Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Our Life in D.C.: Part 3

So we've already covered Year #1 and Year #2 of our time in D.C., including grad/law school, engagement, marriage, new jobs, and fun with friends. Today will be the last installment in this series, and will cover Year #3: September 2007 through August 2008, our first year of marriage.

When we got back to D.C. after the wedding, we were welcomed by an absolute disaster of an apartment. As I mentioned in my previous post, we had been in a rush to get to Florida after Eric returned from New York, so our move to our new apartment was frenzied and painfully disorganized. Because we were just moving within the building, we did not put much (okay, any) effort into organization and careful packing. Rather, our strategy was simply "let's just throw stuff in a box/bag/suitcase/cart/crate/whatever, get it downstairs and deal with it later." And while that plan did make for a quick move out, it sure made for a stressful move in - especially after returning from a week of relaxation on a Caribbean island.

Mess! I wish I could say this was the worst of it, but I'm too embarrassed to even post those pictures. What a shameful moving strategy.

To add insult to injury (or more accurately in this case, injury to insult), Eric sprained his ankle in a basketball game with friends shortly after we returned to D.C. His injured ankle turned a lovely shade of purple and, needless to say, somewhat inhibited his ability to help me with the disaster that was our apartment. I mean, what are husbands good for, anyway? Sheesh. But, I am awesome and before long our new apartment was in tip-top shape. And I loved this apartment. Aside from the view in our last NYC apartment, this newlywed D.C. apartment was probably my favorite of all the ones we've had. It was spacious, with a glorious walk-in closet in the bedroom, a perfect little nook for Achilles, a pass-thru kitchen window, and a spot for our washer/dryer. It was perfect.

View of the living/dining rooms from the entryway. (Yes, that's a Gator shrine on top of that bookshelf.)

Right side of the living room

Dining room, and pass-thru window to the kitchen. The dining room table was a very generous wedding gift from my Uncle Nathan!

Kitchen, including lots of new wedding gift accessories! Our guests were very generous and really got us started in our new home.

We had a long hallway from the living room to the bedroom/bathroom, and we hung these pictures of all the Broadway shows we had seen along the hallway wall. We would need a much longer hallway wall now, if we wanted to do such things again!

Bathroom - all the towels/shower curtains/accessories were wedding gifts, and the picture on the wall is a framed map of the Caribbean we bought on our honeymoon.

More bathroom

Bedroom, with all new wedding gift bedding, and framed pictures we took of snowy D.C.

School was soon back in session for Eric - his last year of law school! As for me, I had already wrapped up classes in the spring, and I found out the week of my wedding that I had passed my comprehensive exam. All that was left was my actual graduation ceremony, which took place at the beginning of November at the Daughters of the American Revolution Hall. My mom came up for the occasion, so we did some sightseeing and some graduating, and a good time was had by all. And just like that, grad school was finished!

In the hallway of my school - I no longer have to spend hours and hours in those rooms!

Being hooded at graduation

After graduation with my husband and my mom

Sightseeing with my mom at Arlington Cemetery

In other career-related news, that month Eric was officially offered a post-graduation job with the firm he worked for over the summer. We had hoped he would be offered a job, so when he was, it was cause for celebration! That made it all official: we would be moving to New York, and I would soon be a lawyer's wife.

And so, the fall wore on. Eric and I spent another Thanksgiving in D.C. that year, our first as a married couple. That December Eric celebrated his 25th birthday, and Heather came to town for a visit that weekend. We celebrated with a fun night at home with Jeff and the three of us, plus the Wii. Good times.

Another Thanksgiving! This year we made even more things ourselves, including green bean casserole and real mashed potatoes.

Heather and Achilles hanging out in our apartment

The boys playing with the Wii on Eric's birthday

We went home to Florida again for Christmas, but before we did, we celebrated our first newlywed Christmas in D.C. together.

Someone left a dog under that tree.

Family Christmas photo

After Christmas, we came back to D.C. ready for a rather fun spring. For one thing, we got season tickets to Georgetown basketball games with a group of friends, so we spent many afternoons at the Verizon Center cheering on the Hoyas.

With friends Chris, Leah, Greg and Will at a Georgetown basketball game

Hoya Saxa!

In January, we also got to do something very cool: we heard oral arguments at the Supreme Court. We heard arguments in the case of Baze v. Rees, an appeal of two men sentenced to death in Kentucky, arguing that lethal injection inflicts "unnecessary pain" and thus should be considered "cruel and unusual punishment" in violation of the 8th Amendment. To get tickets to oral arguments, we had to wait in line in front of the Supreme Court building at the crack of dawn. We waited for some time, but were successful and it was a very cool experience to sit in that room, where so many landmark decisions had been made, and hear people arguing before the highest court in the land. And, because I am a dork, seeing all the Supreme Court Justices in person was something akin to a celebrity sighting for me. I had spent so much time reading opinions written by these people in my grad school research (I did quite a bit of research about the death penalty, so the case at hand was of particular interest to me), so it was so cool to see them in person. (I am a particular fan of Scalia's dissenting opinions - those are usually an entertaining read! Well, as far as opinions go.)

The Supreme Court

A view from the Supreme Court steps

We spent the rest of the spring doing our best to make the most of our last months in D.C. We took in the cherry blossoms for the last time, Eric ran a 5k along the Tidal Basin, and we hosted some visitors. We also tried to just make time to enjoy our favorite D.C. sights.

D.C.'s St. Patrick's Day Parade

Beautiful blossoms

Eric running a 5k along the Tidal Basin

My Aunt Rachel, Uncle Mark and cousin Sarah came to visit

My friend Megan is a junior high school teacher in Parma, OH, and she chaperones her school's trips to D.C. each spring (God bless her). I got to meet up with her briefly while she was in town with her students!

Molly and Heather came to visit, too!

In early May, we had another great event to celebrate: Eric's graduation from law school! His mom, grandma, father and stepmom all came up for the occasion, and naturally I was there to play the part of proud wife. We had a wonderful weekend with everyone, and I was so thrilled for Eric.

He worked hard for that paper!

The graduate and his proud wife

Eric and his mom

That Memorial Day, my Aunt Debbie came to visit. We gave her our most comprehensive D.C. tour, but our Memorial Day itself was really fabulous. We went to the concert on the Capitol Lawn again, and on Memorial Day proper we went to Arlington Cemetery to see if we could get in to hear the President speak. We arrived a bit too late and were relegated to the standing room at the back of the amphitheater, but much to our surprise, shortly before the speeches began we were pulled to the front and seated just several rows from the podium! The First Lady and other notable political types were just a few feet above us, and President Bush spoke right in front of us. It was a very cool experience - no matter your political opinions, it is a very awesome thing to be in the presence of the President and hear him speak.

Memorial Day Concert on the Capitol Lawn (that's Gary Sinise on the screen)

Arlington Cemetery

The First Lady

President Bush speaking at Arlington Cemetery

Just a few days after his graduation, Eric began studying for the bar exam and his summer was largely taken up with bar prep. He was unable to go to my family reunion because of its close proximity to bar exam time, and even my birthday had to be put on hold because of the bar exam a couple of days later. I don't fault him for this, of course, and I had a fine time celebrating with friends.

Drinks with Leah for my birthday! Her boyfriend (now husband) went to law school with Eric and was also studying for the bar, so we ditched those studious boys and celebrated on our own.

Eric took the bar in late July, and as we all know, he passed. Yay, Eric! With that out of the way, we took to enjoying our last month in D.C. in any way we could.

At a Nationals game

Fun at the Wax Museum

Tour of the Capitol, thanks to my cousin Dia

View of our fair city from the Old Post Office tower

Once the bar exam was over, time just flew by. We were finalizing everything for our new apartment in NYC (we had made a day trip up to the city in June to apartment hunt), and I was training my replacement at my job. Before we knew it, it was officially time to move. The movers came to pack us up and move us out, and we lived a few more days in an empty apartment before turning in our keys and bidding D.C. a fond farewell.

As the movers packed our belongings inside, Achilles and I hung out on the balcony with all the stuff we would be taking to Florida with us by car.

We lived like this - with lawn chairs and air mattresses - for a couple days before we left D.C.

When we left D.C. we went back to Florida for a few week's vacation (including a return to the Cayman Islands for our first anniversary), and then it was time to start our lives in New York. Just like that, our D.C. lives were over. Those three years were one of my most favorite times of my life, filled with changes for all of us. We went into those D.C. years as boyfriend and girlfriend, living away from our families for the first time, ready to start work on our graduate degrees, with little idea where our lives would lead us. We ended those years as husband and wife, with developing careers and great excitement for the next step to come. Those are memories I will always cherish.

Engagement photo by the Tidal Basin, 2006


Jessica Renee said...

Looks like the best time ever!

I looove achilles under the tree AND in the wii picture. haha! so cute!! :)

KT @ KT's Refinishing School said...

I think this post is my favorite of the series, perhaps because we just finished J's third year (our first married) too so it's the freshest in my mind. It was fun comparing your experience to ours (very much the same, I might add!) :)

Although I have to admit, reading about you packing and moving stressed me out. We are moving right after the bar (what we were thinking?!) to South Bend for a year while J clerks for a federal Court of Appeals judge before we turn around and move back to Omaha for J to start work at a firm a year later. I am excited to live in South Bend but if someone would just do the packing and unpacking for me, I'd be grateful. Wishful thinking, right? :)

Molly said...

These were great, Meghan, and I learned a lot! I hadn't ever seen the picture from the circus, or Eric's little tiny rented apartment, and I didn't know that table/chairs was from Uncle Nathan! Nice posts!