Looking glass

Archive for the 'TV' Category


Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

Monday the 1st I headed into town to Brick & Mortar where they served food from Honeysuckle (the Duck Leg Confit was a winner). Service was slow, but I hadn’t loved Muse’s opening act. Still, I thought I was late enough I’d missed some of Muse, and was happy that they hadn’t gone on yet. With Bowie covers during my last two concerts, I wondered if I should be hopeful during the show. No covers, and apparently Muse does not feel that Foo Fighters should be the only arena rock gods. Amazing show, better than “The Resistance” tour (and I picked a nice spot to stand near the end of the stage).


Thursday I dropped Jill and Nina off at National as they were flying to Bradley for part 1 of the new cousin tour. Friday night I was back in the city for some delicious kimchi ramen at OKI Bowl DC & Sake before Behind the Scenes of The Walking Dead, with writers/producers Scott M. Gimple and Greg Nicotero as well as star Andrew Lincoln (who charmingly refused to watch himself during clips). A fascinating conversation ending with a sneak peek of the next episode.

Talking Dead

Saturday I flew up to Boston and spent the night at the Cannons. The next day, Chris and P drove me over to Sharon and Tom’s where Jill and Nina were soon dropped off by Mike, then P and Nina got to play for a while after we all met cousin Joshua (they had been staying at Robin and Mike’s and met cousin Finn). We got pizza and wings to eat for the Super Bowl. Nina said she didn’t like it and we let her watch Peppa Pig for an hour, but she owned the dance party at halftime – she loves her “Uptown Funk”. Too bad we had a meltdown on the way back to the DoubleTree Boston Bayside where their hot chocolate hit the spot and helped sooth the chill (it was snowing).

Nina Mike Finn

Monday we again visited for the afternoon and early evening. We helped Tom’s aunt Trish make spaghetti for dinner, then Tom took us to the T as it was still snowy and we rode over to the the hotel. The airport was pretty busy the next day, but the flight back was decent.

Nina Trish

Friday the 12th I stayed home with Nina as she had a fever the night before. She was feeling better in the evening so I kept our plans to go into town for dinner at Clyde’s of Gallery Place and Disney On Ice at Verizon Center. She enjoyed every part except leaving early. I was worried about a possible ice storm that didn’t happen, and Jill got out of work early to pick us up from the Metro (we’d taken the bus).


Saturday I went to Iota to finally see FRFF alumni The Sea the Sea (they were great). Sunday Nina and I made a fabulous chocolate cake from scratch. After 3 days mostly at home I was ready to go back to work and bank the holiday, but snow was in the forecast. Snow camp was on for 3 hours, but still worth it – got to watch Walking and Talking Dead before I had to pick her up, then we had a snowball fight and went sledding.


Saturday the 20th Nina attended the first of four birthday parties in a row (1 per week) – this one a gymnastics themed. Later we discovered snowball fights are more fun at 60 degrees. I had bought Beatles Rock Band for the Wii after Nina enjoyed playing Guitar Hero. We played it for the 2nd time Wednesday night – she chose 4 songs with 4 different lead vocals. Her verdict? She wants to be John Lennon. I told her that was a fine choice.


Friday the 26th we went to Goldfish Swim School to meet up with Nina’s friend Olivia and her folks for open swim – Nina loved playing with the pool toys (they don’t do that during her lessons there). Saturday was another birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, then Sunday I took Nina to see Ladybug Girl & Bumblebee Boy: The Musical after she played at a nearby playground. Monday night Jill’s work again rented out L’Auberge Chez Francois, this time I was able to come for the deliciousness.



Monday, October 12th, 2015

Tuesday the 1st we left Provincetown on the Ferry to head back to Boston. Jill was jonesing for a Chilean sandwich she had enjoyed when she lived there, so we tracked it down to Chacarero (after stopping at a nearby Wendy’s to get nuggets for Nina). The most improbable thing happened as yet sat down and recognized that the Modzelewskis were sitting next us, also from Virginia and on vacation that week (we’d met through the Norwoods). After lunch we met Sharon at the Children’s Museum and Nina proceeded to tear through it (after making her leave the New Balance Climb). She fell asleep on the subway ride and I carried her on the long uphill walk back.


Wednesday was Nina’s birthday and she started the day looking for hidden presents around the apartment (lots of Paw Patrol figures). Later we went with Tom and Sharon to meet the Cannons at LegoLand for an afternoon of Lego based entertainment (the playground, zapping game, and karaoke were favorites). We followed that with dinner at the nearby Legal Seafood (we brought vegan cupcakes for everyone) and I got one last lobster roll.

Kerry, C, Jill, Nina, V

Thursday we went to the Public Garden to ride the swan boats, then went to the new Boston Public Market so I could pick up a crowdfunding reward from Sweet Lydia’s and decided to have lunch there (Nina liked the edamame, but the pasta was too strange). Nina fell asleep again on the subway ride and I carried her part of the way, then Jill managed to wake her up as Tom and Sharon were waiting for us at the midpoint of the hill. We walked all the way up the hill to get to the Franklin Park Zoo. It was a strange experience as there was almost nobody there (late in the day plus kids in Boston had started school). But we got quickly through the exhibits we wanted to see, and Nina got to spend some time on their enormous playground.


Friday morning we were up very early so Tom could drive us to the airport. Long security lines meant no time for a snack, but even with waiting for luggage after our flight and 2 bus rides we were still home by 8:30AM and Jill got to her favorite bagel place (it was our anniversary after all). We relaxed some, had Pollo Peru for dinner (and somebody got a playdate), but not too much as we had a busy weekend.

Nina Felix

Sharon and Tom flew down for the weekend, and Saturday was her baby shower at my mom’s house. There were no other kids there, so I took Nina up to play at my old elementary school midway through. Jill’s mom was in town for the weekend and offered to watch Nina that night, so Jill and I belatedly celebrated at Founding Farmers in Tysons. It was an incredible amount of food (I rarely leave enough for leftovers), but the fried chicken and donut was delicious.


Sunday was Nina’s official birthday party, this year she requested to have it at Life Time Athletic. They had a bouncy castle and lots of fun things to do in the gym – I missed about half the party because I needed to get some Cafesano pizza (not that she would have wanted the pizza they had, but theirs was made with egg, so no go). Jill had ordered an Ariel cake from Amphora and that was a big hit when it was served, almost as much as the life sized Ariel balloon. Later we had family over to our house, Nina got to open some gifts and I took her, my mom and David on a spin around the lake. Later we watched Tangled as she got a Rapunzel doll from her friends as well as the Lego one we got her.

Jill Nina Kerry

Wednesday the 9th was Nina’s first day of school, but she wouldn’t pose for a nice photo, I had to take a picture while she was walking. I went solo to the Birchmere after to dinner to see the Watkins Family Hour – siblings Sean and Sara Watkins from Nickel Creek with a fabulous band (including Benmont Tench and Fiona Apple). Fiona Apple was the odd one out – when it wasn’t her turn at the mic, she would head to the back of the stage and sit down, but a powerhouse when she sang.


Friday I noted it was weird to be planning a Disney trip while some of my friends are drinking their way around Epcot. Saturday we went over to Lake Anne to see the Chesapeake Dock Dog Diving Demonstration – basically dogs jumping in the lake. Nina thought it was great fun, then wanted to climb all the dangerous (concrete) structures (I thought I was long done with name calling, but I have to admit being called “Big Daddy Belly” when I asked her to get down stings a little). I have backed more than 100 crowdfunded projects and Michael Clem’s was the first one to be dropped at my door that afternoon. And how timely that I now had the studio version of a song about a certain place in Wales.

Michael Clem

That night we were supposed to go to Kelly Clarkson at Wolf Trap, but she had to cancel because doctors urged her to rest her voice. Instead we watched Beauty and the Beast. Apparently watching 2 Disney movies in a week and Nina’s latest jam collided, as she informed us that Princess Taylor sings “Shake It Off” and she has a tail (and I should have guessed everything exists on the internet). The next morning I took Nina to the Mosaic Central Farm Market after church, and that evening my mom was able to come over and watch her as we went to SER for dinner for a delicious Spanish tasting menu that took us right back to Barcelona. Tuesday Nina started ballet classes at Ravel Dance Studio.


Saturday the 19th Nina’s school had a back to school party and Nina had a blast – we had to literally drag her home after bouncing, eating popcorn and face painting (and she promptly went down for a long nap). Later we joined our neighbors (and Nina’s BFF) for a boat ride across the lake (and some Cafesano takeout to eat on the boat). The next day the parents of one of Nina’s classmates had an ice cream social at their home on Lake Audobon (our sister lake), then in the evening Nina and I walked over to join Jill at Red’s Table, our new neighborhood restaurant (and the maple-sriracha wings were killer).

Nina Jill

Monday we went into school with Nina to celebrate her birthday with her class (Montessori has a special birthday celebration) and Jill made fruit that we had with Nina’s class (one of the two teachers left over the summer and we had just met the new one over the weekend).

Nina Jill

Saturday the 26th Jill took Nina to the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival, then I was late meeting them at the Lynn House picnic. There wasn’t much food left and we were all hungry, so when Mom wanted us to come over and visit (and fix computers), I took Nina and stopped at Wendy’s while Jill stopped at Smashburger to get us burgers (that and the onion rings hit the spot). Sunday I took Nina and met Dad at the Nationals game. Nina was finally old enough to use the playground and loved it (and we ended going back later, even with a long wait because another kid had an accident inside), but her favorite part was the President’s Race (her only question: “When are they doing that again?”). After dinner I went over to Jammin Java to see the Songwriters Circle: Tribute To Queen with Todd Wright, Luke Brindley and Anthony Fiacco.



Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Saturday the 1st we had lunch at t’Kila ’cause of a daily deal and it was delicious. That night I had been planning on going to see the Eagles (mostly ’cause Bernie was touring with them), but hadn’t bought a ticket. But I bought one off StubHub at 5PM, 90 minutes later I was finishing off my Shake Shack burger and about to go in (Good thing Jill’s mom came to visit). Excellent show – this is pretty accurate.

Sue Nina

The following day was nice (and the snow duck melted as we watched a fat little squirrel eat the carrot and raisins), but I was at work because I knew school would be closed the next day. I was right, and was home on Monday. I finally broke out the princess costume and doll (Nina loved it) and we played outside quite a bit.


Thursday the 6th Nina discovered the wonders of peanut butter and chocolate pudding – on bread. Saturday we had our 5th overnight getaway without Nina tonight (who had a vegetarian dinner with Jill’s mom and friends and my guess is lots of french fries). We had a nice dinner at a bistro in Lovettsville, saw Todd Wright play lots of new songs at a coffee shop in Leesburg, then stayed at a B&B a little bit west. If only we hadn’t lost an hour of sleep that night. Sunday Nina finally managed to stay on her bike for more than a couple seconds. was the “True Detective” season finale (unexpected, amazing show). I prepared by teaching Nina how to say “Alright, alright, alright”. It nearly gave me an anxiety attack – who knew we’d finally find a worthy successor to Twin Peaks?

Nina Jill

Monday the 10th I bought 3 tickets for Queen + Adam Lambert, 2 for Dan Wilson (ex-Semisonic) and 1 for Sting + Paul Simon. That was all my entertainment budget for a while. Jill’s mom came with her to Nina’s gymnastics class that Wednesday. The Sting + Paul Simon show was Thursday, and was an unexpected pairing that somehow just worked (points to the 14 other musicians in their bands). And 5 Graceland songs was just the cherry on top. Plus some spicy Thai for dinner before the show with Stuart and Susan was a bonus.

Nina Jill

Friday Nina learned how to get on the monkey bars by herself. Saturday Nina got her first real injury with me when she ran into a door when I was opening it, but she’s a trooper. We had an early St. Patrick’s Day lunch so Nina could have it with both grandmothers. Too bad she wasn’t interested in the corned beef. Sunday Nina had her first shower. It was because she had a bandaid on her foot, but no crying at all. Later I shoveled 5 inches of snow. I hoped it stopped so they didn’t close snow camp the next day.

Nina Nancy

Wednesday the 19th Jill and Nina drove with her Mom to Holyoke. The second night of bachelorhood I slept in and worked late, then it was time for dinner and TV – such an exciting life I lead. The third night (Friday) I switched it up a little, went to the Barns at Wolf Trap to see indie-folkers Bombadil and Pearl & the Beard. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many hipsters outside DC.


The weekend was very busy as I had a 3 home improvement projects, culminating in building a new bed for Nina. How do you describe it when a piece of lumber slides out of you car because of some numbnut cutting in front of you and slamming on the brake, then you swing back around to pick it up and it’s just fine? Victory. It only took 15 minutes to remember how much I hate sawing (and blisters). Then it was time to make like Dylan and go electric. Saturday night I finally got to see a musical Jill doesn’t want to see – Xanadu (yes I’m straight, just a huge Jeff Lynne fan). Sunday I saw my mom in a musical salute to Reston, finished Nina’s bed, and sliced my finger deep enough that I’m on my 3rd band-aid. I was looking forward to seeing my girls the next day, but the next bachelor weekend I’m going to take a day off. Nina and Jill also kept busy, visiting the Holyoke Children’s Museum and the Holyoke St. Paddy’s parade.

Jill Melissa

Monday the 24th they took the train down and I picked them up at Union Station. Thursday the 27th Jill and I went to see Red Molly with Mark Erelli opening, then Sunday the 30th we got more snow, and we were all pretty tired of it. That night we had a dance party in the kitchen with R.E.M. and Republica that devolved into a hockey game (with a broom and a Swiffer).



Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Wednesday the 1st was quite nice, so we all went out and used the swings in the afternoon. Saturday there was no better wake up than a toddler deciding to turn a quick dog pee into a 10 minute mitten free snow playtime, then we took her to a birthday party for her classmate Abby which was a huge hit (especially the Minnie Mouse ears for all guests). Sunday we introduced Nina to fondue. She wasn’t a huge fan of either the cheese or chocolate, but she enjoyed the variety of food for both. Also, Nina and I had been working on air guitar for several weeks (using a broom and a Swiffer). That night I took it up a notch, introducing her to both AC/DC and the kick.

Nina Jill

Monday the 6th a freezer fire at Safeway stopped Nina and I from fried chicken Monday yet again. We drowned our sorrows in hot dogs and French fries (#firstworldproblems). Tuesday started with an epic meltdown in the car because part of the car seat looked like Nina’s missing Minnie Mouse ears, compounded by being too cold to stay outside, and topped off by failure to find something good to eat. Peanut butter crackers helped calm things down. Later, I thought I smelled poop, and it wasn’t Nina, it was Illa due to a power failure. And when I got back to Nina, it was her. Sigh. It was funny when I scolded Illa with “Illa Frey”, she responded “Daddy Frey”! We were very thankful that week that Nina had aftercare at school, because her school followed the county schools for closing, but still had all day “snow camp” if the county government was open (and it was).

Illa Nina

I thought I could stay up late working on a project on Thursday the 9th. Finished around 2AM, got to bed by 2:30, but I’d get a little sleep. 3AM: “Daddy, daddy!” And she’s got a fever and is sick. At 4:30 Jill took her into her room to rock her since she wouldn’t sleep in our bed, and finally got her to sleep, and we all slept until 9AM. Strep meant Jill stayed home on a freezing, rainy day – lots of snuggles and Caillou playing on a never-ending loop. Later the appetite had not returned, but the attitude had. Saturday I had to tell the universe message received. In addition to a bruised toe, achy knees, and sore shoulders, I had a jammed pinky (nearly the full finger was blue). Operation: Do Nothing Saturday was in full effect. Not much happened Sunday, either, but I watched all four playoff games and the Golden Globes.


Friday the 17th it was a very late night for the little miss, who was still under the weather and very clingy. Saved me from finishing organizing my paperwork that night, though. Saturday started with a haircut for me and Nina, a new music class at Bach to Rock and lunch at The Weiner’s Circle, and ended with Nina finishing her second movie, Monsters Inc. Sunday I got the afternoon off to go see The Hobbit, do some tech support on Mom’s PC, and stop by Trader Joe’s and Bon Chon on the way home (Jill and Nina went out for a pizza lunch). It was a Cumberbatch/Freeman sandwich day for me, as we watched Sherlock in the evening as well. Monday I had off and Jill didn’t, so I had Nina all day. Kidz Plaza in the morning wore her out good, though at one point I was trapped in the bathroom with a toddler who didn’t want to pee or leave for a good 20 minutes.


Tuesday the 21st I got to work a half day until Nina’s school closed, then she had her first homemade chicken soup (thanks to a friend) and first cocoa (she was a little more focused on the marshmallows). Little miss “I don’t want to nap” was out in 5 minutes, too. Later Nina was putting her hand inside a plastic bag and pretending to pick up dog poop. I might have a new chore for her. I finally sat down for the first time that day with nothing to do at midnight – too bad it was bedtime. Saturday the 25th we tried Mellow Mushroom after music class – delicious pizza, but afterwards epic meltdown time. Sunday I decided I would back a Kickstarter to get a season full of just drunk Sherlock next time. And I would also pay to get them on the same day as the UK, rather than plopped down in NFL/Grammys crazy busy Sundays.

Nina Kerry

Monday the 27th Jill’s company took over L’Auberge Chez Francois again, and we got to talk to Jacques. Fabulous food, and nice to chat with Robbie and Tandy for a while. Wednesday Nina made me ride on the hood of her car and I felt like Whitesnake should be playing. Thursday we took a little vacation up to Split Rock Resort in the Poconos. We had a big, late lunch at Red Robin on the way up and just cheese and apples for dinner that night. Friday Nina tried her first big sledding hill, skiing for me at Big Boulder while she napped (1st time in 2 years), her first jacuzzi tub (she loved it) and sauna for me, then bedtime and beer – that’s a nice vacation. Our friends the Chambers joined us that night, their daughter and Nina finished watching Cinderella together.

Kerry Jill

New Year’s

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Wednesday Jill’s dad and his wife came to stay with us. She went into DC with them, then she made Caesar salad for dinner and I grilled some steaks. They were on their own Thursday as Jill was working late and I was pretty late, got home at 8:30. They were fine with that, went to Cheesecake Factory (their favorite). On Friday, both Jill and I were off, so we went into DC with them, went to the Ellipse to see the National Christmas Tree and all the state trees. We had made dinner reservations at the new Rustico location in Ballston, and had a very nice dinner there. Everyone got pizza but me, and I had the cheeseburger (it sounded great and it was), plus we got some free beer (ordered something on the menu they were out of).

We stopped at Harris Teeter on the way home for cupcakes and ice cream, then went home and watched Toy Story 3 (and now I’ve watched two of the movies on the top ten lists). We flipped between annoying New Year’s shows at 11:30, then all headed to bed once the ball dropped. Today they hit the road before we got up, and we were up pretty early for us (around 9). We had to drop Illa at the kennel, and then Jill suggested Eggspectation for breakfast. I was surprised by the lack of crowd, but didn’t have a problem digging into my crepes with egg and ham (Jill had Eggs Benedict). I spent most of the day organizing the library and laundry room and listening to the complete Jayhawks discography. I jazzed up the fettucine alfredo that had been left behind for dinner, then we watched some of Being Human (Season 2 has been sitting on the DVR for a while).


Monday, December 27th, 2010

My work is generous and gives us 2 days off for Christmas, so mine started Wednesday night. We celebrated in the usual fashion, as Todd Wright hosted his annual Santa Clausterf*@k with a lot of area musicians. Since they don’t really rehearse, there were some trainwrecks, but overall a good show (and check out the TVs on stage, new this year).


Thursday I had reserved for shopping. I started off driving down the toll road towards Tysons Corner. My sister wanted an L.L. Bean gift certificate, but looking at the traffic on Route 7, I headed west instead of east (I got her an email one instead). I did need to stop at Wolf Trap to pick up some tickets for Dad, then it was off to Manassas. In addition to picking up some books for Jill, I needed to get my car checked out as the check engine light. It only needed a firmware upgrade, but I had to wait a while for that. Next stop was Fair Lakes, and by the time I finished there, I was done (both physically and mentally).

Friday both Jill and I were off, but busy. I had a bunch of bookcases to fill, and she had some baking to do. Our friends Melanie and Scott were hosting a Christmas Eve party so we joined them for a while. Saturday was Christmas and we both slept in, then cleaned up. I baked a ham and made two sauces (pineapple and mustard), Jill made potatoes au gratin and my mom, dad and sister were soon there to help us make a sizable dent in all the food. The gift giving went well, everyone got something they wanted, but soon everyone was on there way, and Jill knitted and I read in front of the fire.

Sunday we met our friend Patty for lunch at Pho 75 in Herndon. Jill was feeling under the weather and it hit the spot. I watched a Skins game that I actually enjoyed in the afternoon, then made a Hollandaise sauce and we had artichokes and Eggs Benedict for dinner. We finally had time to watch some TV together after dinner – the season finale of Burn Notice was good, and the Christmas episode of Doctor Who was brilliant (one shark open sleigh – LOL).

Thanksgiving to now

Friday, December 17th, 2010

After we got back from our trip, things got a little busier (if that’s possible). We did make time on Sunday the 21st to take in the new Harry Potter film in IMAX (our tradition, the only bad thing was we wanted to see Part 2 right away), then it was only 3 days of work for me until I got two days off for Thanksgiving. We spent most of the day at Mom’s or getting ready for that (Jill made mashed potatoes, turnips and rutabagas while I sauteed green beans and made sweet potato butter). We brought home most of the leftovers (no one else wanted that much) and got several more meals out of it. The rest of the weekend I spent in the basement, slowly getting the place in order (and catching up on TV – really liked The Walking Dead).

The next Tuesday I went bowling with coworkers for the first time in about 20 years. It was… interesting. Two gutter balls, followed by a strike, and then another gutter ball for good measure. That was the most social I got over the next couple weeks, as we continued to unpack and clean up (I was mostly still in the basement). We got a tree on December 5th, at eight feet the tallest I’ve ever had. Of course there’s something off with its base, and it fell three times over the next couple weeks (luckily always while I was home).

We had our annual holiday party on Saturday, December 11th. Jill was not sold when we were planning, but she also put a lot of effort into making the house look nice. We’d had the floors refinished before we went on vacation, and we got both the dining room and living room furniture delivered right before the party. We decorated and prepped the food that Saturday, and I had just started the Christmas tunes when our first guests arrived. We had about 15 people show over the night – the new house definitely doesn’t feel as full with that amount of people. It was fun, and the food was good (it mostly disappeared), and then it was midnight and everyone was gone.

We worked so furiously to get ready we’ve been slacking off since, but next week the rest of the bookshelves should be arriving, and I’d like to get everything ready by Christmas day as we’ll be hosting my family this year. We had our first snow of the year yesterday, and it’s so cold Lake Thoreau has already mostly frozen (the geese sit on top of the ice, or this morning I saw them in the one unfrozen section in the middle of the lake).

House hunting

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

The weekend was fairly low key, but we kept busy. Friday Jill was interested in going out but I’d worked late and was tired, and quickly grilled some sausages and then we watched TV.

Saturday morning we cleaned up the house as an appraiser was coming by. It didn’t take too long as we don’t have that much stuff out right now, then I ran some errands (shredding papers, book sale, Free Comic Book Day and groceries).

That afternoon we looked at houses at Lake Anne and took a walk around part of the lake. We went to Charlie Chiang’s at Worldgate for dinner – hadn’t been there in a while and they’d remodeled a bit. The food is mostly the same: buffet/Mongolian, always a very filling meal for me.

Later that night we watched Hamlet starring Patrick Stewart and David Tennant – great performances indeed, but I don’t think either of us would really enjoy seeing Shakespeare performed live, it’s as if it’s in a language you barely remember.

Sunday we continued our tour through the Reston lakes. We’d been to Lake Newport a couple weeks back to look at one place, this time we hit Lakes Thoreau and Audubon. One on Lake Thoreau we kinda dismissed immediately, then the idea of it grew on us – we may make an offer on it (it’s 7 miles away from our current house).

In the late afternoon we headed down into our nice cool basement and packed books until we finally ran out of boxes. I never get rid of boxes, and that had worked out pretty well for us, but we’ll have to get more now, at least 5-10 more for the books we have left.

We had Stuart and Olivia over for dinner – Janice was meeting friends. The thought occurred to us that it would be a shame if we didn’t host anyone with the house looking as nice as it does, and they didn’t have plans. I grilled chicken fajitas and the sides while Jill whipped up guacamole, then we had a nice dinner.

How to sell a house while vacationing in Disney World, part 1

Monday, April 26th, 2010

I was up past 6AM on Saturday the 17th, packing books until I ran out of packing tape. Then I slept for a couple hours and joined Jill on final cleanup. Pictures had been taken the Monday before as Jill shadowed the photographer moving things around so he had a clean shot, then we’d continued to pack all week. The listing went up Friday night and there was an agent coming by at 11AM Saturday morning (first of seven), and we worked furiously to make the deadline. We did, and the agent arrived as we left with Illa. We dropped him at the kennel, then headed over to Manassas to trade in some books and ate lunch at China Jade – both of us had the buffet, quite decent as long as little kids don’t get their hands on them as one was doing to the desserts.

We ran some more errands, getting home around 5:30 (all the agents had left). I had just taken a shower and was relaxing and watching TV when another agent called, so we left again. When we got back I wasn’t in the mood to do much more than make dinner, while I was doing that Jill arranged the new things she’d purchased and kept packing. We finally relaxed after dinner – she packed and went to sleep while I stayed up packing, watching TV and surfing. There was a lot I wanted to get through and stayed up pretty late again.

Sunday morning we were out by 8AM for our taxi (the open house was scheduled for that afternoon) and soon we were at Dulles. We had a quick trip through security and finally got to ride the train to the gates (it’s so much better than the people movers). It was at the gates that I went by the Five Guys and made a marvelous discovery: if they’re open in the morning, they serve egg sandwiches and you can top it with a burger patty, still one of my favorite meals. Then we made our first (and likely not our last, as long as the first bag’s free) trip on JetBlue, a nice smooth flight into Orlando. After we got our bags, we waited for Disney’s Magical Express and were soon joining the rest of the family at Saratoga Springs Resort.

We plan our vacations far in advance with help of our resort club, and Jill had wanted to take her immediate family on a trip for a while. Now that everyone was living stateside, planning was easier and we decided to aim for the kids’ spring break. So besides us it was Jill’s mom Sue, her husband Dave, Jill’s younger sister Robin, older sister Melissa, her husband Dominic, and their kids Madelyn, Jake, Tiernan, and Ava. They were almost done with checking in, so we did too and were soon at our rooms in Congress Park, the section of the resort closest to Downtown Disney. Madelyn, Robin, Jill, and I were hungry and walked over to The Artist’s Palette for lunch, where I had the turkey wrap and Jill had a hot dog. I also had the only authentic Saratoga item there: a Saratoga Lager.

After lunch our lack of sleep caught up to us, and we napped for a while. Sue and Melissa were out at Wal-Mart with Aunt Kelley (who dropped by as she winters there), and they picked up some pizzas. I wish they’d gotten the name of the place, as it was truly the worst pizza I’d ever had – and everyone agreed. Thankfully, it was the only bad meal of the week. The nap was helpful, but we were still tired and had a big week, so we watched The Simpsons with Robin, then went to sleep (I even skipped a concert at Epcot but it had started raining).

Melissa and Dominic

Monday morning we headed to Animal Kingdom – we’d already purchased tickets. The last time we visited, the parks had been fairly vacant, but not this time. So we took full advantage of Extra Magic Hours and that determined the order we visited the parks. First up was Kilimanjaro Safaris and that was good as all almost all the animals were awake, then Madelyn, Robin, Jill, and I took in Expedition Everest before meeting up with everyone at Kali River Rapids where we took turns riding and getting damp (even with ponchos).

Dominic, Melissa, Jake and Kerry

We gathered again and headed over to It’s Tough To Be A Bug with the three older kids (the boys loved it), then continued to Camp Minnie-Mickey to meet Disney characters. The older two (especially Jake) wanted autographs, and they all took pictures. Jake and I stayed behind when everyone else left to continue to get autographs.

Ava and Jake

We met up with Jill and Sue in the Boneyard playground, then got in line for Finding Nemo – The Musical. It took a while to get in, but it was pretty entertaining, a mix of Lion King and Avenue Q. Jill wasn’t feeling well (hadn’t been all day) and she went back to the resort. Sue, Jake, and I went over to Yak & Yeti for lunch where I had an appetizer explosion: Thai chili wings, pork egg rolls, and wok fried green beans along with a Safari Amber (surprising to learn it was from Anheuser-Busch because it was good). Rain was threatening when we finished so we left the park.

Jill was asleep and I joined her as I was tired. We woke up for a bit, and I checked email to learn we’d gotten two offers on the house, both more than $10K less then the listing price. I called our agent and arranged to counter the higher offer, then we snacked before Jill headed back to bed and Robin and I explored Downtown Disney to get a lay of the land, find some stores and a sweatshirt for her. We took our time getting back waiting for the boat shuttle around Downtown Disney then another one back to the resort.

Tuesday was another early day, this time we headed to Epcot. Once in we headed directly to Test Track, where some folks rode it twice. We went directly from there to Soarin’, but they already had a long wait so we picked up a Fastpass for everyone, then went next door to Honey I Shrunk The Audience (still pretty fun). Jake wanted more autographs, so Dominic and I went with him to get some.

Jake and Dominic

We met up with everyone at Sunshine Seasons (the cafe next to Soarin’) where folks who hadn’t had breakfast yet did, then took on Soarin’. Jake decided last minute it wasn’t for him, so he and Dominic ducked out. It was pretty fun, but it’s not good if you’re afraid of heights. After that, Dominic, Jake, and I headed over to Innoventions to play some games. Lunch was with everyone at the Rose and Crown. Jill and I split a salad then both got fish and chips, very good choice. We met up with Alice and got some adult slushies on the way out.

Jill, Sue, Robin, and Madelyn

Once again it was nap time after we returned. Sue and Dave had stayed at Epcot, and Robin, Jill, and I joined them again for dinner at Nine Dragons. I wasn’t that hungry after a big lunch and had the cucumber salad and sliced beef appetizers while Jill enjoyed the Kung Pao chicken. They stayed to watch fireworks while I went back to the resort – it turns out Melissa is also a Lost fan and it was the only show I wanted to watch all week (good, but not as good as the Hurley ep the week before). We got to enjoy the hot tub after Robin and Jill got back.

Kerry, Jill, Robin, Sue, and Dave

Party, etc.

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Friday night I was ready for a break, so after some TV hooked up my old NES last night and played Super Mario and other games until my thumbs hurt (got to 5-4). I was surprised about how many of the other games don’t hold up (well, Castlevania II was decent).

Saturday I slept in a long time, over 10 hours. Then I took Illa for a nice walk, our contractor came over to finish his work, and I desecrated a Reuben (by adding a fried egg). At 7, we walked over to the Jewells for Stuart’s 50th birthday party. Music was provided by Mercy Creek, and food by Patrick Crump, Janice’s brother and executive chef at The Clarendon Ballroom. Both music and food were fabulous, and a good evening held by all.

Mercy Creek

Today was more packing, cleanup outside, a little open house visiting and surfing, followed by a packaged beef and broccoli for dinner followed by Simpsons -> Family Guy. Simpsons is on a hot streak lately, some great funny stuff.