We were dismissed from work on Monday at 2pm, which we mostly took to mean "3 hours earlier than you'd otherwise leave". No one in the software development teams was gone before 3, and I imagine some stayed a lot later. I left around 4, if I remember correctly, and hit absolutely zero traffic driving down 95. It was amazing. I had so much time to kill that I spent about 20 minutes randomly driving around Baltimore, trying to get lost and trying to find any friends in the area who had some free time right then. Sadly, neither was successful, but I still got to DC in about 3 hours of total driving.
After grabbing a bite to eat at Whole Foods, I drove down to the Mount Pleasant area, where Lori was hosting a New Years party at the home of Sarah/Scott/Laura/Daria. I was hoping to crash, but Lori got wind of my planned visit the day before. Luckily she's good at keeping a secret, and I gave Laura quite a surprise as I walked in the door. And after I came inside, I was surprised myself to find Elana B and Debbie A and Danny S sitting inside. That made 4 of us from my Philadelphia-area high school at this DC-area party that only numbered about a dozen at the time. How random.
So I spent some time catching up with Laura, and then more people kept filtering in who I know and who didn't know I was coming. Man, I love DC. Evin, Becca, and Zach (who was my one confidant on my semi-surprise visit). Beth Soref, who I hadn't seen in a year and a half. Ari Johnson, who was the other big surprise to all, was in DC during his brief American stay before heading back to Mali. And then, finally, the big surprise. Aaron Lawee, who had no idea I regularly visit DC and only a vague idea that I knew some of the people at the party, walked in. I knew he was coming right then, and I had the good fortune of him turning around and fiddling with the screen door right after entering. So I snuck up behind him, and he turned back around to see a grinning Desh right up in his face, arms wide. Man, that was fun.
I left Mount Pleasant around 10:30 and drove up to Alan's in Silver Spring, to the party I was planning to hit up all along. This was much more like a traditional "party" party than I expected and than the one I'd just left, but I quickly adjusted my expectations and it was fine. The only people I knew well there were Alan, Rebecca, and Charles; but I met some folks from UMD who I hung out with most of the evening. The new year was counted down, everyone cheered, the party resumed, and a great time was had. I slept on a very hard floor, with a sleeping bag and pad and earplugs in, and my back felt even better when I woke up for the first time in 2008.
Tuesday took me down towards Logan Circle for brunch with Jeff, and for the omelette that I would've had for free in Silver Spring had I not left as early as I did. After some quality time with him (Jeff, not the omelette), and some more with Lori, I picked up my Philadelphia refugees Elana and Danny, and had some unexpected company for the ride back north.
Sorry to all Baltimore and DC folks reading this who I didn't get to see. But the odds are good that it won't be another 5 months before my next visit.
Since New Years, I've just been working hard. That's about it. My last two days completely off were New Years Day and Christmas Day. I worked about 3 and a half hours tonight from home. Tax season starts this Friday, which means that tax season for software developers essentially ends this Friday. Being able to be home by 6 and to have my Sundays entirely free will be nice.
Of course, I won't have tons of free time to sit around until I'm done moving. Shosh is completely moved in now. She and I have bought a lot of kitchen stuff, but there's still a sofa and table and chairs left to get. Then I have to get a bed for myself, and some bookshelves, and either a dresser or something else instead; and then move all my crap over there. It's gonna be a long month.
Meanwhile, my cousins have moved into my mom's house where I (still) live. They needed somewhere to stay for a couple months, and my mom is almost always in New York, so she's renting out her room to her nephew and his wife. I've always liked them, and always looked up to Michael, but haven't spent any real time with him since we were both in high school, 12 years ago or longer. This might be nice. Or really weird. But probably nice.