Feeling like photo ninja with this shot!
Fresh off making friends with future naval officers in Annapolis, Maryland, the rest of our summer vacation was spent in all things dysfunctional, or what Americans also know as our capital city of Washington D.C. This particular day we were in for a special treat! Not since the vaunted testimony of Frankie Pentangeli (bonus points if you know who he was) during a Congressional hearing has D.C. been that abuzz for some upcoming testimonial fireworks. None other than ousted FBI director James B. Comey was slated to be on Capitol Hill that day to basically waste everybody’s time, but it made for a hell of a show.
Once we arrived in D.C., me being the loathing self-promoter, we immediately headed up to the Hill so I could shamelessly plug father’s rights and maybe score an interview with Rachel Maddow. Apparently, she was too busy covering real news, but the kids were in awe of the place. I didn’t make it to Capitol Hill last year, when I broke my maiden at all things General George Washington, so laying my own eyes on it was a spectacle to behold. Also, did you know the Capitol Police carry big guns? I smiled at every one of them and even offered to buy them lunch, I didn’t want to get on their bad side for sure!
Yes sir, No ma’am, lovely weather today, those are some nice Nerf Super Soakers you have there!
From there, it was off to The Library of Congress. Sloane and Miss Madison Jr. had heard a rumor they were running a special on Geronimo Stilton books before Miss Madison and I informed them this was a different kind of library. If you have never seen the Library of Congress, next time you are in D.C. for a Washington Nationals game, go check it out. There is some of the finest architecture this side of my elementary school Lego projects! I was going to try and walk out with some rare finds from the Jeffersonian Library collection, but those Capitol Police again reminded me that they have very, very large guns.
I can’t imagine Jefferson envisioned his books and selfie sticks would ever be mentioned in the same sentence!
Nor did he think Miss Madison Jr. would be taking selfies herself! I swear the world has gone mad!
Now Miss Madison is joining in on the selfie fun! Is nothing sacred anymore? I mean we are at the Library of Congress!
I wasn’t lying about the architecture!
One little secret about Washington D.C. that you may or may not know about is that pretty much everything there is free. It doesn’t matter if you are an American or some crazy Brit trying to figure out why they lost the Revolutionary War. All the tours and exhibits are free (although seeing The White House or touring Capitol Hill requires some planning), and free is a good thing in my book! The other secret about D.C. is you better make sure you packed your most comfortable pair of sneakers, because you are going to set personal Fitbit records walking everywhere. Our journey that day would be no different.
From the Library of Congress we trekked the 10 miles (at least it felt like it) to channel our inner botanist. Miss Madison, a veteran of D.C., had never seen the United States Botanical Gardens, and I was dying for air conditioning by then, so of course we stopped in. Just an FYI, they grow more in here than your lazy uncle’s hybrid marijuana plants or Grandpa George’s 4-H winning tomatoes! If the plant exists, you will find it at the Botanical Gardens. I saw flowers and plants that would make any young whippersnapper’s girlfriend (or boyfriend, we don’t judge at Skipah’s Realm) blush with glee if they received an assortment from here. Sloane tried to pick out a one of kind orchid, but I reminded her again the Capitol Police carry big guns, and the last thing I need is her mom dragging me back to court because of her flower kleptomania on my watch!
I guess most of our politicians are smoking some Green Monkey, because they aren’t getting much else done!
Quick stop for lunch (not free, downright stupid expensive) at the National Museum of the American Indian, and then we were off to take in the Air and Space/Natural History museums. If you are a guy and don’t enjoy the Air and Space museum, you need to check your man card status ASAP. Not to sound all hipster, but OMG, this place was cooler than a January in Alaska. If historic planes and NASA gear don’t get your motor running, you need to go get your oil changed dude! The Natural History Museum has every damn animal that has roamed the earth, I believe. Miss Madison was really intrigued with the gemstone department, her measly diamond ring, doesn’t quite compare to the Hope Diamond. I immediately tried to pull a gem heist Ocean’s Twelve style, but those damn Capitol Police and those big guns!
I think they might have found some secret stash of cotton candy at lunch!
No trip to D.C. would be complete without a visit to the memorials us Americans like to erect for our icons of history. The kids were itching to take a trip to the top of the Washington Monument, but apparently the Otis Elevator salesman sold the government a faulty elevator since it will be closed until the Spring of 2019. No worries, plenty of other sites to see, and seeing the Jefferson Memorial at dusk is well worth the hike! The Turtle Man was chomping at the bit to swim in the nearby Tidal Basin, but I had to inform him unless he swims like a shark, the Capitol Police know how to use those big guns. Thankfully he stayed close to us, and we didn’t draw the ire of the Capitol Police while we took in some of the finest architecture in all of the country. These monuments are huge!
The highlight of Miss Madison Jr.’s day was a visit to the Lincoln Memorial. She had been planning this day for weeks and made sure she had Honest Abe’s hat to match. It was at this point of the journey I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, the Lincoln Memorial has roughly 2.5 trillion steps and it was late! Like last year, Miss Madison and I got to visit this pillar of alabaster and history at night. Seeing the Washington Monument hover over the reflecting pond from the Lincoln Memorial is a must see for everyone!
Since we considered this more than enough of a day at Washington D.C., we headed back to our temporary camp for the night before returning the next day. Miss Madison and I wanted to make sure our children understood why they get to speak English and enjoy freedoms that many citizens of the world could only dream about. We took them to Arlington National Cemetery!
If you are a native of this country, you must go to Arlington at least once in your life. I find cemetery enthusiasts kind of creepy, but while I was on the hallowed grounds of Arlington I felt like an American. A big sense of pride and the ultimate “chill” factor is the only way I can describe our time at Arlington. In case you don’t know or live under a rock, Arlington is where we bury our soldiers and dignitaries. No worries about me upsetting the Capitol Police while here, it’s guarded by the freaking 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, and trust me, they take this job with pride and honor! These are men and women that paid the ultimate sacrifice for me to sit here at my laptop and blast away on a keyboard to type whatever I want to. Serene is the only way I can describe it. Witnessing the Changing of the Guard firsthand is something I will never forget, even three hyped up children understood that you just be quiet and take in the moment.
If you go to Arlington National Cemetery, then you damn sure better drive/walk the couple of blocks to see the Marine Corps War Memorial or what is unofficially known as the Iwo Jima Memorial. The scene from that iconic photograph is awe-inspiring to see in person as a monument.
About it for now, with history and memories tucked in our back pockets, it was time to head back home to all things Hoosier. Thankfully, we made it through West Virginia without falling victim to a coal mining incident. Also, if you are ever traveling in that part of the world, the Appalachian Highway System is as good as any interstate and will provide you with some scenic views. We arrived back home in one piece, safe and sound, and then holy hell I had to go get married!