Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Virginia and Washington D.C.

So our trip south was not all about field hockey. Well, almost, but not completely. We tried very hard to work some non-hockey things in there, especially for Man-Cub's sake.

First, we have the sunset over the Chesapeake Bay. This was my first time over the dreaded Bay Bridge/Tunnel. I've dreaded it my whole life and I survived! I have a wee bit of a bridge/tunnel phobia. It's not bad, my kids don't even know it, but The Viking knows to please drive in the center lane and drive extra carefully so I don't completely freak out. I have recurring nightmares about really high, really long, really steep bridges that always end in me getting horribly lost, driving the wrong way and dodging oncoming traffic or actually falling off the bridge so I was not looking forward to this part of the trip. But it wasn't bad.

If you haven't braved it, you don't know that there is actually a little stopping point with a tourist rest stop at one point along the way. That seemed weird to me. I did not want to stop. I wanted to keep going and get the heck back on dry land as soon as possible. But The Viking saw that there sunset out the passenger window and was determined to get photos, frightened wife or no frightened wife. It was lovely and we did see dolphins frolicking among the waves, but I was glad we didn't have to do it on the way back.

Not only did we have to stop, but we all had to walk all the way to the end of the fishing pier. That was quite a dilemma for me: walk all that way out into the middle of the bay on a rickety wooden structure full of drunken fishermen and their free-flying, barbed fishhooks or stay behind by myself while my husband takes the children out there without me? I decided to go with and keep a hawk eye open. The kids weren't interested in the photo op.

But they cooperated. I was amazed that The Viking managed to somehow miss the fish heads, guts, blood splotches and cigarette butts littering the place. It was a delightful place.

And a photo of just the kids wasn't enough. The Viking wanted one of all four of us, but there I drew the line. I figured no one wanted a shot of me wearing a pained expression and I wasn't about to hand our camera to any of the people standing near us on the pier, all of whom I was convinced were living on it.

I know this photo wouldn't be considered the good one of the pair, but I like it infinitely more than the other one. Man-Cub is in this making-a-face-when-the-cameraman-says-cheese stage. You'll see what I mean before this post is over. It's hilarious.

On the way back from Virginia Beach (and the reason, mercifully, we did not have to do the Bay Bridge/Tunnel on the way home) we decided to stop for a day in Washington D.C. I hadn't been there in years, Redheaded Snippet had only been there once many years ago, and Man-Cub had never been. We would have loved to have had several days there, but one was all we could manage so we had to make some difficult choices.

Obviously, we did the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. And, obviously, he loved it. So much of the trip had revolved around Redheaded Snippet that we decided to schedule our day in D.C. around Man-Cub's interests.

We managed our way around the Metro and then we got really bold and decided to split up. Redheaded Snippet and I went to the American History museum while the menfolk headed off to the Air and Space with plans for us all to synchronize our watches and meet in front of the American History later.

The Viking took the camera. Which makes sense because it never would have occurred to me to take it out and use it. I'm a dingbat that way. But he got lots of good shots of Man-Cub making his faces of delight and surprise.

So while Redheaded Snippet and I took in things the Boys would have had absolutely no interest in (like the First Ladies Display--which, sadly, seemed much less impressive than I remembered it), they got to have their fill of rockets, spaceships and airplanes which would have put us right to sleep!

Man-Cub got to fulfill his lifelong ambition and was called on to assist in a demonstration. Something about vacuums and magnets and I forget the details but he was so very excited!

And, apparently, they had so much fun they had to linger in the museum an entire hour after the predetermined meeting time leaving Redheaded Snippet and I to wait just inside the doors of the American History museum scoping out teenage boys and rating them (hey, I was bored and she was a riot)!

But we managed to meet up anyway and take one last swing through American History together. I didn't anticipate Man-Cub's reaction to Oscar the Grouch nor did I understand The Viking's impatient comment of, "Okay, I think we need a new face," as I hadn't yet seen the other photos! And, incidentally, do you happen to notice what is sitting next to Oscar in the left of this photo? It's the infamous "puffy shirt" from Seinfeld. The Viking and I got a laugh out of that, as befitting our age.

The above picture items were in the "Thanks For The Memories" section along with Archie Bunker's chair, Dorothy's ruby slippers and a bunch of other stuff that, again, I found a little underwhelming. I know they change some of the displays periodically, but I felt we kind of hit a kind of boring cycle. Kermit, up there (whom I didn't even know the kids knew) was one of the highlights of that section.

And, last but not least, there is Man-Cub with C3PO. He was slightly disappointed that R2D2 wasn't with him. In his mind you can't have one without the other and I must say, I rather agree. He calls this particular android C3PeePants because of his annoying character in the Lego Star Wars video game, but he was still pretty excited to see the real thing up close and personal.

As anyone who's been to the Smithsonian Museums could tell you, those two buildings were the only ones we had time for in our one measly day in D.C. I wanted the kids to see the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, the changing of the guard at The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier, the Library of Congress and much, much more. But that will have to wait for another time. We should probably wait until Man-Cub is a wee bit older for most of that stuff anyway, though not much. We will definitely be back!

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