Owning Up

OK, I'm admitting it here. I have more clothes than Monica. It's not even like it was close. I had more to start with, and I got rid of fewer. Same's true of shoes.

There. I feel better.


Not Gonna Miss That

At Monica's parents now, for a last visit and to drop some stuff off for storage (photos mostly, things that should travel with us if we had room, and that we can wait to have).

The 80-mile drive took us around two hours and forty-five minutes. XM started earning its keep though, with the local traffic warning us of a major road closure.


Boxes of Books, Bare Walls, and Bubble Wrap

Day 2 of packing. The books are, except for a few stragglers, all boxed up. The stuff from the walls that we're in charge of is mostly wrapped up and packed. It all gives the appearance of progress.

A favorite box from the ABC store:

I know that it's just the distributor that's in Massachusetts, but I'm just too entertained by the idea of "Don Cossack, the finest vodka of Somerville."

The Triptik arrived yesterday from AAA, mapping out our ideal route. The first night we'll be at Monica's grandparents' outside of Raleigh. After that, our next destination is Nashville. There's no way we'll be able to spend all the time we want to there, so my only goal is Hatch Show Print, hopefully to see some old-time block printing happening. Next point is Memphis, just a few hours away. We plan to make it through there at dinner time for some ribs — I prefer Rendezvous, but once you're in Memphis, you can't really go wrong. After that, the next destination is Archer City, Texas, where Larry McMurtry kind of took over the town for his bookstore. There's now a whole industry grown up around it apparently, but he's planning on shutting it down at the end of the year. The last thing we need is more books, and we certainly won't have the time to really look around, but I heard about this years ago and don't want to miss the chance to see it.

The map puts it at around 2100 miles total. A lot of driving, especially for folks who don't like to spend a lot of time in the car. We only have a few real goals, but our actual schedule is going to be determined by the movers, so we'll see.

Breaking News

Monica just unveiled and installed a surprise for the drive: XM Radio (for those of you keeping track, it's the one with Bob Edwards, not the one that signed Howard Stern). The transmitter is portable, so now it's hooked up in the condo, and we're packing and working at around 120 bpm to one of the electronica stations.


The Packing, In Earnest

Monica's last day of work was yesterday, so today was our first day of serious packing. The serious purging has been going on for weeks — giving things to friends, selling stuff on eBay, taking things to Goodwill, throwing stuff out. And selling back books to McKay. That hurt. I can't even quite remember what some of them were, so it's clear I'm not going to miss (most of) them, but I wish I could just keep on collecting — and someday maybe even read them all.

For the remaining books, been collecting boxes from the ABC (liquor) stores, and pretty much filled those up before moving on to the bigger boxes from the moving company. Thursday, ABC gets its shipments, so hopefully we'll be able to finish the library off then.


Biking Down Memory Lane, Part II

My big freelance project is on hold for a little while, and it was a warm sunny day. So, of course, I opted to spend the afternoon in a windowless room at the library.

Biked over to the Arlington Central Branch, which houses the Virginia Room, a repository of local history and information. I wanted to see what they had on Colonial Village, where, through various apartments and condos, I've lived for the past 9 years, and Monica since she arrived. Ostensibly, I was doing a little research for a story I have in mind — looking for some stories and voices from the old days.

Colonial Village was built as 1055 garden-style apartments in the late 1930s, the first of their kind in the country, and immediately attracted people seeking jobs and affordable housing. During WWII and after, those who came for the war effort just stayed. We know. Some of them were our neighbors when we lived in the apartments.

There used to be a craft shop with a steward who would help folks make their own furniture. There used to be ballroom where regular events were held, where more than a few couples were married. There used to be limitations on how many children could be in apartments, which was enforced by watching for telltale condensation from drying diapers (now, no more than a dozen are in the whole complex).

But times change. And a developer attempted to raze the complex in the late 1970s. Our former neighbors were among those who headed up the effort to preserve Colonial Village, a battle that waged for about four years. In the end, most of the buildings were preserved; some were destroyed, some remained apartments, some converted to condos or co-ops. But the spirit that makes this place extraordinary endured.

These are apartments where you can, in the midst of crowded urban development, look out your window and see green. Where squirrels run up to you, demanding food. Where mourning doves may nest on your windowsill. Where you can pass a sunny evening on the bench, hearing stories from people who have been residents for more than half a century. Where you get to know your neighbors, and if you're lucky, they become lifelong friends.

Years ago, a group of friends were sitting and grilling in the courtyard, after sunset. Two men stopped by to visit the tree we were sitting under. It seems that, years before, they had planted it as a memorial to a friend who had just died. It may be time to go, but it doesn't mean that I'm not leaving a little bit behind, too.


Inking In On The Calendar

We've got the movers scheduled to come and take away everything but a Volkswagen Golf's worth of our possessions on Friday, May 6. Then, we plan to spend a day cleaning the place up and participating in one last courtyard barbecue, and hitting the road on May 8. We have an address, a phone number, and power waiting for us in Santa Fe; and sometime after, Monica's car should meet us in Albuquerque.

When a friend heard we were making the drive ourselves, he insisted that I read Steinbeck's Travels With Charlie. Haven't read any Steinbeck since Of Mice And Men in high school, but I'm looking forward to giving it a go from the passenger's seat.


Biking Down Memory Lane, Part I

On a beautiful spring Wednesday morning, I biked over to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms. I might have been a day or two early, they will probably peak today (if the rain didn't beat them down).

Washington, quite simply, does spring really, really well. I know that it's a season of remarkable change everywhere — but the speed with which plants green and blossom absolutely transforms the area and highlights its best qualities.

The cherry blossoms might be one of the most overhyped tourist attractions in the area. I've only gone to see them three, maybe four times in my 13 years here; they're undeniably pretty, but perhaps a bit anticlimactic in person. But, one time, flying back into National Airport, the approach took us down the Potomac and over the Tidal Basin while the blossoms were in full bloom — and I was treated to pinkish puffs just blanketing the whole area.


Hey, I can see your house from here!

Thanks to Google's new extremely cool (yet kinda creepy) addition of satellite imagery to its map function, you can take a look at our new neighborhood. And what we're leaving behind.