Monday, October 21, 2013

Shutdown: Day 16

As the federal government shut down dragged on, and partisan brinksmanship reached an all-time high, Elise and Clementine fked the Beltway to spend a weekend with Nanny. Elise crammed in more work in three days than most Congressman fit into an entire session, while Clementine whiled away the days playing with Nanny.

That left just us guys in Washington, D.C. Guy's Weekend!!

Unfortunately, it rained cats and dogs all weekend. The skies opened up as Elise raced around our apartment building trying to find the cab driver I had called for her, and it didn't stop raining until, literally, the moment the doors to her flight opened and she and Clem stepped on to the jetway at Dulles.

Fortunately, CarMax has a good indoor play area.

We started guy's weekend running a couple of errands in anticipation of our upcoming move to India. We drove out to CarMax to get our car appraised. Though we just bought it when we got back from Brazil, we have to sell it before we go to India since the steering wheel is on the wrong side of the car. Unfortunately, CarMax only had bad news when it came to the value of our car, news which threatened to cast a shadow over the rest of our guy's weekend.

I forced myself to brighten--the day was already dreary enough--and we actually hung out at CarMax far longer than we had to just to let the boys play in the play area; it was too rainy to play outside. After stops at Home Depot and Trader Joe's, I recalled seeing a sign on the side of the road advertising an open house at the fire station in Falls Church, so we stopped by on the way home and am very glad we did.

The fire house doors were open and all the fire trucks were out. Pete and Sam got to sit in all of them, and talk to real firefighters. They tried on a firefighter's hat (surprisingly heavy), and even sprayed a real fire hose. We took a tour of the fire house, and they sat in the back of a real ambulance. For the grand finale, they sawed a car apart. A team of firefighters demonstrated how they would get someone out of a car in the event of an accident using the "jaws of life" and a variety of other saws and hydraulic tools. It was pretty awesome to watch as they chewed the doors off and take off the entire roof in a matter of minutes.

As promised, the following day we drove up to Baltimore to go to the National Aquarium. I think everyone enjoyed the dolphins the best. Pete seemed especially tickled. Once during their performance, I could hear him nervously giggle, then say to himself, "Dolphins..." as if he couldn't believe what he was seeing. And though they later would say that they liked the dolphins best, we watched two small tortoises munch on lettuce for what seemed like three hours. The tortoises are in the Amazon forest part of the aquarium at the very top of the building and it must have been ninety five degrees in there with 800 percent humidity. I thought I was going to pass out (which does not bode well for Chennai). Nevertheless, Sam and Pete both insisted on watching the tortoise eat entire salad. I don't know if they were really that interested in tortoises or if they knew this was our last thing we had to see before leaving the aquarium and driving home, and so were dragging it out for as long as possible.

Lastly, Sam has been somewhat obssessed with the new Coast Guard legos recently.

We didn't tour the boats in the harbor this trip, but something tells me there is a return visit to Baltimore somewhere in our near future.

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