Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hope & Change

For those who have been nice enough, or just bored enough, to ask how we are, and where we are, and how hot we are, etc, here is my attempt to catch up.

We’ve been in DC for 5 weeks now, although you wouldn’t know it from our sleeping habits, which remain firmly consistent with the Pacific Time Zone. Is that bad?

It’s not entirely our fault. For two weeks we lived in a hotel with very effective room darkening shades. Our first morning here, Jolie woke up and said, “Wow Mom! We’re already awake and it’s not even daytime yet!” It was 10:30. Jack and I laughed, then stopped laughing the moment we realized hey, she might be on to something.

More than the shades though, our late nights and lazy mornings have been due to the the realization that this would likely be the only time in our lives that we would have an entire month without a single responsibility or person to answer to – No job, no school, no callings. No boss, no principal, no phones to answer, no mail to open. Shoot we didn’t even have health insurance – And I wasn’t about to waste the opportunity setting alarms in the morning, or getting the kids to bed by 7:30 every night.

So for one glorious month, we paid no attention to the clock. Touring, traveling and tasting when and if we felt like it. Late night drives past the White House, just to see it lit up, late afternoon walks through Civil War battlefields, after the museums were closed and we had the place to ourselves. At home, we’ve been unpacking and painting around the clock, until the point that our sweat becomes offensive. Then we stop just long enough to apologize, shower, and get back to work.

We fell in love with a house the day after we arrived. It is red brick, and parquet floors, and half an acre of deer ticks and mosquitoes that are conspiring to kill us. (I don’t even bother spraying the kids with repellant anymore. I just pour straight DEET into their sippy cups.) At night however, the bugs are our favorite things in town. The kids have been staying up late, waiting through the window for the fireflies to emerge. When they finally do, they beg Jack to help them fill a jar, which they watch flicker until they fall asleep. I wish I could capture August in a jar, like those fireflies.

But capture I did not. After our first visit to the national mall, I tucked my camera away and didn’t take it on a single excursion. The kids have no proof they ever pretended to pilot a Cessna at the Air and Space Museum, or that we tasted crabcakes in Chesapeake Bay. I figure if they ever complain about it, they can do a Google Image search of other families at the exact same places doing the exact same things, then Photshop in their young faces. And if they don’t feel like doing that, well then, they can stop complaining.

Because I was only motivated to take two pictures this month:

The first is this, which I snapped the day a truck arrived to haul away our empty moving pods.

The kids were more mesmerized by that flatbed than all the Smithsonian exhibits combined. (You wouldn’t think the process all that interesting, but that driver was two inches from taking out the power line in the background. Even I was in suspense).

I love this picture because as we watched the truck drive away, I had a moment of realizing there was no turning back. We were home. Nothing in the boxes I was about to unpack would be packed up again in another week, as was our pattern over the summer. Instead, I would be assigning everything we own a place to stay, and to settle, and to collect dust and watch the seasons change and the children get older. I don’t know if we’ll be here for 1 year or for 50. I’m pretending it’s 50, because I like to put down roots. You pretend it’s 1, so you’ll be motivated to visit us sooner. Yes, you. I have a couple of sweet air mattresses with your name on them.

The one other picture I took, is of my favorite historical moment in DC.

On Monday morning, a bright new economist reported to work for the federal government. He was full of promise, and eager to do anything that didn’t involve filing a dissertation.

(Sorry, Real Housewives of DC. This one’s taken!)

There was no press release when Jack arrived in Washington. No news conference, no flowers from the Obamas. Just a simple ceremony in his office on 12th Sreet, that I thought was at least worth mentioning to the small handful of you who read this blog, and the even smaller handful who made it this far in the post.

On August 23rd he stood before the American flag, raised his right hand, and swore to faithfully discharge the duties of his office, and to “protect and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic." (Don’t you feel safer already?)

And so, life here has begun. Fall weather is mercifully around the corner, school starts in 2 weeks, and things are starting to settle into a routine. Maybe there's something to be said for living in a town that talks so much about hope & change, because we're feeling quite a bit of both.

Thanks for asking.


Lorie said...

I can't wait to read about all of your adventures in your new home!

Save me a spot on one of the air mattresses!!

Jeannie said...

I love that picture of Jack (the other one was making me a little too teary-eyed). And the fact that he had a swearing in ceremony. What a moving part of your family history (no pun intended).

You know, Colin's never been to D.C.... think we might be able to reserve a night or two on that air mattress if ever we can hit the east coast?

Jane said...

Oh how I love those pictures! They both made me tear up. I also teared up at the thought of you staying there for 50 years. Putting down roots is over rated, unless you are my neighbor. Don't you think? If you really stay for 50 years, don't think for a minute that we won't follow you there!

Jodi said...

wow. You haven't posted for an eternity. So glad to know what is happening. Your carefree days and the fireflies sound amazing. I've never seen fireflies. Do those visitors include us? I'm happy for you and your new life, new house, new adventures!

Flem said...

I have been waiting forever for this post and you do not disappoint. I don´t know why I felt so emotional and patriotic reading it, I just did. The picture of the kids kind of tugged at my heartstrings too, perhaps on behalf of my little Meg who returns to nursery on Sunday without her favorite little morsel or Gillian who begged me for a playdate today with a friend.

I am so happy for you and sad for me but I will say that if you want to make it up to us for moving as far away as possible while staying in this great nation, blog about your adventure with more frequency. And lugging that freaking camera around.

Congratulations to Jack, what an honor it is to say the airwaves are just a little freer because of him.

Or maybe less free.

Allison Hansen said...

Oh, beautiful! Beautiful words, beautiful family, beautiful adventure! Much love -- and anticipation for more posts on your home and your discoveries!

Susan said...

Speaking of HOPE and CHANGE...I love your outlook on life, the love you have for your country and it's history, and that you take time to enjoy little things like fireflies with your children. I HOPE you never CHANGE.

krissiecook said...

Wow, you mean me, lil ole me?

Do deer ticks and mosquitoes count as domestic enemies? Does Jack get a sticker on a chart somewhere for defending his family against them?

Memzy said...

Will you pretty pleeeeease be my internet BFF? I heart you.

more post and pics wouldn't hurt


Emily said...

OH Katie! I just love hearing from you! I love the pictures and I couldn't be happier that you're happy in DC. Keep all the news coming our way. P.S. I think Jack deserves at LEAST some flowers from the Obamas.

Amy Eagleston said...

Congrats on the move and the change and the hope and all that good stuff. I love your posts. Keep them coming!

Mary Karlee said...

Wow, a month of family time in DC. Sounds so fun. I can understand ditching the camera. Sometimes I feel like I'm missing the best moments of life because I am concentrating on catching them on camera. Thanks for posting -- I've missed your witty posts. And you can't mention painting around the clock without posting a few pictures of the results. I'd love to see the make-over. Happy fall, I'm sure it will be beautiful!

Kristin said...

First of all, LOVE that owl lamp. Second of all, the house sounds delish, and I can't wait to see pictures. Especially of your lush backyard. I'm so glad you found a place so quickly, and that you all got a month away from real life. :) Thanks for the update! Love and miss you all!

Breena said...

Yay! Welcome home!

Your post has me reaffirming my 'back to DC in 5 years or less' plan. I love DC. Wish we were neighbors.

Lexy and Jared said...

I'm happy that you are building such a fabulous home on the east coast! This means that we will have to visit each other soon. I will let you be a guest speaker in my Spanish class...(I know how well you speak enchilada).

Katie and Jeff said...

What a life changing 5 weeks you've all had! It sounds wonderful, and I can't help but feel hopeful for the future with you and Jack helping to run things over there! They sooo need you! Love you!

Jenny ESP said...

God bless America! And God bless your blog, too!

Rileigh said...

I love that lamp.

The Hall Family said...

Finally! So excited to check and see that you had posted! Congrats on finding the house!!!! We are so happy for you guys! We fell in love with D.C. and hope you will be super happy there!!!!

Marci Coombs said...

Is it wierd that I just got slightly emotional {and the chills?} while reading this. You just re-lived parts of my childhood! The fireflies! Chesapeake Bay! Driving past the White House just to see it! Sigh. I miss it all. And not to mention...Virginia has THE MOST BEAUTIFUL houses. Brick. Wood floors. Green lush grass. I want your next post to a compilation of photographs of your new house and yard. Just so I can drool. P.S. My dad worked for the Government for 35 years and when we were little...we'd pack a lunch and meet him at the Washington mall for a picnic on the grass during his lunchtime. You must try it. Ooh...and just wait until you get a load of DC at Christmas time. Double sigh.

Ingrid said...

Glad to hear you've settled... you can't describe the house without posting some pictures! I think of you guys often... & I'm glad you have family here in UT so we can meet up again sometime soon. If you stay in DC for 50 I'm sure we'll take you up on the air mattress offer!

Humpty Dumpty

My dad passed away 16 years ago, but I still consider Father's Day an occasion to celebrate. I plan a favorite dinner and pick out ...