral VA in search of the Lake Anna winery, which was a beautiful new place set back off the road and serving a really wide variety of wine. Jen and I bought two bottles of merlot and I bought a cabernet. Cooper vineyards were a little less established, basically a tractor shed about ¼ off the road behind a Chevy truck graveyard, but staffed by a real nice Lasik surgeon and his wife. Very sweet wine, and very young. Greyhaven was a bit more established, but only serving two sweet dessert wines; luckily the owners were a wonderful old-Virginia couple who owned a gospel-loving Boston Terrier named Bubba and a huge hairy Bouvier named Reubens, who was pouting on the seat of a golf cart-long story. We got lost on the way to the final vineyard and as it was 5pm and we were outside Richmond, we wisely decided to give up and head for home, forfeiting our T-shirts. Oh, well.
I found this trying to find a link to the restaurant. We’ll keep this in mind….
1:01pm – Jen sent this to me this morning under the subject line OH, MY GOD, I’VE DIED AND GONE TO HEAVEN and I took a little time to follow it around- what a hilarious site this is. There’s more stuff to laugh at than you can shake a stick at. I think I’m going to buy her the “Unsaved” T-shirt just to piss her mom off…! Personally, I like the preacher man logo.
5:20pm – I didn’t get to buy the wiring cabinet last week, but I’ll pick it up tomorrow; I’m also gonna pick up that steel shelving I want for the tupperware at Sam’s Club too. It’s time to get all that junk out of the dining room. I’ve had enough of it. I’m currently burning a copy of the House of Blues Volume 2 for this evening; I’m also making Jen some Veal Scallopini with green beans for dinner instead of going to Peter’s- I think she’ll enjoy the surprise.
Today I am in a funk of some kind, an unexplainable bad mood that I can’t shake this morning. I’m trying to get a bunch of things done before I leave this weekend for NY, and Sophie’s coming in to town, while a great surprise, comes at a bad time for me right now. There’s too much happening and I can’t keep up. I think the other part of this is that she stayed with Rob and Karean last night and we’re going to Kevin & Kelly’s place tonight- two houses that never seem to be dirty, smelly, or unkempt. It’s hard to follow in the footsteps of Metropolitan Home and Martha Stewart and not feel like my place is a dump right now.
I got the Tortoise back last night as well. After $100, she runs a hell of a lot better and tracks straight on the road again- let’s see how long it lasts this time. At least the idle is fixed and constant again. After we picked it up, Jen and I went to Peter’s last night for some dinner and had a good time- I love that place.
Simply put, we spent $25+M is cash and amassed over quite a bit of debt, while generating just over $1M in revenue. A couple years ago, this was not necessarily a prescription for failure because there was almost unlimited access to capital for big long-term strategies.
Back at work today; Jen and I had another great weekend together, even though she was feeling a bit down about work. I know she’s pushing herself really hard to do well, like she does with everything else in her life, but she needs to take it easier on herself about this job- I don’t want to see her burn herself out by worrying about it too much. The two of us had a great evening at Peter’s on friday, capped off with a trip to the balcony at Lista’s for some margaritas, and then a fantastic nightcap.
Saturday I was able to get a lot of work in the basement done- the window is now framed in and enclosed with drywall, and I took some of the old pink foam and insulated the front wall from the A/C ductwork. The shelf went in smoothly and the sides are tapered out about 2 inches wide and one inch tall, so there’s a real nice feeling of openness coming from that wall instead of a porthole effect-I was dreading that possibility, because the front wall had to be framed out about 16″ to clear the gas and water meters. I’m also very happy because the cats will have a great place to sleep, there will be a wonderful place to put some plants, and there’s a ton of light flooding into an otherwise pretty dark room. I was also able to form some flashing around the outside on the bottom and the top of the window box; that was a pain in the ass and took more time than I thought, but it doesn’t look too bad. I probably should have done the bottom section first to practice. The sides should happen sometime this week, before it gets too cold/wet/etc. I also need to recaulk part of the top flashing and borrow a tall ladder from Dad to repair/repoint/recaulk the front picture window.
Pretty impressed with myself for remembering how to ftp via the windows console; I forgot to bring my PC disk in to reinstall some of my software on this machine, so I just wrote this in Notepad.
Anyway, tonight I’m going to buy some metal bead edging and another tub of mud, and try like hell to finish up the sanding as quickly as possible.
Wesley Crusher has a website.