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Didn’t think I’d be going to Stuarts Draft again so soon…

March 4, 2008, 11:18 PM

Yeah, I didn’t think I would be going back to Stuarts Draft again so soon. But… Sis is coming to visit! Yaaaaaaay! I will happily make the drive to see her, since we don’t get to see her all that much, what with her being half a continent away and all.

Plus this will be the first time that the four of us will have all been together since like June. I moved to Maryland in May, and made trips back to visit in May and June. Then Sis left for Chicago with Chris in August, and she’s not been back since, though Mom and I went out to visit her in December. Dad couldn’t make it due to other obligations that he couldn’t get out of.

So this ought to be a lot of fun. Sis and I are both arriving on Wednesday, March 12, and then we’re both leaving on the 15th, as she flies back to Chicago, and I drive back to Washington.

Then I’m also finally going to put a maneuver into practice that I’ve contemplated for months – leaving for Stuarts Draft directly from work. This involves placing the Sable at Vienna the night before, and then taking Metro back home. Thus I’m essentially making two evening commutes, as I’m going from Dupont Circle to Glenmont and taking the 51 back home, and then turning right around, driving to Vienna, and taking the Orange Line to Metro Center, and from there, back to Glenmont, and then the Y9 back home. This would be the day when it would be worthwhile to shell out the extra ten cents for a paper transfer, since bus drivers treat them like day passes. Then I’d have a normal morning commute, work all day, and then go directly to Vienna from work, and then to Stuarts Draft from there. Not bad. That would also mark the first time since May that I will have been to Vienna.

So yeah, I’m excited!

Categories: Family, Stuarts Draft

When I drive down to see the parents, I’m reminded of why I used to always do the driving on my DC trips in the early morning and late at night.

March 2, 2008, 11:30 PM

First of all, let me say that I had fun in Stuarts Draft and surrounding over the weekend. I came down Saturday morning, and went back up Sunday evening. In the process, I got to see Katie, my parents, and my friend Patrick Jarrett.

And the drive itself reminded me of why, when I did my bi-weekly DC trips for more than three years, I did the driving in the early morning and late at night. Traffic was much lighter than otherwise. On the way up to DC, I’d leave the house around 5:30 AM. Quiet on the highway. Then on the way back, I timed my arrival back at Vienna for around midnight to head back. Traffic was much lighter during those hours than otherwise. On my trip this time, where I took US 29 down, and I-81 and I-66 back, I think the only time when traffic wasn’t thick was on the way down between Culpeper and Ruckersville. Otherwise, it was pretty heavy traffic almost the entire way, including on US 340 going towards Stuarts Draft. Not fun.

However, the rest of the trip was fun. I got to see Katie for a few minutes, and then headed into Stuarts Draft to see the parents. They’ve made some changes to the “Pirate Room” (my old bedroom, which they’ve turned into an upstairs living room) since last I was there, removing my old desk and putting in this dresser with a ship painted on the front in the room in its place. It’s really nice, too. Meanwhile, we also finally named the pair of goldfish that Mom put in there. She hadn’t originally given them names because she couldn’t tell them apart, but I determined that one was more brightly colored than the other, thus we could tell them apart. I named them Castor and Pollux, after the twins in Greek mythology. It has a bit of a personal connection for me, as my astrological sign is Gemini, which is headed up by the stars Castor and Pollux. And in the fish, Castor is the more brightly-colored fish, while Pollux is the one with slightly more subdued colors.

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Stuarts Draft, take two?

February 29, 2008, 2:00 PM

It’s Friday, ya bastards!

And that also means that tomorrow, I am leaving Maryland and the DC area, and heading to Stuarts Draft. No illnesses are getting in my way this time! I feel good, and I will get up and be fresh as a daisy on Saturday morning for the drive to Stuarts Draft. This will also be the first time the Sable comes to Virginia with its new Maryland tags (oooooh!).

And it’s going to be a fun, though fast-paced, trip. I’m coming in midday, and going to see Katie on the way in. Then I’m going to my parents’ house, where we’re all going to do something somewhere (don’t know what yet – sorry, Mom, I still haven’t decided!), either eat out somewhere or eat in, etc. Then on Sunday afternoon, I’m heading back to DC. I’m stopping in Harrisonburg on the way back up to see my friend Patrick, and we’ll probably do lunch or something. And then, back to DC!

The only thing that’s going to be difficult to handle, though, is there being no dog at the house. I can’t believe it’s been more than a month since Greta died. But I’ll get to see where she was buried. Still, that will be strange. After all, it’s one thing to be told that Greta is gone, and it’s something entirely diffferent to actually see Greta not be there.

Then of course the futon that Mom got to replace my old bed is hard as a rock. That I tolerate, but barely. Nonetheless, sleeping on that is no fun. But it will be neat to see all the new furniture that Mom got. There’s this dresser with a ship on it that’s new that’s in the Pirate Room (my old bedroom), plus Mom and Dad both got new dressers from IKEA for themselves. Mom’s is exactly like the one in my apartment, and Dad’s is the taller but narrower version.

And meanwhile, I get to be Linux man for the weekend, as the Lappy currently only has Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) on it.

Categories: Family, Stuarts Draft

Gentrification in Stuarts Draft…

November 22, 2007, 1:54 PM

I’m in Stuarts Draft for Thanksgiving, and I was driving around with Mom today, and I was like, whoa at just about every turn. All these new buildings. Dominion Outdoors and all this other shopping going up by Exit 91 in Fishersville. Food Lion and a related huge shopping center on US 250 in Fishersville. There’s a Sonic in front of my ex-Wal-Mart in Waynesboro now. Staunton now has Starbucks.

And a lot of McMansions are going up all over the place, as well as all kinds of condos. Oh, dear…

I’m just afraid that with all this building that it’s going to run roughshod over what I like about Stuarts Draft and surrounding areas. Wide open spaces. Scenic views. Leave that field there. Plant a plant, not a shopping center. I’m afraid it might suck the life right out of the area, and turn it into something that looks like Fairfax County. I don’t particularly care for Fairfax County, because it’s a traffic nightmare, and all you have is shopping center after shopping center after shopping center. I don’t want the area where I did most of my growing up to turn into that…

Categories: Stuarts Draft

And now we’re back…

September 8, 2007, 5:17 PM

And welcome to Stuarts Draft, where I did quite a bit of growing up. The trip down was mostly routine, with the most stressful part of the trip being the Beltway. Then it was smooth sailing after I cleared Haymarket. I could probably drive the route with my eyes closed, since I’ve run this route like a zillion times, in both the Sable and the old Previa.

And on the way in, I made a few stops. First of all, I met up with Mom in Harrisonburg where we went to Costco together. I don’t know how I’m going to fit all the stuff she got me in my freezer, but I’m resourceful. I’ll come up with something. Then we went back to Stuarts Draft separately, since she was going straight home, and I went to the Waynesboro Wal-Mart, where I went to SmartStyle and got quite a bit of hair taken off. It had been a very long time since last I got a haircut, so this was much-needed. I also got to say hello to everyone, which I’d not done in a while, since I’d not been to my ex-store since June.

Then I also fulfilled the request for the photo of the freestanding Starbucks in Waynesboro with the drive-through window. And since I already had Big Mavica out, I also took a photo of the anatomically-correct bull statue in Stuarts Draft, the “Welcome to Stuarts Draft” sign, and the cows that live on the farm with the bull statue. And the cows were all staring at me, as cows do. Imagine this:

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Categories: Stuarts Draft, Waynesboro

What a fun weekend…

June 24, 2007, 6:52 PM

The weekend went really well! Patrick came over on Saturday, and it was a lot of fun. One question Patrick had was whether Mom had gotten used to my being gone. My exact comment was, “Do you want to see how used to it she’s gotten? Come look at this.” And I showed him my old bedroom, which Mom totally redecorated, as I described earlier. Then Patrick, Sis, and I went to Mellow Mushroom in Charlottesville, where we split two pizzas amongst the three of us. One was a vegetarian pizza, with a pesto base, and lots of tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms. Then the other was a cheese pizza with mozzarella and feta cheese. Really good stuff.

Then after Patrick left to go back to Harrisonburg, I kind of crashed myself. I slept on that futon Mom got. It was a futon. It’s firmer than mine, and Mom put a fitted sheet over the futon cover, since she claimed the texture of the cover would be uncomfortable to sleep on. I said don’t worry about it, since I would likely be too tired to care, but she insisted, and so it was. And when I went to sleep, I was indeed too tired to care. But it was a decent sleep, though it felt strange sleeping in my old bedroom on this strange new piece of furniture. Of course, I’m used to sleeping on a futon, though I only have to do that for one more week.

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And now we’re in Stuarts Draft…

June 23, 2007, 3:02 PM

And now I’m in Stuarts Draft, where I’ll be until Sunday. Visiting the parents, and spending some time with others as well. I went and visited Katie on the way back in. That was fun.

Then here, Mom’s been busy. She’s already redone my old bedroom. The bed’s gone, and there’s this new nautical-themed futon in there now. In fact, Mom went nautical on the whole thing. She even used some of my old ship posters and such as part of the decor. Additionally, there’s a new coffee table, plus that chair Mom bought at Ikea.

Also, here’s a weird sight – going down to Stuarts Draft from DC in the daytime. I took nearly 100 DC trips over a litle more than three years, and offhand I can think of maybe two where the return trip was made while it was light out. It was weird. The trip was so different. I saw so many things I wasn’t used to seeing. I know what it all looks like in the light in the towards-DC direction, but not in the other direction.

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“You mean I’ve slept my last sleep in that bed?”

June 5, 2007, 2:32 PM

I was talking to Mom on the phone yesterday, and found out that Mom is getting rid of my old bed. She’s replacing it with a futon couch, since she claims it will be more comfortable and more versatile. I don’t doubt either claim. I’ve been sleeping on a futon couch for a little less than a month now, until I get my new bed in a week and a half or so.

Still, it’s one of those things where as much as you detest the bed, you never really thought that it would go. But, yeah, she’s getting rid of it. And it will likely be before I go down to visit again, so I’ve most likely seen the bed for the last time. Weird!

It will be so strange next time I go visit the parents to have this futon in my old bedroom. Now mind you, I still haven’t completely removed everything from there. Lots of my stuff still hasn’t made the ride from Stuarts Draft to Silver Spring. Still, that will be strange. But at least I’ll only be using it when I go to visit. Sleeping on a futon gets old after a while. I should know.

Still, as worn out and uncomfortable as it was, I’m going to miss that old bed.

Categories: Family, Stuarts Draft

The Skyline Parkway Motel has finally been demolished.

April 25, 2007, 5:04 PM

Afton Mountain now presents a slightly more picturesque view to those who visit it, as the Skyline Parkway Motel was demolished in the last week or so. In doing so, they not only removed the main building, which had been the target of an arson attack in 2004, but they also removed the row of cabins next to the main building. The cabins had never been torched, but had been abandoned for some time, and were in hideous shape.

And of course, here are photos:

Straight-on view of the former motel.
Straight-on view of the former motel.

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A few quick things…

April 24, 2007, 1:02 AM

First of all, the photos of the now-demolished Skyline Parkway Motel are officially in the can, and I will be posting those on Wednesday, after I get back from apartment hunting in DC on Tuesday.

Secondly, does anyone have a good recipe for green slime? I want to do a homage to You Can’t Do That On Television for the splash page, and so I need to make some slime. In making the slime, the finished product can’t be clear. It needs to be opaque and somewhat thick, and it also can’t be completely smooth. I want something authentic poured on my head when I say “I don’t know.” And of course, to get clean again after getting slimed, you just have to mention “water”.

Meanwhile, to be truly authentic, I’d need to find an old-style metal jungle gym to do the shoot at.

Photos of mine, printed ABOVE the fold…

August 28, 2006, 7:51 AM

How often can you say that your photos end up on the front page of the local newspaper? And above the fold, no less. If you look at the August 28, 2006 edition of The News Virginian, you will see two photos anchoring an article about the Skyline Parkway Motel, which, you may recall, had been abandoned for some time, and then was torched in 2004. Both of them are tagged with “Photo courtesy of BEN SCHUMIN”. Here are the photos that the newspaper ran:

Skyline Parkway Motel before the fire  Skyline Parkway Motel after the fire

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Free at last!

August 14, 2006, 4:04 PM

The detour is done! The complete rebuilding of Route 608 (Cold Springs Road) has been completed, and so now we have our road back.

To give you a little background information, for the past six months, those who live in my neighborhood have had to go this way to get to US 340 and on to Waynesboro, marked in red:

Map of Stuarts Draft, Virginia showing detour route from Forest Springs/Ridgeview Acres area to intersection of US 340 and VA 608
Image: Google Maps

All that distance to get out of the neighborhood. And the work area, meaning the section of road that was closed, is the section of road in between the green arrows. To give you a comparison, the regular way to 340 is as follows:

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Categories: Religion, Roads, Stuarts Draft

My feet were going commando today…

March 26, 2006, 4:46 AM

After receiving an anonymous message through my Instant Messenger that sandals with socks were a major fashion no-no (even though Sis has told me that for years), I finally kind of had one of those what-the-hell moments. So I left the socks at home.

You may recall I did this once before – last year. I wrote about it in the Journal at that time.

The funny reaction I got was when I realized that sandals without socks is basically like going commando for your feet. No socks is like going without underwear, after all. A coworker overheard and said, “You did not just say what I think you just said!” I repeated myself, and they admitted then that they didn’t hear the word “feet”.

Also, a few unrelated things… first of all, the construction site where they’ve been rebuilding Route 608 in Stuarts Draft is now what I would describe as “drivable with extreme care”. The road is technically closed to traffic, but VDOT can’t fully block it off due to houses, a farm, and a business along that stretch of road that still have to have access to the outside world. So I drove it today as a little side trip. The road is definitely straighter and higher than it was before, and it will have curbs and storm drains, which the road previously lacked. Supposedly, it’s to be complete in August (moved up from the original October completion date), but I’ll believe that when I see it. It will certainly be nice going the regular way again, rather than taking this lengthy detour through a somewhat windy road, where people have a tendency to drive too fast.

And on a second unrelated note, I went to Charlottesville yesterday, by way of Crozet. They’re filming parts of Evan Almighty in Crozet, where they’ve built a giant ark for the movie. I took some pictures of it with my cell phone, and I’ll show you those once I get them all downloaded.

Categories: Shoes, Stuarts Draft

You know you’re from the [Shenandoah] Valley if…

September 6, 2005, 8:06 PM

I found this on a friend’s AIM profile, and I was laughing out loud at it. I’ve lived in Stuarts Draft for thirteen years now, which means that most of my life has been spent in this area. Some of it is just SO true, while other parts of it are a stretch. So here goes.

You know you’re from the valley if…

  • You think the traffic on 340 at 5pm on a Friday is a major traffic jam.
  • If you go to Wal-Mart and you see at least 10 people that you know pretty well.
  • The smell of manure makes you homesick.
  • When people ask where you’re from and you never give the specific town… but somewhere about 30 miles away (Charlottesville,
    Harrisonburg).
  • When you’re showing an outsider the town, they’re shocked that so many people wave in
    passing… even though you don’t know half of them.
  • Two words POTATO GUN.
  • If you remember shopping at Roses or skating at TRB’s in Waynesboro.
  • If the Stuarts Draft Fireman’s Lawn Party and parade was a must.
  • If you remember when 340 (through Stuarts Draft) was a two-lane road.
  • You had a heart attack when we got TWO Wal-Marts!
  • “Bring your tractor to school day” was a regular part of spirit week.
  • You went to the Frontier Culture Museum for a field trip every year in elementary school.
  • Wright’s Dairy Rite, a movie, and Wal-Mart is the ideal date.
  • “Stuarts Draft” is pronounced as one word.
  • You’re driving down the road and you smell cow manure, you don’t roll your window up, you just breathe it in.
  • One of the cliques at your school was the “Aggies.”
  • Your parents had the same teachers in school you did.

Interesting, no?

Categories: Amusing, Stuarts Draft

When I did the photo set, I never thought I was going to be documenting the last days of the complex…

June 19, 2005, 4:27 AM

When I shot the photos that comprised the two-part photo set Afton Mountain: Victim of Progress, I never really thought that what I was documenting would disappear so quickly. The focus of the photo set was threefold, if you recall:

Howard Johnson's Restaurant
Howard Johnson’s Restaurant

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