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!"

Mom's Rage Against the Machine

I am loving the Facebook posts. My girlfriends from high school, my girlfriends from college - I am LOVING their Facebook posts.

This happens to be the current Facebook chatter with my college friends. Go Canes!

L's Post: "At what age does the Valentine's madness stop? It was a pain in the ass to wrap this up." (L shows a picture of a gorgeous shoebox that she wrapped and decorated for her son's Valentine Cards.)

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One mom comments that they had a mailbox decorating party. She posted a picture of a bunch of girls sitting around a kitchen island.

God. Why the f*ck do people have to over-mom it?

God. Why the f*ck do I care so little?

L's mom comments but it's in Spanish. I can't decode part of it but I'm pretty sure it says something about first world problems. L's parents don't play around. When we were in college, L's dad took a scissors to all her credit cards. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that has absolutely nothing to do with this story and you're right. But I never miss an opportunity to tell it. It's been 25 years and I still laugh about that.

C, whose daughter is in Catholic School, comments: "I'm happy it's also Ash Wednesday because she has to go to school in full uniform. I'm over the box, but I'm also over the dress down days and the dress red days."

Whoa. I never thought about how much easier it would be to get out the door in the morning if M had to wear a uniform.

At this point I have to reveal that I didn't make a mailbox.

L: "I thought you were joking about the Safeway bag."

Me: "I really wasn't. We don't have anything."

And I have a feeling that I'm going to be sorely regretting this later. But M wasn't talking to me tonight. Another of my college friends, the Cheese, was in town for the day. She came over to our house for a few minutes before heading to the airport. M was playing on the floor when a fart snuck out. We all laughed. Then M decided she was mad that I laughed so she was pretty rude to me for the rest of the night despite my 14 apologies and attempts at assurance that everyone finds farts to be a source of comedy.

She wasn't having it.

And now it's approaching midnight. I'm thinking maybe I'll just hand her the Safeway bag tomorrow and that can be her mailbox. Or I'll go to school with Chubs for the breakfast they are hosting and just let Real Estate Dad deal with the school and mailbox thing. FFS, I bought and wrote out all the Valentines. I'm did my homework.

I never thought I would be back to counting down the days until school was over but here I am again, counting away. Can't wait until it's over so the "homework" will stop.

X-Rays and 100 Days

It's been eventful here around the Real Estate compound. Chubs somehow twisted her ankle and we ended up in the ER in the middle of flu season. The older I get, the less of a night owl I am, and this post-midnight visit was no exception. The last place I wanted to be was in the waiting room of the ER, with the harsh florescent lights shining down on me like I was under interrogation.

Wait. let me rephrase. The last place I wanted to be was in the waiting room of the ER with the harsh florescent lights in the middle of flu-season and everyone was wearing masks and one poor guy was visibly GREEN. I felt horrible for him, he was clearly in major pain and yet, he and his companions were making sympathetic faces at Chubs. Please. Chubs was riding her scooter and then dropped it right in her own path where she promptly forgot about it, then even more promptly tripped over it. You're GREEN!

The processional of doctors and nurses came in to ask what happened. I never understood this about hospitals. Don't any of them talk to each other so we don't have to repeat the same story? And besides, the answer to "How did she get hurt so bad that she can't walk" was "I don't know because I wasn't watching her."

Anyway, they had to do x-rays. She was a champ. She just covered her eyes like she did when we went though the Haunted Mansion at Rehoboth.

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The x-ray didn't say much, other than that Chubs's body composition is 5% bones, 5% blood and 90% chocolate. I have failed as a mother.

Speaking of failing as a mother, today was the 100th day of school. Apparently this is a "thing" where the kids dress like old people on the 100th day of school. Do. Not. Comprehend.

Anyway, I was zero help on this. I had Lasik so we have no glasses in the house to loop on a chain. I try not to own moo-moo's and bathrobes. And M has blonde hair so this whole baby powder in the hair wouldn't have done much.

She went to school in her usual Old Navy garb.

I kind of never realized how much work school actually is. For the parents, I mean. And I'm only at Kindergarten in this house. Argh. I guess this is why Summer Nanny had to come back already. She started in January, just so she can make sure she's here when summer arrives I bet. We're glad she's back. Maybe I can task her with these random school things that cause work for us.

Museums "Off the Mall"

We definitely got a taste of spring this weekend. I was bopping around in the car, windows down, showing houses, rescuing corgis and playing outside with kids. It is weekends like the one we just had that remind me to be a tourist in my own city every now and again. It must have had the same effect on some out-of-town friends. Some of them began buzzing about their upcoming spring trips, coming to DC to see the cherry blossoms and do the tourist thing.

 Photo by David Dibert

Photo by David Dibert

For the locals, the phrase "going to the mall" doesn't mean buying new jeans and hanging out with their friends. The mall is the place where Abe watches us and where our tax dollars go to work. Well, not all of our tax dollars considering the current government shutdown, but the rest of our tax dollars. What do I mean? The museums on the mall are Free. FREE! Did I say FREE? Perhaps this is why busloads of school kids dump off here all through March and April. As a junior high school kid, there was nothing I wanted to do less than go to a museum. But as an adult, sqeeee! Fun!!!!

If you are here for a while or want to get off the beaten path, there are a ton of museums -  some free, some costing a few bucks, but definitely worth a visit.

Folger Shakespeare Library
If you are a fan of Willie Shakes, this is the place to see. Hosting the largest collection of his written works, the Shakespeare Library is also home to the Folger Theatre which hosts Shakespeare inspired plays. Tours of the museum are free but operate on a schedule. Monday to Saturday at 11, 1 and 3 p.m. and Sundays at noon and 3. There are a number of other tour options that are available as well. Located on "the Hill" the Folger is at 201 East Capitol St NE. The location allows you to do the classic Brunch on the Hill before you go visit Willie.

Smithsonian Postal Museum
Stamp Geek? I won't judge. I married one. Though our toddler took care of his collection in one giant tear of destruction - literally a tear of paper that cost the equivalent of a semester (for her) at college. Good thing Real Estate Dad is chill because after wincing for a few minutes, he laughed. "Well, at least she had fun."

It's safe to say if she ripped my Guns N Roses VIP Tour Book or flushed Slash's guitar picks down the toilet, she probably wouldn't be here to tell about it, but, hey. To each his own.

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The Postal Museum is free, and it has all sorts of things besides stamps. There are exhibits that show how the mail influenced our lives and kept us connected, and exhibits about the transportation of mail and how that has evolved over the years. You can also learn about the oft-cited "Pony Express!" The Museum is located at 2 Massachusetts Ave NE, which probably doesn't mean much to you, but it's right next to Union Station. What that DOES mean is if you happened to be on some trip via train, and you had a train change here in DC, you don't have to go postal waiting for your connection. You could hop over to the Postal Museum for a bit to kill some time. (See what I did there?)

Newseum
This is a pretty relevant museum to check out in light of the current battle of politicians and journalists. It's no secret some journalists don't let the truth get in the way of telling a good story (looking at you Brian Williams.) No matter what side of the aisle you're on (or if you're in the back cracking jokes with me) there is a ton to see here. How freedom of the press and cutting edge journalism have shaped our lives is immense. Lots of ground to cover so don't wear stilettos. Extra Extra - They are open during the government shutdown! And they are currently offering a discount on their tickets which run $24.95 for adults but are now 15% off, running you a cool $21.21. The bonus is you get to enter a second day free!.

Holocaust Museum
Just at the end of 14th Street, after you pass the Mall and the Monument, and are just about to get to the bridge that takes you to Virginia, the Holocaust Museum is one of the last buildings on the right. The exhibits include artifacts, photos and video to retell the history of antisemitism and the impacts on populations of people. This isn't for the faint of heart, but the museum does have an exhibit for younger visitors - the retelling of the experience from a child's point of view. Bring your tissues.

National Building Museum
To a real estate chick like moi, this place is fun. It's right by the Courts in DC so if you've ever had jury duty, you've been here! It's not free, but at $10, it's almost free. The museum is really family-friendly - They have a cool play place for the kids which runs on an hourly schedule and a Play/Work/Build area where kids can toss around big foam blocks. They currently have a couple exhibits including "Housing for a Changing America" and "House and Home" which is about - you guessed it - what makes a house a home. There are some cool exhibits coming up as well - "Secret Cities" and "Evictions."

There are dozens more but we can cover those in a future installment. Right now, you have a lot to keep you busy!