Thursday, May 27, 2010

Washington D.C., Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

I woke up at 6 without an alarm, and threw on my robe and my wrap so I could head downstairs for a smoke before getting dressed and making coffee. My legs and butt were screaming at me from all the walking on Friday, but I didn't dare take any ibuprofen until after I'd had either food or at least my daily Prilosec. Still in my pre-coffee fog, I stood in front of the elevator and pushed the button three times before realizing it wasn't even lighting up. So I looked at the fire map and headed for the stairs. Seven flights is a long way, even down, especially when you've overtaxed yourself the day before and then slept seven hours without moving, but I kept at it. I wound up coming out of the stairwell in the employees-only area behind the front desk, and startled the only clerk working the early shift. He figured out what I was doing there, though, and promised me the elevator guy was almost done. Didn't matter to me, I wasn't walking up those seven flights!

I'd brought my book down with me, but I never got a chance to read it. There was a woman outside who was just dying for someone to talk to, and she gave me an earful of conspiracy theories about public officials, her view that businesses closing was the result of socialism (!) and how all of Washington seems like they're "ready to throw down" (spend a lot) on clothes. I escaped when I'd finished my cigarette, and thankfully, the elevator was working again. I zipped upstairs, started my coffee and took a shower, hoping said coffee would cool enough for me to drink it while I got clean. Or cleaner, since I'd had a shower the night before.

A word about coffee, my mom, and me: Mom's family nickname is "Asbestos Mouth" because she adores both spicy-hot and temperature-hot food and beverages. In the time it takes my coffee to cool enough for me to sip, Mom has finished hers and is making a face because it has gotten "too cool." When she got up, she made herself a cup of coffee and drank it all before getting dressed.

We headed out on foot, since we were only about eight blocks from the yarn shop where we were meeting four of my BPALz. We were meeting at eleven, and we left the hotel a little before nine so we would have time to stop at Starbuck's for a second cup of coffee and maybe do a little shopping in Old Town. We got a cinnamon scone to split with our coffee, and sat outside enjoying the morning. As mentioned, Mom vacuumed up her coffee before I had managed to do much more than blow on mine. All of the extra napkins I'd grabbed came in useful when a Starbuck's customer came out of the store and headed for his car with two very overfilled iced coffees. :)

Mom and I saw a house built on land owned by Light Horse Harry Lee, and she knew he was a Revolutionary War hero, and I knew he was Robert E. Lee's father. We saw a lot of beautiful houses and gorgeous gardens. We did get the giggles over one planter full of a plant that looked like chrysanthemums but had pansy-like flowers--when I looked closely, the flowers were wired on. The first store we saw on King Street was a big Ross store, which was open, so we went in.

I'd always wanted to see a Ross because Flinty over at Polish or Perish is always talking about her nail polish finds from there. They didn't have hardly anything in the way of polish, but I still managed to find a cute turquoise fake-straw hat, a dead squirrel dog toy and a seriously gorgeous white skirt and jacket/blouse (bloucket? jouse?). Unfortunately, I found myself somewhat caught short, and had to do an Ellen. I scooted into the restroom and was there for fifteen minutes. Unfortunately, the restroom was inside the fitting rooms, so when I found the white outfit, I had to go back. I did not make eye contact with the attendant.

We'd spent all of our pre-meeting time at Ross, so we walked across the street to Knit Happens. Mom went in and started looking at everything, and I stayed outside to wait for mah peeps. Clever_Girl and Katestamps arrived first, with C_G pulling up to the curb to let Kate out and then heading around the corner to find parking. I gave Kate a fierce hug and got one in return, then walked her inside to meet my mom. C_G came back and was also introduced, and then Vampkat called looking for us. Just as she was pulled up talking to us, a parking space opened right in front of the store, so she grabbed it and fed the meter. Now the only one we were missing was Yvaine, and knowing that she had lived in Alexandria for a long time, I figured she didn't need me standing outside like a fat, sweaty beacon. :p

Yvaine arrived about 11:30, at which point Kate had already picked out a lace-weight yarn and started a shawl, and C_G and Kat were looking at books and listening to Kate, my mom and both yarn store SAs talk about how easy it is to knit. Mom got a little nervous when the perfume came out and the sniffing started, because she thought we were going to get thrown out! Fortunately, there was no one else in the store, we'd been complimentary about the SAs' projects, and they'd made at least two sales from us. Plus, it had been less than two hours when we all decided we were hungry, and Yvaine won my undying gratitude for knowing of an awesome Lebanese place a few blocks away. I still feel bad for recommending the kibbeh to Kat, who couldn't finish it; but I ate every morsel of mine.

After lunch, Kat had to boogie, but the rest of went to the Nine West outlet, where C_G, Kate and I worshipped the shoes and Yvaine actually bought some. Mom waited outside, because the store was totally crowded. After that, C_G and Kate headed for home, and Mom and Yvaine and I went to The Gap. Mom found skull flip-flops for my nephews, Yvaine got bathing suits and other stuff, and I found a brown and tan tank top that was perfect for my new white outfit. Yvaine is awesome to shop with, and I'm not just saying that because she can reach things I can't. ;)

Yvaine took Mom and me back to the hotel, and came up for a bit for Diet Coke, conversation, and a look at the choker Severina made for me. Even though Mom thinks the necklace is "gross" because of the skeleton, she had to laugh when I said Sev told me the back of the necklace was made from the hide of a Nauga that had died from tuberculosis in true Victorian fashion. When we were a bit rested and restless, Mom and I mentioned that we were planning to take a water taxi to the National Harbor and go to the Peeps store. Yvaine offered to drive us over there, and we took her up on it. I'd have suspected her of merely being a polite person, except I know that she loves her Peeps!

We figured out the parking, and just as we left the garage, it started to rain. We went through a courtyard with a really gorgeous fountain, down a street and then we were looking at the "You Are Here" kiosk and trying to figure out where the Peeps store was, when I realized that it had to be on a lower level. We went down, and sure enough, there it was. There were a bunch of people streaming off the water taxi, and one young girl was throwing up right in the middle of the sidewalk. I very carefully didn't say anything to either of my companions, and tried to hold back my sympathetic gag reflex.

The Peeps store was a lot of fun. They had Peep everything (except for refrigerator magnets, Mousey, sorry :( ), including artwork made out of Peeps on the wall. Even a Warhol-ish Peep picture! There were also huge dispensers full of all the Mike and Ike citrus flavors, and on the opposite wall were four giant dispensers full of four flavors of Hot Tamales. We got a present for Goldilocks, our stated reason for coming, Yvaine loaded up on Peeps, I bought candy, and we headed out to wander around the lower level of the National Harbor.

It's a good thing we were flying home on Sunday, because Yvaine spotted this cupcake place with the most appetizing selection I've seen in a while. They had carrot cake and sea salt caramel, which was all I needed to see! Then we wandered back up to the level we came in on, where we had drinks and three kinds of French fries at a restaurant called Ketchup. There were six kinds of ketchup to dip the fries into, so it was a delicious if not a healthy dinner. On the way back to the car, we stopped at a store called Stonewall Kitchen, where Mom got all kinds of chocolately treats for Dad, I found dark chocolate-covered ginger bits for Vegan Lawyer, and I treated myself to a little bag of dark chocolate-covered espresso-flavored caramels.

Sated and overloaded, we headed back to the car. Yvaine took us to the hotel and said goodbye, and Mom and I went upstairs and had a quiet evening knitting and reading. Mom confessed that she was nervous beforehand because she was afraid my friends would think she was too old to be hanging out with all of us, and she was really touched that C_G and Kat both hugged her before they left. She was glad to have met them, and impressed at how smart and charming my friends are. Of course, I'm impressed, too!


Becs said...

Ooh, Stonewall Kitchens! They make a fabulous horseradish-cranberry spread that goes great with a pork loin or turkey sammich.

I lived in Richmond for years, used to go to DC regularly, and sympathize on the weather. The best time to see DC is early November if you don't mind missing all the blooming things.

the queen said...

I am so, so proud. (Blinks back tears.)

Only I would have gone for cupcakes immediately, since voiding ones entire digestive system makes one hungry.

Jammies said...

Becs, if you had still been in Richmond, I'd have made you meet up with us.

Your Maj, cupcakes tend to make me even sicker because of the sugar. *hands her a hankie* Dab your eyes, dear, and please note that I cured my hunger with a boatload of kibbie.

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