Thursday, June 28, 2018

DC - Day 3 - Monu-Mental!

Our second full day in DC was also our last day in DC, so we tried to squeeze in as many happy memories of us yelling at the kids to walk faster so that we could go see as many monuments as humanly possible in one day.

We decided to ditch the car and just take the Metro. I didn't want us to get separated on the Metro, so I took a few deep breaths, held my children close to me, and we all ran on the Metro together while I screamed a war cry at the top of my lungs. Not sure why, but it seemed like the doors wouldn't close prematurely and separate us if I stormed the Metro like I was on Braveheart. Everyone gave us sidelong glances, partly because of my terrified screaming, and partly because we had all decided to wear our LSU shirts and Tiger-bait people wearing clothes from other SEC schools.

We're really country come to town, yall.

Anyway, we took the Metro to L'Enfant Plaza (named after the guy that drew up the street plans for DC), then walked to the Washington Monument. We had seen the Washington Monument from nearly everywhere in DC. It's the tallest building in DC by law so it's hard to miss (similar to how Baton Rouge's capitol building is the tallest building in town by law), but it's also the world's largest Egyptian obelisk. We couldn't go inside because the elevator was getting maintenance, so instead I had to whisper the customary, "Does that make you randy!?" in my most Austin Powers' accent to Betty from outside in the heat.

The Washington Monument, by the way, is at the heart of a five-for-one monument extravaganza. A short walk away from the Washington Monument is the World War II memorial, including a pillar for all the states and a large pool with fountains. After that is the Reflecting Pool, and then the Lincoln Memorial. Then right next to the Lincoln Memorial is the Korean War Memorial.

The kids had seen the Lincoln Memorial in "A Night at the Museum 2" with Ben Stiller, so they knew sort of what to expect. I've been there before. But I have to admit, I teared up a little while reading the Gettysburg Address. The dude had a way with words. It was short, sweet and to the point - very much unlike this blog post. I think the Lincoln Memorial was my favorite monument in DC.

We were hot at that point so needed some AC, and decided to hit up a museum. We passed by the White House on the way to the National Museum of American History, but more importantly, we passed by several ice cream vendors. Peter got a Dove ice cream bar, but Annie got a giant ice cream sandwich, and then it wasn't fair that her ice cream sandwich was bigger than the ice cream bar, so then we had to get another ice cream bar. And then of course I had to introduce the Dad Tax.

The Dad Tax is when I, as the dad, buy something tasty for the kids, and then they owe me a percentage of their food. What better place to explain taxes to the kids than in DC? Peter didn't like that, but Annie is so sweet that she immediately gave up some of her ice cream sandwich. So that's how I know that Peter will be a Republican or Libertarian, and Annie will probably be a Democrat. (Rosie wouldn't share her treats with me - she might be an anarchist.) Betty said she didn't have to share because I wasn't her dad, and therefore she was excluded from the Dad Tax. She's great at finding loopholes - maybe I'll put her in charge of doing our taxes this year.

The National Museum of American History (or what I call the American History Museum) had some really cool stuff. In front of a metallic Star-Spangled Banner exhibit, a military band played the Game of Thrones theme song to the delight of everyone. On the bottom floor we rode a space simulator wearing Virtual Reality goggles, and the ride was basically like the movie Gravity - we were doing a spacewalk on the ISS when all of a sudden some debris hit a solar sail, and then everything started coming apart. It was intense! We saw Kermit the Frog, saw a green suit that Lin-Manual Miranda wore in the Hamilton Broadway play, and walked through a large exhibit about the First Ladies, showing all their china, dresses, etc. The girls especially liked that one.

We went back to the Air and Space Museum, this time spending time in the "space" section. Towards the end of our stay there we went to a show called "Journey to the Stars" at the Planetarium there. It blew me away. Honestly, it was probably my favorite thing in all of DC. If you go to DC, go to the Planetarium.

Our last museum of the day was the National Museum of the American Indian. We didn't see much of this one since we walked in at 5 pm and it closed at 5:30, and our kids were entranced with a video on the top floor. But they have what is apparently a fantastic espresso bar there. Betty asked me to go get some coffee, but the two people behind the counter wouldn't look at me. When I went to leave after standing there like an idiot for five minutes, my way was blocked; I guess the coffee bar closed at 5, and someone had pulled a large metal gate behind me without saying anything to me. So I was literally trapped. First I was really mad about it, like "How dare they do that to me?!" but then I realized that I was the White Man who had taken their land from them, then got ignored the African-American workers who probably had family sold into slavery and who had taken a job at the American Indian museum to sell coffee to white people like me who were probably just going to appropriate everyone's culture anyway, and then I felt better about it. I was able to escape from my metal coffee bar prison, but if I had to, I bet I could have survived on day-old muffins and coffee beans until the next day.

Afterward we took the Metro to meet Elizabeth and Dino at Nationals Park to watch the Nationals play the Orioles. I bought water from kids selling water bottles for a dollar outside the stadium. I mean, that's cheaper than at a store! And $5 cheaper than in the stadium! I also learned something about the DC sports culture that night: nobody is really from DC, so nobody really cares if the team wins or loses. For instance, we were surrounded by guys in orange Baltimore Orioles shirts, and yet no Nationals fan tried to shank them with a knife, spit on them, call them names or throw batteries at them. If we had been in New Orleans at a Saints game, there'd have at least been some voodoo dolls getting poked with needles. But no, everybody was friendly, as if the Nationals winning or losing wouldn't have a lifelong lasting effect on their mental well-being.

We stayed until the end of the 6th inning, when our kids just couldn't go anymore. On the way back on the Metro, Peter needed to go to the bathroom. For some reason, it came about that Betty knew the exact time and whereabouts of everyone's last time to go the restroom. It was insane. It was a skill that I didn't know she had, but apparently a lot of moms possess this innate pee tracking instinct. I didn't even know the last time that I had gone to the restroom, but I bet if I had asked Betty, she would have known not only where and when I went, but what I had drank that would have made me need to go. I was impressed - and to be honest, a little turned on.

We ended the day back at Elizabeth's house, with 22K FitBit steps. Those are Disney World numbers. It was a long, hot, fun day in DC. We were so tired that we didn't even play Dominoes, but I bet if we did, I'd have come in last place.

Stay tuned for more! Next up: Ocean City, Maryland.

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