i can see my apartment from here: the 22nd photos


Despite living in Richmond proper for a collective four years, I hadn’t entered City Hall until Monday. I had heard that the top floor was an observation deck, so I decided to go to it while I was there.

I intended to take more/better photos (better is a relative term, because this is a cellphone camera, after all), but it was a cold, windy day and being nearly 20 stories up in a partially open-air structure made it worse.

I only took photos from the southeast/southwest sides of the building because there really aren’t any other tall buildings in the metro area. As you can see in the one featuring the hideous James Monroe tower, after the East End (which includes my old neighborhood of Chimborazo), there’s nothing but flat land after the landfills in Henrico. There are some other interesting structures on the other sides, but that’s a task for a warmer day.

One building of note is the Verizon building, 703 E. Grace St. Virginia’s original area code, 703, was chosen because of that address.

I can’t remember the last time I was this many stories up in a building, which is sad. It certainly makes for an interesting perspective. I need to return to the top of 900 E. Broad St. one day soon.

i love it when a plan comes together

Well, this weekend’s plans didn’t come together completely, beyond having a three-day weekend that began the day it started to snow.

I had really hoped we’d get a dining room table and an armchair Saturday. The longer we’re in this place, the more I see the need for a real table and a place to sit that isn’t the couch.

I knew that D.C., Charlottesville and other points north and west were going to get slammed, but I fully expected Richmond to get oversold. It happens often — sure it snows here, but Richmond as a whole was unconcerned to the point that I had plans for Saturday and Sunday that didn’t involve being snowed in.

I had an appointment Friday morning to which I walked; two years ago, I wrecked Nicole driving back at the start of a snowstorm. I only drive when I absolutely have to in the snow. Additionally, I only drive in Richmond when I absolutely have to. As I figured, it started to snow while I was where I was, so Katy gave me a ride most of the way back. I would have protested harder, but I’ve been ignoring a cold because I hate being sick.

False sense of security

On Friday, it snowed then turned to sleet.

Before sunset Friday, some digging out began, and things looked pretty over. There were rumors of a second wave of snow, but again, it sounded more dire for areas outside of Richmond, and the Friday snow was well under expectations, so whatever.

Deepening false sense of security ...

One could even see the skyline Friday night.

But the storm came back the very next day. The storm came back — we thought it was a goner. The storm came back, it just wouldn’t stay away.

We ultimately fell into the projected ranged with a prolonged heavy snowfall Saturday.

Note the visibility.

Shoveled for naught.

For a brief period, we approached blizzard conditions.

The Spanish Inquisition of snow.

Where’d the rest of the city go?

Well, that escalated quickly.

That grain elevator two photos up is roughly four blocks away. The building that nearly disappears is two blocks away. I still held out hope for a concert to be on still, but it just kept coming down.

I did not leave the building Saturday.

Today, it was finally over. It also approached 40 degrees. I borrowed a shovel and began digging out my car. (In a complete lapse of judgement, I abandoned two shovels in Charlottesville.) The parking lot’s still a little rough, and the road linking the lot to the interstate wasn’t plowed as of when I went inside at about 4 p.m., so I’m not going to attempt driving to Mr. Jefferson’s city until Tuesday.

But I got stir crazy today, me droogs.

A neighbor said the nearest 7-Eleven, located across the James at 10th and Main, was open, so I walked downtown. Next to no sidewalks were clear, so I ended up having to walk in a vestigial travel lane on the Mayo Bridge going in.

On the way back, I took a little detour to see the statehouse.

Although it's illegal, people were sledding down Shockoe Hill.

If I didn’t have bags at this point, I would have explored more.

Additionally, I took the Manchester Bridge back to Manchester, because I thought it’s walkway would be clear. It was not.

But I was able to get this shot.

I'm liking my new phone's camera. I miss having a DSLR at my disposal, though

I love crossing the Manchester Bridge just for this view of downtown.

Tomorrow, Renée and I both work from home. I need newsroom noise and chaos to work, so I’m at least going to need music or the TV in the background. Also, I’ll need to make at least one phone call. This could prove interesting.

Also, I really need to buy another snow shovel.


My schedule is changing yet again, but it means that I’ll have an extra day off every other week. (I bollocksed that up with my impending vacation, so Friday was my last Friday working until the second week in February.) In a perfect pay period, I’ll work nine hours a day for eight days and theoretically leave after eight hours on the ninth day. I’m OK with this, because that’s one less day of commuting to Charlottesville and a full weekday I can use for errands, appointments, enjoying Richmond and restarting my writing regimen.

Additionally, I can finish setting up this place.

It’s been a little more than 90 days, and it’s starting to look like a place.


I’ve begun hanging art.

putting this rug down was unnecessarily complicated.

Along with a coffee table, we now have a rug, so the couch stops gliding across the wood floors.

The LOC system is odd sometimes

My books are in shelves and sorted by the Library of Congress system.

I bet Mary Tyler Moore wished her M lit up.

I bought a frivolous piece of decoration.

A coat rack is on the way.

Other than setting up the guest room part of the office/my closet, we just need a kitchen table, an armchair and a proper TV stand.

This place is starting to feel like home, and that makes me happy.

Sure, I fully unpacked in the Charlottesville house and there was (nearly) a place for everything, but it never had that certain je ne sais quoi that made it truly feel like La Maison Robinson. I think the difference here is all about location. And that damn sexy exposed brick and wood timbers.

I’m excited about making this place look like a home, a real adult home.

I want a table so badly. I want to invite people over for dinner. I want to take their coats and put them on the rack. I want to show a friend to the guest room and offer a couch — not a bed, not a futon.

I want a return to normalcy so badly. There was a solitude in being halfway up a mountain in Charlottesville that never set well with me. Being ready for guests is the first step to regaining what we lost there. Sure, the world kept turning and some of the people who would hang in Chimborazo just to hang either aren’t around anymore or matured, but I grew up in a home that all but placed a pineapple at the front gate.

I do declare, I’m almost ready to place mine.

hopefully, the end of the hiatus

Well, it’s been a while.

Nearly three hours of my life five days a week are dedicated to commuting between Charlottesville and Richmond. It makes me angry, because I fell like I don’t get to enjoy living in this place except for weekends, which sometimes consist of going out of town and enjoying life. If not for my staycation, a day I could work from Richmond and a sick day, I would not have spent a single hour in this place by myself.

I’m tired of not being home. I’m tired of only seeing my place for three whole hours before having to prepare for bed. Other than going to brunch and Target, I didn’t leave today, and I’m OK with that. But I’m not OK with that, because I live in Richmond but I’m not really enjoying it. I haven’t even reconnected with a lot of people yet, but that’s partially because so much has changed in the past three years.

At times, it feels like I’ve been in prison and I need to re-integrate into a society that has an exponential amount of technology over when I went in. I mean, I typically didn’t have weekends, so to some people, I’ve just been dead to the world since December 2011. Or those magical three months I was back in 2012.

We don’t have proper furniture yet, but that hasn’t been a problem because we’ve only had one real guest since moving in. We’ve been doing bits and pieces for the moment. I bought a floor lamp today, and it was entirely too satisfying. I still need to buy a new bookcase and get all my CDs out of my trunk.

I still need to type up my Christmas messages. I have nowhere to put LSW.

I’m really resenting not being able to enjoy being back in RVA. On occasion, I hear the phrase “You can’t go home again” in my head (and some times “irony”), and my response is “You shut your whore mouth.”

But I’m not king of the city anymore. Everyone has learned to get along here without me.

I’ve been reading One Hundred Years of Solitude, and it’s taking way longer than it should.

I don’t feel settled yet. It’s obvious from the spartan surroundings in this loft. It’s obvious from my commute. It’s obvious from how everything still seems to be on pause.

What’s happened since we’ve talked last?

Well, I spent Thanksgiving at my mother-in-law’s house in Newport News. At one point, I went to my mom’s house and, to be honest, it’s pretty weird to be in that house with just my mom and the dining room being the dining room again.

I went to Northern Virginia last weekend for a brother’s trip. We didn’t get hammered, and we were in bed by 1 a.m. In fact, it’s about 1:30 right now, and this is the latest I’ve been in an obscenely long time. Just this past Friday night, Blaine stopped by on his way to a wedding and we were back from the bar and sleeping before midnight.

My barber noted that my hair is thinning and suggested some vitamins “to fight it as long as you can.”Beyond me being OK with going bald and grey early, I fear looking more like Sasquatch if I take any kind of anything that encourages hair growth.

I’m between two sizes of contacts. One makes me sightly nearsighted and the other slightly farsighted. The farsighted ones feel the closest to my glasses. I was also told I’ll probably have cataracts one day. Another eye doctor said I’ll probably tear a retina one day.

I’ve gained about 30 pounds this year despite my intake of junk food being little to none. But I’ve noticed I’ve become ravenously hungry three times a day when I’m up at 6 a.m. and go to bed at 10 p.m. Back when I got up at 9 at the earliest for work, I ate very little.

You have no idea how much I’ve played the attached song since Dec. 7. Four years prior, it was another day that will live in infamy. At least for me.

I’ll be OK. In a couple months, we’ll have room to entertain, I’ll break back into the social scene and my commute won’t bother me.

It’s just that my entire world has changed. A lot.

This is the new normal, but I haven’t figured out what normal is yet.


We haven’t caught our breath yet. We really should have taken some days off for this move.

At least I have five days off later this week. Maybe we’ll finally feel really settled then.

This weekend is the first since we’ve been back that we’ve really been in Richmond the whole time. Actually, I haven’t been out of city limits since about 7 p.m. Friday. it’s been great.

It’s especially been great because on Friday, I not only when to Whiskey Grill, but to Balliceaux to one of the launch celebrations for Brass Knuckles by No BS.

There are still so many things I want to see and do in this city, but it’s a start.

We’re getting there. At least we’re here.

And we’ll get back to some sort of posting schedule again. I promise.

brief hiatus

Currently, I have no satisfactory place to set up my typewriter, so no Noiseless Words for a while. I’m almost completely unpacked, but we need new tables, a chair and a dresser or two.

Oh, and a futon for the office/my closet/guest room.

Also,my bookshelf broke, so now need two new bookcases. Or a gigantic one.

Our goal is to enjoy the city next weekend and have some things in place so someone could come over and, for example, have somewhere to sit.

And I’m still commuting to Charlottesville for work.

That said, I don’t really have time for anything during the week, and when I do, the last thing I want to do is sit in front of a computer or TV. I’m so behind on things on those media.

But, once everything is settled, it will be well worth it.