Okay--so we went back east.
The purpose of going back east was to see Mate's half-brother get married, but Mate also wanted to make the kids "see some culture" as it were, so in between "Hey, kids, you have to dress up in your best clothes and see a bunch of people you don't remember and be nice to them and try not to embarrass us but we would rather you embarrass us than hate us forever, so, you know, do your best," there was also, "Wait-- we're going to look at historical shit. Tell your teachers about this part, it will make us look like good parents."
The pictures are in random order, but I'll caption them in the order in which they're shown, because seriously, I haven't written in days and I'm way behind and formatting is just frickin' beyond me.
As you will see, it's been something of a week.
About the Washington Monument:
Big T: I knew it was built by slaves, so that's nationally embarrassing, but I had no idea it was also a monument to bankruptcy and procrastination.
Me: And the reason Mom buys yarn in REALLY big batches, because that thing where the two different types of stone doesn't match is no bueno.
About Union Station:
The architecture is cool, but so is the fact that we can get all meta about taking pictures of the architecture in such a profound space.
About the kids with their grandfather:
Hi, Grandpa! Sure we'll stand for this photo op! It will give us something to do while surrounded by people we don't know at a wedding while we're dressed as well as we possibly can be and two of us are looking at the open bar with extreme longing.
Me: Get me a vodka and cranberry.
Fifteen minutes later:
Me: Get me a vodka and cranberry since YOU FINISHED MINE OFF.
We thought we were all okay but then Mom got up and moved and we realized she was blocking the wind and our entire world turned to ice. MOM!!!
About the bus tour through DC at night:
Oh, it's so pretty!
I can't feel my feet.
I'm knitting as fast as I can but my fingers are sore and this hat isn't going to be done soon enough!
Jesus GOD could the cold be any more sucktastic?
We could have come in January, died from hypothermia, and have been stuck on this bus forever and ever and ever.
Selfie in front of the pretty?
For you, Mate, I will do anything.
*later that night
Want to feel my hands?
AUUUUUUGHHHHHHH!!!! WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS!!!!!!
About the Lincoln Monument:
ZoomBoy: I have to pee!
Mate: I'll take you!
The rest of us: Are we supposed to follow this tour to the Viet Nam memorial?
Squish: My legs hurt. I'm so done. Can I just sit down in the freezing bus and die?
Chicken: Sure, honey. I'll take you. We can die together and they'll discover our frozen corpses in the corner in the morning. Mine will be pickled in vodka.
Me and Trystan: Can you even see the memorial? We could see it in the day but now I'm just lost. Wait, is that even our bus? Oh my God are we going to spend our time walking down here after spending all day walking through museums and not get to see the Lincoln Memorial? No--no. Let's leave the tour and get some pictures of Lincoln since we really want to see it and then we can head back to the bus and hope Dad and ZoomBoy have visited the bathroom and we won't have to leave them in the thirty degree cold in the strange city at night.
Mate and ZoomBoy: LOOK! IT'S LINCOLN! LET'S GET ALL THE PICTURES! AND HE'S WONDERFUL! AND AREN'T WE LUCKY WE WENT TO THE BATHROOM INSTEAD OF FOLLOWING THE TOUR THAT WASN'T REALLY OURS!
Me and Mate, upon return to the bus: We saw Lincoln, that's what matters.
ZoomBoy: The bathrooms were WARM!
--And seriously, Lincoln was wonderful. I'm so glad we got to see him, especially at night. I'm sure somebody can pull out something awful about him that I don't want to know about, but right now for me he's the guy who freed the slaves when he had people shouting at him not to, and he also spent four years sleeping with another guy and whether it was platonic or not, it just means he was comfortable with sleeping with another guy and that's cool too.
Except for the people watching us who seemed to feel we shouldn't be out in public doing that. But it's the way we started the trip and the way we ended the trip and seriously, I'll do the Patrick part of that song in public any time. (For those of you who know that song, Patrick's part goes AU-BLAH-NUNGH-ACK-MMMFFF-SONG!!!!!!)
And this was our first trip to DC, where we met Andy Q and got photobombed by some random kid. I'm sure if you're from Sacramento or toured there in the last couple of years, you've got this same kid popping up in at least one of your pictures. IT's sort of his forte.
Now, we stayed in a hotel a couple of days, but for part of the time, we stayed with Mate's Aunt Marge and Uncle Tom, who are lovely people. Margie has a Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy set, and while they scare US, she's very fond of them, and Big T took advantage of Squish's SOUND sleeping to place a photo op.
I have to say, Squish was perhaps even less enamored of either of the Raggedy clan after she saw this picture than she had been beforehand, but Margie was thrilled to see the dolls getting some play.
Margie and Tom also live in a two-story house with a basement, and for my kids this was a big happy deal. I have to admit that for me, there were a few Kung Fu Panda moments: My old nemesis. Stairs. But Chicken got to sleep in the frilly pink bedroom of her most guarded high school dreams, although it DID have a Coraline door, but that was part of the charm.
And Andrew and his husband met us when we drove from Gaithersburg, MD to Normandy Falls, PA-- and that was wonderful.
My kids totally identified.
In our defense it was a long drive, and we'd just told them that "flatbread" = "pizza", and their minds are a little blown.
And me and my children.
And did I mention the nut-shriveling cold?
I think it was the stadium where the Eagles play.
Mate: Here-- here-- see what I"m doing? See?
Me: Sure! Watch me botch this pic!
And I was glad, because he and Margie were so wonderful hosting us that I was happy I could give him a gift of appreciation. Now, what to get Margie...
And that's it. I mean, there were many more moments--I put some of them on Twitter/FB, but for now? I got my dogs back and we only need one cat to check in and seriously.
It's good to be home.