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Friday, June 4, 2010

Around the Beltway

I want to thank y'all so, so much for the many birthday wishes yesterday. And I will share the details of my wonderfully low-key, please-don't-look-at-me birthday next week, but today I wanted to share with y'all that I received the best! birthday! gift! EVER yesterday morning.

(No, we didn't receive a referral.)


(It will be four years waiting in just a few weeks.)

But in other news... in less than two months, the husband will no longer be battling DC traffic every single day, twice a day, in rain, sleet, snow and construction. For those of y'all who live locally, let's just say that we live kinda, sorta near BWI. And the husband's current office? Is kinda, sorta near Dulles.


I know.

The husband made the move to work for The Borg over four years ago, with the understanding that The Borg would transfer him closer to home within the first twelve to eighteen months. Only the economy tanked. And life happened. And the transfer didn't.

Until now.

Yesterday we learned that the husband will continue to work for The Borg, but in a couple of months he will be moving to an office that is within 30 minutes of home. Which means no more three hour commutes on a rainy Friday night. And no more oh-five-thirty starts (what's the oh stand for? Oh, my lands, it's early!), trying to beat the rush hour. And no more spending two to three hours - daily - battling psychotic DC drivers around the beltway.

I know some of y'all, especially those in Middle America, are wondering, ' seriously, how bad could the commute be?' (And y'all in Dallas don't count because Dallas is in TEXAS, not simply America; therefore, it is not considered Middle America.) And I have to explain to y'all that it's not simply the commute (which even the most hardened of DC drivers will tell you is a BRUTAL one); it's ALSO the Psychotic DC Drivers. For those of you unfamiliar with the DC rules of the road, allow me to enlighten you.

Top Ten Rules for Driving in and around the DC Metro Area
  1. Do not, under any circumstances, seek eye contact with another driver, as this will revoke your right of way.
  2. Even if you travel in the far right lane, you must drive five miles over the posted speed limit. Add an extra five mph for each lane you move to the left, which means you! will! die! if you fail to go at least 75 in the far left lane of the beltway, which has a posted speed limit of 55.
  3. One should not, under any circumstances, allow for proper following distance, as this will simply create enough space for a third driver to cut you off, thereby creating an even more dangerous situation than mere tailgating.
  4. The faster someone drives through a red light, the less chance they have of getting hit... or of being photographed by those pesky, newly installed red light cameras. Therefore, beware of traffic intersections.
  5. A right lane construction closing or exit-only lane simply leads to a frantic game of Frogger, whereby drivers who are Much More Important than you will pass you, then dodge in front of you just before they hit the barrels or the exit ramp curves. For this reason, you should avoid the far right lane at all costs, unless, of course, you cannot manage to follow Rule #2.
  6. Certain areas within the DC area will remind you of National Lampoon's European Vacation, including - but not limited to - Dupont Circle and the Mixing Bowl. "Look, kids! Parliament! Big Ben!" Oh, wait... wrong city. Other areas will remind you of Brigadoon... namely, Rock Creek Parkway. 'How did I get here? Is this place for real? And how do I get OUT of here?'
  7. All unmarked ramps lead directly to Southeast DC. Avoid them.
  8. Never get in the way of a car that requires extensive body work.
  9. If you find yourself anywhere near a vehicle sporting diplomatic plates... well... I suggest you pray, especially if you are a mere pedestrian.
  10. Reacting in anger to any of the above-mentioned commuting challenges may result in armed retaliation.
All of this to say... I'm so glad the husband won't have to suffer through this for much longer. And if y'all come visit the DC area, take the metro.

I promise it's easier.


autumnesf said...

I have to say that I didn't find the DC traffic that bad. But then I did learn to drive in Dallas Texas. And we did live in Iceland and drove there. Now THAT was scary. Timers on the lights....stopping before red and going before green and trying to figure out WHY they did that and how more people arent dead. I relied on being an obvious foreigner.... a woman driving a huge Dodge Ram with a 4 inch lift and American plates. Those little bitty Lotta's scatter and moved out of the way so it was all good. LOL!!

Still - driving in that kind of traffic every day is brutal. Hated it when I lived closer to Ft. Worth but worked in downtown Dallas. And the far left lane? 85-90mph. I joke not. Do you know how scary it is to go that fast in stop and go traffic????

Kim K. said...

Yippee! I totally understand your husband's joy over having a much shorter work commute. We tried for several years to continue living in my grandparents home and commute an hour one way to work. In the winter, that one hour would turn into two+ hours with a screaming toddler in the backseat. I swear those years were the hardest years on our marriage. Your husband will be able to gain so much time back home with you all. How wonderful!!

bbmomof2boys said...

I hear ya TM!! We drive that way at least once a year, usually 2x on our way to upstate NY and I always pray pray pray! I'm talking about 95 with 5 lanes of traffic and people weaving in and out going at least 75, usually 80 or 85...it is scary!!! Remember a few (heh) years back when there was a bad storm and the bridge was closed because it wasn't safe? I think it was because of some sign or something. Anyway, I was by myself and got diverted into unknown territory. I was SCARED TO DEATH!! And some chick hit me so I of course stopped and got out. She would not roll down her window to talk to me! It was just a bump and no real damage but at the time I was ticked because she wouldn't talk to me...yeah...stupid huh?

So so glad he got transfered and will be much closer.


Tonggu Grammy said...

Halleluja! Halleluja!
Halleluja! Halleluja! Halle-e-luja!
(Can you hear the chorus singing?)

Denise said...

That is why we live farther south than you do...lol! And it takes a lot of convincing to get my hubby to even drive close to the beltway. I am from Long Island, so I usually take it from there...the DC beltway is nothing like the Belt Parkway! Have a great weekend~

Aus said...

Well first - HOORAH on the transfer!

Second - had to go to DC on government business, made me drive, aged 10 years and dang near resigned so I didn't have to drive out....

Last - a sci-fi clip from some movie years ago showed humans from the future watching real time video feed from today's earth of car's traveling on the beltway (I recognized the background) 4 across and 3 feet apart at full speeds (even had the nice lanes passing lanes from left to right - you are spot on concerning the speeds in #2) - and one of the guys looks at the other and says "It must take years of practice to learn to move in formation like that"....always loved that line..... and welcome to DC driving!

hugs - aus and co.

Stefanie said...

A day late and, I'm afraid, more than a dollar short.
But Happy! Birthday! TM! nonetheless.
Sounds like your day was one referral short of heaven!! So glad that your man won't be suffering with that ridiculous commute for much longer :)
Sending big birthday hugs. One day late ;)

Anne said...

I didn't know Tonggu Daddy had that commute. Dang. When the Bowie-College Park commute inched up to 45 min, that was our cue. His commute would have finished me off.

Congrats on getting your hubs back from the dreaded traffic demon. =)

epin said...

Happy belated birthday, and congrats on your husband's new commute. And your post is timely . . . while driving to work in DC today, I nearly got hit by an idiot driver who felt that I was not going fast enough (and I was already over the speed limit). Grrr.

jen@odbt said...

That is fantastic news!!! Knowing all about that commute...it will be so nice having all that extra time together.

Keating Mom said...

Great news!!

April said...

I was born and raised in the DC area and can't stand it!! Every time we go up there to visit family I cringe and thank God we don't live there. Yet. I'm sure my husband will torture me with a Pentagon job at some point and I will cry at the thought of No VA traffic and mean people....
Yeah for your husband!!

prechrswife said...

First, so happy to hear that Tonggu Daddy doesn't have to make that long commute any longer! And it sounds like DC traffic makes Atlanta traffic look mild, which is not an easy thing to do.

Jboo said...

Glad that he's giving up that commute -- oy!! Maybe you all ought to think about the lovely Midwest -- my commute is about 10-15 minutes during "rush" hour! :)

Have a great weekend!


LucisMomma said...

Hooray for the move! Not just for him, but for all of you because you will have him home MORE. YAY.

thegypsymama said...

Oh the JOY the GIDDY DELICIOUS delirium! The FREEDOM. and have I already mentioned THE JOY!!

Ask me how I know how it feels - go on, ask me!

Girly Girl Mommy said...

Oh, TM! Great news!!
LOVE your DC road rules. Brought back lots of memories. I was born in Arlington and raised in the shaddows of Dulles. My drivers ed class tooke me on the beltway the first day out of the parking lot- guess they figured if you could learn to drive there you could make it anywhere (so true)! Been down in Richmond for 5 years now, and while I miss the metro area in many regards, I certainly don't miss the drivers & traffic! My 8 mile commute down rt 7 (towards DC) took me 45+ minutes daily.
TD won't know what to do with his time!!

Debz said...

Oh what a relief that would be.

We don't have to worry about traffic issues here much, imagine the shock to my system when we went to China!

Happy Belated Birthday girl! Hope you enjoyed it.

Sorry haven't been around much lately, been a little nuts around here lately.

Have an awesome weekend!

HubeiMama said...


Every single time I hit Dupont Circle I ALWAYS pick the wrong exit and spend 20 minutes trying to navigate the one way streets trying to get back to the circle only to take ANOTHER wrong one - wash, rinse, repeat.

And Georgetown? Oy vey.

Miss Ashley said...

BWI to Dulles goodness gracious that commute sucks! Very happy for your hubby! A normal lurker, but had to come out of hiding to say that I loved your summation of DC road rules. Lived there for 4 years in college and boy, oh, boy did it change how I drive. Especially the fact that I was driving the BMW SUV of the family who I nannied for, I was always terrified of totaling it, to no fault of my own. Georgetown and Rock Creek were a part of my daily commute and oh those two way streets that would turn one way during rush hour. Yikes! I'm still terrified thinking about them. I'm moving back in January and the traffic is definitely on thing I am not looking forward to.

P.S. Happy Belated Birthday!

Desiree' said...

Us too!! My DH's commutes were 2 hours each way, now he will work within 15 miles of home and we are no longer transients!! We can now say we are here to stay!! No more moving for us!! Woohoo!!

(Congrats by the way, shorter commute are awesome)

Laurie said...

That's great news for hubby and for you too! Shorter commutes are life changing! We used to live in Northern California, where every hour was rush hour. It was HORRIBLE. You spend half your life in your car out there. But DC sounds pretty bad too-I always laugh when they show that circle in movies- I'd never get out of that- I'd just drive around in circles for hours!!

happygeek said...


And I thought driving in Dallas and Vancouver was bad. Something tells me I had it easy-peasy.

LOVED your rules.

LBC said...

That's hours of his life and sanity that he'll get back every day! I rejoiced when my husband got to cut out an hour commute and always be home when the kiddos go to bed. This is great news for you guys!

Anna said...

Ha ha!! My dad has to drive with those "Psychotic DC Drivers" every week day too :) Of course you could say he IS one of those drivers but he won't admit it when he drives like he's still in DC. :)
Love your blog TM!

Rachel@just another day in paradise said...

ok. That "someday" trip to dc is looking way less fun now. Seriously, come to the farm, it's way less stressful. . .mostly. : ) I'm glad his commute will be easier--it will make your family life so much better. been there, done that.

Holly said...

Um, the metro has its perks but can be rattling to the newbie as well! You could end up anywhere..red line..blue line, yellow line! Yikes!!

Janet said...

Wow, driving in DC sounds a lot like driving in Nairobi. :-)

I'm SO happy for you! That is GREAT news!

Kristin said...

Having spent 6 years living in the DC Metro area as a teen (Springfield, VA).....I totally get this! My dad spent many hours on the road commuting to and from the Pentagon or Crystal City. So glad your hubby is able to be closer to home. What a difference that will make.

Oh and I love your 10 Rules list...too funny! And so true.

Michelle@BornInOurHearts said...

How hilarious!! You are taking me back to the summer of 1993, when I spent my final summer before my senior year of college doing an internship at an ad agency about two blocks from the White House. I lived in Bethesda with the family I had nannied for four summers and I think 90% of the people living on that street drove vehicles sporting diplomatic plates. :) And it was off of one of the lovely little DC roundabouts, too. They about killed me!!

I'm so sorry I missed your birthday!! Happy Belated Birthday wishes. I have missed my once frequent visits to your blog. Sadly, life has been too crazy to blog lately, but please know you are missed!! And I hope you had a fabulous birthday!!


Cavatica said...

DC driving is truly evil. Glad The Borg has marginally released him from the Beltway Collective. Whenever I think about terrible driving situations in the U.S. I'm glad I never drove in China. I'm convinced that horns have replaced brakes.

Sharie said...

My brother has an hour commute from near BWI to I don't know where - it's just long. He has listened to hundreds of books on tape over the years. I drive 25 minutes daily in middle America and it's nothing - although right now so many main arteries through town are under construction that it can easily take twice as long to get anywhere - thank you stimulus money!

Canada to China and back! said...

Yay! That is wonderful news! Now you will get to see more of your husband!

Goodness and Mercy Mom said...

Happy belated birthday! What a wonderful gift to have more time with your husband. May the coming year be full of many blessings--including your long-awaited referral.


The Source said...

I have no idea about DC driving, but unless those people are also: eating breakfast, applying make-up, shaving, curling their hair AND nursing a baby while they're yapping on cell phones, reading the newspaper and singing along with the car radio...all while barrelling along the interstate at 75 + mph...than they don't hold a candle to HOUSTON, TX drivers. ;)

And I'm glad I live down here where it takes 10 minutes to get anywhere.

Kristy said...

Oh Praise the Lord........

Love and blessings, Kristy

The Byrd's Nest said...

Oh poo....I missed your birthday! Happy Birthday my sweet friend!!!!!!

You know when we were training as missionaries in Virginia we went to D.C. for the day...oh my heavens...I kept thinking to myself....how in the world do people work here and drive home from this every day!!!! Praise the Lord he won't have to do this much longer!!!

delucchi family said...

Hey happy birthday to you!! Great news about the shorter home run and more time with you in bed in the mornings :-)
Now we just wait for the referal news...any idea when?
Love Jules

Number 6 and no more counting! said...

fantastic news! We live right in the city but the majority of people who work in this city commute and it is brutal! what a difference this will make to you all.


Peach said...

Great news! My husband works alot, with a commute, and it gets so lonely waiting for him to come home sometimes. So glad your hubby will be home more!
Happy Belated Birthday!!!

Nicole said...

I missed your birthday! Oh no! I'm sorry, I hope you had a great day and that no one stared at you. I'm in the Tongginator's camp, I like the birthday attention. Did you have cake? Big belated birthday wishes!

Nicole said...
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Nicole said...
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Christina said...

I lived in Herndon/Sterling/Dulles for 5 years and this is SO true! It's terrible! Fortunately, I worked in Dulles!

Kim said...

Wow, so weird. We may be neighbors. My hubby makes the same commute - from his usual office near BWI to McLean, VA...

Well, wow! Maybe we'll bump into each other at a local mall or something someday!