As my faithful readers (i.e. my dad) know my husband has been working in Afghanistan since November 1. Thankfully he finished up his time in Kabul last week and returned to DC early Friday morning. The weekend was definitely a special one after all those months away. Highlights included:
• Seeing my hubby walk around the corner at the airport after clearing customs! I was so excited to give him a hug and a kiss for the first time in more than two months. It was the perfect way to start the day.
• Arriving home from the airport to see a friend had left B (and me) a welcome home bag containing a bottle of wine, some cheeses and prosciutto, crackers and some much needed croissants — it was about 8 am and we were starving. She thought we may not want to bother with running errands or cooking during the weekend, what a sweet friend!
• Walking to and from Eastern Market to enjoy some iced coffee and pastries outside our (okay, okay, my) favorite corner coffee shop. The weather was gorgeous Friday morning and being outside enjoying the sunshine and cool breeze (and chocolate muffin) was a wonderful way to spend our first morning together.
• Having a celebratory brunch at a local French restaurant that opened since B started his tour. The champagne came in these fun glasses and the food was delicious.
• Surprising B with a home improvement project (repainting the upstairs bathroom and hanging a piece of art). More on about this revamp later in the week.
• Just being together — relaxing, working around the house, cooking. It was so refreshing to be able to talk face to face!
Please enjoy this guest post from my beloved (and crazy) husband.
In order to spend an extra hour with my wife after she checked in, I decided I would just bum around the airport until my flight departed at 3 am. Here’s my record of what I did for 15 hours and 49 minutes at the Istanbul Atatürk Airport.
11:28 am Arrived at Istanbul Atatürk Airport
11:28-11:37 Tried to check-in and check luggage for my 3:05 am flight and found out I couldn’t check any bags until 10 pm at the earliest, but I could get a boarding card and accompany A to her gate
11:37-11:46 Cleared security and passport control
11:46-12:26 pm Sat with A just outside the additional security at her gate
12:26-12:32 Watched A go through additional security at her gate
12:32-12:38 Played cards (war) with A through the glass wall at her gate
12:38-12:42 Watched A board her flight
12:42-1:48 Perused the Duty Free: sampled 11 types of Turkish Delight and 2 types of Baklava
1:48-2:14 Surveyed the food and beverage options: was not impressed by Popeye’s or Sbarra or Burger King, but did identify cheapest vendor selling bottled water
2:14-2:22 Realized I didn’t need to lug my duffle around because they had little carts and found one
2:22-4:18 Found Gate 213 empty and napped with shoes off (to keep others away), watched a flight take off for London
4:18-5:36 Visited book store: read chapters from Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Game of Groans (a parody); and Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence standing up; tried to find a Turkish Cuisine Cookbook in English (they had Spanish, Russion, Italian, French, Portuguese, Chinese, and Arabic, no English—though they had plenty of Western cookbooks in English…), read the recipe for ezme (our favorite Turkish meze) in French and think I get the general gist
5:36-6:01 Bought and consumed an Ayran (yogurt drink) and bottle of water
6:01-6:29 Checked various email accounts and confirmed my ride in Kabul
6:29-7:48 Went back to Gate 213 and read some Sherlock on my Kindle and watched a flight take off for Dubai
7:48-7:59 Read about the curative powers of apricots and the “miracle” hazelnut while snacking on them and watching the sunset
7:59-8:13 Walked from one end of the international terminal to the other in 765 paces and saw a large group of Muslim pilgrims heading to Jeddah all dressed in white
8:13-8:28 Walked it a second time in 768 paces
8:28-10:02 Bought a simit (sesame roll) and another bottle of water and did a little people-watching by the “bar scene”
10:02-10:37 Found a quiet place with no one around and listened to Adele because that’s what A was listening to last
10:37-10:44 Cleaning staff decide to have an argument three feet from me when there was no one around
10:44-11:09 Listened to Flight of the Concords because we had been discussing the “Rhymnocerous” song earlier and realized there was a pedometer on my iPod
11:09-11:54 Walked 1,704 steps according to my iPod, noticed my flight finally made it onto the departure boards (bottom of the third screen at 11:06)
11:54-11:56 Texted A “H is for…” after realizing there were exactly the same number of days to our anniversary as letters in “Happy Anniversary”
11:56-12:17 am Bought second simit, which was much chewier than the first
12:17-1:03 Settled down back at Gate 213 played logic puzzles on my kindle, watch a flight depart for Ercan (the Turkish part of Cyprus)
1:03-1:07 Checked the boards and found there was still no gate assignment with 2 hours to go until departure
1:07-1:11 Ironically noted my flight was leaving from Gate 213
1:11-1:12 Receive text from A that she had landed in the U.S.
1:12-1:20 Return to Gate 213 to find it the most crowded it had been all day/night
1:20-1:39 Wondered how long it will take A to clear passport control and customs
1:39-1:44 Called A and found out she already had cleared passport control and customs and met our friends who were picking her up
1:44-2:38 Read more Sherlock and glanced repeatedly at the deserted counter because we were supposed to board at 2:05
2:38-2:52 Boarded plane
3:17 am Departed Istanbul Atatürk Airport after 15 hours and 49 minutes
If you are wondering, 15 hours of loitering was totally worth the extra time with my honey muffin.
With the start of 2012 my husband and I actually discussed setting a few new year’s resolutions for the first time in as long as I can remember. I’m sure our plan is nothing earth shattering — we want to be healthier in 2012 and are hoping that an increase in exercise along with better food choices will help us accomplish our goal.
So, very belatedly, here is my 2012 plan for success:
Exercise: For the past 4+ years I’ve taken jazzercise and been a class manager. While this has always been a fairly good incentive to get me to attend class, the fact that I share the role with another manager has left me taking too many nights off simply because I can. During 2012, my goal is to continue the trend I started last November when I made it to 16 of the 17 classes. No more skipping class to go out for drinks or dinner or stay home and be lazy. Although an unfortunate bout with the stomach flu threw a bit of a wrench in my plan for January, I am getting back to class and still could attend 14 of the 18 this month.
I also regularly walk with a friend a few mornings a week. In the past we’ve typically met twice a week, but this year we are attempting to walk three times a week. At least we schedule three walks and then see what happens. But it’s a step in the right direction!
Food: For the past 2 years, we participated in a community supported agriculture (CSA) which provided us with an assortment of veggies on a weekly basis between May and October. This situation encouraged (okay, forced) us to try new things like beets and leeks. While we’ve enjoyed the variety most of the time, both the price and the commitment of needing to pick up the box on a week night led us to change our plan for eating healthy in 2012.
First, this year we will increase our own organically-grown veggies thanks to having access to three raised garden beds in the backyard as opposed to the one garden bed we had at the community garden. What we are unable to grow, we will purchase from Eastern Market in order to continue supporting local farmers.
In addition we decided that it was important to get a few other things locally and/or organically when possible including meat and milk. Although the cost is higher, if it will be better for our health, it’s a smart move. Especially if we are able to reduce our grocery expenses in others ways (such as growing more produce). And if we have to spend extra money to get quality meat, chicken, sausage and fish, we’ll eat vegetarian options more often, which certainly won’t hurt us.
Don’t Obsess About Weight: Although I’ve had what I think is an ideal weight for me burned into my mind for many years, my hope for 2012 is that by increasing my exercise and focusing more on making our diet healthier, I will slim down slightly without caring about the number I see on the scale. We’ll see how this one goes…
I can’t think of a better way to start a week than jury duty — who’s with me? No one? Okay, but in a way I was glad to be serving jury duty this week. Don’t get me wrong, I totally grumbled about having to get up and out of the house super early for my 8 am reporting time on Monday. And the idea of sitting in the courtroom without being able to work for a day or more was totally freaking me out.
I get that no one is excited about jury duty, but when you are a freelancer, jury duty can really have an impact on your life. Not being able to work can mean not making money. Thankfully, the way my project schedule currently is, I was grateful to be summoned for jury duty this week during a relatively quiet period before my crazy summer work storm.
When I had jury duty 2 years ago, I worked full time for a theater and actually enjoyed having a day to myself to sit and read. I had a 10:30 am call time, so I walked downtown from our apartment, was excused from a trial selection process after an hour or so of sitting in a courtroom, went to lunch with my husband, came back to the juror’s lounge for a few hours and then was sent home. At 2:30 pm. And being a full-time employee at a company meant I got paid for the day.
This time around I did not expect to have the same kind of luck. In fact, without a salary to rely on, I was pretty sure I would find myself on a 25 day case that last from 8 am until 5:30 pm every day. Or be a case like that terrible Pauly Shore movie where they jury is actually confined from real life for the entirety of the trial. Am I a pessimist? Well, clearly the answer to that is yes. Fortunately it didn’t end up being nearly as bad as it could have been.
I arrived at the courthouse at 7:35 am on Monday. After checking in, I snagged a chair in the back of the lounge by an outlet and got to work. By 10 am, I was in a courtroom and I was assigned to a case. Thankfully, it didn’t look like it would last 25 days. In fact the judge thought it would be between a day and a day and a half. The worst part of the morning was listening to the plaintiff’s lawyer. He was dreadful and clearly nervous. He repeatedly referred to the jury as the “conscience of the community” and used a terrible analogy in his opening statement that the trial was like a book. I found myself having to actively separate my irritation with him from my feelings about the plaintiff’s case.
We were sent to lunch at 12:15 pm and told to return at 2 pm, but when we got back we were informed that the judge had left for the day due to an emergency. So off I went looking for a place I could get some work done for a few hours before jazzercise. At least it was a lovely day, so I walked back up to Capitol Hill and got some projects out of the way.
Yesterday I reported at 10:30 am. Despite the delay on Monday, we were able to conclude the trial by about 3:45 in the afternoon. It was a civil trial and when the jury was sent to deliberate, my fellow jurors and I agreed on our four questions in about 15 minutes. We all felt that the case as a whole was a waste of our time and the court’s time, which irritated us. The “conscience of the community” spoke and while I doubt that the plaintiff’s lawyer was happy with our decision, I was glad that the eight of us had managed to agree and move forward quickly so we didn’t have to report for a third day simply to continue deliberations.
Now my civil duty has been served and I can plan to be called again in the spring of 2013. At least I won’t have to worry about that particular interruption to my work schedule for awhile!