Pittsburgh to D.C., More Time with Jessica, the Sudden Storm, Making New Friends, Countdown to Closing

Pittsburgh is a short putt from where my parents live.  We arrived at lunchtime.  First we had to deliver a painting for my Mom.  One of the customers at Cannon Coffee noticed my Mom's work on the walls and commissioned her to paint a portrait of his late wife.  He was really fun to talk to, retired enlisted Navy, just had gotten back from a Navy reunion and was showing us tons of photos and news articles about it.  It was awesome.  He loved the portrait so much he asked her to paint another one, her wedding photo.

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We had lunch with Ben at the Crested Duck Charcuterie... so stinkin' delicious.  I contemplated submitting this place for some food network show, but it's not a diner nor drive-in and certainly not a dive... so I'm at a loss.  The chef/owner is a self taught meat genius.  The duck lomo was perfect, just the right amount of "I miss Spain" with enough originality, lots of outstanding flavor.  Nate was kind enough to hang out with the dogs so we could eat.  It was ridiculously hot outside still.  We stayed for a little while longer, but we had a 4 hour drive ahead of us.  I snapped a few photos on the way out... I can't help it!  I love Pittsburgh!  I always associate it with the Art Institute because I can remember having all these big plans to go there.

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We stopped a few more times before we made it to Waldorf, Maryland and checked into our little apartment, which would be "home" for the next week.  We made it there at about 9:30.

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The dogs settled in right away so we took the chance to hit the local walmart before they closed to grab some supplies for the week.  We also ate Wendy's... bad idea, though we did sleep well after crashing from the sugar coma (always nice to get that from a chicken sandwich).  Jessica had also just flown in with the kids to make her own roadtrip to see her family.  We made plans to meet up with them in the morning.

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We slept in late for us.  With no kids around to whine and ask for stuff we just lay in bed watching Food Network.  It was glorious.  Our first item of business for the day was to check in with Cathy (our realtor) and give her a hug, make sure everything was still on schedule with the house.  We changed the appointment for closing to 10am on the 6th, as early as they had available.  Jessica came out to Waldorf, where she spent her formidable teen years, and we met up at the iHop for brunch.  We wanted to go sight-seeing downtown, but it was so hot there was no point.  It would have been absolutely miserable.  We decided to walk around the mall and take in a movie instead.  Yes, I saw "Brave" again and it was worth every penny both times!

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We did some sight-seeing from inside the air conditioned car!  It was 106 degrees that day though, and not a cloud in the sky :P  Josh ran back to the hotel after the movie to check on the dogs.  I stayed with Jess and the kids.  We got brave and went out to the National Mall for a walk.  The kids complained about the heat the entire time.  We got popsicles, but they didn't alleviate the heat for very long.

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Josh picked me up from the National Mall so we went our separate ways.  Jess had a conference to go to the next morning and we decided the heat was too much to contend with so rather than trying again the following day, we said our "see you laters" right then.

We got back to our hotel and walked the dogs.  They were surprisingly ok with being left alone in a hotel room all day.  They were definitely happy to see us though!  Charlie was working on covering the entire rug in his own hair, and he was doing a mighty fine job.  Josh and I left them again to get some dinner.  We decided a bloomin' onion was in order!  When we arrived at Outback there was not even a breeze.  It was still humid and hot outside, miserable really.  While we were finishing up the lights started flickering... the waiter said it may have been caused by the heat.  The power went completely out right when they were trying to scan our credit card (just our luck).  While waiting for the card machine to reboot we stepped outside to survey the situation.  It went from a stiff breeze to tornado-like conditions within seconds.  It was insane!!!  I climbed up onto a bench to pull the flag down before it got ripped out and shredded.  I was picking sand and gravel out of my hair, eyes, clothes & teeth from that short time in the cyclone.

People were running in from parking lots, seeking shelter.  There was a sense of panic from a lot of people, sure it was a tornado.  The hostess asked her manager wide-eyed and ready to sprint if she really had to stay in the lobby.  Other people had just sat down and were calmly ordering dinner.  Thankfully I had cash so we didn't have to wait for the power to normalize any longer.  Josh and I are not comfortable around people who you can tell would be responsible for a stampede.  We were also worried about the dogs.

The drive back to the hotel was only 5 minutes.  Josh had to dodge several huge tree branches and a herd of baby pools that were migrating across the street from walmart.  When we got back we could literally see this whirling typhoon of wind and water between our apartment building and another.  But, we had to get inside.  That 10 second run was not fun, we got soaked.  The dogs were really calm so we knew the storm would probably pass.  Animals (especially dogs) are great barometers.  We tuned into the local news and saw that our area of DC in particular got the highest winds at 70mph or more.  The plot thickened as we watched.  The storm was short, but destructive.  When it was over there were hundreds of thousands of people without power during the worst heat wave in the past decade.  It was not good.  It stayed that way for over a week for some people.  They even set up emergency cooling tents in some of the worst affected areas.

The following day we saw a lot of fallen trees and broken traffic lights.  The BAM! by us was closed (no coffee) due to their roof caving in over night.  We got motivated and went out to the National Harbor area for some coffee and lunch.  Only the little stands were open, none of the stores had power.  We talked to a lot of people and found some pretty awesome stuff.  I got a pair of earrings made out of recycled computer parts, Josh got a keychain... how dorky/awesome is that?!

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The rest of the week we spent a lot of time planning things, visiting local business, and generally getting to know the area.  We went to Lowe's a whole lot and a few fencing places as we impatiently waited to get into our house.  Found a lot more products "made in America" at Lowe's than ever before... even one made in my hometown of Warren, Ohio (birthplace of David Grohl, lead singer of the Foo Fighters)!

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We also caught up on dates not having the kids around.  We went and saw "Ted", which we thought was hilarious.  The local theater has leather recliners.  Yeah.  We found quite a few new restaurants we really enjoyed.  We spent some time in the room with the dogs too.  It was so hot we had to wait until the sun set to walk them, but night walks are just as good, if not better :)

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We found a few sale items we couldn't pass up: new washer and dryer, sectional couch (made in America), and a 55" LED tv.  The prices were so good on all of it we couldn't walk away from any of those deals.  Thank you, Independence Day capitalism.  All the money we had saved up for closing costs were released once the date got closer and we found out we'd need only half of what we'd saved.  Hooray!

On the third we grabbed to dogs and drove out to our friends Brandon and Bekah's house for the 4th of July weekend.  It was an hour away without traffic, but I don't know how people get those numbers because there is always traffic.  It was a cool drive though.

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We got to do laundry, the dogs got to run and play with their puppy Bear, we got a few home cooked meals, we got our 3-yr old fix chatting with their daughter Kinsley :)  Seriously awesome.  Some of the best people I have ever met!!  We had a great time.

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As if that all wasn't awesome enough, they offered to keep the dogs for a couple days while we checked out of the hotel and closed on the house.  See why we love them?  We left the night of the 4th while everyone was still watching the grand finales to beat the traffic.  We had an appointment to do the final walkthrough of the house in the morning.  This would be my first time seeing it in person!

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We checked out of our apartment the following morning and booked a night at a cheaper, smaller, king-sized bed and no pet hair hotel.  Still a hotel.  Soooooo tired of living out of a suitcase.  But first, we went to the house... drumroll please...

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Perfection.  I couldn't be prouder of my husband.  I honestly have no negative comments whatsoever about this house.  It's amazing.  The story of the people who lived in it before us was very sad, but we're going to make some really happy memories here.  The couple divorced after 20+ years of marriage, almost immediately after the wife was diagnosed with advanced lupus, which is treated the same as cancer.  She painted this and after it was torn by her ex, left it in the garage to throw out.  It made me cry all day.

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The painting, the house, the time we had spent with Kinsley the day prior... it all added up to one over-emotional Mommy.  I was really missing the boys.  It just wasn't home without them.  So, I called my own Mommy ;)  She always makes me feel better.  I found out Noah had lost 3 teeth there already!  About time. His baby teeth look so weird and tiny in his head.  We slept well, but stayed up late out of excitement that night.  Tomorrow the house is officially ours!!!
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