Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mr. Rickard went to Washington

"On the road again...just can't wait to get on the road again." The end of February put me back on the East Coast. Except this time, I had company :). Jeff had a convention to attend in Washington D.C., and it so happened to coincide with the week of the month that I telecommute. So I decided to telecommute from D.C. instead of California.

Jeff's convention was put on by the union of Federal Employees, so it wasn't really work related, but sort of, kind of. While he was attending various workshops, I worked out of a friend's office in D.C. In the afternoon/evening, we'd sightsee.

On Sunday, we went and visited Mt. Vernon. This was George Washington's beloved residence and the day we toured it was also when a winter storm was pushing through the system. When we arrived, it was starting to snow, and as the day progressed, the snow kept coming down. It was sooo beautiful! Reminded me of a snowglobe. There wasn't any wind, so the snowflakes were just falling out of the sky. And were they HUGE! Those snowflakes were the largest flakes I've seen to date. After watching a film in the Visitors Center, we decided to go the main house. In the process, we walked right past it (blame it on the weather) and instead found ourselves at his tomb site...only to discover that it'd just closed five minutes prior to us arriving. Because the paths were becoming treacherous, the powers that be decided to discourage foot traffic down the hill to the tomb by closing it.

So, back up the hill we walked and found the main house. We toured the house and the other surrounding buildings like the laundry house, the stables, the servants' quarters, etc. I found his library to be interesting. Washington had something like 800 volumes in his library. In those days, a wealthy home would be doing well with 30 books. He was a well-read individual, with part of his desire to read was to make up for his lack of a complete formal education. Washington also liked gadgets. If he lived today, I think he'd attempt to have every new techy device as soon as he could get his hands on it. In his library is a chair that has a paddle-like looking device above it. You'd sit in the chair and move pedals at your feet. By so doing, the paddle thing above started moving back and forth, thus becoming a fan for you while you sat.

After touring what we could, we went to the gardens and I stood under the eaves of a building and had a big bunch of snow come pouring on top of me as it slid off the roof. That was fun!

A couple of times in the evening, we went to Maggiano's in Chevy Chase, MD for dinner. Jeff had never been there before, so the first time we went was to celebrate Valentines Day. Yes, it was a couple of weeks late, but due to the unique situation of our relationship, life doesn't always progress 'normally'. At any rate, Jeff loved Maggiano's so much we went back another night! And the second time we went back, I heard a familiar voice call out my name as we were being seated. Who would've thought that I'd have the privilege of running into Kelley Materriene (hope I spelled that right)! She was having dinner with her boyfriend, so we spent a few moments briefly catching up with each other. Kelley, 'twas good to see you again!

Jeff spent quite a bit of time visiting various congress offices around Capitol Hill. The main reason for him going to D.C. was to do some lobbying. After spending two whole days on the Hill, he had a huge stack of business cards. I toured the Capitol building, visited the National Archives and saw the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Declaration of Independence exhibit was undergoing renovation when I was there. Did you know that the large lettering on the Constitution, such as "We the People" was written by a sixteen-year-old? I did not know that.

Before going to D.C., I'd asked Jeff a couple of times about what he wanted to see while he was there. His response was that since he'd never been before, it didn't matter. What we did end up visiting was the Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Natural History. He thought is was cool to see the Wright Brother's plane, as well as some of the lunar aircraft. We also rode the flight simulators. Oh, my! There's two of you in the cockpit of a fighter jet, one's the pilot, the other is the gunner. It's your job to chase down the enemy planes and shoot them down. In order to successfully accomplish your mission, you're flying that plane all over - including upside down! There's nothing like being upside down for an extended period of time! Jeff liked it so much that we went again a couple of hours later.

He wanted to visit the Museum of Natural History because he wanted to see dinasours. We also toured the precious stone collection and wandered in and out of the animal exhibits. Lunch was very delicious at the cafeteria in National Art Gallery. We had some of the best potato and leek soup around.

While it was a very busy week, we had a great time over there. Jeff bemoaned the fact that there was just too much to see and way too little time. I've been to D.C. numerous times and there's still a lot of things I have yet to visit . Even so, I'm glad Jeff got the opportunity to go there and see the little that he could.

I don't have all the pix in a place where I can upload them, but we did take pictures and I will get them posted.

Right now, I'm in San Antonio, Texas. I've done some visiting around here as well, will share the highlights in my next post. Until then, cheers!