Posts Tagged ‘constitution’

We interrupt your regularly scheduled furlough pattern for a spontaneous Furlough Monday.

Yep, I took Friday and the following Monday as furlough days, resulting in a four day weekend. Since my brother and his family were coming through town on a vacation, I decided I’d leverage my day off to the beginning of the week so I could hang out with them.

Hosting my brother, sister in law, and their three teen/tween kids was the largest group we’ve ever had stay with us before. Thankfully, our rental home is quite spacious, so with our two spare rooms upstairs and a cot plus air mattress in the basement, everyone had their own bed and plenty of space. Laura, my SIL, says I missed my calling as an owner of a bed and breakfast. Maybe she’s got a real idea there…renting rooms to tourists might be a way we could help subsidize a mortgage out here. ūüėČ

They arrived Sunday evening and had dinner with us. We grilled chicken on the Egg, and I also made some chocolate oatmeal cookies, the final recipe from Pat’s cookbook that I’ll be sharing with you…watch for that soon!

Monday morning after rush hour we headed into town with my brother driving and me navigating. I’ve got the drive to the observatory down pat, but the last couple of miles to the national mall aren’t so familiar to me. But we made it and found a parking spot in a garage on 15th Street near the national aquarium and the White House.

Our first stop was the archives, where we waited in line a little while to see the founding documents, but it wasn’t too bad. Then we meandered toward the Capitol, grabbing some lunch along the way. This was the closest I’ve been to the Capitol since I moved; I still haven’t been in yet, but I’d love to take a tour one day.

We started back down the mall and spent a little while at the Air and Space Museum. Then we took in the sights of the national mall as we strolled toward the White House. We got a view of the front amongst a throng of other tourists. I think you can get a slightly closer view if you go around to the back, but we didn’t have the time.

We opted to not continue walking down the other half of the mall to the Lincoln memorial, as we’d have to walk all the way back to the car afterward, and it’s really quite a hike, especially if you’ve already walked the first half. We opted to head a block back to the car and drive over there. Parking was a little scarce, but my brother found a spot a ways down the street. I volunteered to sit with the van while they went to the Lincoln memorial; that way I could save them the hike back when they were finished, and we cut some time off our exit (very important, as we were approaching the beginning of the evening rush hour). That worked out just right, and we made it home from downtown in practically record time.

Evidently, some loser chose yesterday to vandalize the Lincoln memorial, the National Cathedral, and a statue outside the Smithsonian Castle with green paint. It was evident on Lincoln, though we didn’t see the other two. She was eventually apprehended yesterday, but not before defacing those objects. Not super cool on her part.

So, I enjoyed spending my furlough day with family. It seemed like the perfect way to spend forced time off. I should be back on schedule next Friday, but it’ll be hard to top that!

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This morning, Bart and I made our first casual trip downtown by ourselves. Our previous excursions to Federal City have been quick trips with friends, and it’s been awfully cold to just volunteer to walk around downtown. But today we ventured out to explore a bit.

In previous excursions, we had various reasons that required driving, which isn’t very fun (as I have described previously). This time, we hit the metro. We took a quick metro trip once immediately after we moved but haven’t had occasion to since. It’s definitely the most convenient way to get downtown, though, if you don’t for some reason need your car. While DC’s metro is a bit pricey (the fares are also scaled by peak vs. off times, but parking is at least free on the weekends), if you consider having to pay for parking in town, it’s not so bad. In anticipation of more trips into town, I ordered us some SmarTrip metro cards that give us a bit of a discount and provide the convenience of scanning and going, no standing at the automatic kiosk scratching our heads and trying to figure out how much the fare is from outlying stop on the Red line to the National Mall.

DC Metro

DC Metro

On this trip, we popped out literally one block from our first destination, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. I wouldn’t have thought to come here, but I found a Groupon deal on admission, and it seemed like a decent excuse to get downtown. We saw the wax effigies of many movie stars, athletes, and celebrities. The claim to fame here is the Presidents Gallery, where you can walk among the likenesses of all our nation’s presidents. Madame Tussauds encourages you to get up close and personal with their figures, so we got some pics with some of them. Here I am with the Gipper. Somebody tear down that wall!

The Gipper and me

All in all, it was fun and quirky, but I definitely wouldn’t have spent more than we did with the discounted tickets. It took us less than an hour to wander through. From there, we wandered a few blocks, coincidentally past Ford’s Theater.

Ford's Theater

Ford’s Theater

We had lunch across from the FBI building, and proceeded to the National Archives. There we saw the original founding charters of our nation: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights (sorry, no photos allowed).

There’s something incredibly weighty and proud about reading the direct words of our founding fathers as they labored for decades to provide this nation with the best form of government possible to imperfect human beings. It gives you incredible respect for our democracy and makes you want to fight to maintain it. Or it should.

I can think of a few people who should maybe walk a few blocks west on Constitution Avenue from their workplace and gaze upon these documents again sometime.

We also saw an original Magna Carta from 1297, which was really spectacular, too. Then there were some exhibits on some of the many types of information housed by the national archive. One can go there and actually research through the billions of documents housed by the Archive, but that wasn’t within the scope of our day.

From there, we could have wandered some more, but it was ridiculously cold and we were a bit tired. We’ll save a lot more exploring for warmer weather. We hopped back on the metro and scooted back home, where we’ve actually been pretty productive. In fact, I tackled both of my goals of the week, so those are done (though talking to my friends is really an ongoing process :)). Bart and I even team cleaned the bathroom and non-wood flooring in the house. I hate cleaning.

All in all, a fun and productive Saturday by we the Taylors.

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