Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Team Stimey Goes to Washington

Alternatively Titled: "Stimey and Her Stupid Fucking Hubris"

Oh, he looks like he can be quiet:

Yeah, they look calm and ready to follow directions:

Uh, huh, the woman behind the camera seems competent to take a photo three kids on a tour of the Capitol:

Although I don't know why Quinn looks so damn sad.

Today was the day the little dudes and I were scheduled to take a tour of the capitol building. Why were you all so encouraging when I told you I had signed up to do this with them? Why weren't you all, "Hey, you moron, things are going to go really, really badly for you! Snap out of it!"

Why didn't you say that? were all "the capitol tour sounds great," and "good reminder to take advantage of all the stuff so close by," and "yay for Camp Stimey! YAY!!!"

Thanks a lot, assholes.

I was high off of finding a $3 for 2 hours parking spot only four blocks from the Capitol when the security guard turned us away from the visitor center for trying to sneak in a weapon. I'd forgotten all about the miniature life hammer I keep on my keychain. I should have taken it as a sign.

The guard told me that I had to take the blade back outside and that he "couldn't tell me what to do with it once it's outside" and "it's up to you, what you do with it outside."

I think he was using code to try to tell me something about how I could get around the rules. I couldn't figure out if he meant that I should hide it deep within my purse or try to use it to take a hostage and bully my way in, but I was too fucking dumb to figure it out.

So I hid it in a corner crevice in hopes that it would still be there when I came back out.

It felt a little bit like I was planting a bomb.
I kept expecting to hear, "Hey! You there! Freeze!"

After that, security went mostly smoothly other than the fact that Jack almost got away from us.

We were still standing in line in the visitor center waiting for our tour's turn to see the introductory movie when it really hit home about how badly this was going to go for me. Like any good mom, I then turned away from my children and reached out to my twitter support group:

Tweeted while STILL IN LINE for the tour, by the way.
I can see the future.

The movie didn't go too badly, and I think Sam actually learned some stuff. Then we headed off to the rotunda where we had exactly one moment of awe and wonderment. This moment:

I don't know if it was the other seven million people in the rotunda with us, the echoing noise, or what, but Jack and Quinn retreated to a statue of James Garfield and Jack started compulsively tracing the etching with his finger.

Quinn moved around the statue one way. I went around the other way to intercept him. During the .06 seconds he was out of my sight, he stepped up onto the bottom of the pedestal of the statue and then plummeted to the ground.

Commence sobbing, frantic hugging, and shrieks of, "I want to go home! I want to go home!" (From Quinn, not me, I swear.)

Cue Sam, who hears someone complaining, and chimes in with "I want to go home! I want to go home!"

Notice Jack, who is pointing at some room the tour doesn't go to and saying, "I want to go in that room! I want to go in that room!"

We hung in for the tour's visit to The Statuary Room with the Listening Spot (a.k.a. The Room with All the Statues in which the Tour Guide Made Us Stand in a Claustrophobic Little Huddle to Hear Absolutely Nothing Because There Were Seven Million People in the Room) mainly because I didn't know how to get back to the visitor center.

Although I did see one woman leave holding a plastic bag under her vomiting child's face, so I guess we didn't have the worst tour of the day.

As far as I can tell, there was at least one more stop on the tour, in a room with something like six hallways branching off from it. Our first guess was wrong, but our second guess led us straight back to the visitor center and this statue of Freedom (hallelujah!), which is a copy of one that sits atop the Capitol Dome.

Get the symbolism?

It was here that another tourist saw me rolling my eyes and apologized, thinking she'd stood in the way of my camera. I had to assure her that, no, in fact I was rolling my eyes at my horrible children.

We departed the visitor center and Jack finally started to have fun by chasing what were possibly the slowest moving pigeons in the world.

And I found my life hammer. And I noticed that the top two buttons of my v-neck shirt had come undone, exposing the top of my bright blue bra.

While wondering how long exactly my shirt had been unbuttoned (Maybe that was why that older gentlemen in the rotunda had been so nice to me?), I looked at my watch to discover that I had ten minutes to hustle my three tired kids to the car before our meter ran out.

We started moving fast, me holding Jack and Quinn's hands because, left to their own devices, they MEANDER. VERY. SLOWLY. We were in the middle of crossing a street when a combination of my momentum, the hand holding, and Quinn's unfortunate act of stumbling led to my pretty much hurling him face first flat into the asphalt.

That's some quality parenting there, people.

We were late getting back to our car, but we didn't get a ticket. (Phew.)

So, to sum up, I will give you my recommendation for Touring the U.S. Capitol With Children. And my recommendation is: Maybe don't do it.

I think that going to see the Capitol is a great idea. Maybe play on the lawn, take a picnic, stare at the very cool architecture. Based on my experience with a four-, six-, and almost eight-year-old, I would say that eight is probably a good age to start touring the Capitol. And let me be clear: your youngest child should be eight.

All in all, this wasn't the worst experience we've had. But neither was it the best. I'll tell you how it goes next time we visit, in 2013.


  1. Oh you are much braver than I. I dread taking the three boys to the grocery store or the playground because it always turns out pretty much like you described. Or one of my kids sets of the fire alarm, or something like that. A cocktail is in order, I think! :-)

  2. Admittedly I was somewhat confused by "the miniature life hammer" because initially I thought you had some sort of sea monkey tool

  3. 7 more years...gotcha. At least the weather was nice? I adore your sense of humor.

  4. I've been desperate for the details ever since you tweeted about it and you have not disappointed. Hilarious. And I thank you for killing my desire to take my boys to dc for at least another 3.5 years - I follow the Rules o' Stimey!

  5. It could have been worse, you didn't get detained by the FBI or anything. I applaud your efforts to give the boyos some culture (sorry, I know you hate when people call them the boys so I went with boyos...better maybe?). my kids watched tv and played xbox all morning...I think your trip was time better spent even though it was nuts and exhausting. You spent quality time with them and that is what they will remember.

  6. Oh no! I am one of those evil pals who propped you up and hollered "Yay Camp Stimey!" Next time you announce lofty plans, I will make sure to remind you of today.

  7. "You are bonkers." That is a quote from my last comment. I consider that a warning. The actual meaning being: That sounds dreadful, mayhaps you ought to consider an alternate plan.

    I bet the lady with the barfing kid was much sadder than you today.

  8. Hey, anyone who wears a bright blue bra is O.K. by me.

  9. I have been eagerly awaiting this post since I saw you this morning and Sam asked if you could take him to the grocery store rather than the Capitol. I didn't comment on the post when you announced your tour plans but at the time I did agree with ALW. I am sorry I didn't intervene.

  10. There are usually things in your posts that make me laugh out loud and this one - you had me at "Thanks a lot, assholes." Lol!

  11. It's amazing how the kids can be crazy for their parents but have looking sweet and innocent down.

  12. I'm sorry, but that last picture...may be the funniest thing I have ever seen.

  13. Pffft! Wuss! ;-) Ok, so Quinn took a bit of a beating; no biggie, right? (TOTALLY KIDDING!) At least you didn't get arrested, didn't get mugged, and didn't lose anyone. (Hey, betcha the guy from the Rotunda was trailing you for a nother glimpse of your bra, you tease, you! ;-) )

    But, hey, I can laugh all I want to...I've got a few more years to wait until Nik is 8. Even then...I may wait longer.

  14. Sounds like we made the right decision not to visit DC in April, because I found myself nodding and noting which one of my children would do the same things. Einey has a habit of chasing chickens. Even at almost eight, if she sees a chicken, she has to chase it. That goes for other birds of similar persuasion. She always has.

    Oh, and I'm sure I'd be the one compulsively tracing the monument. if not with my hand, definitely my eyes. It's a quirk I have when I space off and become bored.

  15. I loved this! I can't even imagine a time when my three don't all run in different directions when out in public... If leashes were more accepted by society at large - I would be all over that.

  16. I told you to come to MT. Grant it the flight would have been long, but it probably would have been easier than what you attempted today.

  17. My kids would have been the same way. And they're seven and eleven. Sigh.

  18. is it terrible that i'm laughing so hard at your pain?

    seriously though, whenever I take my two boys on an outing by myself, I consider it a success if when we leave we are all together, no more than two band aids were required, and only one person is crying.

  19. Okay, yeah, but totally score on the parking and not getting a ticket!!

  20. I am a very bad friend. I saw your tweet yesterday and immediately thought - This is going to be an awesome blog post!!!

    Glad you survived :)

  21. Lovvvvvvve this. "Maybe don't do it." AH HA HA!

  22. Camp Stay Home and Eat Leftover Chinese Food is not looking so bad all of the sudden. You are a brave, brave woman my dear and I applaud your efforts .... and giggle at the results.

  23. Sounds like the boys had quite the adventure! Just recently found your blog and am really enjoying reading your stories. Looking forward to reading more :)

  24. I was starting to worry about you. But after reading this, I'm glad to hear that you have normal kids and normal mom semi-homicidal thoughts. And by normal, I mean, just like at my house, which may not be normal at all.

    Best time to go to the Capitol? July 3rd evening when they have a dress rehearsal of the July 4th show, complete with celebrity host (this year, Jimmy Smits) and all the musicians and the NSO. (NO fireworks though.) The kids can run and there's a very small crowd.
    But shhhh... don't tell anyone. It's a secret!

  25. Just got back from Monticello with 2 kids. I sure enjoyed your post.

  26. I was thinking it was a good sign when I didn't see you on the evening news.

  27. Sounds eerily familiar given our recent trip there...of course I only took two boys and had a father in tow so it was somewhat easier. Still I'm with you on the secret whispering phenomenon...we never heard anything!

  28. This will teach me to take a week off from work (and blog reading and twitter) - I missed Camp Stimey. Dammit.

    In 2013 you can stash your weapons in my office and I'll take your brood to lunch.


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