Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer evenings

Last night we sat out watching the fireflies flit around above the lawn. Andrew didn't grow up with them, so he is still enjoying the novelty. An acquaintance who was recently visiting from Arizona pointed out the fireflies are a bit magical for anyone who sees them rarely. If you don't grow up in a place with fireflies, then you know them only through movies and comic books. Then you go for a trip, and BOOM! Real live bugs with glowing bottoms. It's pretty amazing.

Much more than in the past, I find myself consciously appreciating where I live. I've moved many times in my life, and I never lived anywhere that I didn't like. But like it or not, Miami was a far different climate than the places I grew up, and it turns out that I crave living in a climate like the Midwest. The DC area definitely fits the bill, with the added bonus that the winters are a bit shorter and the growing seasons are a bit longer. I am so very happy to be here.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Absence makes the heart...

Andrew has been away this week visiting my family in Ohio. Most of the time, I'm the one going away and leaving him to tend the house and pets, because I travel much more for my job than he does. This is the first time in several years that I've been home while he's away. I don't think I properly appreciate all he does around the house. I struggled to do all the morning chores before I needed to leave for work each day, and it was a lot of extra work to walk the dog each morning and night. I especially missed him when I had to do all the disgusting chores - the daily flea combing and the morning when the dog got sick repeatedly all over the house. My husband is a real trooper about doing the disgusting chores. It must be part of that English attitude about unpleasant experiences building character - he never complains.

Right before Andrew left we finished the last of the unpacking. There are no more boxes sitting out anywhere in the house (as long as you don't count the single box of stuff that's ready to be donated). This makes me feel properly settled. So, how would I grade the new apartment? I'd give it a solid A-. The pluses: It's spacious and has beautiful wood floors that are just worn enough that I don't have to worry if I end up leaving a tiny scratch. There are lots of windows, and, once we purchased more shelving, enough places to store things. We have off-street parking for the car and motorcycle, and we're near public transportation. The minuses: the refrigerator is tiny (I'm taller than the fridge, and I'm not really known for my towering height), we have to pay pet fees every month, and the laundry facilities are not ideal. The laundry situation is still working itself out, in fact. There are coin-operated machines available one house over, and this is certainly preferable to a laundromat. However, it costs $6 to wash and dry one load. Even if we were careful, that would quickly add up to about $50 a month, which is, to my mind, completely unacceptable. So we've gone old school: we wash our clothes with one of these, spin them semi-dry in one of these, and then hang them out to dry. Mostly this works, but it's a lot more work than using a washing machine, no doubt about it. I'm sure that in a year or two, when we're living somewhere else, we will appreciate having a washing machine once again, just as I now appreciate having 800 glorious square feet of space in this apartment. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, after all.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Mucking around in the dirt

Oh, its been too long between posts again. Can I use work as an excuse? I love my new job very much. However, we hosted several conferences in a row and I worked the weekend a bunch of 12- hour days. There's nothing like 12-hour days to make your regular 8-hour day feel like a walk in the park.
When I'm not working, though, I've been putting in a garden. If you live in our apartment house, you can request one of the on-site garden plots. This year there weren't that many takers, so we actually got two plots. In the picture to the left, Andrew is showing the border of our 20' by 20' garden. For a first garden, that's pretty big. It is, for example, larger than our previous house.
I've never been in charge of a garden before, although I was an (unwilling) weeder in my mother's garden. It is nicer to weed when you were the one who chose all the plants. I imagine that it will be more fun, however, when I'm harvesting. In fact, we have already harvested - one extremely prevalent weed is edible, and we ate a salad of it today. I'll report tomorrow if we find out that our assessment of "edible" is incorrect.