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Thanks for joining us! We write about sports, food, life and anything else interesting here in Ashburn and Loudoun County, all while cramming as many features into the site as possible.

Our staff consists of one old man and a dog named Maggie The WonderBeagle. Want to know more? Click on the icon below:

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Another Positive Sign That Things May Be Heading Back To Normal

Another sign that things may be getting better as it relates to the virus: My wife is one of those people who gets Loudoun Alerts texted to her, and during lunch she said she had gotten one warning of traffic delays because there was going to be coronavirus testing over at Bolen Park in Leesburg.

But then shortly afterward, she got another alert saying there wasn’t much traffic at all and if you wanted a test, you could come out and be tested with no wait.

Shortly after that, my favorite Ashburn site, TheBurn posted this story saying the same thing, reporting zero wait at the noon hour, which traditionally has been the busiest time.

I may be adding two plus two and getting five, but this morning I went to a grocery store and encountered few people and very little traffic on the streets, as if people had gone back to work. Then there’s a test site for the virus which last time it was run encountered a huge wave of traffic.

Today…no wait.

Something’s going on.

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All This Time Together Is Revealing A Few Family Secrets...

There is no question that being together ALL the time during this shutdown is revealing a few things about those that live in your house.

In some cases, secrets one may have had from another in the home are going to be revealed. I’ve seen a few stories say it could be a divorce-a-palooza after this is over because those extracurricular texts and phone calls that used to go unnoticed between people having affairs on the side are going to be much tougher to disguise. I would guess when you’re always in the same room with your family, you can only say “this is work related” so many times before somebody catches on.

In our house, the controversy being revealed involves our dog Maggie. For some reason, all our dogs have always afforded me alpha dog status and tend to listen to me as much out of fear of punishment as love and respect. Perhaps it’s just the tone of my voice that suggests to a dog “I don’t believe I want to mess with you,” but all our dogs have been that way.

This annoys my wife. We had two dogs for 16 years before we got Maggie, and my wife spoiled those dogs as badly as any canine could be. Not surprisingly, when she was in the house, those dogs sat with her, worshipped her and followed her everywhere she went. But if there was a clap of thunder or a sound that scared them, they were off her lap in a split second, trotting down the hall to find me and jump in my lap.

I guess they instinctively thought that in a fight, the big guy might offer more protection.

This controversy also extended to our daughter in her early years. My wife and daughter have an extremely close relationship and spend incredible amounts of time together. I used to call them sorority sisters the way they do so many things together, but when it came to discipline, my daughter was always a little more wary of me.

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It's Going To End One Day; Might As Well Have A To-Do List

At the end of last week, there seemed to be more and more reports about some states getting ready to open (although Virginia did not seem to be one of them). I don’t know when this day will come, but when it does, I’ve got a plan. These are the five things I’m going to do once the shutdown is over:

  1. Go buy 10 pounds of salted in the shell peanuts, park myself in a chair, and turn on the television and watch a live sporting event. I mean a real event, not some guys playing H-O-R-S-E and talking about themselves. Preferably involving the Washington Nationals, with multiple trash-talking conversations via text running concurrently with old friends.

  2. Go to a restaurant and order everything on the menu that does not duplicate anything I made at home over the last 6 weeks. This means no pizza, tacos, pasta, chicken, etc. because I’ve had my fill of it. I don’t care if it’s a fusion of Ethiopian cuisine mixed with Nordic whale blubber, if it’s different from what I’ve been eating at home and they bring it to you with fresh bread and a boatload of butter, I’m in.

  3. Go get a haircut. My head looks like an unkempt poodle. I look in the mirror and wonder why former New York Jets Coach Rex Ryan's twin brother Rob is looking back at me. I have seriously not had a haircut in the calendar year 2020 and it’s bothersome. I know I'm not alone, as I can foresee a problem when the shutdown ends: You will be presented with the choice of either waiting in line at a place that takes walk-ins (and I would guess the line is going to wrap around the building), or attempting to call and make an appointment. The lead times on those appointments will probably be similar to the ones quoted on Amazon when you try to buy toilet paper, so we could be seeing the 4th of July before scissors and trimmers intersect with my head.
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Appreciate Your Favorite Local Small Business...While You Still Can

A few weeks ago when Kenny Rogers passed away, people tweeted out some of their favorite videos involving him, and one of them was a moderately successful hit he had in the mid-80s called “20 Years Ago.”

As the title suggests, it’s a nostalgic look back at a simpler time, and it shows Rogers walking through an empty main street area in a small town. The Friday night pizza joint of his youth, the bowling alley, the hardware store…they were all gone. Life moved on.

I always liked that video because I can identify with it. It doesn’t mean those stores were the greatest thing since sliced bread; but they do bring back warm memories of a time where you could walk into a store and because it was a small business, the owner was in the store and you recognized many members of the staff even if you only came in there once a month. It gave you a feeling of being at home, much like the atmosphere of the fictional Cheers bar where everybody knew your name. You knew them and they knew you.

It’s one of the appeals of living in a small town. I spent 5 years living in Martinsville, VA back in the 80s, and while you may not have been able to partake of the latest and greatest in fashion and technology, there was that element of everyone knowing your name. You went to non-chain places like the Dutch Inn for their seafood buffet on a weekend night; or maybe Clarences out near Martinsville Speedway for their homemade cheeseburger and fries; there was even a little hole in the wall place on a tiny strip of asphalt called Wall Street that housed “Mike’s Hot Dogs” that I frequented quite a bit.

All had their own unique flavors, the people who worked there recognized you as a regular, and you enjoyed the experience. Some times you didn’t even need to order, as someone would say “you want what you usually get?” It was a stark contrast to the national chains that viewed labor as a disposable entity, with workers on a retail floor turning over every 80 to 90 days, and as a result, no one particularly cared if you felt special or not.  

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Anybody Else Hear These Questions/Comments On A Regular Basis?

I have a theory about all of us. We live in the same house. We just have different addresses and last names.

Otherwise, we all seem to share the same common experiences in dealing with life, raising a family, etc. And with us all under house arrest, those similarities are probably now magnified. I’m guessing you may even see a few things on this list of the five most common questions/comments said in my house during the shutdown and think “been there, done that.”

Here’s the list:

  1. Am I mad at you about anything you did yesterday?” Yes, this gets asked about every morning by ONE of us. Being in close proximity for such a long period of time does lead to some petty skirmishes over monumental issues like “why didn’t you put that spoon in the dishwasher?” or “would it kill you to close the silverware drawer?” But usually the dispute is quickly forgotten (although if you reply with a particularly curt, witty and sarcastic answer, that WILL be brought up again in a conversation seven years from now). So each morning my wife will ask this to make sure the wronged party knows to start off the day feeling wronged.

  2. I don’t like your attitude.” This is a crowd favorite for both of us because it communicates an annoyance without specifically saying anything bad about the other. Tone, I’m discovering, is very important when under lengthy house arrest, and something as simple as saying “good morning” can sometimes elicit a “I don’t like your attitude” if presented in a less than robust way. Other questions including “where is the remote control”, “can you pass the butter” and “when was the last time the dog went out in the backyard” can also result in “I don’t like your attitude.” After this is all over, apparently I’m going to have to work on my presentation skills.
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While You're At Home, Be Careful To Avoid These 3 Dangerous Traps

OK, young bucks, class is in session. I see you from afar….you’ve been in quarantine, you feel relaxed, and you think you can just say whatever is on your mind because we’re all in this together. Right?

Wrong. That’s why today’s class is about the three traps to avoid while under house arrest. Fall into any of them and the next thing you know, you’ll be feeling the cold stare of two eyes belonging to your wife or significant other, arms crossed, shaking her head at you.

I MIGHT, ahem, be speaking from personal experience on this.

So trust me. Put down the phone, stop trying to decide which three free fast food items out of 9 you’d rather eat, or choose which house full of famous people you’ll never meet in real life that you’d like to stay at.

This is important.

TRAP NO. 1: By now, your Dad should have taught you to never answer any question that sounds like “does this dress make me look fat?” This is a ticket straight to Cold as Iceland, and the only correct answer is “no dear, you’re perfect in every way.”

But now there is a far more dangerous strain of this kind of question bought on by the extended house arrest. Beauty shops and barber shops are closed all over the land, and in some cases, the lengthy inability to see a hair specialist is resulting literally in us seeing some people’s “true colors.”

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Recent comment in this post
Guest — Steven Wade

Good tips!

Some lessons are best learned individually though. Helps to remember not to do it again!
Sunday, 19 April 2020 14:08
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No, I'm Not Going To Knock Off The 5:15 Stagecoach To Ashburn

Back in the 1970s, Elton John released an album called “Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player.”

These days when I head out to the grocery store, I almost feel like saying “Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Just Trying To Get Some Coffee Creamer,” because I almost look like some desperado about to knock off the 5:15 stagecoach to Ashburn.

All of us have certainly seen an evolution in our appearances as the state-mandated days of house arrest continue. It was only a month ago when I started to wear gloves to the grocery store, and even felt self-conscious about it since it appeared I was the only one at the time who was wearing them. Within a week, more were doing so, and a week later, the masks became part of my regular attire.

That apparently wasn’t enough, because more layers have now been added to my routine. It’s not because I’m an overly cautious person, but more due to the fact I live with a germaphobe, and have several friends who are also that way. I mean, how many other people get packages from friends that end up to be a box of “powder free vinyl multi-purpose gloves?”

That friend, it should be noted, is in the medical profession. After sending them to me, he then made me sit through a call where he lectured me on how nurses and doctors take off these gloves so as to avoid contamination. I think if I would have let him, he’d have launched right into a seminar on how to wash my hands, but I told him I had that covered.

That’s because in my house, I have the WIFE2020 operating system, which for the past 40 years has been specifically designed to question me about washing my hands, hanging up my clothes, or visiting the pantry when no one is looking to seek out a snack. It is an evolving operating system, as in its latest update, it is now programmed to say “we don’t need anything from the grocery store so you’re not leaving the house” whenever I talk about exotic far-away places like Harris-Teeter and Giant.

My wife loves it when she can go into the pantry or our spare refrigerator in the basement and find exactly what she’s looking for. But she just doesn’t think I should leave the house to make that happen because if I go out and grocery shop, she believes I will somehow encounter the virus, bring it home and we will both meet our demise.

So much like a teenager breaking curfew, I have to sneak out of my own house to get stuff.

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I've Put It Off Long Enough, But Now It's Time To Start Writing Again

Well, we’ve reached the point in the continuing saga of us all being under house arrest where I’m so bored, I’m going to start writing again.

Since I have told younger writers for decades that “writers write,” meaning that whether you’re working or not you need to write something regularly, it certainly makes me a bit of a hypocrite. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say; it’s just the “Groundhog Day” similarity of the days has left me in a “why bother?” mood.

The irony in all this is that for many years I was a road warrior, traveling the country as a sales executive. I used to have two daydreams I’d employ to make the time on a flight from one side of the country to the other go faster: One was what I’d do if I won the lottery, and the other was what I’d do if I could have an entire month to be able to just stay home with my wife, daughter and dogs and not go anywhere.

I’m now living the second one, although it’s a little different when you add into the equation you CAN’T go anywhere. But the lack of a sense of urgency does change things. Want to wait another hour and sip on another cup of coffee? Heck, wait the whole day and drink an entire pot of coffee.

The evenings may be the worst part of it, as with no live sports, I really find myself wondering why I’m paying Comcast $267.18 per month. I buy everything they offer in addition to Netflix and Amazon Prime, and aside from an occasional movie and a rerun or two of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, nothing interests me.

This all ends up pushing me onto Twitter, where people completely capable of being nice, civil and respectful, explode into toxic hurricanes of rage when the subject of politics arise. I try to avoid it if I can, but I’ve ended up instituting two rules during the shutdown: I respect your right to an opinion on anything, but if more than 50 percent of your posts in a given day are about politics, I temporarily unfollow you. If you take it up a notch, however, and consistently post things that indicate anyone who doesn’t see things the way you do is an idiot or worse, you earn the privilege of being blocked.

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Recent comment in this post
Guest — Tony Banks

Well-stated return -

Well-stated return, Dave, welcome back reflections...
Monday, 04 May 2020 23:37

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