Monday, July 25, 2011


Transient housing requires a key card for entry — entry into the gate; entry into our room. Mastering the card requires patience, as it usually takes multiple swipes to get the car into the lot or to enter the door.

It also requires organization. Knowing where the card is at all times between me, the kids and the dog, and remembering to have it on your person, takes diligence.

After nearly 30 days, we’re beginning to crack at the seams. Our past-times here, especially through DC’s extreme heatwave, are limited. I’ve been paying my son to walk the dog in order for both the dog and him to get out and about more. They have BIG energy, and we're in a small space (there’s that patience thing again), so I thought it was a win win —at first. Lately, he is gone mere moments before he raps on the door to regain entry (he usually doesn’t remember the card).

Yesterday, I sent my eight-year-old daughter out with my dog and my son to keep them company. She loves to walk the dog, but her little arms don’t bear the strength to hold our 70 pound coonhound back if he sees something and desires to meet it—full speed ahead.

I stood in the momentary quiet (my other daughter was at a sleepover), looking out the little window in the little kitchenette thinking about nothing.

Suddenly, I caught a blurred furry image streaking past me, with my daughter in flight behind (I’m not even sure her feet were striking the ground) hanging on to the other end of the leash. A quick look over, and I noticed my son was paying no attention to the matter, WHAT-SO-EVER.

So I busted out both doors (which require key cards), to try and save my daughter, who I imagined, by now, was in some sort of peril.

She was fine, and haulted nearby. Horace had seen another dog he just had to meet.

I stood there in my bare feet, BRA-less, listening to the other dog’s owner exclaiming to anyone who would listen but in my general direction, “that is exactly why I do NOT allow my children to walk the dog!”

It was then I realized with sort of a slow motion movie quality effect and a dark sense of despair — I had no key card. I had no keys to my car, and I had no phone to call for help.

(We eventually made it back inside. Thanks to Horace. He began barking his incessant coonhound bark when the other dog left. He wanted to play. Another guy from our building came outside to complain about the noise …)

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Mornings are different now.

I wake up to the rumbling footfalls above my head — somewhere in the vicinity of 5am and think, “Wow. Army folks get goin’ early.”

I lay there and listen to their morning routine, measured in the strike pattern. I haven’t seen my upstairs neighbor. Whoever it is comes in late and rises early. I’m signaled to their comings and goings by the slamming of doors and their 300 lb gorilla steps.

Why am I the only one who wakes? The kids don’t seem bothered at all. But the dog hears and is ready to go out for his morning constitution. He comes and licks my face soon after Army guy begins his morning shuffle.

I trip around the dark trying not to wake my 12-year-old son sleeping on the pullout sofa in the other room. He lies between me and the door.

He didn’t remember to pack much, besides his clock radio with the nature sounds. He’s always had trouble falling asleep. Apparently he’s found peace with the frog symphony that fills the air around him.

Horace and I find the door after stumbling around for a shirt, some shoes, etc.

We’re in Army “transient housing” for the next 30 days while we wait out our dog’s quarantine and fulfill our summer swim team schedule.

We are transient.

Army guy just stomped down the steps and slammed out the door of the apartment complex, which is right outside ours.


So the day begins.