Legal Quandary

Sunday, April 24, 2005


We're back from our nation's great capital. Actually, I'm not entirely convinced that we ever entered the district, since we only got as far as the airport in that direction. And I think that's still in Virginia.

And here's what I found out:

Houses are expensive. Don't get me wrong - TVPNM is expensive too. Only when we came here we were astounded at what a quarter of a million dollars wouldn't buy us. Now we're astounded at what half a million dollars won't buy us. A-MAZ-ING.

We did see a couple of townhomes that we could afford (maybe). Only problem was that they were in an area where Mr. Q's commute would be ok and mine would be horrendous. We spent all day Friday looking at 16 houses - and when I say house, I mean townhome - in the same area. I was a little concerned about my ability to get to GMU Law from there. Not that I've actually been accepted anywhere yet, but that's where I'm hoping to visit. GMU has several campuses (campi? scampi? mmm...scampi) and the Law School is NOT in the same place as the main campus - which is what ALL 16 of the Day 1 homes were near. So, on Day 2, I expressed my concern to our realtor. He says "oh, don't you worry about it - it's a piece of cake! You just zip down road x to street y and you're there! 10 minutes!" Mr. Q and I just looked at him and said "You know the law school isn't at the same campus, right?" Ummm....

He did a really quick recovery and pointed out that where we wanted to be was on the orange metro line and NOT the blue line. Either that or drive in to GMU every day and pay to park at a nearby shopping mall. [Does anyone know anything about doing this? Calling all you DC Bloggers...] So, Saturday's search took us to a different and more expensive area. On the plus side, we only looked at 5 houses. But only because those were the only ones in our price range.

The other thing I learned: Some people have no taste. None. Zero. Zip. There was one house where I had a hard time not laughing. The people were home though (another bizarre thing), so I restrained myself. The main floor was painted orange. The bathroom lime. And the master bedroom was painted raspberry. There were one or two other room colors thrown in for good measure too, but I referred to it as the rainbow sherbet house.

Also, real estate agents are not allowed to advertise homes which actually face the sound barrier of major freeways as having waterfall soundscapes built in. We asked.

The funniest point of the weekend: Actually happened as I was brushing my teeth in the ladies room of the airport the morning we arrived (we took the red-eye, remember). As I stood there minding my bicuspids and molars, a lady and her mother entered the restroom. They each went into their own stall and were chit-chatting when suddenly, I heard this "thud!," "bang!" and "oh my!" I turned around and saw the mother sprawled on the bathroom floor with her pants around her ankles.

Lady: Mom! Are you okay?!

Mom: I guess I just fell off the toilet! Maybe that'll knock some sense into me!

I just tried my best not to choke on my toothpaste.

Mr. Q says that laughing at the lady's misfortune was sure to bring me bad karma. He may have been right because last night at dinner, I tried to be smart and "cut" a piece of tempura in half using a chopstick. Just like I've done bijillions thousands lots of other times. This time, my chopstick snapped in half and went flying end-over-end in slow motion. Luckily it landed on the floor and not on the next table.

The waitress brought another pair of chopsticks over and laid them on the table without a word. But if she'd been brushing her teeth in an airport restroom, I'm sure she would have had a hard time not choking on her toothpaste.

I don't think parking at GMU Law was too outrageous, either in availability or price. I took the obligatory campus visit there, and they have a big lot next to the school. One odd thing about the parking was that it was semi-valet. The lot was large, but not large enough. You had to leave your keys so the attendant could move your car around if necessary.

The Law campus is a couple of blocks from an orange line stop, but don't count on easy parking at the outlying orange line stations unless you like getting up early.
I just found your blog via Divine Angst. Congratulations on law school! I'm going to be starting at Georgetown this year. I've lived in DC (well, northern Virginia) before and am moving back soon, so here are a couple of commute tips:

1. The metro is extremely convenient for getting to most places. It's best if you can walk to a metro stop, but houses/apartments walking distance from the metro, as I'm sure you've discovered, cost about twice as much as those farther away.

2. Lots of people get a spouse/family member to drive them to the metro and drop them off before the other person drives to work/school. If your husband's schedule matches with yours, this is the way to go.

3. The orange line, unfortunately, is the most crowded of all the DC metro lines during rush hour. If you are claustrophobic, you'll want to drive. Or travel during non-rush times.

4. The SmarTrip fare card, though it doesn't seem like it should be any faster than a regular fare card, actually is. You should definitely get one if you're using the metro on a regular basis.
Sounds like a, um, fun trip. I don't envy you your house-hunting. That poor lady in the bathroom! Oh my gosh, how embarrassing!
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