Presidential Inaugural Trip: Day 4
Monday, January 19, 2009 -- Sherry's 41st Birthday
The Birthday Girl with Her Birthday Mascot
Marg noticed this morning that she needed gas if we were going to get to her mom's house this evening. So we went to a gas station that was conveniently located next to a Burke and Herbert bank. I went into the ATM room and got my money. Liz went in afterward, and then Marg joined her. They took awhile, and I wondered what was wrong as I talked to James for a little bit. They both returned to the car, stating that the ATM ate Liz's money. I didn't understand. Well, it seems that Liz tried to withdraw money, and instead of the $100 that it was supposed to give her, it only gave $60.00, then the spool went all wonky and stopped giving her money. In fact, you could actually see the money stuck in the ATM.
See the money in there?
Liz couldn't find any phone numbers by the ATM to call in case of an emergency. Thinking that perhaps another request for money would push Liz's money out along with it, Margaret tried to put in her own card. However, the ATM wouldn't even accept it. So Liz and I looked through the windows at the bank to write down all of the phone numbers that we could. She called them, but couldn't get through to anyone, even on the 24-hour line. We dropped off James at day care, and Liz left a message on a random person's voice mail. She managed to NOT say "Y'all are just JANKY!" as her sister had suggested if it had been one of those cheap, stand-alone machines.
We drove to the Franconia Metro station to use our pretty special edition Metro cards.
We took the Metro into town, and Bananaman was able to get his own seat, see?
Doesn't he look happy? Because it's his day, man!
We disembarked at the Capitol Hill stop and found the shortest line into Longworth Hall. While waiting in line, we talked about the major cold with a nice couple from Utah named Kevin and Juliet. THEY were really cold, and they had ski gear on. Kevin said that it was because the humidity was different in DC than in UT. Liz's House Rep, Linda Sanchez was holding a reception for her consituents, and it was really nice. There were breakfast burritos, fruit, pastries, coffee, tea, cheese, and water available. Two of the decorations on the table were the Capitol building made out of chocolate and white chocolate. The aides told us that they were for sale at Costco of all places! I talked to one of Ms. Sanchez's assistants about the catering for Margaret, and then Liz and I met Ms. Sanchez to take a picture with her and say thank you for the reception. While we were in line, a couple of guys basically just walked right in there to talk to her and monopolized her time. One of the aides eventually saw us and helped us get in to say hi briefly so that we could leave. Of course, I wanted a picture of the chocolate Capitols, and was daring enough to ask if Bananaman could sit next to the chocolate. The aide there got a kick out of it and said that it reminded her of the "Peanut Butter Jelly" dancers. She showed BMan to the other aide, and he started to do the dance, so she did, too. Margaret and Liz were simultaneously mortified and highly amused by the whole encounter.
Bananaman and White Chocolate Capitol
Liz was able to talk to one of the staff members in charge of the Inauguration tickets, and they said that if any tickets were unclaimed by 4:00 p.m. today, they were hers. So all day I kept looking at the time to make sure that Liz would listen for the phone at 4:00.
One of my sightseeing goals for this trip was to see the painting of Stephen Colbert in the National Museum of American History. We figured that this would be a good day to see the object of my Geek Love since it was my actual birthday. We had researched the layout of the museum the night before so that we could make a quick stop there, and I was really happy to see the painting of Stephen, which is a painting of him next to a painting of him next to a painting of him. Bananaman did not meet Mr. Colbert because I was smiling too much to remember.
Sherry + Stephen
During our walks around town and along National Mall, we checked out the different wares being sold by the vendors on the sidewalks. You could get pretty much anything with Obama on it. I bought a scarf because the one that I had packed was NOT warm enough for me the other night at the Kennedy Center. At one point, Liz was going to buy a couple of shirts from a guy selling his stuff on top of the barricades on a street corner, and asked the man if he had a bag. He looked at her like, "WTF?" Marg whispered to me, "Leave it to my sister to ask for a bag from a man selling stuff on the street," and we laughed hysterically. Marg was crying by the time Liz came over to see why we would not stop giggling. Mind you, Liz did not live this down for the remainder of the trip. Luckily, I had a tote bag on me so that Liz wasn't just walking around with shirts in her hand as she was apparently loathe to do. Marg was like, "The only other person I could see doing that would be Mom!" Liz has apparently gone hoity-toity and forgotten what it's like to buy non-licensed merchandise off the street.
We walked to The Historical Society of Washington, DC to see the exhibit "Quilts for Obama: Celebrating the Inauguration of our 44th President." The quilts were amazing and beautiful. I was struck by the beautiful colors and the creativity of the different artists. One of my favorites had little pockets with quotes inside of them. I wasn't able to read any of them because we weren't allowed to touch or take pictures of the quilts. I also liked one that had panels of the different events in Michelle Obama's family roots, leading up to the inauguration of her husband. I'm really glad that we were able to see such a wonderful exhibit.
We walked back toward town, still looking at the time and anxiously awaiting a phone call. As we walked, we overheard a gal talking loudly on her cell phone to her friend Shayne about Shayne's inebriated actions the night before. We couldn't help but listen, because she was loud, entertaining,and walking at the same pace and in the same direction as us. She was telling Shayne about what was going on with a guy at the bar, and here's a snippet of what she told her friend: "Your head had gone down toward his, you know, area, and I said, 'SHAYNE!' but you couldn't hear me...and he said to one of his friends, 'I'm getting this for FREE tonight!'" O.M.G. I was thinking at this point, "How could you possibly let your friend get to this point?" because there were other things she said that led up to this part of the conversation. We finally lost her in the crowd, but were still curious to find out where Shayne actually was at the current moment, and where she woke up this morning. Oh, well. Our imaginations would have to suffice.
The gals had decided during the day that I needed to have a cupcake to celebrate my birthday. Margaret mentioned that a new cupcake place had opened somewhere on 7th Avenue, but had forgotten the name. She eventually said that she could smell cupcakes, but apparently my olfactory senses were failing me, because I couldn't smell anything. But there it was, in neon letters: Red Velvet. The line was out the door. Yes, it was a small place, but there were at least 15 people in line in front of us. I ended up getting a Peanut Butter Cup, which is Chocolate Chocolate Chip cake with Peanut Butter Frosting. YUM-MY. We didn't end up eating them until later, because we wanted to get ourselves back to Capitol Hill in case Liz got a call.
Cupcakes at Red Velvet
We were walking in front of the Capitol when the phone rang. Liz missed the call (damn gloves), but she did get a hold of the staff member who said that all of the tickets were claimed. Awww. But good news! He had two tickets for parade seating. YAY! So we quickly walked back to Longworth Hall and obtained the tickets.
Happy to have anything special in our hands, we walked back to the Metro station and got back on the train to Franconia. Remembering that James did NOT need to see that we had sugar handy, we ate our cupcakes on the way. Margaret knew that we would be late picking up James, and asked us to join her in going inside to get him. James had a major pouty face. The day care staff gave him a few Hershey's Kisses, and we are now thinking that it was to punish Marg. Isn't it funny how you can warn a kid not to hold chocolate tightly in their hand lest it melt, but they still do it anyway, then complain about it?
We needed a bite to eat that was portable, so we went to Five Guys for burgers. I didn't realize that a regular burger had 2 patties, but I was hungry, so I finished mine. There were too many french fries for me to finish, though.
We drove to a town near Fredericksburg to stay at Liz's parents' big, beautiful house. We stopped at a Sports Authority store on the way where Liz bought some toe warmers for us, and some warmer gloves. We also went to Kohl's to get some other clothing, including this strange but warm thing that was like a big mock turtleneck. We also went to an Office Depot, where they had run out of the memory card that Marg wanted to buy on sale, but I did find the portable cell phone charger that I'd been looking for, so I was happy. Well, until James had a meltdown when he wanted candy and was rejected. Oh, boy. Liz said that he gained 50 pounds when he wouldn't budge. The boy just knows how to make dead weight of himself. We somehow managed to get him into the vehicle and calm him down before we got to the house. James was supposed to sing Happy Birthday to me in front of his grandparents, but there was too much excitement when we got there, so that didn't happen.
That's OK. It was a great birthday anyway: Colbert, Bananaman, Tickets, and Cupcakes. The ATM at least gave me my money so that I could repay Liz for my wallet-less day, and found the charger that I wanted. What more could a girl ask for? Well, except for warm weather.
Thanks for a great birthday, Ward sisters!