Jun 30, 2010

Flashback Week. One Year.

One year ago today, July 1st, my family strolled into Dulles Airport with the maximum allowable amount of luggage and officially gave up residency in Northern Virginia.
Our possessions were either on a ship crossing the Atlantic, in a storage unit in Northern Virginia, at the Good Will, or on our persons. We said our goodbyes, we cried all the tears we could cry, and I let my Costco membership expire.
This day marked the end of the amazing time we had while living in the DC area, it meant saying goodbye to the wonderful friends we made there, and leaving behind a life that we had enjoyed so much. Leaving a home had never been so hard and leaving friends never left me feeling so empty.
One year has passed in a blink. I still think about our Virginia life regularly. The boys and I chat about the things we used to do and reminisce about the good times we had with friends. There is still a little emptiness, a longing to have a piece of that back again but our days are filling more and more with new adventures, new friends, and new memories.
July 1st we left Virginia, and a little piece of me will always be there.

Jun 22, 2010

Running Start

Although school wasn't officially out until June 17th, we snatched Eli out of school early and headed to Berlin on June 15th. We were in Berlin last December, when it was unbelievably cold. So cold that the water bottles we were carrying formed ice inside. That cold.
This trip, the weather was perfect. Jeans and a shirt with a light sweater for the cool evenings was the perfect attire. We roamed through Tiergarten Park, toured the Reichstag building again, walked down Unter den Linden, through the Brandenburg Gate and past the Embassies. We also stopped by the Jewish Museum and the Topography of Terror exhibit. We saw another portion of the remains of the Wall and the actual building that belonged to the former Nazi Air Force headquarters. We also swung by the Tempodrom and enjoyed a fabulous concert by Jack Johnson - the highlight of our trip! There is so much to see and do in Berlin. I sense we'll be back again. Next on the list is to go to Museum Island where one of the museums has the Babylonian Ishtar Gate from 6 BC, among other treasures.
After a day of rest, an a nice hair appointment for me, we started off early Saturday morning enroute to Belgium. We had the pleasure of taking this trip with the Mlacks. We spent the first day in Brussels and roamed around a bit dodging rain showers and checking out the few sights that the city holds. We had our first tastes of Belgian chocolate, waffles, and beer - all tasty and all deserving of seconds! The next day we drove an hour up to Middlekerke, a coastal city along the North Sea, and froze. It was windy and cold, so we had lunch and headed back down to Brugge.
While Brussels is a business city, Brugge is a picturesque touristy place. There were some churches, museums and beautiful sights. As always, we only managed to fit in about half of the things we thought we would want to do.
So now that we have returned from about a week of Berlin, Belgium and Brugge we are ready to figure out what our summer routine will be. Today, we slept in, had a picnic with friends and then I read a book while the boys played outside. I think I could get used to this.

Jun 8, 2010

Summer

Summer is here. School isn't officially out for another week but it is hot, the sun is up until late, and the smell of BBQ is in the air.
Now what?
This is the first summer in 3 years that we don't have free access to a neighborhood pool. This is quite unfortunate. We loved that pool. It was basically our duty to go to the pool at least a few times a week. If I'm going to miss the pool, the boys are really going to miss it. They loved that place more than I can describe. It was the place to run into neighborhood friends, splash around, cool off, practice their strokes and despite the dangers...catch some rays. My boys get pretty dark in the summer and they look really cute with their dark blonde hair and their little tan bodies. Oh, we are going to miss that pool.
This is also the first summer in about the same amount of time that we haven't planned to spend at least a few nights down at National Stadium cheering on the Nationals or more likely cheering on the visiting Mets. I love summer baseball. I love being at the game with the crowds, the food, the colors, the music....oh and I do like to watch the game too. I love that each player has a particular tune played when they come up to bat and people watching is at its prime. I like sportin' a jersey and pretending like I know a little something about the game. I like being transported to a whole different world upon stepping foot into the turnstile. Much to my shock and horror, the Germans are not baseball people. They are much more content kicking a ball around and going to things like the World Cup instead of a World Series. I'm going to miss baseball.
Summer has also been a time that we head to the beach, visit family and friends in California, pick berries and peaches in Northern VA, and catch fireflies on walks through our neighborhood. I'm going to miss all those things and many more that made our summer.
Now that it is still daylight until about 9:30, it is so hot that your upper lip sweats on a leisurely walk down the street, and you can't go a day without seeing or smelling someone manning the barbecue - it is time to figure out what will become our favorites for our German summers.

Jun 3, 2010

Tobacco Wins 5-0

I took on the tobacco case 5 times. Murphy's Oil Soap, Vinegar wash, detergent wash, baking soda stuffed in the cupboards, and finally pulled out all the stops with a nice rub down with coarse sandpaper. I figured if I can wash it off maybe I could sand it down and start over. All attempts failed. It still smells ridiculously horrible.
Pondering trying to paint and seal it. If I can't get rid of the smell maybe I can just seal it in.
Sigh.

Jun 1, 2010

Death of a Tobacconist

I went to Fairkaufs today. It is like a thrift shop but instead of the goods being donated by people who moved on to bigger and better things, this stuff comes from estate sales. The place is affectionately known as "the dead man store". How horrible is that? There was a span of time where people were just not dying as much and the store was rather empty, but lately there has been a great influx of new stuff. And with all the new merchandise hitting the floor, they slashed prices on some of the things that had been hanging around too long.
I was lucky enough to benefit from the big sale today when I picked up a retro-cute-china-cabinet-type-thing for a mere €50. I originally found the little gem a few months ago but it was €100. Silly expensive for something I don't actually need. However, when the price was cut in half...if became a little more appealing.
There is one problem I should mention about the cabinet, it stinks. Truthfully, "stinks" is much too kind to actually describe how horribly bad the odor is that permeates your nostrils when you come within 3 feet of the beast. I think if a man actually died in the cabinet, it might smell better.
The stench is tobacco and it is way to stinky to have just been in the home of a smoker. This thing must have actually smoked a few packs a day on its own. The outside of it, not too bad, but when you open the doors...vomit worthy stench.
Tonight when I was in stage one of the cleaning process, I started to wonder how in the world this thing got so smelly. It could be the nasty piece of furniture that managed to escape the throngs of a smoke infested stink-house or it could be a storage unit for a tobacconist. Right? I like the latter, it paints a prettier picture. I simply can't imagine how horrible the house must have been if this is how stinky a piece of furniture is. But, a cute little cabinet in a tobacco shop...not so bad.
Matt laughed when he saw my little find, then choked when he consumed the 30 years of tobacco that puffed out when the door opened. Because he doesn't bother himself with the matters of silly furniture finds, he just shook his head a little and helped me pull the stuff out of the van.
Unfortunately, while we were pulling it out of the van a good samaritan drove by. He saw that we were working on lugging something out of the van and he actually reversed his car, pulled into our parking lot and asked if he could help. How nice right? Well, yes it was nice until he saw the stink cabinet and said "oh, it is just awkward." Surely, he meant that it wasn't heavy just awkward to carry. But Matt took advantage of the opportunity to respond "oh it is awkward alright." Great, ammo against my stink-piece by a total unsuspecting stranger!
So, right now my awkward, stinky, retro china-cabinet- thingy is down in the basement soaking in a bath of Murphy's Oil Soap with a few cups of baking soda stuffed on its shelves.
I really hope the stink passes, I think it is a rather cute find!