I’m sure it’s not news to anyone who regularly reads my blog that these past two weeks have not been pleasant. I’ve cried and cried and clung desperately to my old life before finally dropping the rope. I’ve tried to keep things relatively sane for my kids while this has all been going on. I cry in the shower or in my bedroom or in the car so that they don’t see this.
Last week in keeping with my “try to fool them into believing everything’s going to be okay” routine we ventured into DC. My kids’ third grade teacher and another teacher from the same school headed out my way on vacation so we met up with them and toured some of the sites.
First up, after my disastrous experience with parking for the baseball game I decided we would catch the Metro into DC instead of driving. It made the trip longer but it was a fun experience. Also, the Metro has a handy little feature where you can plug in your departure point and your destination and it will give you directions on how to get there, if you need to switch lines, and where you disembark. It was fantastic! I felt like we were regulars. We bought SmartCards and everything.
After we met up with them we headed over to the White House. Funny story. We were walking along and I’m seeing the Commerce Building, the IRS building, the Red Cross headquarters, the FDIC, the Treasury building. I’m marveling at all of this. You hear about all of these things but seeing it up close and personal is something all together different. As we’re walking along I notice Secret Service policemen. At first I’m thinking, “Well, they’re not very secret. I can see them right there.” My second thought was, “They’ve got Secret Service guarding the Treasury Building?” I never realized it was so dangerous. We continue walking and the next thing I know there are barriers and even more Secret Service police. More walking and I realize the street is closed. Live music is playing; someone is singing an Adele song and she’s really good. I’m wondering, “Why are there barriers all around here? Why are there so many Secret Service police out? Does the Treasury Building really need that much protection? Why is this street closed off and why are these people milling around?” I look up and notice the White House. Oh! Well, that explains so much.
We were starving at this point so we continued walking. We decided upon a grilled cheese bar aptly named GCDC. Picasso and I opted to build our own. I’m not sure what all he put on his but I know he chose pepper jack cheese and hot sauce. I made mine with American and mozzarella cheese, roast beef, spinach, tomato, and their house sauce which was a blend of chili paste, mayo, and honey mustard. It definitely had a little bit of a kick to it! Rock Star went with the mac and cheese.
Next up was a walking tour of the monuments. I have only been to DC twice- three times if you count the time we drove up for the baseball game and then promptly turned around because I couldn’t find parking. The first time I went was on Picasso’s field trip. We tried to cram everything in but couldn’t so on that trip I only managed to see the WWII Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and then the Korean Memorial and Vietnam Wall. This time though we were determined to see them all! We headed over to the Jefferson Memorial first. It was quite the walk. It’s not right on the mall like so many of the others and it’s definitely smaller than the Lincoln Memorial although they are very similar.
From there we headed over to the Roosevelt Memorial. I have to say, I think this was probably my favorite. I knew there was a Roosevelt Memorial but they never show pictures of it the way they do with the other more popular monuments. They really should because it is absolutely beautiful. And large. Very large. There are lots of waterfalls, statues and quotes. They have it divided up by his presidential terms. I think this is one that doesn’t get a lot of traffic because it is off the beaten path. It’s so worth it though. If you’re ever in DC make sure to take a stroll around it; you won’t regret it.
After that we went to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. The main feature here is the incredibly detailed statue of MLK himself. There are also plenty of his quotes engraved in stone.
Next we headed over to the Lincoln Memorial. We didn’t stay very long. It was crowded and the city was hot and humid. We posed in front of the Lincoln statue and that was that!
We headed over to the Korean Memorial. I’m sure I saw it on Picasso’s class field trip but this time around, since I wasn’t rushed, I really enjoyed it. There are statues of soldiers in a garden as you walk up and there is a black onyx (?) wall like the one that makes up the Vietnam Wall except this one isn’t engraved with names; instead it showcases faces and scenes. There is also a beautiful pond surrounded by a canopy of well maintained trees. It is very beautiful and very serene.
From there we headed over to the Vietnam Memorial. I am perpetually in awe of that wall. It seems to stretch on forever and it is covered with the names of the dead. It is a very somber experience walking along, seeing all of those names and the tributes left behind for loved ones.
We never went up to the Washington Monument but you can see it all over the city. Then we had to choose between heading over to the WWII Memorial to see it more closely, or heading over to Arlington Cemetery. For some crazy reason, despite the fact that our feet were already killing us, we chose to walk over to Arlington.
It was well worth it. First of all, they are beautiful grounds. Surprisingly, not all the headstones are like you see in the movies and magazines. Picasso and I figured out that the higher ranking people have custom headstones and are typically in a different part of the cemetery. Some of the highlights of our visit were seeing the eternal flame and JKF’s grave site, visiting the tomb of the unknown soldier and watching the changing of the guard, and seeing the memorial markers they set out for the astronauts that perished in the two space shuttle disasters and the marker for those who died trying to rescue the Iranian hostages.
We ended up walking 18,000 steps that day! Exhausted, we headed back to the Metro which was just outside Arlington. Thank God!
It was a great day and really kept my mind off of CF and all his antics.
My second little ray of sunshine was simply a trip out to eat. Rock Star wanted to try this new Japanese restaurant that we have in town. I have ordered sushi from them and haven’t been disappointed. They also have an all you can eat option for dining in. Unlike buffets where the food sits out waiting for someone to come along and decide to put it on a plate, they take your order and make everything once someone requests it. Both of my kids started off with the clear soup. I swear, between the two of them I think they had 10 bowls of it! Rock Star went on to order the Hibachi steak and Picasso opted for the chicken fried rice. I got a rainbow roll and some shrimp fried rice. I think Picasso might have a hollow leg because I’m pretty sure he had two helpings of the shrimp fried rice, about 6 bowls of the soup, 3 slices of cheesecake, and 5 pieces of salmon sushi. Maybe if he had chosen to eat one of the more filling entrees… I had to laugh at him one time when he ordered a bowl of clear soup and a slice of cheesecake. I thought it was the funniest thing I had heard.
Rock Star had a slice or two of cheesecake, more clear soup, and an additional rainbow roll which she asked me to help her eat. I myself ordered the Hibachi steak and shrimp, which came with more fried rice and vegetables.
It was a really good, filling meal. Neither Rock Star nor I had anything else to eat the rest of the day. Plus, I thought it was very reasonably priced. A single sushi roll can cost anywhere between $10 and $12 and this was $11 for all you could eat. Picasso definitely got his money’s worth and I feel like Rock Star and I did as well.
There you have it. My two rays of sunshine in two weeks of cloudy tear filled days- a trip to DC and an outing to a restaurant. A whole lot of knowledge and a whole lot of food.