Friday, July 28, 2006

Floored by the floors

In preparation for putting our house on the market, one of the items on our home improvement list is to have some of our wood floors refinished. The previous owner of our house had the living and dining rooms, the stairs and the upstairs hallway floors refinished some time before we bought the house. The two upstairs bedrooms had carpeting, as well as the foyer, downstairs hallway, guest bedroom and TV room.

Over the course of the last 5 ½ years we have removed all of the wall-to-wall carpeting. The master bedroom was the 1st room we tackled, and we were pleasantly surprised at the condition of the floors. Since sellers often put carpet over hardwoods needing to be refinished, we anticipated the floors may be in bad shape. After removing the carpet, we cleaned the floors and installed quarter round shoe molding along the baseboards, and it looked great. Same for the 2nd bedroom upstairs.

When we removed the carpet from the TV room, guest bedroom, foyer and downstairs hallway we were not nearly as fortunate. Indeed, the previous owner had installed carpet over the hardwoods needing to be refinished because carpet is cheaper than refinishing. For awhile we made due using inexpensive area rugs. But in order to get top dollar for our home when we sell it, we knew the stained and scratched floors needed to be refinished.

We’d been told that we needed to empty the rooms before the refinishers arrived, which was no surprise. I mean, it would be nice if they moved the furniture for you, but that’s really not why they’re there. So Joe and I started moving the furniture from the guest bedroom and TV room into the living and dining rooms. It went pretty well, with the exception of the sofa. It was too big to move through the TV room door that leads to the hallway. So we tried to take it out of the TV room door that goes outside, since that’s how the sofa got in, but it still would not fit. Then I remembered we had taken the door off its hinges to get the sofa in last fall, so we did that again to get the sofa out. We carried it around to the front door of the house and easily brought it inside and placed it in the living room.

Having never experienced hardwood floor refinishing, I assumed it would be done in a day or two. It was only 2 rooms plus the foyer and hallway, right? Wrong.

The two floor guys arrived at 8am Mon morning (day 1) and spent nearly the entire day sanding the floors. There were a few spots that required extra attention. In the TV room there was a round spot about 12 inches in diameter that appeared to be where a plant may have been over-watered and the water damaged the floor. In the foyer there was a deep scratch from where the carpet installers had scored the floor. But when I came home from work Mon evening I was impressed by the smoothly sanded floors and the complete removal of those 2 offensive areas. The floors were colorless, as the stain and protective coating are only in the top surface that gets sanded off. The appearance of the wood at this stage reminded me of the pale wood we used in 7th grade to make wood projects in shop class.

On day 2 the floor guys stained the foyer and hallways, and put a coat of polyurethane on the guest room and TV room which were left the natural color. When I got home from work I was super-impressed! The grain of the wood is really brought out when the stain is applied. The floors were stunning! But the smell was terrible. Joe had opened the windows earlier to let the fumes out, and then he & I left the house for a couple hours just to get away from the smell. We went to the movies and saw “The Devil Wears Prada”, which I liked more than Joe did.

On day 3 the floor guys put a coat of polyurethane on the stained floors, so that all of the refinished floors now had 1 coat of poly on them.

On day 4 they put a 2nd coat of poly on all of the floors and installed the quarter round shoe molding. When I came home from work on Thurs I was floored by the floors. They are absolutely gorgeous. Although it cost about $1,500. to have the foyer, downstairs hallways and 2 rooms refinished and shoe molding installed, I believe it truly was worth it. Those floors look like a million bucks!!!

I coined the phrase “The Holy Trinity of getting top dollar for your real estate is: refinished hardwoods, stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops.” We can now check off the 1st component of this Trinity. Two more to go!

Drag Queen name of the day: Terri Cloth

Monday, July 24, 2006

What kind of Gay am I?

I saw this silly little quiz on a few buddies' blogs. If you want to take the quiz, click on the link at the bottom.

You scored as The all-round cute gay guy. YOu are a cute guy who many would die to be with..........lucky!!

The all-round cute gay guy


A Big Bear


Raging Queer


Straight Acting


S + M guy




Straight Queer Basher


What type of Gay are YOU?

Drag Queen name of the day: Sandy Shores

Happy Birthday, Joe!!!

On Tues my aunt Mary took me and Joe out to dinner for Joe's birthday. His birthday is actually on Thurs, but Tues was when we were able to get together. Joe picked the restaurant: McCormick & Schmick's in Tysons Corner.

M&S is one of Joe's favorites and we've been there several times with Mary. We always have great food, great service, and a great time. This was no exception. Mary had made a reservation, and when asked if it was for a special occasion, she said yes it was for Joe's birthday. When we were seated at our table and presented with our menus, our server said "Happy birthday, Joe". Then when we looked at our menus printed across the top they read "Happy birthday Joe!!!" It was a nice touch and we had a great time!

Then on Thurs I had flowers delivered to the house for Joe. He loves cut flowers and I love to send them to him, so it works out great. Per my request the florist designed a lovely bouquet of summer flowers, including sun flowers, iris, snap dragons, and some others I couldn't identify. That evening we kept our usual Thurs routine and picked up Evelyn for dinner. We ate at Bertucci's, then went to Mary & Eric's house for birthday cake. We all sang 'Happy Birthday', and Mary and Evelyn gave Joe a tiny MP3 player he'd been wanting.

Fri I drove Joe's car to work and then took it over to Best Buy to have a new stereo with CD player installed. That's what he asked me for for his birthday. I picked out a stereo that also has a jack so you can plug in an MP3 player so you can play your favorite CDs AND MP3s in the car. Then Fri evening we met up with Ron & James and Mike & Clark for a birthday weekend at the beach. James' birthday was 3 weeks ago, on June 30. Mike's birthday was 2 days before Joe's, on July 18, and Joe's was July 20. We got to the beach house in the typical 2 1/2 hours, got everyone settled in, made some martinis, and talked for a while. When the guys went to bed Joe & I slipped over to the 24-hour grocery store to pick up some things for the weekend's breakfasts. Just before we went to bed it began to storm. Loud thunder, heavy rain, and lots of lightening.

Sat morning it was raining so we lingered over blueberry pancakes, bacon, fruit, juice and coffee. It was wonderfully relaxing to just sit around and talk and read and laugh. We got them caught up on our plans to relocate to DE, and we caught up on their job and family situations. Shortly after noon we headed out to the outlet malls and did some shopping, followed by lunch at the 'Dirty Finger' restaurant.

Okay, its not really named the 'Dirty Finger' restaurant. Its really called the Ocean Point Grill, but we've renamed it the 'Dirty Finger' restaurant. After eating there a few times, we recommended it to our friends Doug & Jim. Then Jim told us of a time he & Doug and his parents ate there and were served by a waitress with dirt under her fingernails. It creeped him out so badly he couldn't eat his food. Wildly entertained by that story, we renamed the place the 'Dirty Finger' restaurant and continue to eat there. We've never seen a waitress with dirt under her fingers. Plus, the owner/manager of the place is a Greek woman who makes the BEST 3-layer coconut cake EVER! I get a slice every time I go there. And this time, we made converts out of Ron & James and Mike & Clark. They loved their meals and the coconut cake too.

For some strange reason, the traffic on Rt 1 was worse than we'd ever seen it before; much worse than any Memorial Day, 4th of July, or Labor Day weekend. It took us nearly 45 minutes to go 3 miles! When we finally got back to the beach house, everyone was ready for a nap. Since I'm not a napper, I washed up a few dishes and read. After everyone woke up, we got ourselves spiffed up for dinner and the show. We'd bought tickets in advance to the Christopher Peterson "Eyecons" show, along with dinner at the restaurant a few floors below in the same hotel. I really enjoy Christopher Peterson because he doesn't lip-synch. He speaks and sings like the stars he impersonates using his own voice! Our meals were delicious and I had a chocolate martini that was divine. Since we had a few minutes before we needed to go to the ballroom for the show, we took a little walk on the boardwalk, then headed upstairs. The show was great! Christopher did singing/speaking impersonations of Cher, Julie Andrews, Peggy Lee, Bette Davis, and Liza Minelli. It was a lot of fun. Then we went for another walk on the boardwalk before heading back to the beach house.

Sun morning it was sprinkling again so we once again lingered over a breakfast of fresh bagels, scones, cheesy egg souffle, fruit, juice and coffee. Since the weather simply wasn't cooperating for a 'beach day', we headed into downtown Rehoboth to do a little shopping, followed by lunch at the 'Dirty Finger' again, which included slices coconut cake again. Despite all the repeats, everyone seemed to have a good time. Then we came back to the beach house, packed and tidied up, and left at 4pm. It was a terrific birthday week for Joe and a fabulous birthday weekend for all of us.

Drag Queen name of the day: Georgia Onmamind

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

House search

Over the weekend we saw 3 more homes we’ve added to our consideration list.

The first was a California contemporary, custom-built in 1989 for a Washington DC interior designer and his partner who relocated to Rehoboth Beach. All the rooms except the kitchen were pretty spacious. It has a spectacular Italian marble master bathroom, 4 bedrooms, great room with a grand fireplace, dining room with pretty built-ins, a sunroom/Florida room, a heated in-ground pool with retractable cover, and a beautifully landscaped and fenced yard. It’s a very pretty house, and we could see ourselves living there, with some updates. The wallpaper would have to be removed from several of the rooms, the mirrored fireplace surround in the dining room would have to be removed, the marble island top has several cracks in it so it would need to be replaced, and the wood floors and banister would have to be sanded and restained to get rid of the dated ‘pickled oak’ finish. It will also need a new roof within the next 2-3 years.

The second was an all-brick Ranch, custom-built in 1980 for a Delmarva native. We loved the floor plan of this house, with its spacious formal living and dining rooms, family room with large stacked stone fireplace and skylight, large open-concept kitchen with lots of cabinet and counter space and large island, its sunny breakfast nook with built-in window seat, and its spacious 3-season room – all of which overlook a private boat dock on a canal that leads to Rehoboth Bay. I especially liked this house because of the water views, despite the fact that it appeared to have been decorated in 1980 when it was built, and not updated since. It is a solid house in very good condition, with a recent roof and heating and a/c system. But there are only 3 bedrooms, there are no hardwood floors, the bathrooms are very dated, and the décor of the entire house needs to be brought into the 21st century.

The third was a historic Victorian/Farmhouse in desirable downtown Lewes, built sometime in the 1800s. After adding 2 additions, enclosing a side porch, and adding a screened porch and deck, it is a spacious home on a large, treed lot. The original part of the house contains a beautiful large living room, large dining room, and small kitchen downstairs and 2 bedrooms and 1 full bath upstairs. Off the left side of the kitchen is the enclosed porch with fireplace. Off the right side of the house is an addition containing 2 bedrooms and a full bath. Off the back of the house is another addition that contains a ½ bath, laundry room and family room, with French doors leading to the screened porch and open deck. Its yard and interior space are very good, but the interior is very dated. Many rooms have horrible wallpaper that would have to be removed. All of the bathrooms need updating/modernizing. The family room addition is covered in ugly, dark sheet paneling. One of the upstairs bedrooms has sheet linoleum over the wood floor! Central a/c and heat would need to be added. We liked the space and location of this house, but understand it would need a lot of updating.

Of these 3, our favorite is the brick Ranch with the canal views and access. The views, floor plan, and ability to finish the walk-out basement were big factors. We feel we could change this house from outdated to outstanding! But it’s the most expensive of the 3 and has only been on the market for a month, so we’re going to keep our eye on this property and will likely make a low offer on it in Aug. If the seller turns down our low offer, we can wait a few more weeks and submit the same or similar offer again, OR we can focus on some of the other homes we’ve seen and liked. Fortunately we are not pressured to buy, since we can stay in our beach place until we make the right offer on the right place.

Meanwhile, tonight we are moving all the furniture out of our TV room and guest bedroom in preparation for the wood floor refinishers to come. Next week we’ll have a realtor do a walk-thru to give us recommendations for what else needs to be done in order to put our house on the market and get top dollar. We’ve already gotten estimates for granite countertops, a new kitchen floor, the installation of some new light fixtures and ceiling fans, and some painting. If the realtor says these things should be done, we know who to call and how much it will cost.

It’s exciting! It’s really beginning to feel like we’re going to move to the beach!

Drag Queen name of the day: Lilly White

Friday, July 14, 2006

Gay Marriage

A friend sent me the following commentary on gay marriage, collected from an email listserve to which she belongs. My favorite point is the 3rd paragraph from the bottom (I added the bold font) that begins "The gay marriage debate is one of those freaky American moments..."

Imagine a wealthy, old-moneyed art collector whose walls are covered with the usual impressionist suspects. He's outraged at the new money flooding the market. The hedge fund guys, the Russian oligarchs, the high-tech boys, the crass media conglomerateurs. They don't deserve this gorgeous stuff. For them, it's just about ego and accumulation. So he and a group of his clubby friends pressure legislators to ban the new money from the market. They call it the "Defense of Art Act."

Such is the twisted logic behind those who oppose gay marriage, a group that celebrated at least a partial victory recently with the wimpy decision by the New York State Court of Appeals to let the legislature decide the matter. Opponents of gay marriage cherish the institution so much that they want to limit it to those who value it in the same way they do. The Court's reasoning was based on its validation of the logic behind the current legislation which prohibits gay marriage. As the New York Times reported:

“We support the limitation on marriage that the legislature has enacted," the court said, "both of which are derived from the undisputed assumption that marriage is important to the welfare of children." First, the court said, marriage could be preserved as an "inducement" to heterosexual couples to remain in stable, long-term, and child-bearing relationships. Second, lawmakers could rationally conclude that "it is better, other things being equal, for children to grow up with both a mother and the father."

What exactly is the Court saying? That the sacredness of marriage suddenly becomes an "inducement" to couples to stay together? I'm not quite sure what this means, and with a divorce rate north of 50%, I'm sure that neither do most Americans. Nor do I understand how gay marriage would remove that incentive for straight couples -- unless the temptation of entering into a gay marriage proves irresistible. Then again, if we really believe that marriage is an inducement to stay married, why not offer a financial bonus for gays to get married to straight people, a "stay in the closet" incentive?

And what about the "undisputed assumption that marriage is important to the welfare of children."? All the research I've seen suggests that children raised by gay couples are emotionally and psychologically no different from kids raised in straight homes. What's important to the welfare of children is a stable, nurturing, supportive and consistent environment -- which can come from many different kinds of domestic arrangements. And if marriage is so beneficial to society, then why does the IRS still have their infamous "marriage penalty"?

But the real question is why are we even going down this road when the entire argument that children benefit from two straight parents is off-point. It's not as if gay marriage is going to reduce the number of children in heterosexual families. Gay parents either adopt or, in the case of lesbian couples, inseminate. Neither of those involves the substitution of gay environments for hetero ones -- but the Court decision, which makes the invidious comparison of gay vs. straight families, suggests that it's a zero-sum game.

The gay marriage debate is one of those freaky American moments where a cauldron of national fears and anxieties gets projected onto an issue, elevating it to a great symbolic level where it doesn't belong. What's really going on is that opponents of gay marriage see the struggle as the last defense against the radicalization of America. They live in fear that the virus of homosexuality will infect their own families. They're tortured by the prospect that their own children or their grandchildren will turn out queer, and the best way to deal with that is to demonize the enemy, and through that, separate yourself from it.

Over our history, our basic "live and let live" instincts have occasionally been distorted by zealots. Zealots and the fear of zealots can influence legislators -- and have done so at ugly times -- which is why the New York Court of Appeals Decision is so dangerous.

The Constitution says nothing specifically about marriage, about birth control, about abortion. So when conservatives talk about strict constructionism they are really talking about a selective application of the principle. When the Constitution contains nothing to support their activism, they want to change it via the amendment process. The truth is, the Right doesn't trust the Constitution. Rather than let the judiciary interpret it, they'd rather modify it. And they don't trust marriage, either, to be strong enough to endure no matter whose union it happens to sanctify.

Drag Queen name of the day: Rose Budd

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Caught up

The craziest thing happened on Mon night.

Instead of going to bed at 11 or shortly thereafter as we usually do, I decided to stay up and watch the Graham Norton Effect on Logo, since Graham's guest was Whoopie Goldberg. I love Whoopie. When it ended at midnight, I went to bed. I didn't feel sleepy, so my mind kept going over what needed to happen with the wood floor refinishing. They said we have to completely clear the rooms before they get there. They don't move any furniture. So we've got to find a place to put the contents of our TV room, the guest bedroom, and the foyer and main floor hallways. Then I started mentally figuring out which furniture could be placed in the living room and what might have to go into the kitchen. How long will it be before we can walk on the floors? How long before we can put furniture and rugs back on them? And so on, and so on.

Then I remembered we are going to be out of town this weekend and next weekend, so we'll have to move the stuff out of those rooms the Wed or Thur night before. How long will this take? Why did we let that guest room get filled up with crap? And so on, and so on.

I tried to stop myself from these mental gymnastics, but to no avail. I finally decided to get up at 1:30 and read in order to get my mind off the house stuff. As I went into the office/study and for some odd reason I remembered a writing project I started over 10 years ago. Its my 'coming out' story. I'd typed it on a typewriter (I know - that sounds so prehistoric) back in the day, and a few months ago I retyped it onto our computer, with the idea that I'd eventually update, expand and improve it later.

The original version covers 1987 to 1996 (before I met Joe), and was 4 1/2 pages long. So, I started from the beginning and read through my draft. I began filling in lots of details and adding feelings to the draft so it would read more like a short story instead of a chronology.

I don't know if I just happened to be in the right frame of mind for the project or what, but the memories and words were flowing. I guess I just got caught up. The next thing I knew, the story had gone from 4 1/2 pages to 11 pages, and it was 7:00 in the morning!

I had no intention of staying up all night. I thought I'd fill in a few details, feel sleepy and go back to bed. But my creative juices were GUSHING and I just kept typing. Now here's the kicker: I expanded the story from 4 1/2 pages to 11 pages, but I didn't get any further than 1996 when I met Joe!!! So now I still need to update the story to describe that wonderful first week I knew Joe, when he asked me out on 3 dates within 5 days.

As I said, this is a project I started before I met him, because I wanted to document my coming out, due to all the complications from the JW stuff. But now I feel like I want to document the next decade (1996-2006) with Joe to reveal the rest of my metamorphosis.

When I told Joe about accidentally staying up all night long writing he told me that staying up all night long working on a project when you know you have to go to work the next day is a sign of mental illness. But what's funnier than that is, when I realized I'd stayed up all night long I said to myself "Joe is going to accuse me of some grave mental illness for doing this"!!!

I'm so glad I had my catchers mitt on that night when Life threw me that curve ball.

Drag Queen name of the day: Kitty Litter

Monday, July 10, 2006


Only a couple years ago our President announced that the US would take pre-emptive military action (the first ever in US history) against Iraq because he believed Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction that posed an imminent threat to this country. Iraq’s leader, Sadam Hussein, categorically and repeatedly denied the existence of these weapons of mass destruction, but the US took the historic action of pre-emptive war anyway. The weapons of mass destruction were never found, many soldiers and civilians have died, and more continue to die everyday.

Very recently our President became aware that North Korea possesses weapons of mass destruction. Far from denying the existence of these weapons, they’ve acknowledged their right to possess them, just as the US feels it has a right to possess them. However, our President has not yet chosen pre-emptive military action against North Korea. Last week North Korea launched a test missile, and it has been determined that at least some of the missiles they possess could reach California. Despite this seemingly imminent danger there is still no decision from our President for pre-emptive war, even though just one missile could be devastating.

Now don’t get me wrong - I’m NOT in favor of pre-emptive military action, but I find it difficult to reconcile this inconsistency.

Oh, that’s right. North Korea doesn’t possess any oil reserves, and our President has no interest in controlling their vast inventory of merchandise to be sold at Dollar Stores. Now I understand.

Drag Queen name of the day: Bobbie Pin

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sunday scare

This morning we slept in late - 10:30. We didn't go to bed especially late the night before, so I'm not sure why we slept so late this morning. But it felt good.

As we were getting up I asked Joe what he wanted to do today. He said "I don't know; what do you want to do?" This was not a good sign.

I often try to plan our weekends at home to have lots of structure because when I don't, we wind up being bored, getting on each others nerves, and feeling like we've wasted an entire day (or weekend) trying to figure out what to do. I was afraid this was going to be one of those days.

So at a few minutes past 11 I called Kerry & Hugh. Got their answering machine. Not wanting to let on to them that panic was building up inside me, I left a very casual message: "Hey guys, its Mark & Joe. Its a little past 11 and we were just calling to see how you were doing. I know you went to Kings Dominion yesterday, but didn't know what you might be up to today. Give us a call when you get this message. Talk to you later - bye." Yeah, that sounded pretty normal.

Joe went downstairs and watched TV and I collected some bills and sat at the computer and paid them electronically. Then I surfed a few blogs I read regularly. Then I put some laundry in the washer, and decided to try calling some other friends: the Newlyweds. This time I wasn't so subtle.

"Hey guys, its Mark & Joe. Its about noon and we're about to go crazy - we've got to get out of this house, but we can't figure out what to do or where to go! So we thought we'd call you guys to see what you're doing today and see if we could possibly ingratiate ourselves into whatever you might be doing. (Insert nervous chuckle.) So give us a call when you get this message. Talk to you soon! Bye." Struck out again. Things were getting critical.

Then Joe said "Let's go to the movies and see Nacho Libre." Although I was fairly certain this was the quality of movie we should reserve until it comes out on video (in like a month), at least it was an escape, so I agreed. A few minutes later we were out of the house and at the theater. Since it was nearly 1:00 and neither of us had eaten, we decided to get a large bag of popcorn and a soda to tide us over until dinner. We enjoyed the movie a lot. Although it started out a little slow, it picked up and we had several good laughs. Jack Black's physical comedy and facial expressions in this movie are great! It fits neatly into Joe's made-up category of 'silly summertime movies'.

When we returned from the movie there was a message on the answering machine from the Newlyweds. They were on their way back from New York, and apologized that they weren't home to rescue us from ourselves. Sweet guys.

I put the laundry from the washer into the dryer and put another load into the washer, then watched 3 back-to-back episodes of 'Sell This House' on A&E. I really like that show because it teaches you tricks to fool the eye when you're selling your house. I picked up a little trick I plan to use when our house goes on the market.

After folding the 3rd washed and dried load of laundry, I came upstairs and put it all away. At 6:30 Joe suggested we have dinner at CiCi's pizza, so we headed on over (with the top down) listening to my new Janet Jackson CD. I can't get over how fabulous the weather has been this weekend - perfect convertible weather. When we got back home we took our dog Jordan for a little walk around the block.

Drag Queen name of the day: Linda Hand

Saturday shirts

We agreed that Sat was going to be "all about outside". The weather forecast was great, especially for July, so we figured it would be a good day to do some outdoor tasks.

We started by taking our cars to Jiffy Lube for their overdue oil changes. Arguably not really an outdoor activity, it still needed to be done. Then Joe mowed the yard and I started cleaning out our carport. Since it is not a garage, 3 sides of the carport are open and the wind carries leaves and stuff into the carport. We also store our lawnmower, trashcan, recycling bin, and firewood in the carport. Additionally, some other stuff has collected there over the years so it really needed to be cleaned out. Once that was done, I decided to try to remove the stain on the carport floor. My car had a transmission fluid leak that left a stain, so I used an organic, non-toxic, banana oil cleaner purchased from an infomercial on the stain. After just one treatment its better now, but still needs another application or two to fully remove it.

Then we showered, and Joe took a short nap while I sorted the mail. I suggested we go to Best Buy to look at refrigerators and music. We found that Best Buy now carries the fridge we want, although we couldn't find a price on it! Then I picked up a 'Best of Janet Jackson, 1986-1996' CD, which I am really loving. I played it to and from the Dicks' party.

Sat night there was a party at the Dicks'. Our friends Dick & Dick have a holiday and a summer party every year where they have tasty food and lively guests. We always enjoy going. However Joe wasn't feeling 'in the party mood' so he decided not to go. He visited with his mom instead. I had a great time at the Dicks' party, getting a chance to chat with several folks I only see twice a year at their parties.

One of their friends Kevin always comments on my shirts. The first time we met I had on a large paisley print shirt in pink and grey on white, under a black leather blazer. The following summer I wore an ocean blue/green shirt with a 'wavy' pattern woven in it, with off-white shorts. The next Christmas I wore a shirt with a black background with multi-colored (rainbow) pin stripes and red buttons with black slacks. And yesterday I wore a chartreuse green linen shirt with off-white shorts. Its funny - whenever I wear fun/interesting clothes to the Dicks' parties, I always feel better about myself. I feel like my being overweight isn't as much of an issue. I have more confidence when I wear something unusual. And Kevin always notices.

Drag Queen name of the day: Colleen Clothes

The other Will & Grace

This was our weekend to stay in town, so I planned a few social engagements for us as well as some productive time.

Fri evening we met our friends John and Rebecca at the Taco House for dinner. John & I used to work for the same company about 5 years ago. We bumped into each other at the gay pride parade that year, which put to rest our suspicions about each other. John is a real sweetheart and although we don't work for the same company anymore, we try to keep in touch. Sadly, most of the time that just means emails.

Rebecca is John's best gal pal and roommate. Think of Will & Grace, only he's the redhead and she's the brunette. They talk like they're a couple, using "we" all the time. They live together, they socialize together, they go on vacation together, they're like a married couple - only he's gay and she's straight - just like Will & Grace. In the 5 or so years I've known them, neither has ever had a love interest for more than a month (again, think Will & Grace), although both remain hopeful.

We had a great time chatting, laughing, and catching up over chicken quesadillas, chimichangas, tostadas with guacamole and queso, and various flavors of margueritas. None of us could remember how long it had been since we'd last gotten together, which always means its been too long. John loves his job, although it is quite a commute from Takoma Park to almost Middleburg. Rebecca just started a new job in Arlington and likes it so far. John's BMW convertible is in the shop after sustaining $3,000. in damage from a huge pothole. (17 other cars met the same fate that morning.) Rebecca just bought a PT Cruiser convertible, which really seems to suit her.

After saying our goodbyes, Joe & I decided to go for a late movie. I'd been anticipating the opening of 'The Devil Wears Prada' for several weeks, but didn't get a chance to see it last weekend. We arrived about 20 minutes prior to the movie's start time, but found it to be sold out. Darn! So we came home and watched TV.

Drag Queen name of the day: Bertha Venation

Thursday, July 06, 2006

So unfair

I got this email today from Equality Virginia:

Today, Equality Virginia reacted with disappointment to the news that the high courts in both New York and Georgia ruled against full marriage equality rights in two separate cases.

In the first and highly anticipated case, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that the state constitution does not guarantee a right to marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples, and stated that it is the responsibility of the legislature to change the law.

And in Georgia, the Georgia Supreme Court reinstated the so-called "marriage amendment" passed there in 2004. The unanimous decision overruled a lower court's decision that the ballot question violated the state's "single subject rule" requiring that ballot measures cover only one issue. The amendment in Georgia banned civil unions and domestic partnerships along with marriage equality rights.

"It is a sad day in the march forward for full equality under the law when courts can't see the reality of the discrimination that we continue to face," said Dyana Mason, Equality Virginia's Executive Director. "Nonetheless, both of these rulings underscore the importance of a victory at the ballot box this fall against Virginia's so-called 'Marriage Amendment.'"

Equality Virginia, as a founding partner of The Commonwealth Coalition: Vote "No," Virginia ( has contributed most of its resources in the fight against the amendment this fall, specifically in educating and turning out voters on November 7. In addition, EV will continue its long-term work to educate voters and elect fair-minded candidates to the Virginia legislature through the Equality Virginia Political Action Committee (EVPAC)."

The rulings today certainly do not end the fight for full marriage equality, and Equality Virginia and our partners nationwide will use all avenues in our campaign for fairness -- through educating the public, lobbying our elected officials, and engaging in impact litigation when appropriate."

Not to leave you on a somber note...

Drag Queen name of the day: Mary Christmas

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Back from the beach

Fri night before heading to the beach we had dinner at the Bistro McDonald's. (If that doesn't make sense, check out my post on 11-1-05.) Then we went back to the house to get Jordan and off we went - top down and lovin' it. Despite it being the Fri night before the 4th of July weekend, perhaps the most popular weekend for beachgoers, we found the traffic to be 'normal'. Of course, sailing in the EZPass lane past a quarter of a mile of cars waiting at the toll booth helped.

Our friends Bill & Tom arrived about 1/2 an hour after us. It was their 1st time, so we showed them the place and then had cocktails. Malibu and Coke, thank you.

Sat we all slept in, and then Joe made blueberry pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Afterward we sat around and talked until we decided to don our trunks and go to the beach. It was a stellar day! Probably around 80 degrees, sunny, and lightly breezy - it was heaven on earth. We had a lovely time on the beach. When we returned we had a little snack and cocktails on the screened porch. Appletinis all the way around. It was nice to actually use the screened porch for a change. So often its either too humid, too hot, too dirty with pollen, etc. That day it wasn't any of those things. It was delightful. After showers we went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Lewes: Fish On. The evening was so lovely we decided to eat on the patio. (Last year they didn't serve dinner on the patio.) We enjoyed the best mojitos anywhere, followed by amazing entrees. With the light breeze and starry sky, it was picture-perfect.

Sun was very different: much warmer and more humid. After a leisurely breakfast of egg souffle, bagels, and scones, we decided against going to the beach. Bill & Tom wanted to leave between 2 and 3, so we took them on a little driving tour of downtown Lewes and the public beach at the bay. Upon returning, they packed their things, we said our goodbyes, and wished our friends a safe and uneventful trip home. Joe took a nap and I went over to the pool and took periodic breaks from reading 'Letters from Camp Rehoboth' to slip into the pool and cool off. At Sat night's dinner, our waitress Erin gave us a 10% off coupon to their sister restaurant in Bethany called Northeast, so Sun evening Joe & I decided to give it a try. The menu wasn't very extensive so we both wound up ordering the same thing; very unusual for us. But we enjoyed the lobster mac 'n cheese and I learned a recipe for a new cocktail called Island Lemonade. Pour Malibu rum and lemonade over ice, then give it just a splash of cranberry juice. It should come out a delicate shade of blush. Try it! On the way back we stopped at the video store, then watched "TransAmerica". (For more about "TransAmerica, see my entry on 1-25-06.)

Mon was not a holiday for me, but I'd taken a day of leave in order to create a 4-day weekend for myself. At 10am we met with our realtor so we could see 5 homes. Even at 10am, it was super hot - over 90 degrees. Once again, none of the homes really wowed both of us. Joe got excited about a historic home in downtown Lewes, but I was less enthusiastic because it was expensive, smaller than our current home, and would require some renovation and (possibly) the construction of a garage. I got excited about a 2-level, 3 bedroom loft-style condo built in an old church from the 1800s. The unit had those great church windows that flooded both floors with light. But there is no yard at all (which is not good when you have a dog) and there is only street parking. We also inquired about a 1920s home that was recently used as a bed & breakfast. It was purchased a year ago and gutted, but the rebuilding came to a halt when the new owners found themselves over-extended by several investment properties. It would be a fabulous project to oversee the rebuilding of the home's interior, be able to pick out finishes and fixtures, and then live in it and re-open the B&B. But our realtor told us she expected an offer on the place soon, as a couple had come to see the home 4 times.

Our friends Greg & Gerry were staying with friends in Bethany for the holiday weekend, and called us on Mon evening. They came over to visit and then we when to dinner at Fish On (again). Erin was our server (again). We had appetizers and cocktails, (is this like the 18th time I've mentioned cocktails in this entry?), wonderful entrees, and shared 2 irresistable desserts between the 4 of us. They came back to the house and we continued visiting until 11:30. When they left we decided to watch the other movie we'd rented called "Breakfast on Pluto". Joe only lasted about 30 minutes, but I watched the entire film. Its about a young Irish man who was abandoned at birth, dropped off at a church. He's raised by a foster mother who finds his cross-dressing to be quite troublesome. In his late teens he can no longer be endure the treatment he's been receiving so he runs away, to search for his mother whom he refers to as the "Phantom Lady".

Tues we met our realtor at 10 (again), and it was really hot (again), to look at 3 more homes. One had just been listed the previous day. It was a newer home in a prestigious neighborhood we both like. This house had lots of upgrades and quality features. We both like it, but Joe was torn, thinking about the historic 'purple house' in downtown Lewes. (In true Joe fashion, the 'purple house' is not purple. It is grey and has lavender shutters and door.) We talked over lunch about the latest stuff we'd seen, and shared our feelings about each house. Then Joe took a nap and I went to the pool again. This time I read the Washington Blade between cooling dips. We cleaned up the house, packed our stuff, and went out for a simple dinner. As soon as we got to the Blue Plate Diner, the wind, thunder, and lightening began. There was a pretty significant storm that lasted only about 30 minutes. By the time we'd paid the check and walked to the car, it was all over. We picked up Jordan and headed home. The traffic was good, and we got home at 11:30.

Today it was overcast and cooler in the morning, followed by thunderstorms in the afternoon. Tomorrow is supposed to be the same. Fri things should dry up and brighten up, just in time for the weekend.

Drag queen name of the day: Helen Highwater