C'est un blague.

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  • Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Like a traffic accident...

    I can't help but look.


    Monday, October 12, 2009

    Still quiet.

    Except for the occasional siren, but that's nothing extraordinary since we live very close to the rescue squad house.

    Maybe we'll find out what happened. Maybe not, but I'll check out the local news tonight (after football).



    The skies are quiet now. Hopefully they'll stay that way.


    Welcome to the neighborhood!

    So we're sitting around, watching TV, playing on the internet and generally doing holiday evening suburban things when we noticed what sounded like a low-flying plane. Then we heard it again and again and again. We then thought it might be the paving trucks that were supposed to re-do our streets. Then we looked outside and saw a helicopter with a searchlight circling around.

    Then I noticed a police car, without lights, cruising up our street.

    Then we got nervous.

    SM went around the house to check that the doors were locked and shut the blinds.

    Okay, as I type this, I admit it sounds paranoid to lock all the doors, but that helicopter was circling low for a good 20 minutes, and it freaked us out a bit.

    SM went online to see if he could find anything out. I decided to be more proactive and called the local district police station for information.

    Turns out that there was a robbery a few miles away. Five men were chased in this direction, and four of them were caught literally three blocks (about a 1/3 of a mile) directly up the street. One jumped out of the car to escape. That's who they were looking for.

    Turns out our paranoia might not have been so paranoid. I told SM to call our neighbors to let them know what was going on. Their response was along the lines of -- yeah, this has happened before. Welcome to the neighborhood. And BTW, too bad about the Sox and the Patriots.

    Anyway, it quieted down for a while, so we figured the guy was caught. But just as I started typing this, the helicopter returned. I can hear it flying around outside right now, back and forth.

    Oh well. Not much I can do but go back to our usual suburban evening activities -- TV, internet, playing computer games, etc.

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    Quick trip to Boston

    Last week -- or was it the week before? -- SM and I played hookie and took a quick trip to Boston for the day. Why, you ask? Well, why not? I found a great airfare bargain. And I can't resist bargains. Of any kind. So I convinced SM and off we went. Ya' see, JetBlue launched a new route from BWI to Logan, and this was a promo fare. $9 each way.

    Yup, $9. Who wouldn't wanna do that?

    Here were the catches -- had to fly on either Tuesday or Wednesday; fare was dependent on seats available; and tax and surcharges were extra. Even with the extra fees and the middle-of-the-week travel, it was a steal worth doing. (As one person commented to us, the time we took off was much more expensive than anything else. Very true.)

    So we got a flight at 9:50 PM on Tuesday to return on Wednesday at 4:40 in the afternoon. Surcharges amounted to something like $11 per ticket, so the total for both of us was around $80. After paying so little for the tickets, we weren't about to put out bucks for a hotel. Fortunately, SM went to school in Boston and still has a number of friends in the area. So, we arranged to see his old friends and crashed with them in Somerville, which is a 'burb of Boston.

    In the morning, we took the T to MIT. I wanted to see the campus because I never had and because SM spent 6 years of his life there (undergrad and grad school). We walked around a bit. It was kinda fun to see for both of us. Many things had changed, but many things had not. We also went to the Coop to buy SM a sweatshirt 'cuz, well, his college-era sweatshirt doesn't quite fit anymore.

    We had fun shopping. It was particularly interesting to see the various MIT shirt designs. SM got a fleece. I got an oversized hoodie (it was a bargain!), and I bought a t-shirt for my brother for Christmas. It read: I>U (which I think my brother might actually wear, and if not, it's still my duty as his sister to give him snarky presents).

    Here was one of our faves, which we didn't buy but would be really snottily perfect to wear as a student:

    Get it? I didn't. I understood that the first fraction was M (and therefore could guess), but SM had to translate the rest. (FYI, the second is an imaginary number = I, and the last is an equation about the state of gas: pV=nRT, which I won't even pretend to have any knowledge of or interest in, but it works out to T.)

    I also liked the shirt that said "Talk nerdy to me." Heh. Another one had a series of 0s and 1s on it. Now, I went to a liberal arts college (double major in sociology and anthropology, thankyouverymuch), so I was extremely proud that I could even identify that as binary. SM was able to decode the numbers, but we didn't know how to translate it beyond that. Turns out, the numbers were ASCII code for, you guessed it, MIT. When we told this story to my younger brother, whose degree is in mechanical engineering, he got it right away. I guess I'm surrounded by nerdy types.

    Anyhoo... after walking through and around MIT, we counted Smoots over the bridge into Boston proper, walked and shopped our way down Newbury Street and then over to Boylston. We then cut over through Chinatown and eventually made it to the Faneuil Hall area where we did more walking but less shopping. We had lunch with SM's friend at the Durgin Park restaurant, where I had lobster roll -- yum! After that, we caught the T back to the airport and had an eventless return trip home.

    We weren't even in Boston a full day, more like 17 hours (half of which was overnight), but it was fun. It felt like we were playing hookie -- it was, after all, a Wednesday. We hadn't done anything spontaneous like that in quite a while. We were gone such a short time that we didn't even make any arrangements for Gidget. We just left her at home with water (she has a doggy door). Of course, she missed out on her breakfast on Wednesday, but she, like us, can stand missing a meal. When we got home that night, we were greeted by an almost hysterically happy puppy who was so excited that she peed on the floor. She is, after all, part dauschund.

    It was great fun. We need to take trips like that more often, especially when the travel (parking and gas included) costs less than two college sweatshirts and a t-shirt!

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    Like, omigawd, gag me with a spoon!

    I am a vision of an 80s hipster today. I have on an oversized college sweatshirt (SM's alma mater), leggings, scrunched tube socks ('cuz da' feet are cold) and my hair in a ponytail. All I need is a perm and a scrunchy, and voila -- I am the quintessential 80s college chick. Yes, I've rocked this look before.

    Speaking of which, I have noticed that 80s styles are coming back. Leggings -- check. Harem pants (a.k.a., "Hammer" pants or parachute pants) -- check. Oversized shirts/tunics -- check. Hipslung belts -- check. Slouched boots -- check. I've even heard mention of -- ::shudder:: -- of "Members Only"-style jackets coming back. Oh my. All we need is big hair. Think big hair will come back too?

    Scary when the "retro" look that is currently a la mode is something you wore before (and remember). Hmmm, I should check my closet. I bet I still have the slouchy boots and belts. No comment on the Members Only jacket. But I'd bet Scooter had one back in the day... eh?

    Where are my Reeboks anyway?

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    Saturday, October 10, 2009


    We have an answer to my "What's next?" question: our computers.

    Mine has an internal electrical problem. The battery isn't charging -- not because of a bad battery or a bad cord. It's something in between and will cost $300 to fix. For a 5 year old computer. Ouch.

    But SM's computer hit the skids this morning. We're having trouble even powering it up. So this afternoon, he went out and bought a new laptop for $550. Nothing fancy, obviously. His old computer was from, we think, 2003, so yeah, it's about time. And let's face it, when your old computer is from 2003, a cheap new one is a huge upgrade. So he's happy with his new toy.

    I, on the other hand, will probably have to wait a while until we upgrade mine. Until then, I'll be plugged in DC here in DC.

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    Thursday, October 08, 2009


    Today was the first time that Metro's red line was back up to speed since the accident on June 22nd. Never mind that one of the cars started smoking in the tunnel on Tuesday (my friend was actually on the train that started smoking; she said that folks went hysterical). Nah, that doesn't mean that they haven't fixed everything.


    And oh yea...

    In addition to all the crap with the house that I wrote about before, sometime during the summer (I don't remember when) our A/C went caput -- necessitating a completely new system (outside unit, water heater and furnace) to the tune of $10K.  Yay.  That, on top of the approximately $20K for the plumbing, new bathroom, ceiling repair and electrical work.  And our one car kept dying (three tows!). Now the gutters are falling off the house. 


    But the A/C is fixed.  And the car seems to be running reliably (knock-on-wood) now.  We still need to take care of the gutters.

    And then, what's next?  I should start a lottery to see who can guess what our next major fix-it project will be.  Any takers?

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    What's left.

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    So I was wrong

    They weren't done yet. Now they are. More pix.

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    Who could that be knocking at my door?

    Especially at 7:30 this morning?

    Turns out it's some workers who have come to remove the tree in our front yard. The tree is half dead and old enough that the branches get pulled down by the wind on a regular basis. Fortunately, the branches only fell on the lawn, not our cars, but we always avoided parking the car under the tree during storms. Anyway, the worker dude wanted me to move our car so they could work.

    Of course, I didn't know they were coming today. I knew the tree was slated for removal, but no one told us when. About a year ago (yes, a year), the county came by and marked the tree for removal. The reason it's half-dead is because some genius 60 years ago, when the house was built, thought it was a good idea to plant a tree directly under the power lines. All up and down the street. Many of the trees have already been removed, and those that remain have been trimmed and cut back into a weird V shapes to avoid the power lines. Not only did the trimming result in a strangled-looking trees, but the trees are dying as a result.

    So now I'm watching it being taken down. And I'm a bit sad to see it go. It was a fairly large tree that produced a lotta shade -- and yes, a lot of leaves on the ground. But it was (mostly) a living thing, so it makes me a bit sad to see it chopped and chomped up into chips. Also, it also dramatically changes the look of our front yard. And we'll get much more sun on the house too.

    But it's a good thing to have the tree removed. Just yesterday, we had a wind storm. When we came home last night, there were a few branches on the lawn, one of which would have dented a car. And lucky for SM, they're removing the tree before the leaves have fallen. This will save him very serious hours of raking.

    So the once lush tree (okay, 1/2 lush) will soon be reduced to a creepy, limbless trunk (they come back to take the trunk and then again, hopefully, to remove the stump). It's actually been a very interesting process to watch. The guy responsible for cutting the branches did it very methodically and used ropes for controlled falls.

    Here are some pix.

    Done. For now. Kinda sad. But I guess this adds to the ambiance for Halloween!

    So now I need to go to work!

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