Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Washington, D.C., Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Mom slept in until almost nine, which is very unusual for her. I was up at 6:30, so I made coffee in the room, and then went downstairs and had a smoke. I had four books and my knitting, and it was nice out, warm but not hot, so I was in no hurry to make Mom get up and entertain me. One thing I had noticed was that the coffee for the room was one of those single-shot pod dealios, and we had one regular, which I made and drank, and one decaf. I didn't think it was fair that Mom wouldn't get coffee just because I woke up first, so on one of my trips down to smoke, I stopped at the front desk and asked for another regular packet.

"That will be $3.50."

*me blinking*

"Okay. I'll take it."

Desk clerk: "If you wait until tomorrow, Housekeeping will put another one in your room."

*me blinking some more*

"There are two of us, and I just drank the regular coffee."

Desk clerk: "But you get one free one every day, you don't have to buy another one."

*me giving up*

"Just sell me the coffee."

At that point, the desk clerk broke off to answer the phone, and I gathered from her discussion that I could exchange the decaf packet for regular. I confirmed that with her, and said I'd drop it off later if she'd give me the regular now. Then she went and looked and said they were out of regular, but she'd send Housekeeping up to trade.


When Mom did get up, I showed her how to work the coffeepot, she was appalled at the charge for additional coffee, and after she got ready, we went down and had another cup of coffee each at the restaurant, and I had a bagel.

Cost of the coffee in the restaurant? $3.50.

We walked to the Metro again, and after consulting our Fodor's and the wall map, bought a pair of day passes and headed for the Smithsonian. There were tons of kids on school trips and lots of amazing exhibits. In the one of Julia Child's kitchen, there was a photo of her bent over the stove in her first apartment with her husband, which really brought home to me how tall she was. In the Inaugural Gowns exhibit, Mom and I laughed about how Betty Ford's formal gown (non-inaugural, of course) was a lovely yellow and green brocade with a hidden zipper up the front. The 1970s have much to answer for! The First Ladies exhibit had my favorite piece in the entire museum. Julia Grant actually had a silver house for her perfume! There was also a fascinating exhibit with one house that existed from the Colonial Period to the 1960s and five of the families who lived in it. We had lunch in the cafeteria, which was good but overpriced, and then saw the Star-Spangled Banner exhibit before visiting the gift shop and heading back to the hotel. When we left the subway, I clocked my right knee (see? Recurring theme...) on the escalator handrail.

As we walked from the subway to the hotel, I suggested that we take the hotel shuttle to the airport and catch the Metro from the airport stop. Mom agreed, and we went upstairs and cleaned up and changed. We caught the 5:00 shuttle, then took the Metro waaaaaaaaaaay up north to U Street. When we exited the Metro, all we had to do was turn around to find the Lincoln Theater, where our show was. The Fodor's book had said that U Street had lots of shopping and restaurants, so we set off to find them. We saw lots of restaurants, but only two drugstores. Mom needed aspirin, so we stopped at CVS, and then we wandered up and down the street looking at menus. There are lots of Ethiopian restaurants on U Street, but we wound up having dinner at a little bistro where they asked if we had reservations but gave us a table even though we didn't. Mom had her second veggie burger of the day, and I had a salad and smoked gouda macaroni and cheese.

After dinner, we walked down U Street and then turned down a side street, where there were a few more shops. We amused ourselves in a place full of kitchen gadgets, awwwed over a patient from a storefront veterinary hospital being walked (a Golden Retriever with one leg in a cast!) and strolled through a plant display which included several mock orange bushes, the scent of which took us both back to Savannah. One thing I saw but didn't quite manage to figure out was several street vendors with multiple bottles of essential or perfume oils. I couldn't tell if they were custom-blending perfumes, or if it was more of a gris-gris kind of thing, but I thought of Beth at BPAL and was very intrigued.

The review Mom and I saw at the Lincoln Theater, Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies was absolutely incredible. The music was gorgeous, of course, well-performed and the dance was amazing. Maurice Hines has incredible talent and stage presentation, and there were two teenaged brothers, fifteen and seventeen, who just rocked the whole house every time they took the stage. It was a long show, so when we left the theater, it was about 10:30, and it was close to 11:00 when we arrived at the airport. After waiting a few minutes, we decided we'd missed the shuttle to the hotel (we hadn't) and took a cab. Since the fare for ten minutes was fifteen dollars, Mom was pleased we hadn't take a cab all the way from U Street!

I did take off my makeup and brush my teeth before falling into bed Thursday night, but that's about all I managed to do.

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