Thursday, January 22, 2009

Inauguration of President Barack Obama

I am still healing from the cold weather that we endured.  The day started at 3 a.m. when we got up to shower and layered into as much clothing as possible to be out the door and at the OC by 5:30 a.m.

Here is the moon at 5:15 a.m. from Calvert St. bridge.  

Once we arrived at OC, we got coffee and bagels and waited for the rest of our group to arrive.  Once we were all good to go with coffee, etc. we thought we would take a chance with the metro since we were right at Woodley Park stop.  We got down in the station and there weren't a whole lot of people around yet (this was pretty surprising since I saw on the 5:00 news that there  was already a line just trying to get close to the Shady Grove station and they were already letting people onto the Mall (mostly because people had slept there overnight, even though it had been said that wouldn't be allowed)).  A train came fairly quickly and it was just PACKED!  I was pretty convinced at this point that we were all going to have to walk to Union Station, around the East side of the Capitol, and then over to the South side of the festivities.  We had scheduled ourselves enough time to do this, but we've all had like 3-4 hours of sleep so no one is looking forward to this!  We decided (ok Mike thought it was a good idea) to wait the 4 minutes for the next train first and if that one was just as packed, we would start walking.  Well thank goodness we waited cause 4 minutes later, along comes a train with barely any people in it!  We metro'd to Union Station where we started on our walk Southeast around the Capitol to 1st and C St. SE.  It was now only ~6:30 a.m. [since the Metro had worked out so nicely].  The crowds were already crazy and we decided it would be best to part ways (sorry Em!) and get in line for security at the Blue Gate.  We emailed the rest of our group and headed down where we needed to be.  We stood in line from 7:00-8:00, security opened up around 8:10, and by 10:00 a.m. we were fully through security (FINALLY) and walking to Blue West!

Definitely a HALLELUJAH! moment to walk under that gate!

The crowds still waiting to get through the Blue gate.  Most likely they did not.  There were thousands of people who never got through in time.

Jon and I - freezing but waiting for everything to begin!  You went from line to line, and crowd to crowd; waiting for one thing, then waiting for the next.  Jon  was sleepy from his jet lag and all he kept complaining about was how if he was watching on TV he could be having Pizza and beer (this started around 8 a.m.).  He then moved on to talking about wanting a big bucket of fried chicken.  Seriously he talked about so much that I am still craving pizza and fried chicken!

This is the best picture of the millions on the Mall on Tuesday - truly amazing to know that so many people were there for this historic occasion!

This one is curtiusy of the Jamestown Post-Journal!  Only picture I've found showing the crowds from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol!

This is what I could see from behind where we stood at Blue West

Snipers everywhere - it kinda made you feel safe and uneasy at the same time....

Obama taking the Oath to be the 44th President of the United States!

Obama's first speech as Commander-in-Chief

To give you an idea of how close we were I took the last two pictures of Obama's Oath and Speech with nothing more than the standard zoom on my camera.  He was only about 1" tall, but it was really cool to not need a jumbo-tron to see him!

These next 2 shots are from Emily - they were so great that I wanted to share!

This is from the podium where Obama was sworn in.
Actually standing at the podium where Obama stood early that morning.  This is what he was looking out on, minus the estimated 2 million people!

After Obama finished his speech, we started to make our way out of crowd and back toward the House office buildings so we could warm up (there was hot cocoa waiting!!)  After security at Rayburn told us that Longworth was our best bet - we continued slowly walking up the hill - SLOW was the only speed any of us could walk.  We passed line after line of people/crowds waiting to get indoors until we got to an entrance at Canon where only about 5 people were waiting in line to get in.  We got in line and had no problems getting in (vs. the first 2 buildings that we tried that didn't even have their doors open yet!)  It was wonderful to be indoors with heating, sit down, and have hot cocoa with snacks like powdered donuts and double stuffed Oreos!

By 2:30 we thought maybe the crowds at the Capitol South Metro stop would have died down a little so that we could get on the metro... yea right!  Please see photo below:
So once again we started to walk East of the Capitol back to Union Station, which was just as disastrous.  I gotta say at this point, it was unanimous that we could no longer handle standing still in a large crowd waiting to get through some line!  We were all freezing, and exhausted, and had just had it!  So we started walking up Mass Ave.  We walked and we walked and we walked some more.  We finally got to where the roads were open again and started making attempts to get a cab to our respective neighborhoods........most cabs were occupied so we kept walking.  Somewhere after Thomas Circle, I had given up hope of us finding a cab and had accepted the fact that we would be walking the entire way home (1.5-2 miles still left to home).  We finally got a cab (2nd big HALLELUJAH! moment of the day) which we piled into.  We were back in TH7 around 4:30, very quickly changed out of all the winter layers, threw on sweats, turned the heat on high, and got under as many blankets as I could find to spend the rest of the evening watching West Wing.  

I am so happy I went.  It doesn't seem that big a deal when I just think back on going.  Then I look at the pictures above again and I see the pictures of Obama standing there and I have this "holy crap" moment where I remember that I witnessed this amazing piece of America's history, LIVE!  It was very cold, a very long day and I was pretty sore the next day, but I honestly would totally go again!  The girls would mention this and of course the boys responded with an enthusiastic "HELL NO!" :-P

Here is my list of tips and suggestions for you if you ever find yourself attention a Presidential Inauguration   And if I ever make it back to one, I hope I remember to look these up!
  1. Buy hand and feet warmers in advance, they will charge you and arm and a leg to buy them there.  It's a given that they're not going to last a full 7 or 8 hours, but they will last for a short time and they will be TOTALLY worth it 
  2. You're not allowed to bring a flask or thermos through security.  But, you could buy a cheap-o thermos to keep you warm while waiting in line to get through security.  They had trash disposal set up before you went through security so as long as it's nothing you care about, you can just pitch it.  
  3. On that note, BRING SNACK FOOD!  It's a really long day and it's going to be late afternoon before you actually get to eat again (there are no restaurants really around the Mall or House offices buildings without having to walk a ways).  Just a zip-top bag with a few things like granola bars or crackers that you can fit in a coat pocket.
  4. Crochet yourself a nice, WARM hot/scarf/mittens set.  You'
  5. You're leaving home at like 5:30 a.m., and it doesn't really cross your mind to grab your sunglasses, but do it!  It's almost like seeing the light of day for the first time ever if the sun comes out and you're unprepared.

***This post has been revised***

Friday, January 16, 2009

DC Cockroaches

After living at the Strat for 2 years while in college in NYC, I saw my fair share of what I thought were cockroaches.  I would sign up at the front desk each with for my room to be exterminated and I had my can of Raid which I would use when I saw one of these little critters running up my wall/across the floor.  Since they were only about the size of a horse fly, they dropped dead fairly quickly.  You can imagine my surprise at the first DC cockroach that I saw over Thanksgiving weekend......................they are "water bugs" and about 2 inches long!  If you are sitting there doing your math, you will realize that I moved to DC almost 4 years ago (it'll officially be 4 years on Wednesday of next week).  Most of you know, if not all, that Jon and I are now living in our 3rd apartment at the Promenade - we have been there since the end of June.  I had many problems with mice in 614, but I have NEVER seen these cockroaches in 419, 614 or during the first 4 1/2 months in TH 7.  I'm still asking why now??  I don't' have an answer because what I thought, apparently was completely wrong after the last 2 evenings that I have come home from work.  How the last 2 1/2 months have panned out:
  • Sunday after Thanksgiving I see my first DC cockroach around 6:30 a.m.  I screamed so loudly for Jonathan, that I believe he thought I was dying, and my neighbors probably did too.  About 4 hours later, Jonathan goes to get a snack out of the pantry, opens a bag of Goldfish and while pulling his hand out of the bag, a cockroach runs up his arm, jumps and runs under the refrigerator where we never find him.  Of course, he screams so loudly that I think he'd either burnt himself or cut a finger off with a knife.  At this point Jonathan informs me that he actually saw a roach in the kitchen the Wednesday before Thanksgiving but disposed of it without telling me about it.  His reasoning was that we've never seem them before and he didn't want me to freak out - completely understandable and completely true!
  • We signed up that weekend to have them come and exterminate that Thursday - selectively choosing where I would allow them to spray due to stories I have heard from my neighbors who had to mop up puddles of poison from their bathroom and kitchen floors after they came and exterminated.  Needless to say, something that kills what is deemed IMPOSSIBLE to kill (think nuclear holocaust and the cockroaches would survive) and yet this spray will kill them I don't need to be breathing that in, it can't be good for my own health.
  • After that initial spraying by our front door, we only had the occasional half dead cockroach that would appear and Jon would get it out of the apartment.  I bet a month went buy where we didn't see anything, we went home for the holidays and came back to no critters, I was thinking it was over - I was most definitely wrong.
  • Last Wednesday I got up around 6:40, made it safely down the stairs to the kitchen to get my first cup of coffee and climbed back up the stairs to start getting ready for work.  As I walk through my bedroom, I turn the light on to the closet and there sits a LIVE cockroach between the bathroom and closet.  I screamed, loudly, yelled for Jonathan (poor boy did not need that kind of wake up call so early in the morning).  After chasing it down through the closet, Jonathan finally caught and kill it.  At this point I am terrified of having to stay in the apartment by myself while Jonathan is in China.  I don't know what I will do, these things are so damn big I don't feel like I can handle having to kill them.  At a co-workers suggestion, we went out to Target on Wednesday after work and we bought some Combat roach motels to put around the apartment.  I knew that any bugs wouldn't disappear into one of these, but they would/could at least eat the poison and by the time I found the roach it would be primarily dead and it would be easier to get out of my place.
  • By now, I am starting to notice that I seem to always find a new "friend" on days where the weather was a little bit warmer or it was raining/was going to rain that day.  At first this still didn't make sense to me since we had no problems during the summer, but maybe my building exterminated more in public areas during the summer months?  Not really sure.
  • Mom came down to visit last weekend and we had experiences of having to kill 2 cockroaches in my kitchen on Saturday.  I saw "we", but I mean she did.  One that she thought was half dead and kinda "woke up" scaring her, but he was flushed and a 2nd on Saturday night that while I was standing in my kitchen, I happened to look up and see him IN  the ceiling light!  I was perfectly happy leaving him there (though I knew deep down that if he got in, he could get back out and this now meant he had crawled up my walls)  Apparently while I was upstairs taking a shower, my mom noticed that the roach had crawled from one side of the light to the other, so for some reason she decided to "tap" on the light and being the piece of shit that was installed into this apartment, the entire thing, cockroach included came crashing down.  It ran into my pantry, where my  mom tracked it down, killed and flushed it.  
  • I sooooooooooooooo did not want my mom to leave on Sunday, but my confidence was gaining when we saw nothing on Sunday.  I want to go back to my rain/warmer weather story because it was warmer and rainy on Saturday, sunny and freezing on Sunday.  As weather reports came out for all this extra cold weather we were expecting, I figured I was going to be fine until Jon got home on Sunday - I was fairly wrong.
  • Monday and Tuesday were fine.  I was so happy.  I thought the cold weather was keeping everything away until Jon returned.  Wednesday night I came home, pushed the door open while still standing outside and started my search.  I spotted a half dead roach up against the wall in the corner.  I tried to keep my cool, set down my purse, etc., grabbed one of Jonathan's sandals that was sitting there and threw it on the roach.  It didn't really move so I assumed it was dead, from the Combat things, but for good measure, I still readjusted the sandal on top if it and proceeded to stand on top of Jon's shoe for optimal killing pressure.  I had every intention of going back downstairs after I changed out of my work clothes/checked the rest of the apartment for 'squatters', but I freaked and left the roach there.  I spoke with Jonathan while he was in line for the ticket counter at the Beijing airport around 9:30 p.m. DC time and I told him about it.  He asked where it was and I told him it was under his shoe!  He laughed and just asked that I left him know what shoes have bugs under them when he gets home so he could get rid of was like a game now, I had 3 shoes left downstairs so as long as no more than 3 more showed up before Sunday afternoon, I was good.  Again, I was wrong.
  • Yesterday, I got home from my therapy and sat down to watch the news about the plane in NYC.  I finally decided to go change out of my work clothes before getting something together for dinner.  I went upstairs, checked the floors and turned on some extra lights - everything seemed fine.  I took off my jewelry and shoes and just as I'm started to change out of my dress pants, I look down and there's a roach on the lid of a shoe box looking at me.  I go into the bedroom, pull my pants back on and feeling completely violated by this little fucker, I go downstairs to get my roach spray and pick up one of Jonathan's sneakers on my way up (they're bigger than my shoes, lets me be a little further away from the bug!)  The details of all I had to do to kill this and flush are too lengthy to type but needless to say it involved about half a can of roach spray which I can still smell in my carpet this morning, 2 ruined shoe boxes, about half a roll of paper towels, me banging Jonathan's sneaker on every and anything when it started to run and then using the shoe like a golf club to smack 2 boxes together and me jumping around and screaming resulting in an elevated blood pressure that could have sent me to the emergency room.
I really don't feel like I can handle this anymore.  I LOVE our townhouse, it took as so long to have the extra space and it really is nice, but I no longer want to live there.  I desperately want Jonathan home, not just because I miss him, but because I don't feel like I can handle the stress of this much longer.  I can't believe I have 2 more nights plus all day tomorrow to face it along.  I should be excited for the 4 day weekend and a relaxing day of time for myself, but I'm not looking forward to it, I'm terrified and wish I had somewhere to go or it was warm outside and I wouldn't be in the apartment at all!
It infuriates me to feel this way.  Yes I miss Jonathan when he is out of town.  It's very hard with a 13 hour time difference but I don't really mind being home alone.  I'm not scared, I can take care of myself, at least I used to be able to.  Now the cockroaches have taken over my life and I'm terrified to have to be home alone.  I want to move, and we're stuck there until the end of'll be an interesting 6 months.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Returning for 2009

Wow, it's been awhile since I've gotten on here to write something.  I've gotten on to read friend's blogs, I've updated my layout both for Christmas and once again, but never took the time to type something up.  Seems like today is just as good a day as any (that and I am desperate for something to keep me from staring into space while I eat my salad at my desk!)

First of all, I want to share the following joke with you.
A blonde walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the Loan officer. She says she’s going to Europe on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000.
The bank officer says the bank will need some kind of security for the loan, so the blonde hands over the keys to a new Mercedes Benz SL 500.
The car is parked on the street in front of the bank, she has the title and everything checks out. The bank agrees to accept the car collateral for the loan.
The bank’s president and its officers all enjoy a good laugh at the blond for using a $110,000 Benz as collateral against a $5,000 loan.
An employee of the bank then proceeds to drive the Benz into the bank’s underground garage and parks it there. Two weeks later, the blonde returns, repays the $5,000 and the interest, which comes to $15.41.
The loan officer says, “Miss, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a multimillionaire.
What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000?”
The blonde replies, “Where else in New York City can I park my Car for two weeks for only $15.41 and expect it to be there when I return?”

:-)  I think this is pretty fantastic!  A shout out to Kelly for posting on Facebook - this definitely put a smile on my face!

Things that have been going on since I last posted anything:
  1. Had a wonderful 25th birthday.  Jonathan took me out for the most amazing dinner I've ever had in my life at CityZen - the day was perfect, thanks to him!
  2. Jon and I made it home safely for Christmas after getting the Kia fixed in DC (on my birthday).  Christmas was busier than ever this year - with Mom working everyday up until Christmas Eve and Grannie having just been home from Greenhurst for about 2 weeks at the time, this pretty much left all preparations for Christmas Eve up to me.  I went over every day and helped Grannie get out dishes, plate food for the buffet table, dust and vacuum the downstairs and shovel her driveway.  By the 26th I was exhausted and I did nothing for the next 2 days.  Of course, as many of you know, it turned out that my fix to the Kia in DC was not fully appropriate and I had been burning and leaking oil pretty badly for the entire drive home from DC and throughout Jamestown.  The leak was coming from the front of my engine and getting this fixed last minute, quickly was not an option.  Instead of driving home on the Sunday after Christmas, we had to wait until New Years Eve Day.  I worked from home on Monday and Tuesday and Jon went into the Jamestown office, and after 2 days stuck at home, I was ready to get back to DC, even if it meant that I had to drive in snow for almost 300 miles.  New Years Eve was also fun, we hung out with some friends and made some new ones as well, ringing in 2009 which is the year that I want to be the best!  I didn't make any resolutions this year, I feel like I never keep up on them anyway.  I just want to have an amazing year - more of  wish than a resolution but 2008 was rocking, rough, challenging and straight up hard for me to deal with, so I am ready for something great!
  3. Black Ice is NOT my friend.  Last Thursday I slipped on black ice on the pool deck when leaving for work, went down pretty hard on my left hip and continued falling until I cracked my head pretty hard on the corner of a concrete wall.  I made it to work after going back in the TH to tell Jonathan what had happened, cried some, took some Excedrin and ate a banana.  After getting in my car and out of the garage, I wasn't convinced that I could drive to work, so I went around the block like 3 times while talking to my mom trying to decide if getting on Rock Creek was the best idea.  Well, if all that hadn't happened, I would have been mad on time for work cause I was still only about 15 minutes late and I ended up staying all day.  The bump on my head was the size of a grapefruit and my hip was killing me but I got in an honest days work.  Friday morning I got up early to get Jon off on his trip and I could barely walk.  After dropping Jon off, I got myself laid up on my couch with my laptop and worked from home all day w/o ever really getting up.  I hurt, and I hurt bad.  I was going to try and see my chiropractor, but the muscles in my back were so tender that I could barely touch them - not the best time to have a chiro/PT therapist work on my back.
  4. The snow finally stopped falling to heavily in Jamestown by 9:30ish on Friday morning and Mom was able to load up her car and start the drive to DC for the weekend.  She got in around 6:30 and we had a wonderful, relaxing weekend.  We never left the apartment and on Sunday and I didn't even take off my pjs until like 7 when I decided to take a bath.  We spent hours working on cookbook organization, typing and printing recipes and it was great!  Mom left on Monday, last night was very lonely all my my self.
  5. Jon has been in China since, well he left DC on Friday morning so he got into China on Saturday night, Beijing time.  I miss him lots, it's very hard with a 13 hour time difference to get and talk with the person you are used to waking up to every morning.  We do talk for about 2 minutes every night (morning for him) and he will be back on Saturday, which I am impatiently waiting for.
  6. The inauguration is just 1 week away - crazy.  Seems like it was just yesterday that Obama had won and now here were are at this amazing day where he takes office, well almost.  Our offices in DC are closed due to all bridges in and out of VA will be closed, so with MLK day on Monday, we're talking about a 4 day weekend baby!  No travel, just my boy coming home, sooooooooooooo excited!
I guess there's nothing else new, expect for that fact that I should get back to work!  I miss the days where every morning while I showered and got ready for work I would think of this amazing topic that I wanted to blog about - doesn't happen anymore, maybe I'm always late and racing or just have too many other things on my mind.....hmmmm

Miss him so much!