“Hey, babe. Wanna sleep in a strange place for the next two nights?

“Where are we going?”

“Camille lives in DC and needs a cat sitter. It was on Facebook.”

“Well, then it must be true.”

That’s how our first housesitting gig began. James had seen a post by a friend of a friend who was traveling out of state for Thanksgiving and wanted someone to stay with her Siamese, Zuzu.

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The thing about adventure is we usually forget to look for it in our own backyards. Mia has lived less than an hour away from D.C. for most of her life, yet there are many parts of it she has never seen. Strolling along East Capitol, she just stopped and stared. She had seen the building on the news and in movies, but now… there it was. Rising majestically from the end of the street. As we walked closer, she also saw for the first time the Folger Shakespeare Library and the United States Supreme Court. Gazing in awe at the historic buildings, she turned to me and said softly, “This is everything this country is supposed to stand for. We have to be better.”

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The next day, James suggested lunch at a place he’d been to several times before, but we took a detour when our attention was caught by a sign reading, “Puzzles and Games”. As soon as we walked in to Labyrinth (645 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20003; 202-544-1059), Mia moved to the chess piece display. James plays very well and she wants to learn. A guy wearing a black tee shirt and a friendly smile suggested “No Stress Chess” because the board has a cheat sheet printed on it lol As it turns outs, Arsenio Burton is a United States Chess Federation champion and teaches strategy. His advise for Mia was, ‘It doesn’t have to be complicated- forget learning the Russian gambit names. First learn how the pieces move, then learn how they can help you end the game. Everything in the middle will fall into place as you practice.” Knowing your ultimate goal sounded like great advice for Life, and all the other games we play.

Labyrinth is huge and games cover the walls as well as filling the floor space. There is a side room of kid/family games and a large community space which was reserved for Friday Night Magic (the Gathering) that evening. We were going to miss the Cookie Battle- all of the staff bake their favorites and ask the customers to judge- but we did leave with a cool box called “Exit the Game.”  The Abandoned Cabin combines puzzles and riddles with maps and clue cards to create an escape room-type experience. We can’t wait to play!

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We continued on our way until we arrived at a cozy-looking corner bar and grill called Mr. Henry’s (601 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20003; 202-546-8412). The place looks like it’s been in the neighborhood for a million years, but in the good way. Mr. Henry’s feels familiar the first time you step inside. We sat in a sunny window booth, taking in the dark wood, high ceiling, and the display of music artist portraits ringing the dining room above eclectic drawings and paintings that covered every available wall space.

Our server, Naveeta, was a lovely girl with chocolate skin, a big smile and multi-colored dreadlocks. After she delivered Mia’s cheeseburger and James’ reuben along with drink refills and extra napkins (this girl could juggle!), we asked if we could make her a character in the historical fiction novel we’re working on. Naveeta asked to be a day-walker but James didn’t realize that’s a kind of vampire so her character will probably walk the streets of 1900s Annapolis instead lol  Henry’s Upstairs has a great lineup of live music, including The Capitol Jazz Jam every Wednesday night, and we’re sorry to be leaving town before we can go listen.

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One of the best things about our Capitol Hill experience was receiving this awesome testimonial:

“James and Mia were wonderful house sitters. They arrived just prior to my departure time the day I was leaving in order to hear the details of taking care of my one cat, Zuzu. I was so extremely lucky they were able to answer my call for help at the last minute – I had forgotten to make arrangements more in advance so was so relieved to have a reliable, trustworthy couple able to care for my kitty. They asked concerned questions related to things that would keep her happy. There is nothing better than being able to leave your pet in their home while you are away and know they will be well cared for! I even got some pics of her from them while away which made me not worry at all knowing she was happy and had great company.
I highly recommend James and Mia as they are a responsible couple with a true respect for the job at hand. Everything was perfectly as I left it upon my return, spotless and not a thing out of order. I SO appreciate their help and would not hesitate to recommend them 100%! Upon my return Zuzu acted as if I never left – I think she got more attention than when I am home!” ~ Camille – *****  reference 26 November 2017

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We had so much fun with Zuzu and the whole ‘sleep-over’experience that we joined Trusted Housesitters and applied for more!  They say to be careful what you ask for because The Universe will surely reply Lol Starting in early December, we’re heading to Chicago for a week, then to downtown Baltimore for a few days. After that we head to Virginia, spend Christmas in South Carolina and end the year in Savannah! After that? Who knows but we’re excited about the adventure that is discovering new people and places. Could you and your place be part of it? Let us know what adventures are in your backyard and maybe we’ll check it out.