I Didn't Even Apply But I Was Recruited Anyway

If you want to volunteer at any DC Public School, as of Fall, 2018, you have to jump through the added hoops of getting a TB test and being fingerprinted at the DCPS Central Office. Suffice it to say, most people are too busy for this nonsense, so there is a limited number of parents who can volunteer for field trips.

I received an email from M’s teacher a couple weeks ago asking if I could chaperone a last minute field trip to Nats Stadium. Apparently they applied for this field trip and were never told by the Nats people that it was a yes until a week before the date. And since very few parents can chaperone…

I agreed, mostly because I love M’s teacher as much as I love 7-11.

Right after I replied: “Dear M’s Teacher, I had one thing on my calendar that I can move and I’ll be there,” I got a text from Real Estate Dad. He said: “M’s teacher emailed to ask if we would chaperone a trip to Nats stadium but I said neither of us could as we were both busy that day.” (We were…if you count “busy” as the day of our orthodontic appointments where we’re cashing in $29 Groupons for an alleged $3000 off Invisalign.) (What could go wrong?) I told Real Estate Dad I already moved our appointments and we were going. Turns out she only needed me though. Score for Real Estate Dad. No ortho and no Nats trip.

Yesterday was the field trip. We were to report to school at 8:30. This was hard for me because I just don’t like mornings. And mornings don’t like me. But I got to be with M and two of her sweet little friends who I adore, so we expected it would be a good day.

These are some High Hopes Right Here ^^^ as We Exit Stoddert to Get on the Bus. And yes, their nametags say “Stoddert Elem” with the School’s main phone number.

These are some High Hopes Right Here ^^^ as We Exit Stoddert to Get on the Bus. And yes, their nametags say “Stoddert Elem” with the School’s main phone number.

When we arrived at the entrance to the park, they didn’t even check our bags, making me wonder why I bothered to remove my pocketknife from it. I could have used it to ward off street vagrants or alley rats should we have encountered any. We were sent through the metal detectors. There was one mom who had a trough of water who held up the line because they told her to dump it out and she refused. The guard said, “Didn’t they tell you the rules? There’s water inside the park.” She said, “I have a sick child with me, I can’t be without water.” They went back and forth a few times. He finally said he was going to pick his battles and let her through. So me and my trough went through the gate.

Real Estate Dad says I cause trouble wherever I go. It’s not on purpose. I just want what I want. The other day M whispered to one of her friends that she loves when her mom makes announcements to people, as I was telling a bunch of kids I didn’t know to get off the neighborhood trampoline. There were little kids who deserved a turn and none of the other parents would look up from their phone long enough to tell their ungracious little mini-me’s to get off the tramp. Sometimes you have to corral the crowds so things work out in your favor.

After we got inside the stadium, we began a long processional of collecting water bottles, popcorn and cracker jack bags on the way to our seats. Once we were seated, on hot metal, in the blazing sun, with now lukewarm water, the fun began.

Oh wait. No it didn’t. Some actor types came out and this shit happened:

1) Postage Stamps
2) The Postal Museum
3) The 4 Mascot Presidents
4) The History of Baseball
5) And several other things I don’t know anything about BECAUSE WE LEFT. Other moms we spoke to afterword called it a “play.”

It wasn’t fun to roast like a marshmallow while two of the three children I was in charge of were FADING FAST. One was sick, one was super hungry and one was “bored and hot.” The bored hot one was mine so I was more than happy to tell her to stuff it. But the other two were not mine, and I knew they weren’t doing well in the heat. I also knew I had to deliver them back to school alive and well.

I brought the girls up into the breezeway and went to look for food. A bunch of other parents made their way up there as well and we began chatting about this pain in the ass field trip. I said I was going to get my girls some food. I was determined too, I actually considered leaving the park because no vendors were open and our alleged free lunch of hot dogs was nowhere to be found.

I knew though that if I left the park, I’d be banished from field trips and I would be the subject of the legend about “that mom” who left the stadium to get food. Kind of like I was “that waitress” who rung up the $1800 bottle of whiskey at Ruby Tuesdays, and instead of just taking that out of the register since we didn’t even have it in stock anyway and since no one goes to Ruby Fucking Tuesday’s to imbibe on an $1800 bottle of anything, I was the subject of Waiter/Waitress Lineups up and down the east coast.

I found a woman who worked at the stadium. I explained our plight. She pulled out a piece of paper and said, “Um, well, hotdogs are being served at 11:40 after the kids run the bases.” I said, “IT’S 12:15!!! THESE KIDS HAVEN’T EATEN ALL DAY!”

The woman started to look a little nervous. I realize these are first-world problems and I felt bad I pushed a little too much. She said she didn’t have a walkie talkie to call anyone. I said, “Fine, you said food is at the 107 entrance?” She then looked real nervous. I grabbed my girls and said, “We’re going on a walk.” I told the other moms we still had to wait until after every single first grader in the entire District of Columbia ran the bases before we could eat. We were looking at at least an hour. In the sun. Did I mention the sun?

The girls and I started walking. We got from 131 to 119 when we encountered a roadblock. It was a giant, white, toothless guard who spoke in grunts. I found another person who worked there because negotiating with Big Poppa was getting nowhere. I’m standing there telling this new lady that we needed to get through, all the while conceding inside my brain that I have literally become my fucking mother. Despite our rocky and often non-existent relationship, I have no clue if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

The woman said she’d be right back.

It took a long time. We waited. I’ve got to hand it to her, M certainly knows her mother. She was pretty much suggesting I push past Big Poppa and make a run for it. I was like god damned it M, we can rob banks and run underage sweatshops on our own time but we have two nice girls here who I cannot and will not bring down with us, now put your counterfeiting equipment away.

SUCCESS! The lady let us go through.

We got to see some neat stuff on that walk.

IMG_9825.JPG

We finally got to the food! We grabbed hot dogs and burgers and sat down to eat while we watched every first grade class run the bases. The girls were done with their lunch for a good 10 minutes when they finally called our school. We watched from the other side of the field as their classmates ran the bases. I said, “See girls, you would be down there running the bases if we didn’t come here to find food.” All three of them said they were happy they chose the food over running the bases.

I think we all know I like to complain. It’s part of my schtick. When we got back to the school and all the chaperone moms convened, every single one of them said some version of, “That was horrible!” Some moms even ran home before pickup so they could shower (again) because it was so darn hot out there.

I texted Real Estate Dad and said, “When this trip comes up in two years again, remind me to keep Chubs home that day.”

Because I’m working hard for School-Mom of the Week this week, I finished out the day by going back to the school at night for the PTO meeting. One of the newly elected officers for next year was heading up to the school a few minutes before me, sucking down what she had in her cup. She told Real Estate Dad she was going to hide her cup in our yard because she couldn’t bring it into the school.

I really need to be better friends with her. It’s gonna be a good year next year.

Welcome to the Jungle

When people say “You should get out more” I’m pretty sure they aren’t talking to me. Because every time I go out, something stupid happens. Both days this weekend I woke up “early” and was surprised to leave behind a house of sleeping kids, dogs and husband, only to learn that the rest of the world was already out and at ‘em.

Sunday I was out early* to take an awesome Pilates class at Fuel Body Lab in Georgetown. I might be in love with that place. Anyway, the class was the only good part of my morning in Georgetown. Then, these things happened:

  1. I walked down M Street to return something and I bumped into Nancy Pelosi. Literally. Like, she was wandering aimlessly down the sidewalk, distracted at something shiny, and I had to dodge out of her way. For the record, her face is every bit as frozen as it appears on TV. For the record, she looked every bit as confused as she does on TV. For the record, I’m scared of her.

  2. I lost complete faith in my favorite rock band ever when I saw this nonsense.

Alice & Olivia.jpg

If you’re buying your Guns N Roses shirt at Alice & Olivia or at H&M, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. The edgy, “IDGAF” band of the 80’s that got signed for Appetite for Destruction and promptly went on a bender instead of actually recording - is gone. It’s like a sad, pathetic last-chance-money-grab.

I had fun at three of their concerts on this last never-ending tour, once with KFrat, once with the fam and once with my Newly-Minted 87% Ashkenazi Jew BFF.**

And! Unlike in 1988, I wasn’t grounded this time when they came to town!

3. Then, I passed this madness. What the hell is this? This is a thing?

Kittens.jpg

Pretty much no matter where you are, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a bunch of stray cats, so I really just need to ask: why? You have a room. A bunch of cats. A bunch of crazy cat ladies in training. There’s cats that wander all over Hemingway’s house in Key West but at least you are at HEMINGWAY’S HOUSE! This is just an old space in Georgetown that used to be a secondhand store - you know it, where they sell raspberry beret’s.

I know Georgetown retail is hurting like hell for tenants but who the hell wakes up early on a Sunday (okay okay, 11:00) to go pet a bunch of cats? Dogs? Maybe. Piglets? Yeah! Goats? HELL YES. But cats?

Nope.

*I realize early is 6 a.m. for most of you. Early for me is 9:30. Don’t judge!

**She is really embracing this. Not that she didn’t already know, but she’s diving head first into this “discovery.” She’s picked up several dreidels to hone her craft. Should be interesting to see how this plays out.

And I Didn't Puke This Time!

Guess who went on another field trip as a chaperone?

Yes, this glutton for punishment. As someone who gets car sick backing out of the driveway, you would think I would stop raising my hand for this stuff.

Here’s the good news: I can finally say I’ve been to and toured Dumbarton House!

Here’s the other good news, according to their website:

This is excellent marketing right here ^^^

This is excellent marketing right here ^^^

Here’s the bad n… What? You didn’t think there would be bad news? I threw you off with two pieces of good news. (Well, three pieces if you count the implication I made above about how I didn’t vomit.) Listen up because you should know by now that bad news is practically the underlying theme of this blog. So here it is:

The condition of the bus that delivered us to and from Dumbarton House should have been junked a decade ago. I’m not even sure my snark can capture the torture that was this bus, and I’m not sure my outrage could properly be contained should I actually choose to, gasp, complain.

Here’s the floor of the aisle, if you can even call it a floor. Parts under the rubber mat and duct tape were rusted through.

Here’s the floor of the aisle, if you can even call it a floor. Parts under the rubber mat and duct tape were rusted through.

Here’s a hole in the 2nd step, which I’m about to fall through as I exit the bus.

Here’s a hole in the 2nd step, which I’m about to fall through as I exit the bus.

Oh this looks safe. This is the emergency exit on the roof of the bus. You want to know how well the duct tape prevents the elements from entering the bus?

Oh this looks safe. This is the emergency exit on the roof of the bus. You want to know how well the duct tape prevents the elements from entering the bus?

Not well at all.

Not well at all.

I wish I wasn’t just screwing around here, there was a ton of water pouring through the emergency exit in the roof and I’m sorry people but this is not acceptable because my hair is keratined within an inch of its life and I can’t afford for it to get a ton of dirty rain-bus water on it and not have a hair dryer and sulfate-free shampoo close by. While my umbrella kept me and the cuties dry, the water was flying off the umbrella toward other people. There was no way to win this one.

In other news, f*ck you DCPS, for not bothering to require a minimum standard of safety. I almost want to be that mom who drives my kid to every off-campus happening.

Then I remembered:

1) They go to Fillmore for their arts education every single week.

2) I don't really like rocking the bus boat bus-boat.

3) I have a job and that job entails selling houses to people. I can't sell houses to people if I have to moonlight daylight as a school uber driver.

Next field trip, barf bag and roll of duct tape go in the bag. Because you just never know.

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.

 

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.

the-mail-never-stops.jpg

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!