I survived the holiday weekend. Usually that’s not much of an accomplishment, but this year it took some doing.
Kiri came to visit, arriving Friday and leaving this morning. While she was here we attended two picnics, a party, two fireworks shows, a movie…
Friday we didn’t really do anything special beyond hanging out with Kiri. Julie did some food prep for the holiday. Kiri and I watched “Battlebots” off the DVR while I did my nightly workout on the elliptical. (I’d saved “Battlebots” for several days because I thought she’d be interested.)
Saturday we all slept late and decided to skip the Takoma Park Independence Day parade — the route ends three blocks from our house, so usually Julie and I walk over to watch it, but this year the weather was damp and ugly and we weren’t feeling energetic, so we didn’t.
But we did all pile in the car and drive to Arlington VA for a friend’s annual holiday bash. Grilled burgers and hot dogs and BBQ, liquid-nitrogen ice cream, many friends.
After that, we drove back for a party up the street, where a family recently built a house that’s… architecturally distinctive, shall we say? We got the full tour. We’d been inside when it wasn’t finished yet, or even closed in (which is how we got in), and the floor plan turns out to be different from what I’d expected. The playroom is where I thought the kitchen would go, and the kitchen is where I thought the dining room would be, and the floor plan is more open than I expected.
Our hosts are nice people, but we already knew that, having met them at other neighborhood events.
After that — Julie works at the Bureau of Engraving & Printing in downtown DC, a couple of blocks from where the big annual fireworks show (the one that’s shown on TV as the end of “A Capital Fourth”) launches. (“A Capital Fourth” is mostly the concert on the Capitol lawn; we’ve been to that in the past, didn’t go this year.) The Bureau decided that this year they would allow a limited number of employees and their families to watch the fireworks from the Bureau’s roof. (There’s a rooftop cafe.) Who got to go was decided by lottery. Julie entered the lottery and didn’t win — but it turned out she was the first name on the waiting list, so when someone else cancelled a few days ago, she got a last-minute notice that she and up to three guests were in. So Julie, Kiri, Julie’s sister Eileen, and I packed a picnic dinner and took the Metro downtown. Finding the entrance they were using took a few minutes, but well before the show we were on the Bureau roof, eating roast chicken we’d brought with us.
For the actual fireworks they recommended moving to another part of the roof, one that’s not normally open to anyone, so we did. Lots of people stayed in the cafe, which turned out to be a minor mistake — we all thought the fireworks were launching from over by the Washington Monument, but they actually launch from the Tidal Basin, and the cafe’s view in that direction is partially blocked.
But we were on the good roof, and even climbed up on the brick wall around the edge for a better view. (There’s an iron railing on top of the wall as well, so there was no danger of falling off the roof.)
It was quite a show, though not all that long. There were low-hanging clouds, so low that a few of the highest bursts were partially inside the clouds, which looked neat and is something I’d never seen before.
There was one series of fireworks that were supposed to spell out “USA,” in red, white, and blue, but the U was sideways and so distorted it looked more like a question mark — it wasn’t until it was followed by the S and A that we realized what it was supposed to be.
After the show it was back to the Metro, and we were astonishingly lucky — we were using the L’Enfant Plaza station, where most of the crowds were jamming into Smithsonian, and we got to the platform before hardly ANY crowd arrived, and just as Metro rolled out a special post-fireworks train. We got seats easily, and the car never got as crowded as a typical rush hour.
We’d expected to get back to our car at Fort Totten around 11:00; instead it was only about 10:15. Amazing.
We drove home and crashed.
Then Sunday we discovered that Takoma Park had postponed their show because of the damp weather. An opportunity!
Around mid-afternoon, on a whim, we went to see “Inside Out.” Came home, ate dinner, watched the U.S. win the World Cup, then walked over to Takoma Park Middle School, where the city holds its show, and saw another round of fireworks. TP goes for low-altitude stuff with a very different style from the big traditional show DC does, so it wasn’t just a replay.
Came home, watched the end of the Giants/Nationals game; the Nats won. Watched another round of “Battlebots,” then called it a night.
A good full weekend.