Home ownership


I spent some time last week driving around DC, in the neighborhoods where I spent many years as a kid. Every time I drive around DC I am flooded with memories. Each corner seems to remind me of my years growing up – that was my family’s favorite ice cream shop, that’s the 7-11 I rode my bike to every day in the summer for a slurpee, that was the movie theater where I got my first job, that’s the apartment where my jacket got stolen during a party in high school.

As I drove through the streets that I know like the back of my hand, zig zagging down side streets that I know provide short cuts, I felt comfortable and safe. Like I was home. Oddly enough, this is a feeling I don’t get in the suburbs where we currently live. It only happens when I drive across the DC/Maryland border and into the parts of the city I know so well.

DC can be a hard place to live. The traffic is brutal, the cost of living is pretty high, and the pace of life is on overdrive. Mike and I are always talking about whether we will stay in the area and where we might go if we don’t.

Driving around DC makes me not only want to stay here, but to move closer into the city than we currently are out in Wheaton. I want my kids to experience that same feeling of safety and comfort. I want them to feel like they are home.

Then I realize that DC feels like home to me because it was my home. It was where I first learned so much about life and where I built memories. Surely most people feel this way about the town they grew up in. Safety and comfort, it seems, is less about geography and much more about the memories you make wherever you happen to be.

So perhaps my family will stay in DC and maybe we won’t. But wherever we end up, my goal will be to help my kids create memories and a feeling that they are home. And no matter where we end up, I know DC will always be home for me.

We have rabbits! In our neighborhood mind you, not in our house (god help me). They usually hang out and eat in our neighbors’ yards and we see them from the car when we are on our way home. We always block traffic stop and show them to Emma and now when we drive by that spot she points and looks for them and makes a little noise with her mouth that sounds like eating.

One day recently when we came home, one of the bunnies was sitting at the bottom of our stairs. I got Emma out of the car and we got within about six feet before Emma squealed and the bunny decided that maybe the bottom of our stairs wasn’t really where it wanted to be. Still, it was cool to get so close.

This morning when Emma woke up she pointed out the window, so I opened the curtain to let her see what was (or wasn’t) out there. Sitting right in front of her window were two teeny little baby bunnies. One of them was a little skittish and when it heard me open the curtain it ran under a bush for a second before coming back out. The other one was all “Yeah, I hear you. Whatev. I’m a bunny, you don’t scare me” and just sat there looking at me. Except then Emma started pounding on the window and both bunnies ran for their lives. I told her the bunnies were going to sleep.

Emma spent the rest of the day saying “bohbee”, insisting we let her look out the window and making the sign for sleep. She has also managed to find every stuffed bunny she has (three or four by my last count) and has been carrying them around all day.

I can’t quite decide if I want the bunnies to be there tomorrow morning or not, although at this point I guess it is ridiculous to think she might actually forget about them, even if they aren’t.

Today is Blog Action Day and the focus is the environment. It is hard for me to imagine there is much I could add about the environment that hasn’t already been covered by the *15,000* other blogs participating, but here goes!

Mike and I have been thinking for a while that we would love to put solar panels on the house and drastically shift/reduce/change the way we use electricity. In the last couple of weeks we have just been turned on (get it? electricity? turned on? mwaahahaha) to a company that essentially rents solar power systems to consumers.

Citizenre’s Renu program “pays for, installs, owns and operates the solar installation.” For the cost of what you are paying for electricity now, plus a small deposit, (a tiny deposit really, in the grand scheme of solar power systems) you can have solar energy, and your monthly payment will stay the same for the term of the contract – up to 25 years.

When I used the Solar Savings Calculator to figure out how much money we would save and how much environment we would save, here is what I got:

If you were to invest all of the money that you saved over the term of a 25-year contract, and you received the investment grade bond yield average of 9.44%, then your decision to participate in the REnU Program would yield $39,818.42 by the end of your contract.

Additionally, over that same time period, your REnU will eliminate 416 tons of CO2, 2127 lbs of NOx, 6111 lbs of SO2, 267 lbs of PM, 15 lbs of VOC, and 93 lbs of CO. That is equivalent to taking approximately, 73 automobiles off of the road, or planting 1220 trees.

Almost $40,000 and over 1200 trees? That means we could send Emma to college for at least a year or so AND go camping after we drop her off. Doesn’t get much better than that.

We are going to keep researching it, but our friend Katie told us about it and Ed Begley, Jr. is on the website, so really, how many more awesome people need to tell us about it for us to know it is a good thing? If we do decide to take the plunge, I’ll report back on how it goes.

Towers

We got a new rug for our living room. When I say new, I mean mostly that we GOT a rug at all, since there was none there before. Now our living room has a very cool buffet we bought on ebay, and a rug (and some boxes and a few dust bunnies, but whatever). Still no sofa or tables, but hopefully those will be coming soon. Anyway, the new rug makes the living room a great place to plop Emma for some crawling practice and play time.

So this morning after her breakfast, and after vacuuming (a necessary evil in a house with two dogs and two cats), I put Emma in the center of the rug and pulled out her new blocks, the ones from her recently married and very generous Uncle Andy and Aunt Alyson. I built the blocks up into a tower for her and sat down on the floor to help her pick them up when she knocked them down.

Only she didn’t knock them down. She stared at them for a while, and then for the next forty-five minutes played with everything in the room EXCEPT the blocks. She played with Skye, who thankfully is better with babies than he is with cats, then the cord to the vacuum, then – after I put the cord away (cords tend to be frowned upon by the American Academy of Pediatrics) – she played with the vacuum itself. When she got tired of that she crawled over to the edge of the rug and flipped it back and forth, then came over to me and crawled on me for a while. All. very. carefully. avoiding. the. blocks.

I left them there for when she wakes up from her nap.

Hangin’ around from barkingmoose

Emma turned five months old yesterday. She loves to be upright in her jumpy thing or activity center, and recently discovered the dogs who fascinate her.

We moved a couple of weeks ago. Our new house is very close to our old house, but has a lot more space for the whole family. We have a sunroom and a finished basement now, which I think might officially qualify us as grownups. Yikes.

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