Thursday, December 19, 2013

Urban Outfitting In DC

On December 4th, Southwest Airlines carried us and our considerable luggage to Washington's National Airport and our new temporary abode, at the Truxton Circle home of daughter Rachel and her husband Will, in DC. The walk-out basement, which we helped to re-model, financially, is ours for a while, a really nice little 1-bedroom unit. Except for a bed, it remains to be furnished, however, and so, after considerable e-research, we set forth to the MD Ikea and bought a variety of bedroom/study items. Will and I spent a Saturday assembling a chest and desk and bookshelves. As a 30-something, he takes to it naturally. It took me hours to decipher and execute the Ikea-speak pictograms. I've built quite a few items of furniture this way over the years (perhaps a dozen Doxie bookcases, e.g.), and I acknowledge that Ikea has really refined the process to the nearly fool-proof. By my standard, anyway. The chest of drawers and bookshelves I assembled came together and work, and the process is therefore fool-proof. You have to be a very patient and methodical fool, however. And have a magnifying glass in your tool-kit to decipher all the little pictures of all the little parts.

Anyhow, we are settled in for the holidays. Vicki took the mega bus over to Knoxville to visit her sister Marie and family for a few days, and I spent those days acclimatizing myself to the urban environment. It is very different from the Silica Suburbia environment of Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and Googlopolis. Not intensely urban like, say, Istanbul or Naples, but urban enough. Truxton Circle, where Rachel and Will live, is a neighborhood in transition, as they say. Renovation and new construction going on all over. But much of the old neighborhood remains. Last week, we inadvertently became part of the grand opening of DC's first Walmart, a few blocks away. Well, we bought some soft drinks and milk and housewares there. Compared with the usual suburban or rural Walmart, it is much smaller, has a parking garage beneath it, but, seemingly, much of the usual merchandise crowded in and with aisles just wide enough for two shopping carts to pass. We rarely shopped at Walmart in bygone years, but this one felt different...nearly European in its density. Sadly, a city council bill to require the big box international corporations to pay employees a living wage ($12.50/hour) was vetoed by DC's mayor. He was concerned not only with losing the projected six Walmarts but also the Targets, Home Depots, Macy's, and other biggies already here. At least some more jobs and tax money will stay in DC and not the burbs of MD or VA, who enjoy representation with their taxation. A few nights later we shopped at the DC Costco, which is exactly like the Costcos of Middle California and everywhere else. The giant bottle of Bombay Sapphire--my index of consumer prices--was $28.99, just like in Redwood City. It is good that there are some constants in life.

When not doing the usual (for us) unpacking, re-sorting, re-packing--we have a half dozen different destinations to plan and pack for in the next eight months--we have taken a number of exploratory walks, to Rachel's office downtown and elsewhere in the neighborhood.
Welcome to Walmart! Maybe you won't be trampled to death
in the annual Holiday Season Retail Stampede...

At Union Station, the Norwegian Christmas

Decorated with 87 gazillion images of Munch's
Scream (it is the 150th anniversary of Munch's
birth)...right in there with the Christmas spirit

Urban scene

Urban outfitting

One day we took the Metro to Pentagon City and its mall;
rather sparse...I assume most people are at home or at work
shopping via Amazon

Downtown; there's got to be an interesting story here, with
a new office building going up over and around some old


Tawana said...

Wes said that photo of the bike reminded him of "winged defeat" (the squashed pigeon).

Looking forward to more of your adventures.

Mark said...

Ha! I hadn't thought of that, but, yes, they are of the same genus.