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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Beer with Greg

Aaron's brother-in-law Greg was in town for some training, so Aaron and I picked him up from the airport and went out to dinner. As always, we took a wrong exit and accidentally ended up in DC (we meant to head out to Stafford to his hotel and grab a burger at the local Applebee's). I never drive into DC if I can help it because it's such a pain to find parking. We actually had no trouble finding a spot two blocks away from the MCI Verizon Center.

Chop House Brewery is a block away from there, so we walked over only to find out that there was an hour-and-a-half wait. No way. We walked back to the Verizon Center to Clyde's, which had a forty-minute wait. We were pretty starved for food and beer by that point, but Greg recalled a bar near the FBI building. To our surprise, there was a Gordon Biersch on the way to the place Greg was thinking.

Greg, Aaron, and Me at Gordon Biersch in DC
Here we are, many beers and three blue cheese burgers later.

New Toy

Aaron and I have been struggling with vacuums ever since we first got an apartment together in July 2002. We had a decent vacuum, but it clearly didn't do the job. We would have to make one or two passes around our 1100-square-foot apartment, and then Aaron would get down on his hands and knees and scrape up layers of cat fur and Filipino hair.

When we moved to DC, we didn't want to use up 50 pounds of our 450 pounds of airfreight on a vacuum that didn't really do the job. We packed it up (along with our Black & Decker Dustbuster, unfortunately), and we just figured we would pay for the maid service here. As it turns out, we would rather spend the money on other things.

We recently became fed up with the state of our carpet. Seven months is way too long of a time to not vacuum. Who knew that our tiny 600-square-foot apartment here would collect so much crap? I know, seven months is a long time. Our carpet was scary.

Aaron and I finally bought a Dyson Animal DC07. I have wanted a Dyson for a long time, but they were never really high on our list of necessary purchases until the layer of hair on our carpet was visibly apparent. I thought that the carpet was discolored because the spots were just in high-traffic areas, but no - it was because of hair.

This vacuum is truly incredible. I think I have only ever been this sold on a product a few times in my life - with my Mac mini and my first new car. It really does what it says, and it does it well. As an added bonus, it's silver and purple. I've never been more eager to clean in my whole life. I think we've vacuumed more times in the last two weeks than all the years in Houston we had an apartment together.

Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure. The first one is of the Dyson right out of the box; the second one is after one - yes, one - pass in our dining/living room (about 300 square feet, roughly half of our apartment). See how full it got? It's horrifying, but at least I no longer have to live in such squalor.

Dyson Animal DC07
Seven Months of Cat Fur and Filipino Hair

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Busy Weekend

Aaron and I finally took Chairman Meow and Guinness to the vet for their checkups. To import them into Switzerland, they have to have an international health certificate that swears they've been vaccinated against various nasty pet illnesses. We found out that they both are in perfect health - except for their ears. I had noticed that they were scratching their ears a lot, and it turns out that they both have pretty bad ear infections. The vet prescribed some ear drops that we have to apply to both cats' ears twice a day. Aaron has gotten pretty good at trapping them with a bath towel and making a kitty burrito. I drop the medicine into their ears while he holds them down. Chairman Meow has gotten wise to the whole thing; as soon as she sees the blue towel, she heads for the hills. Guinness tries to get away, but her way of escaping is by hiding behind the toilet in our bathroom. She makes it really easy for us to catch her.

We went to a gumbo and croquet party in Bethesda after the trip to the vet. Karen, who hosted the party in her house with her husband, is the aunt of one of our best friends. Kelcy has always talked about how great her aunt is, and every word of it is true. Her aunt is such a cool person. It's too bad we didn't hang out with her more before our trip out.

Kelcy's Aunt Karen

Sunday was spent at the Baltimore Aquarium with David, Taly, and their two kids. I couldn't believe how beautiful the weather was when we got there. Yasmin, their seven-year-old daughter, was eager to score a purple dragon paddleboat for us. Good thing we got there early - they were all out after fifteen minutes.

Dragon Paddleboats at the Port of Baltimore
Paddling with David and Yasmin

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Poker Night at Ellen's



Aaron, Christine, and I had poker night at Ellen's place. I was doing pretty well for my first time. I took a picture of every hand I won. The three of us couldn't keep up with Aaron, though - he cleaned us out.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Ribs at the Rhodeside Grill

Last week Aaron and I had dinner with our friends Stephen and Nicole, who are heading off to Niamey in about two weeks. To celebrate the guys dominating on their recent French exams, we took advantage of half-price bottles of wine and ribs at Rhodeside Grill in Arlington.

Spring Has Sprung
Merlot on the Patio
Tuesday Night Special at Rhodeside Grill
Group Picture

After dinner, Aaron and I wandered around Clarendon to pick up some stuff at Container Store. The weather was so nice that people were picnicking in the parking area. I couldn't resist taking pictures.

Clarendon Before Sunset
Whole Foods in the Distance
Closing Time

Yasya, another friend of ours heading to Tijuana, invited us to her place for dessert. She made this ridiculously good chocolate and caramel brownie thing. I even got to take a piece of it home along with some of her shrimp pasta. Randy was there with his pug Stella. I know another pug; my sister-in-law has a black pug named Blanca, so I'm posting this here for her.

Stella