Finally! We are home.
And what a fucking adventure today was too.
We had to be out of the Airbnb by 11am, so we were all up early. This has been hard. G has been running 8+ miles. We’ve been walking a whole lot. And, honestly, DJ and I were still on Pacific time (coupled with the fact neither, I think, were feeling a calming enough energy in that place to sleep). Needless to say, the morning came too early. But we were up and out of there.
We half expected to have my in-laws want to do some final field trip around the nation’s capital. We were braced for it. And in the end, they had plans, so we parted ways. This was good because, well, our time between 11am and 4pm was all about punting. Spring break has hit the capital, so there were way too many tour buses and people to go to some of the places we had hoped to see. Add onto it the fact that for the capital it was a work day, and we truly had to change plans on the fly.
I was quite happy that we visited Arlington Cemetery. I will admit that I have somewhat of a cemetery fetish – I enjoy the calm nature, the quiet, the walking through and looking at the grave markers – I find it quite fascinating in a macabre way, I’m sure some would feel. But, I felt it was important the kids visit this place. Why? To see the number of people who have served and died and who have a place there.
DJ was blown away. Truly. She kept looking at the sea of headstones perfectly aligned and going “fuck”. Yes, she used the word fuck. It was not lost on her. She, like me, wanted to figure out a way to capture what we were seeing to show people – to see if it could get people to understand the magnitude of that place.
We say JFK’s eternal flame and marker. We were truly lucky enough to see the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier. Two visiting schools had brought wreaths to honor the tomb, so we also got to see that ceremony. We even saw the army riders on horses coming through with horses without riders and an empty wagon signifying those lost. We were all stopped in our tracks by it – but Indigo was truly intrigued by its symbolism as well as the whole ceremony and ritual around it all. Heck both girls were.
After spending some time there, we went to Jefferson’s memorial where the girls read in whispers the words etched in the marble as they stood before the huge bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson. And both realized together how true his words are today.
I think that’s the part of this trip that has blown me away. Looking and watching these two kids of mine and seeing how grown up they are – and how much they truly understood what they were seeing. They asked intelligent questions. They wanted to see these monuments as much as we did. Hell, today, both were like “where is the Supreme Court building? we want to see it!” Sady traffic and parking and tours prevented that one.
No matter where we went – they were respectful, inquisitive, and as blown away we were by what we were seeing. And they stuck together. DJ wasn’t going on and on about how annoying Indigo was. And Indigo wasn’t trying to get DJ into trouble. They were goofy together and partners in crime. Hell, today was a great example of how they got on the plan, picked their seats together, and sent us on our way. The adults around them didn’t find obnoxious teens but sisters who were enjoying the trip together. And I found as I was following them that they were being the kids I had hoped they would be – polite (I think they shocked the shuttle driver when they each thanked him for driving us) and respectful (even criticizing their peers in the tour groups who were not respecting the monuments) and doing it all without mom or dad prompting them or reminding them. They did it all by default. When did my kids grow up??
One thing we did do was take Indigo, who is an aspiring baker, to visit Georgetown Cupcakes (aka DC Cupcakes as they are known by their reality show). Georgetown was beyond a madhouse, but we visited the cupcake shop to surprise her. She was glowing from happy. We got in line – got our cupcakes – and she treated that box like gold until we ate them. And, for the record, holy fucking lord were those cupcakes good. We have great cupcake shops in Portland – and we’ve tried them too. But these cupcakes were fucking amazing. All of us were blown away as we were expecting mediocre (they have a reality show, I mean, how good can they truly be) – but got exceptional. Always a nice surprise. And Indigo told everyone in security (who thanked her for bringing them cupcakes) about going to the shop. Each security person seemed to have a comment or two knowing about the cupcake shop or the show. It was quite nice.
We were all cooked by about 2:30 today. Just ready to go home. Ready to start the journey. Ready to leave – not wanting to outstay our capacity for taking in that city. We headed to the airport and joined hundreds of people who seemed to want to do the same thing – get home.
And that was when we learned that our flight from DC to Denver to Portland had become a flight from DC to Indianapolis to Denver to Portland. Oh, fuck.
I think that was the one odd look we got the entire trip – when I told DJ and Indigo and DJ exclaimed “oh fuck”. Hey, I don’t blame her – I was right there too.
So our 6hr trip became even longer.
And I got an extra plane ride that I had not anticipated.
All went well though. Denver was delayed which got us to Portland late. And we were all just cooked. Though, if you ask the girls, flying from Indianapolis to Denver was pretty cool because we flew over a thunderstorm, so they both had their noses to the window watching lightening. I heard all about it in Denver which was cool.
And I did just fine overall (except for the Indianapolis to Denver flight where the air in the plane was fucked up and it was 90 degrees in there, I swear). I listened to Jenny Lawson’s book which always makes me giggle hysterically – and I did just that, giggled at her stories. It was perfect even though the turbulence was so bad on one leg of the trip that the pilot told the flight attendants to sit back down and stay buckled until he found smooth air again. Yeah, it was that good.
When we landed in Portland, I looked at G and commented that I have been on 7 flights in the past month. SEVEN! Why is this significant? Because the last flight I was on was 15 months before the first one of the past month. And before that, it was like 2009 And before that, it was 2001. Hey I’m proud of me for that! That’s a big deal for someone who learned to hate flying thanks to late summer 2001.
So this trip was a pretty good success.
And now I get to take a day and exhale from it.
And finally get some sleep.
Because while this trip was nice on certain levels, my life is great back here. I think that was and will always be the hard part of trips like this – the people who are missing.
And on that note, I’m going to finish my beer (yay for having a good beer in the fridge) and find some sleep.