Tuesday, May 17, 2011

DC and Mom Down

Yesterday dawned drizzly and difficult for Mom.  I was feeling really lousy as we began our travel to DC, still feverish and a very raw sore throat.  I got a couple hours sleep the night before we left, and was tired on top of it (Gee, I am sounding very whiny here, and I was!! Haha!). 

The kids enjoyed the train ride, but it was fairly short at just 2 1/2 hours or so.  I slept through part of it, and was awakened when Dominick commented on many burned out buildings.  We were passing through Baltimore and it was like a war zone!  I had no idea that there as an area in such bad shape there...Detroit I would have expected but this section of Baltimore looked literally completely abandoned and almost bombed out.

The climate change from NYC to DC was obvious, and it was a bit humid when we got off the train.  We looked so silly, 7 of us dragging luggage along with the daily commuters.  The only problem we have had with the kids at all the entire trip is getting them to understand that they need to move quickly when getting onto subway cars or off elevators.  They are not moving far enough away while waiting for everyone to catch up, or not moving far enough in the subway car as they don't think there may be 5 or 6 of us trailing behind them with backpacks and suitcases.  We are making it a habit to have Dominick first and me last, as we'd rather have me left on a subway platform than one of the kids!  They are slowly getting the hang of big city travel though.

While everyone loved visiting NYC, all said that it was time to go.  The population density is quite a contrast to our life in rural Colorado.  Everyone was a little tired of squeezing into tiny shops, dodging everyone on sidewalks, and the odors of big city life.  When the dairy down the road back home was compared favorably to the smells of the subway in NYC by Angela, you know it is time to leave! Hahaha!  All the kids agreed it was a totally cool place to visit, but none of them could figure out why anyone would want to live there...comments ranged from it being way to expensive, to never seeing grass or much sunlight, to how hard it would be to figure out transportation without a car.  I explained that people from NYC would have the same feelings about where we live, that they would find it hard to live somewhere where you couldn't just hop on a subway or hail a taxi, where there was very little going on every day in terms of entertainment or culture, or where there was little diversity.  Everyone loves what they are used to, and there are different survival skills needed for each environment.

We are staying at a Hampton Inn in Maryland, as DC hotels are a wee bit over our budget (that is a bit of an understatement), but even this Hampton Inn is a bit luxurious by our standards.  We have a suite which is enormous and we have plenty of room.  It is a beautiful room in a very nice area called Oxon Hill.  It is safe, which was a concern when booking a hotel, and they offer a school field trip discount which helped a lot. However, I'll admit we felt a bit out of our element when we walked in  last night with our bags from CVS pharmacy which had our Kraft microwave Mac and Cheese sticking out along with other cheap meal items.  We can't afford to eat at all these fancy places, and there is no Papaya Dog nearby like in NYC to eat inexpensively here.  There is also only a gourmet import market nearby, so I thought we might find something at CVS.  We hit the jackpot!  Although their prices are way higher than a normal trip to Walmart would be, it is still far less expensive than any other alternative, so we were really happy to discover it.  So in we waltzed hauling our groceries, looking very much like we don't really belong here.  I told Dominick that it is funny when you identify more with the hotel maids than anyone else you are around.  NYC felt more economically diverse, the folks on the subway overall appeared more upscale.  It is such fun to visit lifestyles that are so different than our own!

We decided that it would be best if I remained behind today and rested, so everyone got up early and took off while I slept...and slept...and slept...from 10:00 PM last night until almost noon today.  Wow, I haven't done that since the last time I was really, really ill.  I am sure the double dose of Nyquil helped.  I awoke feeling a little better, with my throat not quite as sore, and am hoping to rejoin the gang tomorrow.  I don't want to lose the entire trip to illness, so decided it was wisest to stop until I was in better shape, even if I miss out on a couple of things.  I tend to have a hard time shaking colds and the flu, they get worse more quickly than they do for the rest of the family so I need to pay attention.  We rearranged things a little today so I don't miss things I'd really like to see, so they went to the Bureau of Engraving which was one Dominick really wanted to see, and I suggested gently that perhaps the Air and Space Museum would be a good one for me to miss :-)  Don't get me wrong, I am sure it is fabulous, but I am airplaned out.  Unlike anyone else in our family, I grew up with a Dad who was a test flight mechanic for Hughes Aircraft, and ate, drank, and dreamed about airplanes.  I had more exposure to aircraft than any kid in the history of mankind, and I am still as unenamored (Yea, I know that's not a word...so sue me!)  as I ever was. Sorry Dad, I know you are up in heaven shuddering at such a statement, but I also know you have inhabited Matthew and I am stuck with is while you are laughing :-)  Hopefully they will get that out of the way...oh...I mean....enjoy seeing it while I am down for the count. 

If the Air and Space Museum and the Intrepid are for Matthew and in part Angela, then DC is for Joshie and Kenny.  Kenny can't wait for the International Spy Museum, and the entire trip will be worth it for Josh to see the Lincoln memorial.  It is all he has talked about, and he is about all things Abe lately.  For Olesya, I am not sure.  With both of the girls we are at that awkward stage for anyone adopting older kids, where they have been exposed to so little and have never had a chance to develop true passions that they linger for quite awhile in this neverland of not really having any strong interests.  Kenny is just now coming out of that 4 years post-adoption, and has now developed strong interests in faith issues and the Bible, business development, and economics.  Angela has Amelia Aerhart and "strong women" in any career as well as philanthropic work as an interest, she really is fascinated by people who devote their lives to others and vows to do so herself in some way eventually.  Olesya has sewing but like Angela is still feeling her way around her life.  What hinders her is her tendency to put her needs off for the needs and desires of others, and that keeps her from firmly following her own passions.  We'll get there, I hope, but for not it makes it a challenge to determine what is of interest to the girls, what they'd like for gifts for holidays, etc.  They are happy with anything, but have not yet found their way.  Exposing them to all kinds of things may eventually help them stumble upon that one thing that sparks them.

I think I'll spend the remainder of the afternoon vegging out, maybe even taking a nap, guzzling more Nyquil, and trying to rest up in hopes I can hit the ground running tomorrow.  I've already watched more TV this afternoon than I've watched in years, and might Netflix it too while it is quite and I wan catch something I like.  I have my Diet Coke, Kraft Mac and Cheese, a USA Today and a quiet room.  What else could I possibly need?

Hopefully I'll have pictures to post of today's activities, if not, I'll share what happens tomorrow if I can make it!



r. said...

It's funny that you should mention which museums you plan on seeing in D.C. When I saw the picture of the kids checking out the staged room, the first thing I thought was, "I bet they'd love the Smithsonian!" If my memory serves me correctly, that museum has several mockups of rooms from various places and times in history.

tac said...

Not sure if this fits in your budget. But there is a Kazak restaurant in Arlington VA (just outside DC). http://www.cafeassorti.com/

r. said...

PS- About the food from CVS-- When I was little, I thought ramen noodles were expensive and special, because we only had them on vacation! I remember my brother and I thought it was like magic; my mom would pour the water from the hotel coffee carafe into the Styrofoam cup and we'd watch to see the noodles expand. Good times :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, Cindy, I am so glad you are taking a day of rest. Have been worried and praying for you, and all, of course.Wish you had some Vit.C with you. When we took Dee and her brother from DC to Williamsburg,they wouldn't leave the motel swimming pool.Guess their brains were numb. Take care, precious friend .Loving the notes and photos.Elva

Lenore said...

Been thinking of you a lot today! I hope that your day of rest, will pay off and you'll be feeling well enough to join your family tomorrow! When in top form, a trip like you're doing is taxing on the body. I don't think that going 15+ hours a day is a natural thing and it's just plain hard on the body!! Maybe with another good night's sleep under your belt, you'll start feeling like yourself!! Sending postivie energy your way! Hugs to all of the LaJoys!!

Lindsay said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip. Hope you are feeling better soon.

Anonymous said...

I hope you feel better. Consider seeing a doc if you feel worse. I'm enjoying all of your posts, as always. Pat

Anonymous said...

I'm adding my love and prayers and delighted you have taken a day to rest. I'm with Anonymous Pat above. Please consider seeing a doctor there or calling your doc at home to help with whatever has helped in the past.

Thank you again for taking all of us with you on your vacation. We're loving it--except the part where you are sick.

Love and hugs,

Dee said...

I hate that u are feeling bad but glad you are resting. PLEASE tell Dominick to get you a bottle of vitamin C pills and take 100 mg. every hour, or 500 mg with every meal, plus TONS of water. It will make a huge difference, I guarantee!