The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Monday, March 31, 2008

Simply Amazing

Welcome Home.

Red carpeted arrival

Red White & Blue balloon arches

Jazz bands

Sold out stadium

Ben's Chili Bowl halfsmokes

Curly "W" pretzels

Beer in souvenier Nats cups

Enormous American flags

F-16 flyover

Presidential first pitch

Baseball-shaped Washington Post stands

Teddy getting lost during the President's race

Helmet sundaes (albeit the wrong teams)

Snuggling under a blanket

Game-winning homerun in the bottom of the 9th !!!

Welcome Home.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Help! Need help car shopping

As an American, in an attempt to boost our economy, I have decided to purchase a new car. This is a pretty big decision that mostly came about because my 10-year-old Ford Explorer is telling me that he's done. And by "telling", I mean, squeaking and grinding and refusing to allow me to unlock his doors. With a bit of a tax refund coming in that can double as a down payment, I figured I would venture out to purchase my first ever new car.

I have no idea what I am doing and could use some guidance. I thought step #1 would be to walk into a dealership and be completely frank about how many other cars I would be looking at and that I will not be purchasing a car this weekend. That will hopefully get rid of some of the car-salesmany type behavior. If it doesn't, I will fight fire with fire and use some of my stellar negotiating skills. A dear friend suggested I also make clear to them that if they run a credit check on me without my consent, they lose my business. If I hit multiple dealerships this weekend and they all run checks, my credit is going to take the hit.

It dawned on me that I cannot proceed to the car dealerships until I narrow down the vehicles I am interested in. That's where you guys come in! I would love any suggestions, cars you have and like, or don't like, things I should be aware of when shopping, etc.

A few hints about what I think I am looking for: I want a hybrid for environmental, tax, and mpg reasons. Although I adore having an SUV, I'm not sure I'm willing to spend the amounts necessary on hybrid SUVs (at least not now). That being said, I will likely go with a sedan. Also, I don't really like bubbly cars. While I do appreciate the suggestion, Bug, but there is no way in hell I would be caught dead in this. I am not too keen on cars that sit really low to the ground. My last car was a Saturn and it was just too low. Other than that, I'm pretty open because I'm not sure what I should be looking for.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Satellite terminals, hail storms and terrorist dogs...

...otherwise known as my weekend.

Prelude: I spent quite a bit of time and money preparing for this weekend's trip. The sole purpose: to pick up Killer from Louisiana. In January, I booked a flight where I could have him in the cabin with me. I had my travel agent follow up twice with Delta to confirm all the details. The game plan was to fly out first thing Saturday morning. My parents and Killer would pick me up from the airport, we'd head home to boil crawfish and just enjoy our time on a warm Louisiana day. On Sunday, I'd pop Killer one of the pills that the vet gave us to sedate him, put him in his newly purchased soft-sided kennel and we'd head to the airport so my little guy could move to his new home. I had every little detail planned out to a T.

Of course, after planning my weekend so perfectly, it's inevitable something would go wrong. I never expected EVERY SINGLE THING to go wrong. Seriously, as I write this I am amazed I was able to get through this weekend without completely losing my shit. I just kept trying to focus on that "when life hands you lemons make lemonade" attitude.

I made it to DCA Saturday morning just in time for my 6:59am flight. I went to check in at Delta because it was a Delta flight and all. Well, since that particular Delta flight was being run by Northwest, I couldn't check in at Delta. In fact, I couldn't check in in terminal B at all. I trekked the mile or so to terminal A. Okay, maybe not a mile, but for those of you unfamiliar with DCA, it is the satellite terminal not really near the main airport. The less-than-nice woman at the Northwest counter says "psh, darling, you are too late. We already quit taking luggage for that flight." She rebooks me on an 11:30 flight on standby then tells me when I get to Memphis I will need to see if they can get me on another standby flight to possibly maybe hopefully get me to Baton Rouge. She ends the conversation by reminding me for the third time that she cannot assure me that I will get to Baton Rouge at all on Saturday.

I head back to Delta in terminal B to see if they can do anything (considering I did book my ticket through them an all). The dumbass behind the counter tells me they have nothing available all day. Then he realizes they have one seat on one flight available for $1190.00. I say no thanks, and decide that considering the mood I was in, it may be better to head home and enjoy a beautiful spring day instead of spending my Saturday sulking at DCA. (Besides, my cell phone was dead and I forgot the charger). I was really uneasy about this "standby all day, maybe possibly going to get to Baton Rouge" business. Logging on to delta.com, I was immediately able to find multiple available seats/flights on Saturday. I booked one at an exceptionally high price (yet nowhere near $1200) and figured I would write Delta a letter to get some vouchers out of it. I also called Northwest to find my bag that the woman checked when she "rebooked" me. Imagine my surprise to find that not only had my luggage already made it to Baton Rouge, but it made it on my 6:59am flight...you know, the one I couldn't get on because they weren't taking luggage anymore.

After getting out some of my pissed-off-ness by writing my "Delta, you whored me out to Northwest, you owe me" letter, my zen-ness kicked in and I was able to enjoy my day. Lemonade out of lemons, right? I re-vamped some of my detailed planning including getting my dad to postpone boiling the crawfish.

I made it to DCA (for the second time Saturday) in plenty of time for my 4 o'clock flight. My 4 o'clock flight that was going through to Atlanta. My 4 o'clock that did not leave D.C. until 7 o'clock because the Atlanta airport was shut down for a few hours because a hail storm hit. By now, my parents had pretty much given up on me and boiled the crawfish. I imagined what a great time they were having as I sat on a runway in an airplane that ran out of bottled water. I got to Atlanta at 8:15 and my connecting flight had been pushed back to 9:15 (perfect!). By 9:15, they meant 9:21, no 9:34, no 9:53, no 10:06. I quit paying attention to the board overhead. I eventually got on a plane.

Upon finally arriving at the Baton Rouge airport, the Northwest people with my luggage were nowhere to be found. I rang the buzzer, went behind the counter to knock on the door, called NW from their little red phone and even had the Delta folks page them. All I could say at that point was that Northwest was completely worthless. My mom had clothes I could wear and unopened toothbrushes, so I decided I would just pick up my luggage in the morning...you know, when I leave to head back to DC. Getting a little tired of making lemonade out of lemons at this point. But, at least I'm in Baton Rouge.

We implemented our plan on Sunday to get Killer to the airport, quickly finding out that Killer did not like our plan. He freaked out pretty much the entire way to the airport. And at check in. And once we got in the terminal. The pills did nothing at all except glass-over his eyes. Did not stop him from barking and squealing. I found a spot in the sun and sat far away from the gate to calm him down. He finally calmed down. Still an occasional whimper, but he seemed to be finished barking. When I stood up to board the plane, he started again, but I figured I could get him calm again once we sat down. Once I was in my seat (and he was on the floor beneath the seat in front of me), he was still doing this whimper/squeal thing. The girl next to me said "I wouldn't worry about it, kids scream on planes all the time." I figured once we took off, he'd be okay. All boarded up, people in their seats, ready to go. Then, it happened.

A short little man came to my seat and asked me to come with him to speak to the captain, who told me I was being kicked off the plane. Some passengers complained about the dog. Are you freaking kidding me? There was a loud ass drunk woman on my flight last night and no one asked her to leave. There's a baby crying on this flight and no one would dare kick that mom off. I was livid. I decided it would be best if I contain my anger considering I was standing at the cockpit door with the people waiting to "escort" me off the plane. The stupid ass captain tries to explain it as being like if people are allergic to peanuts and they therefore cannot allow peanuts on the plane. I asked if someone was allergic to dogs. No. Then I fail to see how this is similar. He keeps apologizing and saying that "the people on this plane paid for their seats too." HA! I assure you I paid more than everyone. I have now dropped over a grand on flights for myself and my dog this weekend. I have no pity for the financial status of other whinyass passengers. Nevertheless, I also have no say in the matter, so I will go with the short man and get off your plane. Screw lemonade at this point. If anyone gave me lemons, I could squeeze them in a glass and add vodka.

I spend the next 20 minutes at the gate while they try to find me another flight. I tell Killer to bark as much and as loudly as he wants. I also told the short guy that I will demand they remove any screaming children from my next flight. I was not kidding. He says "I have some bad news, your luggage was on that flight." I laughed. The only time I had seen my luggage was when I arrived at the airport, picked it up from Northwest and walked it to Delta. You really think not having my luggage is the bad news in all this? You're an idiot.

I know it's too late for a long story to be short...but I arrived back in DC with Killer (beneath the plane with the luggage) today around 11am. This was not without a lot more barking, some more pills from the doctor, hours of stress, and even a moment in the Atlanta airport with me on my knees crying. I have not worn makeup in two days and have been in the same clothes since Saturday. The course of events that made up my weekend was beyond absurd.

But it's over. I took off work today to recover and we spent our day together. He picked out his favorite spot in my apartment.

Then I took him to PetSmart to get him some goodies and I even let him pick out his own bed. Now finally finally finally, my little guy is home.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Just when things were settling down...

My life is about to get turned upside down. But in a good way. My favorite little guy in the whole world is coming live with me. Starting Sunday, I will be sharing my apartment with a chihuahua named Killer. I'm nervous about the transition, but I am so excited that I finally get him. Killer has been living with my parents for years and I always wanted him to come live with me. Now I'm ready.

His potty area is set up.

His crate is lined with the softest blanket I have (notice the welcoming committee).

I am even donating my favorite chair and my favorite childhood blanket to make him comfortable.

All that's left is to go get the little guy from Louisiana.

I cannot wait for y'all to meet him (virtually or otherwise)!