Sunday, March 28, 2010

First Days in Virginia/DC

As I mentioned in my previous post, we arrived in the area last Monday. Here’s what we’ve been up to since then.

We stayed with Paul’s brother Greg and his family, who shared their home with us for almost a week. Unfortunately, some of us (and I mean two black furry little ones here) took the phrase “make yourselves at home” quite literally.

Greg and his family have a beautiful male cat named Phineas, who we heard was very territorial. When our cats came, however, he retreated to the master bedroom and pretty much didn’t come out. Our cats on the other hand, went right on and started eating Phineas’ food and using his litter box even though their food and litter box were right next to his. Greg and Sassi (his wife) had to move Phineas’  food and litter box to the master bedroom too. We felt really bad about the situation and tried to get our cats to cut Phineas some slack but to no avail. I guess we need to talk to them about being good guests.

We set aside the first couple of days to take care of some admin stuff – check out the apartment, get our lease, get Nia registered for school, figure out the new neighborhood… Everything went well with one exception.

Our interactions with the apartment complex folks kinda started on the wrong foot. We went there on Tuesday with four minor and very reasonable (we thought) requests: we wanted a copy of our lease, our exact mailing address, we asked to see our apartment and also if we could store some things there so we didn’t have to drive with a car full of stuff around the metro area. We got resounding NOs to all of those requests, which perplexed us. While the last two requests were nice-to-haves, the first two were not. We couldn’t register Nia at her new school without a fully executed lease and a mailing address. We made that clear to them. Their response was that no one signs a lease before the actual move-in date (really?) and that they had no clue what apartment they were going to put us in (less than four days before we moved in!!!). 

We were not amused and had to explain to them that getting our lease and address on Saturday was not an option because schools don’t work on weekends and the following week was spring break, so we couldn’t complete Nia’s registration then. All of a sudden their tone changed and they became suspiciously nice, though we still don’t know what exactly caused that reversal.  We don’t think it was us but somehow, they figured out that they can give us an early version of the lease with a “maybe” final address. And while they had no units to show us five minutes earlier, it turned out that there was a just-remodeled unit that we could look at, although we were told repeatedly that we won’t get the upgrades in that unit until May/June.

With that information we went to Nia’s new school, aka the Purple Hippo School because of its mascot. The people at the school were just as perplexed as we were about the antics of the apartment people but they worked with us and I am happy to say that Nia is mostly registered and starts school on 4/5.  While we were at the school we learned that Nia will be a bus rider, which Nia thinks is just awesome. Paul and I  - not so much but we are trying to roll with the punches.

With the minutia out of the way, we were ready to play tourists. First, we had to go check out the cherry blossoms by the Tidal Basin. Unfortunately, they were not “ripe” yet. There were trees in bloom all over the area but the Tidal Basin cherries needed a few more days, it turns out, so we will have to come back.
While we were downtown, we thought we’d check out FDR memorial and snap a few cheesy pictures (see below). We also went to my old work hangout, Union Station, had lunch and did a little “sploring.”

The following day we went to Mount Vernon, which is just a five-minute drive from Greg’s house. It was a beautiful day and we spent a few hours there helping Nia learn about our first president. It had been a good 10 years since Paul and I had been there and they had added a lot to the place, so it was really neat to explore the new areas, especially from the eyes of or six-year old. The highlights of the visit for Nia were the Ha Ha walls, getting dressed as a Mount Vernon servant, Washington’s lead teeth (yes, lead though a lot of people think he had wooden false teeth – apparently he had serious tooth issues; he had only one of his real teeth in his mouth by the time he became president!) and the scavenger hunt and prize. In the evening we visited our Bulgarian friends Misho and Yani and had dinner with them and another friend from Bulgaria, Boryana, and her boyfriend. It was like the good old times – delicious food and wonderful company!

We had grand touristy plans for Friday but they didn’t pan out. We did some shopping instead and had dinner with Greg and Svantje (his daughter) at a Japanese restaurant (yummy!)

Saturday was moving day and it was quick and painful but I will write a separate post on that complete with pictures of our new place. I still have a few things to put away.

Till then…
 cherries moving and Disney 036  moving and Disney 041moving and Disney 033 (2)
moving and Disney 046moving and Disney 043 moving and Disney 044 (2) moving and Disney 050

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