Summer Kickoff

That dog ran away again. Actually not even just once. He's run away four more times. Thankfully these escapes happened on his new mama's watch so all we could really do was chat about it with her, because she's 2 hours away. He has learned to expertly scale a 6 foot fence. SIX FEET! Looks like I'll need to update that fence question on our adoption application asking how high it is because, who cares now that we clearly have gazelles in the rescue.

The texts from the new mama are great.

"He ran away last night but came back this morning."
"He jumped the fence right in front of me, and went to my neighbor's house and slept on their daughter's bed."
"He went out for a beer and a smoke and came back before midnight."

Okay - maybe not that last text, but it's pretty much what's happening. It's like having Eliot Spitzer for your household pet. You just can't trust him to stay put.

We're in Hershey Park. I'm not sure why I consider these vacations a "vacation" because by the time the car is packed, I'm seriously considering drinking a bottle of wine for the two hour drive. I wisely and legally chose water but I was burned out by the time we arrived, and I expressed as much.

Real Estate Dad: "What's so stressful about it?"

Me: "Because I do all the packing and loading of the car while you sit on the phone or your computer."

I let him drive the kid-less car and I took the dogs and kids with me, so he could finish up his deal that was closing the next morning. He says after we arrive in Hershey, "You know, all that drama and phone calls this morning before we left and then I got in the car and nothing. It was a peaceful 2 hour drive."

I said, "Yeah, and it magically started up again while the family pack-mule unloaded the kids, dogs and luggage while you sat in the parking lot on your phone."

Grrrr. My point was made.

"Evil Woman" has played several times since we've been here, in very public places. At the restaurant where we first ate dinner, in Hershey Park today piped over the loudspeakers. I get it, I get it. It's my weekend theme song.

Then I ended up getting the customary vacation-phone-call because clients wandered into a house and wanted to write an offer. It always happens, like clockwork. Ask any Real Estate Agent. Need more sales? Go on vacation. It's the universe's way of letting you know that there is no such thing as self-employed. We all answer to someone.

But, I was THRILLED! It was so nice to be like, "You take the kids to the pool while I write this contract." Real Estate Dad goes off with the littles to the pool and I managed to take what should have been a 20 minute experience and stretch it into an hour so I could have some alone time. Then I decided I wanted to go see the kids swim. So off to the pool I went.

There's Real Estate Dad, smiling proudly as the littles are doing their best not to drown, because this is the state of the pool when I enter.

PPP at the P. Piss Poor Parenting, at the Pool!

It was pretty crazy in there and I was about to yank Chubs out because she could barely stay afloat. Watch that green football that some asshole is whaling at a girl in the pool. Those two switch places and he catches as well as a quadriplegic. So she whales it at him and it skims Chub's hair and smashes on the side of the pool. Chubs gets out of dodge and I look at Real Estate Dad and say, "That football missed her head by less than an inch."

Real Estate Dad is the one who stopped for coffee when Chubs was pushing through my cervix. He's phased by absolutely nothing. Like, when it comes to a quick and appropriate response, I wouldn't rely on him for it. If I were to ever get pregnant again I would totally call a taxi before asking him for a ride to Labor and Delivery. Okay, back to the pool.

He says, "But it didn't hit her." And the two assholes continue throwing the ball, wayyy too hard for my approval. So, I think we all know what happened next.

Yes, I leapt from my chair and yelled at that girl to stop throwing the ball. She says, "What?" I said, "STOP THROWING THE BALL! There are little kids there you almost hit!" She says okay and jumps in the pool. But, you saw the video. Do you think her parents were there, with their coolers, drinking by the pool and ignoring their little jerky offspring? Yep. They were.

DCRealEstateMama don't play that shit. Happy Effing Summer everyone! I'll be THAT mom, at the pool.

I'm Better at Real Estate

This dog rescue thing has gone off the rails.

So...that last dog that we rescued from Texas, who endured the shelter from hell, the foster from hell and the transporter from hell? He got to Baltimore and settled in nicely to his foster home where he was to stay for a few days until he would be adopted by a woman in Richmond. The adopter was coming to DC. I volunteered Real Estate Dad to pick up the dog in Baltimore because he was driving through the day before adoption day. He met the foster and they transferred the dog into his car and he came home.

Real Estate Dad had been away for a couple days. When he arrived home, the dog goes in our house, jumps on the couch and enjoys some pets from my stepson. Real Estate Dad realizes his wife was too busy (or lazy) to get the mail from the slot right next to the front door, so he opens the door to get the mail. Dog hears the door open, leaps over my stepson, leaps over the two corgis and bolts out the door.

He was in our house for less than 5 minutes.

I wish I could tell you that he came right back. I wish I could tell you he came when called. I wish I could tell you I caught him in the alley behind some houses by the woods. No, I can't tell you any of that. That jerk was gone for EIGHT DAYS. Every animal rescuer, every animal control officer, every good Samaritan was on the hunt. We set out cameras, food traps, posted signs. It was almost like a real-time video game with people reporting their sightings on the neighborhood message board.

He finally came back and I was thrilled. (Well, the truth is, he was caught. By a 3rd grader. Who had no sophisticated cameras, food traps or signs.)

Two more pups came in to foster from Texas and so I had those guys in my house and the runaway went to another foster home. In an apartment building. Where he can't reach the elevator button.

Last Saturday we had an event in Reston. It was awesome!

 Selling Homes, Saving Corgis. That's me.

Selling Homes, Saving Corgis. That's me.

What was not awesome, was the part when I left my fellow rescuers to (wo)man the booth, and I walked 14 feet to Panera to get that delicious pastry ring they have, only to come back to an empty booth. My foster dog ran away.

What. In. the. everloving. F*** !!!!!!

Off we went, looking for this little jerk.

 "Shut it. I'm cute! And I can stop traffic on Reston Parkway."

"Shut it. I'm cute! And I can stop traffic on Reston Parkway."

Actually, I don't mean that because he's the cutest thing I've ever seen. And he loves me! He's perfectly potty trained, very respectful, a little skittish, and HE LOVES ME!

So, we spent three hours looking. When I say looking, I mean, you have no idea what we put the town of Reston through. This little guy ran across Reston Parkway, and ended up on a golf course in a country club. When I saw how big this course was, I about died. I logged 7000 steps on my new and ACCURATE fitness tracker looking for him. Finally, we had to get out the big guns.

I knew the second I saw them lined up, nicely side by side, that I would be driving one of those golf carts. And I was! (It took some begging.) The Golf Manager let us go out with one of the guys from the pro shop with one of our board members, and then two of us following behind. I'm like giddy because I get to drive the golf cart! We asked everyone on the course and most of them had not seen him. One lady yelled between strokes, "We saw a coyote!"  We weren't taking a poll. I mean, we saw a fox and a beaver but we didn't shout "GROUNDHOG! GROUNDHOG!" to anyone. Come on lady!

We drove our golf carts through all 18 holes of that country club. Nothing.

We went back to (wo)man our booth, empty handed. People asked if we had any dogs to adopt and well, yes, we do, but he ran away.

After the event I drove through the entire neighborhood around the country club. Every community. Every road. Have you ever been to Virginia? They have a lot of houses there. I mean, A LOT OF FREAKING HOUSES! I know because I've sold some of them.

I went home after 2.5 hours of searching, sad that it was getting cold, dark and starting to rain.

Two hours later I was home and scrolling my phone when I got a text. "WE FOUND HIM!"

That little stinker ended up at Fairfax County Animal Control about an hour or two after he ran off from us. I swear he was giggling when we picked him up.

Runaway foster dogs: 2. Melissa: 0

I'm better at Real Estate.

 

How to Pack With Children in the House

I have developed a plan on how to handle a 3 and 5 year old to get them out of the house for a weekend away.

1) Don’t tell them there is a plan to go away. It’s a guarantee they will flex the worst of their personality in the days leading up to departure. (I screw this up every time.)

2) When they reach peak-assholeness, pick up the phone and “call” Hershey Park to cancel.

- 5 bonus points for saying “yes, I’ll hold.”
- minus 20 points for leaving the iPhone on the home screen so M or any other 5 year old says “I see the screen, you didn’t actually call anyone.”

3) When you commence packing, don’t let them anywhere near you. If you make this mistake you will pay dearly. You will arrive at your destination without the underwear you know you packed but you will have the bathroom scale and 800 tampons in its place.

- 10 bonus points for handcuffing children to dining table so they can’t mess with the packed suitcase.
- 50 bonus points for actually having handcuffs.
- minus 500 points for leaving the kids unsupervised in the same zip code as the suitcase.

4) When you finish packing, close the suitcase, lock it, and put it in the car.

5) Surround car with a pack of wolves.

6) Return to house to finish getting yourself ready. No matter how they are behaving just ignore them. Even when they are sitting at the front door RIGHT NOW arguing whose vagina hole is bigger.

7) Take a double dose of Xanax. Bring wine. Don’t Drive the first shift. Obviously.

Happy Endings are for Massage Parlours: This is Rescue

Career Day turned out pretty decently. Of course I thought my material would last the full half hour but no, I was done in 5 minutes. I brought a bunch of brochures from the other agents in my office and had the kids pick which house they wanted to buy. Then I had them sign a fake contract. The funniest part was they agreed to buy a houseboat. Yes, I know, where can you get a houseboat in DC? At the waterfront! Where the houseboats are!

Tonight was the school's annual auction and moms were telling me their little ones were happy to get a gift bag. I mean, look, when all you're going in with are some sales brochures and a career day idea that you didn't even practice-run, you have to bribe the kids with something. So company swag it was. A balloon with a logo, a sticky note pad with, you guessed it, our logo, and a bunch of pencils the kids could choose.

Then we sailed away on our houseboat.

Ok, no we didn't.

Another part of my life is corgi-rescue related. This week we were working on getting a bunch of dogs out of various shelters in Texas. This part of Texas where we were working lies somewhere between rural and deserted. There are like three people in the town and now I know them all.

The shelter recommended a foster home and a transport. I can't even express the ridiculousness that happened with this Prince and Princess. This is why animals die every day in shelters. Because crazy people who are probably mentally ill are involved in most of the animal world. The Texas foster home took the dog to the vet and went from "Don't worry about paying me, let's wait until all the vetting is done," to "WHERE IS MY CHECK?? I HAVE NEVER BEEN TREATED SO POORLY BY A RESCUE. I AM ON DISABILITY AND PAID OUT OF MY OWN POCKETTTTTT!"

I legit mailed the check. It's just unfortunate she lives in literally the middle of nowhere, and the ponies probably hadn't gotten to that route yet. Then we got hooked up with a transport. Then this happened.

1) The transporter calculated that the trip from South Texas to Hagerstown, Maryland would take him 24 hours. I googled for the time and distance. It said 23 hours and 40 minutes. So this guy was planning to only stop for a total of 20 minutes for the entire trip? To include stops to pee, eat and get gas?

2) The foster threatened to keep the dog if she didn't get her money. Then she said she was going to charge us a per day boarding charge.

3) Then I got mad she was threatening us and I may or may not have messaged her the following: "Foster? Go fuck yourself."

4) Then she clutched her pearls.

5) Then the shelter manager got involved (because I called her regarding the holding of our dog hostage) and she said the foster was mad because someone used "ugly language" with her. I proudly said it was me. She said, "You don't curse to a Jehovah's Witness." Hmm. Now probably isn't the best time to argue my distaste of religion. And on the swearing? Please. My parents are in their 80's and they use the F-word like it's going out of style. Plus, I won Best Potty Mouth Award from my company. I'm very proud of that award.

6) Then we all got on to a text and the transporter said we were all drama and he would leave the dog in Texas and never transport for us again.

7) When I was about to tell all of these people go go scratch, the transporter forgot that the shelter manager and the foster were both on the text and he called them both crazy. Transporter proves himself to be a total lunatic. We all ask WTF we have gotten ourselves into.

8) The foster and the shelter manger both responded. More drama. Why won't everyone shut up and do what's best for this dog??? Oh. Right. Egos and Money, that's what rescue is all about.

9) Dog finally arrives at the transport location and rides from Texas to Maryland.

10) Receiving foster (one of our board members) sends us this message: "So I meet the transporter today and crazy son of a bitch has a big gash on his forehead and it's bleeding. He totally ignores the issue and practically throws the dogs at me."

Dogs. DOGS? You want to know why I only mentioned one dog this whole time and there were multiple who arrived? Well, yes, the transporter decided to drop his dog on us too.

Lesson learned from this exercise: Texas shelters all love to say the dog is on the table about to be euthanized unless someone steps up. That's their claim to fame. It's not Billy Bob's. It's their ability to state with a straight face that the dog is about to be killed. Right. Now.

 

Career Day

For some reason, when we received that email about career day, I signed up.

For some reason, here we are, hours before I'm supposed to make my presentation to M's kindergarten class and I have no idea what I'm going to do or say.

Yesterday when I picked M up from school, one of the other moms said "Oh, M was great today! I did my career day presentation and she was so talkative, she had so many questions and stories to share."

In case you don't see the giant sinkhole coming up, here it is.

Me: "Oh awesome! What kind of work do you do?"
Mom: "I'm a family therapist."

Um. Awesome. I asked M on the walk home what she was saying, as I cringed. Gee, could it be that time she had a tantrum and we told her that if she didn't like it here she could go live somewhere else, and we'd call the taxi right now. Then she actually packed a bag and came down to wait for the taxi, while Chubs, the voice of reason, despite her 3 years on this earth said, "Don't worry, the taxi isn't here yet."

Chubs should get in line for next year's career day and see if she can't wrangle her own free therapy session out of it.

Well, wish me luck. In a few hours I'll be telling 30 kindergartners what I do all day.

The Newseum

It's always fun when family or friends come to town because it provides a fantastic excuse to be a tourist!!!

I've been dying to get to the Newseum but it seems like there is never enough time to spend. Lots to see and lots to read. All in all, I liked it a lot, but there are of course many parts that you could find online if you weren't inclined to leave your house. With YouTube and all sorts of video, much of what they showcase can be found elsewhere, but not in a succinct story-telling manner.

And you also wouldn't be able to understand the impact of the Berlin Wall that they have recreated with actual pieces of the wall.

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This is the west-facing wall, which was the free side.

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This is the east-facing wall, the communist side.

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The Death Tower, a 3 story structure with guards - armed and under order to kill anyone who approaches the Berlin Wall to escape.

 A sad testament to the danger many journalists face in trying to get the story to bring back to the world. These are all those who have died while on the job.

A sad testament to the danger many journalists face in trying to get the story to bring back to the world. These are all those who have died while on the job.

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One of the most compelling and important exhibits in the Newseum.  All you need to know is that the green areas symbolize where the press is free. Yellow is partially free. Red shows places where the press isn't free at all.

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And one of my favorite pics, my little sweetie crashed. All "news"ed-out.

Talking Smack

Last Monday, Real Estate Dad was trying to get Chubs out the door to school. I was upstairs, still in bed, picking away at emails on my phone, when Chubs burst into the room with a tissue and started wiping down my night stand.

Real Estate Dad: Come on, it's time to go to school.
Chubs: But Daddy, I have to clean the house!
Real Estate Dad: What?
Chubs: If I go to school, who is going to clean this house?

Chubs is three. Just thought I would note that. I have no idea where she came up with this.

Over the weekend, Chubs and I were playing a game and M was standing there watching. I asked if she wanted to play and she said, "No, that's boring." I said, "Why don't you read a book?"

"Reading is boring."

I said, quoting an old commercial from when I was little, "Reading is fundamental."

Well she didn't like this at all.

"MOMMY STOP CALLING ME MENTAL."

Wow. That didn't go well. Real Estate Dad said, "Well let's work on your spelling then. What does D-A-Y spell?"

M screamed "DIE!"

Later that night (after my head stopped spinning) M asked me where the old cell phone was that she uses to watch videos. I said "No idea, it wasn't my turn to watch it." To which she replies, "What's the matter with you? The lights are on but no one is home."

So now she's quoting Robert Palmer?

M is five. Just thought I would note that.

The deck is most definitely stacked against me.

Vacation All I Ever Wanted

Real Estate Dad and I rarely get an opportunity to travels sans kids. There are 2 reasons for this really - 1 is we actually like being with the kids (mostly.) And, 2  is that we had our kids later in life. Which means the grandparents are older as well. Which means, they cannot watch these maniacs for a weekend. Which means we begged borrowed and stole and asked Summer Nanny to do it.

Poor sucker said yes.

So we went to Cancun! Hooray! Except, it was difficult for me to enjoy this vacation. I have a really hard time going to a place that is so poor, and having all these people wait on us, knowing they aren't paid well. I just want to know that they are okay and happy and not feel like they are working for $5 a day.

I started asking some of the waiters and other workers and it pretty much resulted in what I thought. They make $5 a day. Heartbreaking. I suppose if I was born 5 generations down the line in my family this wouldn't affect me, but my grandparents all had lives like this, and that history is still so recent. Not sure I would go back. Someone is getting rich at that resort...on the backs of the people who work their butts off for no money.

Aside from that, I try to find the humor in whatever my current situation may be. Allow me to entertain with a photo blog of our trip!

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Welcome to Mexico! This was the line for customs.

Fortunately Real Estate Dad registered us online so we got to go to the shorter line. But people were still being searched. The lady checked our documents and then we were shuffling to the line to be searched and she said, "Press this button." Real Estate Dad pressed it, it turned green and she said, "You can go. You don't need to be searched."

And just like that, we passed this entire line, passed the 2nd line where we were going to be searched, and we got into Mexico!

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True to form, once we arrived it started to rain.

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Prior to takeoff the forecast was just cloudy. I should have known not to expect anything different. It rains for all our other vacation experiences.

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Good thing the next day it was sunny.

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I took my new book (all the shizz I didn't learn in school) to the pool to read. About the United States. While laying in Mexico.

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We went into downtown Cancun that night for dinner.

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At La Parrilla, the waiters had Mad Skills.

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It was too late when we realized we selected the wrong cab.

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The last night there we went to a restaurant in the hotel. I ordered mushroom risotto. They actually served me this scoop of risotto for dinner with a straight face.

I ordered a second, with no shame.

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Got to the airport with a couple hours to spare at the duty free shops.

 

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Cancun. They don't want you to die smoking cigarettes. But they have one of the biggest drug problems in the world, complete with tons of crime and lots of murder. Cigarettes kill though.

DC Indie Film Fest

I am a sucker for indie films, especially shorts. Of course, that's if they aren't weird. When the Indie Film Fest came to DC I called Summer Nanny and told Real Estate Dad we were going. He was sort of...how should I put this, meh about it. I figured he'd rally. He kind of did...in a way.

On Friday night we saw 3 feature length films. The first was Palacios. Sort of an interesting theme. An alcoholic woman lives in this odd rooftop apartment which is pretty much enclosed by almost all windows. It was like the  landing at the top level of a flight of stairs in a building, just large enough to have a kitchen, living room and sleeping area. This guy shows up on the roof and they become friends and spend the day together, but the guy runs off after she finds out that there was a hold up at the gas station across the street from her place and it was likely him who shot someone. She ends up going to find him only to have him come back and she calls the police on him.

There are two interesting twists regarding this movie. First, it was filmed in St. Louis just a couple miles from where the shooting of Michael Brown occurred. Second, the actor who played the store robber, Olajuwon Davis, was actually arrested and put in federal prison for terrorist plots.

Next was Captain Black. For some reason I wasn't as excited by this one based on the vague description of it on the Indie Film site. I even thought we may bail to get dinner since it was the 7 p.m. show. So glad we stayed though because the movie was much much better. The acting was excellent, movie had humor and drama, it was an all around win. The cast was there and it was funny to hear them talk about the movie, it certainly didn't sound really high-tech or high-budget, and they did a fantastic job. Makes me think I can amp up this whole video thing I'm working on for the business.

Last one Friday was Loneliness of a Sewer Trucker. We watched the whole movie, were slightly confused, and rated it as average on the voting card. Then we trotted off to eat at Rosa Mexicano. Score! All the things you do when you have a sitter. Well, not ALL the things. 

Anyway, sitting at a midnight dinner, we started talking about the last movie and as we kept talking and it unfolded in our brains of what we really watched, I wanted to go back to change my voting card to say it was excellent. I want to watch it again now, knowing what I've figured out about the characters. Not sure how one does that with Indie Flicks. Argh!

We headed back on Saturday for one feature length and a bunch of shorts. The feature length was Closure, about a woman who goes to L.A. looking for her estranged sister. It epitomized for me why L.A. looks good from D.C. but whenever I go there I'm itching to get back to the east coast. The cast and crew were there for the after-chat It was fascinating to learn how they like to do their own projects between other work they are hired for, but that the whole show business industry is really about keeping busy. They speak about their past work as though they were love affairs, having these different feelings about each piece on which they've worked. It made me like my life so much more for some reason.

The shorts were all entertaining but didn't have a lot of impact for me. A couple left us in that shrug like "Eh, could have lived without this one." I've written super short stories and they can be amazing but so much has to be packed into a short time frame for the impact I like. Though, we were sitting in front of someone with Tourette's Syndrome and it made the dull clips much more tolerable. It was sort of like watching it through his brain.

DC you getting so cool with your Indie Film Fests.

 

Happy Birthday GW

We decided to be tourists for President's Day. Unfortunately, everyone else decided the same thing.

After waiting an hour in a car-line. only to be told there was no parking. we looped a couple times until they finally let us in the parking lot. We're here Georgie!

Too bad we couldn't go inside though. Tour tickets were pushed out several hours. I guess you had to get here earlier. Or, go on a day where tickets aren't free.

 This was George's view, minus the chain link fence I assume.

This was George's view, minus the chain link fence I assume.

It was cold so I didn't want to take my hands out of my pockets, but I asked the girls if we could get the obligatory picture.

 Chubs, not having it at all.

Chubs, not having it at all.

I laughed. I turned to Real Estate Dad and said, "Forty years ago this would be me, exactly, showing my displeasure at one of my mom's educational trips." Please don't remind me of Colonial Williamsburg. I still have PTSD from all the time we spent there.

Since we couldn't see the house, we wandered around outside to see all the out-buildings, his tomb, and the Slave Memorial. He had over 300 slaves in his time, many of whom are believed to be buried on the site. He set up about a third of them to be freed by his wife after he died. So, that happened. But the rest stayed on. Aah our Founding Forefathers, U.S. History is interesting  until you realize, well, meh.

Anyway, after the cold and the rain and the crowds, we decided to come back another day. (Read: we'll talk about it once or twice but we'll probably never actually come back.) Got through the gift shop $20 lighter because, "Mama can you buy me this?" and then we headed out. We weren't the only ones who were ready to pack it in. Not sure who this poor guy is but he was pretty much over it as well.

 "Over it!"

"Over it!"