Presidential Inauguration Trip: Day 7
Thursday, January 22, 2009
This morning, James wanted to bring food for all of the other kids in day care. Marg said no, which, when added with Aunt Liz closing the refrigerator door and turning off the lights, resulted in a meltdown. He was already bundled up by that time, so it was too difficult for him to cross his arms, and just pouted and stared at us. We needed to get going, but it took way long for Marg & Liz to get him buckled into his car seat, because a) James made himself stiff as a board while hysterically crying; b) James made himself weigh 50 pounds heavier; c) they still needed to take off his big coat in order for him to fit in the car seat; and d) they really didn't want to break anything in order to get him to sit down and strapped in. It was madness.
We were finally able to get going, albeit with James screaming "NO!!!" at absolutely nobody asking anything. After dropping him off at day care, we went to the bank so that Liz could try to get her money back. She still had to file a claim, so she didn't get it right away, and will have to wait until after she gets home. Marg drove us to DC and dropped us off so that she could go to work, and we went to the Capitol.
Jesus Birds on Water in front of Capitol
We were trying to find the Visitors Center, but I didn't want Liz to ask anybody that was holding a gun. Unfortunately, those were the only official-looking people available, so she did anyway. We shopped a little bit, and had breakfast downstairs in the cafeteria. We saw that they had crab cakes and lobster rolls on the menu, but couldn't order them because we were too early. We briefly looked at the exhibit in the main hall, which included a replica of the statue on top of the Capitol dome. We also looked a little bit at the Emancipation Proclamation exhibit, which included a history of Congress.
We went back to Longworth Hall to buy stuff, like a space pen and a pretty Great Seal charm for Liz. We went back outside, and were curious as to where the Senators have their offices, so Liz asked Capitol policeman in ski mask about it. Now, normally I don't want to ask anything from someone wearing a ski mask and carrying a gun. I didn't want to this time, either. So Liz did. He pointed across the way, and we didn't have time for that, so we instead walked to the Washington Monument and tried to avoid the Pro-Life picketers. Wow, there were a LOT of them! It wasn't as many people as the Inauguration, but National Mall was quite full.
Well, you KNEW he had to be here somewhere, right?
I don't remember ever seeing the WWII Memorial before, and saw that the Philippines was one of the countries in tribute, so I took a picture there and refrained from taking Bananaman out for the picture. I do have some sense of how to be somber, you know. On the way to the Lincoln Memorial, I saw that the Reflecting Pool was still icy. I've now decided to name certain birds "Jesus Birds," because they look like they're walking on water when the reflecting pool is frozen. We walked over to the Lincoln Memorial, and I almost cried while reading the quote of the Gettysburg Address on the wall.
Lincoln really is quite something for one's eyes to behold, and I thought of how his presidency paved the way for Barack Obama to become President himself. So I tried not to totally lose it, and shopped in the bookstore. I bought a book there which I'll be using in later blog posts, as well as a sticker book for the nephew, because he likes stickers, he likes pennies, and he might as well learn about Lincoln while he's sticking pennies on stuff.
Can you see the Monument's reflection in the icy pool?
We hadn't realized how close we already were to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. We saw the wall and walked beside it, and all I could think of was that there were too many names. Too many soldiers died for that war, and the personal touch of the flowers and drawings that people left really saddened me. Liz showed me the book where you can look up someone's name to find its place on the wall.
Back of White House
On our way over to the White House, we passed by our bleacher section and Liz realized just how close we had been sitting to the end of the parade route, and also that we could have been in the section to see Obama get out of the limo and walk. She was NOT happy. She even had me take a picture of her, so clearly she had lost her mind at that point. I will not risk my life by posting that here, but suffice it to say: Liz was quite miffed. We witnessed some of the press box being taken down, and weren't able to get a good angle for pictures of the White House from the front because of all of the bleachers. Other people tried to get past the barricades anyway, which prompted yellings of "Ma'am!" quite a few times.
Video in front of White House
We shopped a little bit in a political souvenirs store, and saw that they were selling a Limited Edition number of 500 bottles of Cristal especially made for the Inauguration. I don't have a spare $200.00 plus shipping to buy that, so I took a picture instead.
We went to Corner Bakery for a snack, and somehow Liz and I continued our trend of buying the same item even though we ordered separately and nowhere near each other. Corner Bakery is in a little mall, which has a White House store where I finally found something I had been looking for all week. They also had a cool painting of all of the presidents standing in front of the White House, with Obama included.
We successfully took the Metro back to Marg's work, and, despite the horrific traffic, picked up James ON TIME. YAY! Our dinner was at UNO, where they had a special pepperoni pizza in honor of the Inauguration, since Chicago is Obama Country. I think they also had a special margarita, too, but I didn't have either one of those. I had a Numero Uno personal pizza, and a salad with pomegranate-blueberry vinaigrette. That was some good salad dressing, and I enjoyed the pizza as well. There were plenty of leftovers, so I decided to take mine to go for the trip home. Margaret reminded James that he had not yet sung Happy Birthday to me, so he proceeded to do so. In the bathroom. While I was at the table. He did sing for me later, though. See? You have to either tilt your screen or your head, though.
When we got back to Marg's house, James asked me to color with him, and he actually let me use different colors as we switched crayons back and forth. His mom asked him what he was doing, and he said, "I'm playing nice with Miss Sherry." Awwww.... Marg didn't want to make him go to bed because he was being so pleasant, but it was also a good time to take him to his room so that he wouldn't argue. She broke the news to him that I'd be leaving the next day, so we made sure to take pictures together so that he'd have them in his room when he got home from school the next day. Liz attempted to start packing and decided that she would, indeed, need to check another bag. Well, she did have stuff from a few weeks ago when she was there, too. The evening was all fine and dandy until James somehow got his foot stuck in the slats of his bed. Liz and I heard Marg yell from upstairs, "ELIZABETH!!!" and she ran up the stairs, thinking that she'd need to perform some kind of CPR. Instead, they needed to just calm the child down and get his foot back out. Poor thing.
After everything settled and James fell asleep, I finally ate my dessert from Famous Dave's, while Liz fell asleep in the armchair. It's been quite an active day. I'm surprised that I made it upstairs myself. It was probably the bed calling my name.