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Day Three – Monday
There are moments in my life when I can safely say, “I’m a smart cookie.”
This wouldn’t be one of those moments.
I mentioned last time that our first night in Washington D.C. sucked – royally. I got virtually no sleep what with the sirens wailing, the horns honking, my husband sawing logs right in my dad-blasted ear and our possessed refrigerator making this weird, shuddering, popping/grinding noise every 45 minutes – it was truly bad.
But did I think about how I was going to get through the next night? No. Did I prepare myself for all of the night noises that would surely keep me up for a second night in a row? Of course not.
But GD did, God bless the boy.
When we found the Safeway and bought groceries to feed us for the remainder of our trip, GD suggested we buy earplugs. BRILLIANT! Why didn’t I think of that?! Because I was brain dead from lack of sleep, that’s why. (Or I’m an idiot … that works, too).
Luckily, Safeway had earplugs and I stuffed those mommas so deep into my ear canal the only thing I could hear was the beat of my own heart.
I slept sounder than a cat drunk on catnip. Wait, do cats pass out from too much catnip? Sorry, I wouldn’t know, I’m not a cat person …
Where was I? Oh yeah …
Monday rolled around and my physical and mental batteries recharged; I was ready to face another full day of walking my shins off.
And that’s exactly what we did. We boarded the Metro and headed to the Smithsonian station. Another thing we bought at Safeway was a detailed map of Washington D.C. (and for future reference, if I start talking about going someplace for vacation, especially someplace NOTORIOUS for confusing streets and horrendous traffic, you have my permission to knock me out cold AND THEN remind me to buy a detailed map of the area when I wake up). So, we exited the Metro, pulled out our handy-dandy map and found our way to the Air & Space Museum.
May I just say – WOW. This place was entertainment pay dirt for my guys. We could have easily spent our entire vacation in the Air & Space Museum – it was not only gigantic, but LOADED with cool facts and of course, AUTHENTIC artifacts.
Case in point:
The Red Baron
The Spirit of St. Louis (A personal favorite considering I’m from Missouri)
And the original Wright Flyer (Well, the canvas was replaced, but the frame was original).
In addition to the above cool stuff, they had the Cray computer, turbines, propellers, heat sensors, rockets, hands-on experiments and all sorts of interesting facts about our air and space history. We arrived at the Air & Space Museum about 11ish? We FINALLY finished the first floor about 2ish.
And we still had another floor to explore. That’s how much fun we had at the museum. We also ran into a dog tag booth. As soon as I saw the booth, I knew what was going to happen – I braced myself for the beg fest.
I wasn’t disappointed. As soon as MK spotted the dog tag booth, he went into full charm mode. “Mom, you said we could buy souvenirs at each place we visited.”
“I said that?” Of course I said that, but my boys are teenagers now and charm mode? Doesn’t come along very often, so I’m going to milk the opportunity as much as possible when they come along.
“You did. So,” MK nodded toward the booth, “can we get some dog tags?”
I threw up my hands and caused a huge scene explaining the down side to having dog tags. I raised my voice, smoke billowed from my ears and when I finally calmed down and was sufficiently sure that I had embarrassed my boys as much as I possibly could, I said, “Why yes son, you certainly MAY have dog tags.”
HA! I had you going, didn’t I. I didn’t cause a scene. In fact, I had my credit card out and was in line before the boy even finished his begging.
I’m awesome like that. MK wore his dog tags the rest of our trip. In fact, you can see the dog tags in the slideshow I put together, if you’re interested.
Our stomachs, which had been grumbling for the past two hours and which we had dutifully ignored so we could absorb some more history goodness, finally caught our attention. We headed to the food court only to slam smack dab into a wall of people about twenty bodies deep and as far as the eye could see.
We didn’t really want to wait in line for an hour and pay a butt load of money on sub-par food, so we exited the museum, walked across the street and ate at a rather largish kiosk and paid a butt load of money for sub-par food.
*sigh* Food is not cheap when you’re on vacation.
After stuffing our faces, we decided to leave the second floor of the museum for another day – our brains simply couldn’t take anymore information overload. In the meantime, as we were in the park eating our grub, a park police helicopter flew overhead several times. Then, a slew of sirens wailed and nearly every single EMT vehicle in D.C. descended upon us.
We threw our trash away and began walking toward the commotion. We stopped a guy in a business suit and asked him what was going on. “Oh nothing,” he replied. “They are just showing off for the public.”
We raised our eyebrows, looked at each other and said, “D.C. is so cool!”
We were in The National Mall park. It’s a long strip of land that separates countless museums (along with the Smithsonian Castle …
… isn’t it cool?!)
and that has the Washington Monument at one end and the Capitol at the other end. To walk from the Capitol to the Monument, end-to-end is half a mile. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’re walking it, at the hottest part of the day, in 90-degree weather and after walking for four straight hours in the museum, it’s not something you really want to do on the spur-of-the-moment.
And yet, that’s exactly what we did.
We walked down to the Capitol to see what all the fuss was about. Apparently, it was some sort of publicity thing and after allowing the public to get close and take some pictures, they shooed us away so they could have some professional photographers come in and do their thing.
In the meantime, we took some pictures of the Capitol.
(As you can see, I wasn’t QUITE ready for him to take the picture. And I was hot, hence the reason my sleeves are rolled up and I look like a hick from the sticks. Oh wait, I AM a hick from the sticks – never mind).
After the excitement died down, we walked the half mile to the other end and visited the Washington Monument. By the time we got there, we were extremely hot, tired and I had a sweat mark slashed across my shirt due to the book bag I carried the whole trip (it had all of our cameras, water and money in it).
If you look closely, you can see my sweaty slash mark …
Never let it be said that I ONLY post flattering pictures of myself. I think we can all agree this one is anything BUT flattering.
We spent quite a bit of time at the monument,
catching our breath and praying to God for strength to get us back to the hotel just sort of soaking in the atmosphere and we took some pretty awesome pictures of the flags that encircled the monument. Again, you can see those in the slideshow.
After taking our pictures and catching our breath, we started the LOOONG trek back to the Metro station and stumbled back to our hotel room. Our leg muscles were screaming bloody murder by that time, but we were happy and that’s all that mattered to us. (And I’d like to add, brag really, that the boys never ONCE complained about all the walking we did – 1. because they are the coolest boys on earth and 2., they knew it would do them no good and why waste their breath? *snort*).
We ate our TV dinners and fell into bed early because we had yet another full day of walking ahead of us the next day.
(To be continued …)