Monday, August 15, 2011

Long hot slow summer

I'm not posting much this summer mostly because nothing of interest is happening to me.  Also, I tend to put new information up on FaceBook and not on this blog.  If you've kept up with me on FaceBook, you may not want to bother to read this entry, because I"m going to write about "Wicked".

Last week, a friend and I went to see 'wicked' at the Kennedy Center.  The Kennedy Center is located in Washington, DC, along the river.  It's a beautiful setting and a magnificent building.  The problem was that neither my friend nor I had ever actually driven to the center.  I used to know DC pretty well, at least the area around the Mall, but I've only driven in DC once since I retired.  I thought we could use my GPS and find our way easilly.  We also had printed directions, but they were complicated, so we preferred not to use them. We were on NY Avenue entering the city.  After that I can't begin to say what streets we were on, except that the GPS thought we were somewhere and where we actually were was different.  Also, it was rush hour and we got stuck behind a bus for many blocks.  I missed a turn that the GPS wanted me to make and it was all downhill from then on.  It kept telling me to make a left turn, which was forbidden during rush hour.  We wandered around the city for what felt like hours, although it was only perhaps 20 minutes.  Finally, we got close to the Kennedy Center on 25th street - something like that.  Unfortunately the GPS insisted we were on New Hampshire, near 1st street!  We shut the damn thing off and just drove.  Somehow we found a sign to the Center and followed that to the parking garage.  Got there in plenty of time to eat a bite and wander around a bit.  The snack bar serves the most expensive sandwiches I've ever eaten.  $10 for a fairly large cold cut sandwich!  Water was $2.50.  The cookie that I bought for only $2.50 was the most reasonably priced part of the meal! 

After we ate, we went out on the terrace.  From there the views of the city are wonderful.  I wish I had taken my camera.  It was a clear afternoon with a slight breeze, so being outside was pleasant.  Eventually we drifted back in and lined up to enter the theater.  Our seats were great.  We were in the next to the highest tier, right in the middle of the back row.  I had brought binoculars which I used once in a while to see what the faces of the actors looked like.  Mostly we just enjoyed watching the entire stage.  It's a great show!  The sets, which moved around a bit, were very modern - looked like metal - very open and airy.  The only set piece that looked like one would expect was the huge head of the Wizard of Oz.  Sound system was great!  The orchestra did not overwhelm the singers, a problem I often encounter at musical shows.  That night the principal parts were sung by swing members, rather than the 'stars', but these gals had fabulous voices.  Although I would not normally pay $100 to see a show, this was worth it.

Now, having raved about the show, let me say that the Kennedy Center has some problems.  Of course it was built some time ago - before the idea of 'potty parity' was heard of.  What I mean is that there were two ladies restrooms open to the general public each of which had only 4 or 5 stalls.  There were long lines at both. One of the rooms was running out of toilet paper.  No one around to tell about the problem.  When we got into the theater, there was another restroom, but that one was only available to ticket holders. 

The other problem that we noticed was that in the snack bar, there seemed to be no one clearing the tables after people ate.  Some folks tried to take their dirty dishes back to the food area.  I don't know if they were able to leave the trays there or not.  We saw no place to put trays in our dining room.  An employee came along and said that due to budget problems, there weren't enough people to clear tables efficiently.  She told us to just leave our trays, which we did.  However, this meant that people entering with full trays had to sit at tables with the residue of previous eaters!  Considering the cost of the tickets, I find it hard to believe that they cannot afford to hire enough employees to clear tables or keep restrooms supplied.

Our trip home was similar to the one going to the Center.  The GPS kept telling us to get onto New Hampshire Ave, which actually is near the center, although we never found it.  GPS still thought we were near 1st street.  We finally turned it off!  Luckily my friend has a fairly good sense of direction.  (My sense of direction hardly exists!)  We managed to get into central DC and stopped to look at a map.  We knew where we were, so with my friend navigating, we set off for NY Ave.  And, amazingly enough, we found it!!  It was smooth sailing from then on. 

And that's my big adventure for this summer!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

not yet ready for retirement community

Last week, I met with a rep from a not-yet-built retirement community, planned for just up the road from where I live.  It really interesting and I picked up a lot of info.  The biggest problem for me would be the floor plans.  The only ones I could possibly afford are quite small and have very little storage space.  My basement here has one small room entirely devoted to storing my seasonal decorations and pottery.  So, storage space is a must for me.  The other problem with this community is that they want 10% of the buy-in fee as a down payment.  I just don't happen to have $26,000 dollars available for that purpose!  It would sit there until I bought in or opted out, in which case I would get the money back, but since I can't spare that kind of money, the whole question is moot.  I may check out some other retirement communities, just to see what is available, but I think I probably cannot afford any of them.  That is, any of them that I would like!  I guess I'll just have to stay in my current house and hope I never reach the point where I cannot manage the stairs.  Since I am in good health, I'm not really worried about staying here, I just like to explore my options. 

Not much happening in my life at the moment.  Today I'm going into Alexandria to spend some time with my niece and her husband.  They are in the area for a wedding in his family.  They live in Wisconsin, so it's great to have an opportunity to see them without traveling a long distance.  I can't imagine how they are dealing with the heat here. I suspect that a 'hot' summer in Wisconsin, isn't nearly as hot and humid as it is in Maryland!

We had a thunderstorm and downpour yesterday afternoon/evening.  I'm delighted for the sake of my flowers and bushes, but was not thrilled to find that the drainpipe in back is blocked.  The rain was cascading down near the basement wall, which could be a problem.  I will have to get the drainpipes cleaned.  I was hoping to wait until fall, after the leaves are down.  They will need cleaning again then.  Oh well, just another 'joy' of home-ownership. 

Next week, a friend and I are going to the Kennedy Center to see 'Wicked'.  I'm really looking forward to seeing this show, but not looking forward to getting there.  My friend doesn't want to be the driver, but also doesn't want to take the Metro.  I really don't want to drive either!  It will be rush hour getting there and I've never driven there, although I do know the general area from having worked downtown some years ago.  I'm hoping I can convince my friend to use Metro. 

 These photos are of plants in pots on my deck.  These are all on the shady side of the deck and the coleus are especially doing well there.  Of course it's been too hot most days to sit out there and enjoy the plants!  Today is hot and muggy, despite the rain yesterday.  Summer in Maryland - what can I say?