Quick test: What do leisurely strolls through Politics & Prose bookstore, dinner in Adams Morgan, two days in a row working out together at the gym, almost no time spent in the car, naps, no early Saturday morning swim meet, dim sum, and a racing President all have in common?
Answer: Things we do when Andrew and Claire are out of town.
Friday afternoon we put Andrew and Claire on a plane with a group of teenagers from church and their chaperons for a week-long pilgrimage to Northern Ireland. (I think my high school church group went to Opryland for our pilgrimage!) While we’re not eager to see the empty nest years arrive, this was the first extended time when Candice and I were here and the children were elsewhere. We weren’t sure how we’d react, but we’ve taken to it nicely.
After that stroll through our favorite bookstore (Candice picked up an Alice Waters cookbook while I bought the new Richard Wolffe book Renegade on Obama’s candidacy), we went to a Mexican restaurant in the Adams Morgan neighborhood – Mixtec – that we’d wanted to visit for a couple of years. We’ve had their food at parties and wanted to try out the full menu. It was great authentic Mexican food and we’ve added Mixtec to our list of favorites.
With two teenagers we often have evenings to ourselves, but having an entire Saturday without swim meets, teenage taxi, and multiple schedules was the real switch. After the gym I was able to start whittling down a five-week backlog in my home in-box (who knew there were checks in there to be cashed). But Candice pulled me away by suggesting we go to Oriental East, a Silver Spring restaurant famous for its dim sum. You have to get in line early to snag a table when the restaurant opens at 11 a.m. on Saturday, but the wait was worth it. We’d been talking for six years about going for dim sum (think small appetizer plates of wonderful Chinese food served from rolling carts passing through a very full restaurant) but never found the time. We shared a table with a couple (he was a retired Navy Seal turned grape grower and she was Asian and a powerhouse – we suspect they met during the Vietnam War) and their friend (a National Trust member and lover of travel), who helped us navigate the various offerings. Oriental East’s dim sum is famous (our table partners said you’d have to go to Toronto to get better), and we certainly were impressed. Add another to the list of favorites!
Finally, after working around the house, I decided that I’d had only two live baseball games this week and needed a third…so we took off for a Bethesda Big Train game, complete with Abe, the Nats racing president (see photo at top). I wrote about College Wooden Bat baseball earlier this month…I’m sure that’s why Bethesda had a full house last evening! Unfortunately for the Big Train, my bad luck this week held out and the home team lost again. Nonetheless, it was a picture perfect night, with the temps in the mid-70s and not a cloud in the sky.
Books, good food, baseball…While we REALLY miss the children, Candice and I have decided that we can survive the Empty Nester Life when it finally arrives in a few more years.
More to come…