Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kitty Conundrum

The kitties are still here, still running lukewarm and cold with each other. And even calling it "lukewarm" is a stretch. There was one sweet moment that gave me hope last week when one of the kitties licked the other, and vice-versa. But it wasn't long before Baby was chasing down Jelly and I'd find my poor chubby baby four paws up, defenseless against my vicious princess.

One minute they're sitting next to each other on the ottoman, the next it's mayhem. Tonight they were both on the ottoman when Baby reached down and licked Jelly on her back. Jelly turned, hissed, and jumped off the ottoman. Rejected again! I think Baby lashes back because she's truly made an effort to be friends, but Jelly maintains her independence. She's just not a cat person.

I'm not giving up on them, though. I just can't. It's not like Jelly is afraid of Baby. If she was, she wouldn't walk right past Baby two minutes post-attack, as if nothing ever happened. And Baby is all bark and no bite, so I'm not worried about anyone getting hurt. We'll keep giving it another week and see what happens.

One of my cat friends from King Street Cats suggested I go away for a long weekend. Chances are, I'll come home and they'll be best friends.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hello, Secret Service

There was an email at work last night about some K-9 sniffing drill going on in the parking garage this morning. I delete any emails having to do with parking, so I didn't read the whole thing.

About mid-morning I looked up from my computer and saw a couple strange men walking past my office door. The third guy to walk by had a small dog (with a big nose) on a leash. Like everyone else, I stepped out to see what was happening.

It turns out the K-9 sniff was building-wide. Our office is on the 12th (and highest) floor. Anyone who asked 'why the sniff' was told that it's just a drill.

It was about 12:50PM when a bunch of people were gathered in our kitchen looking out the window. Someone reported that Obama was coming at 1:00. We all hung out by that window for the next half hour, debating whether it was the President or his wife coming to visit. We watched local police blockade the street below our building and keep people off the street. We watched and laughed as police turned away a jogger running blindly through the plaza, headed straight for the entrance to our building intended for the presidential limo. This happened to several pedestrians beneath us.

In the reflection of the building windows directly across N. Pierce Street from our building, we could see at least two snipers, maybe three, on the roof above us. One of my colleagues took a photo in the reflection itself and emailed it to us later.

We waited. We joked. We got impatient. But we were all too excited to leave that window. Someone asked what's the charge code for frivolity. I had a Change Advisory Board meeting scheduled for 1:00 but none of us cared. Three of us raised our arms, announcing we had a quorum. Meeting over. So much for change management.

Finally, around 1:20, the suits on the street started to scramble and move into place. Secret Service. Then about 12 motorcycle cops came around the corner from Clarendon Blvd. and lined up in two-by-two formation on the street beneath our building. Several black motorcade vehicles followed, very quickly. There were two limos (one is always the decoy). The second limo pulled directly into a "tent" stood up outside the garage entrance. Then people in dark suits jumped out of all the vehicles, running under the tent. Following them were at least a dozen press personnel.

I shot pics with my LG phone and, of course, called Mom to tell her the President was entering our building. He was on the 3rd floor, which put me about 90 feet from him, as the crow flies straight up. That's probably the closest I've ever been to the President of the United States.

He stayed an hour. I didn't watch the departure (I was too busy downloading photos from my phone). It was just 49 minutes later that the news article popped up on my Google home page. The President was there visiting Year Up, a nonprofit program that trains 18-to-24-year-olds from urban backgrounds for college or professional work.

Pretty exciting stuff!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sultry Hot Here!

The last time I was this miserable was when I lived in Maryland. It is unbearably humid here. Each morning I dread getting out of bed.

On the weekdays, I get up in the morning, spend time on the makeup and getting my thick hair all smooth and shiny with the curls finally resting in all the right places. I go outside, walk back to the corner, wait three minutes for the light to change, and walk the other direction to the Metro. Sometimes I have to run to make my train because the stupid walk light take eons.

Usually the escalator is broken at the Metro (it's a 50-50 chance). When it's out of commission, I take the two flights of stairs up to the outdoor platform and wait about six minutes in the thick hot air for the yellow train. I get into a barely air-conditioned car and start fanning myself with whatever ethics article I am supposed to be reading for class.

A couple minutes later I get off at the first stop and wait up to four minutes outdoors for the blue train. If I'm lucky there is a slight breeze. I get on board into a sometimes air-conditioned car. If I'm lucky I get a seat. By now I feel that one single droplet of sweat drip all the way down my back and into my waist band.

I fan myself. Depending on how many times the train stops and sits waiting for the platform ahead to clear, about twenty to thirty minutes later I get off at the Rosslyn station. I cross the platform and climb as far as I can up the 6-story escalator (one time I counted over 90 steps). Sometimes I stop to rest before continuing. I get to the top of the outdoor station and start walking up Wilson Boulevard to my office. I feel the hot sun searing my back.

Usually I'm carrying my purse, my eco-bag containing shoes, lunch, water bottle, etc., and my school book satchel. I hike several blocks all uphill to my office. I arrive in the un-airconditioned lobby, commiserate with the miserable security guard, and wait for one of the three slow elevators. I fan myself.

Eventually I make it to the 12th floor and go straight to the bathroom to dry off with paper towels and try to repair my hair. The back of my shirt is soaked. My underwear is soaked. The makeup is running off my shiny face - not worth fixing, so I just pat it dry. My mascara is smudged, giving me racoon eyes. My scalp is sweaty. My bangs are gone, having been replaced with curly, pointy, frizzy hair spikes sticking out from my forehead in multiple directions. My hair has doubled in size and is surrounded by a halo of frizz.

I look in the mirror and reiterate out loud how much I hate living here. I'm reminded that I have to face another eight hours on a job I hate. I walk to the office suite wanting nothing but a cool shower and a fresh change of clothes—something I won't be privy to for another 14 hours if it's a school day.

Someone says good morning and I grunt back, walking briskly to my dark office where I ensure that the thermostat is cranked down. I turn on the fan on my desk and plop myself in front of it. I put down my ethics fan and sit to change shoes. I'm so hot that all I can think about for the next 30 minutes is cooling off. Anyone who dares stop by my office and ask me to do work is immediately shunned with the fakest of smiles.

Thirty minutes later I feel a sinus infection coming on because I'm sitting in a blissfully freezing cold room in my still-damp clothes. I try to work. After about an hour my clothes are somewhat dry.

Eight hours drag miserably by, I change back into my walking shoes, and I do the humidity commute all over again.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Mean Girls

Last weekend Baby transformed into one mean girl. I think she got fed up with Jelly ignoring her after repeated attempts to get Jelly to "play" with her—the Baby version of playing, which is more like fighting than playing.

Three times I saw Baby chase Jelly down and attack her. Each time I yelled louder and made sure Baby knew that her behavior was not OK. I also stopped play-fighting with Baby (despite her requests to the contrary), something we used to do every night.

I think she got the message. She's been much sweeter to Jelly this week. I think Jelly is starting to chill a little, too. She still hisses when Baby ventures too close to sniff her, but I witnessed at least two encounters where Jelly resisted hissing. Maybe Jelly is finally starting to cave.

For a chubby little girl, Jelly sure is an active cat. She never stops squeaking at me, she loves to play with toys, and she runs around a lot. She's quite demanding of attention, constantly asking to be brushed or petted or fed catnip. And she eats twice as much as Baby

So, we're still hanging in there, despite the disastrous encounters of last weekend. We'll see what happens the coming week . . . .