As I previously mentioned, because I decided not to rent a car and drive to NC on Mon Sharon was going to drive to VA on Weds. Knowing that she would have a 3-4 hour drive Collin and I had some time in the morning to hang out some more. Sharon got on the road later than she had expected to, and so we were not expecting her until the early afternoon. After having breakfast we went down by the Potomac river to walk. Collin promised to show me a pterodactyl as we walked along the river but I never did get to see it. (I joked about him wanting to push me in and so that was what he said he was going to "point out" to me to "accidentally" push me in) So we walked along and sat on some of the benches along the way (it was already hot/humid even though it was still somewhat early) We went down by the dock too and he showed me this offspring nest and the bird was there with it's baby. That was fun! Then we sat in the shade in the grass a bit and just relaxed/chatted a little. All the while I was taking pictures.
After walking along the river a bit on the way back we went into an old Navy Torpedo factory. It's now become an art gallery/studio building. It is 3 stories tall and all the different rooms are occupied by artists. Some painters, sculptors and more. It was fun, we walked around in there a bit and enjoyed some of the artwork. There was also a small archaeology room with a few cool artifacts in it. It was getting close to the time for Sharon to maybe arrive so we headed back. After getting back we had some sandwiches and pretzels for lunch then played some connect 4 on the computer. A little while later Sharon got there with the kids. It was so great to see her (it'd been about 4 years at least) and I finally got to meet her daughter Andrea (who turned 3 back in April). She is so cute and looks just like her brother did at her age! Except her curly hair is much longer than his was.
We stayed inside in the cool for a bit and let the kids run around for a few and stretch their legs. During this time we were discussing options and places we'd like to see. It was determined that we would take the Metro into the DC area and go to the Zoo (which is free there ...so that was cool, LA Zoo is about to raise their prices AGAIN) The walk to the metro station was about 15-20 min. During the walk I asked Kalen if he remembered me, and he said "not really but you sound like my Aunt Nay-Nay" I told him that I am Aunt NayNay and he had to ask him mom to verify that was true! Then he later told me he kind of remembers me, but that in his memory I was much taller! ... I reminded him that I didn't shrink, he has just grown! We stopped on the way to the metro and got some water. Then we were there... that day was my first experience "riding on the metro-o-o-o" (That was me singing the Berlin song in case you couldn't tell) The kids seemed to enjoy it too. We even made one transfer between lines. (But I couldn't tell you which colors we were on... I guess I could look at the map thing I brought home and figure it out but you probably don't really care) Finally we got to the "destination" stop and walked from the metro to the zoo.
Across the street from the zoo is a yogurt shop so we sat and enjoyed some yogurt first and got some more bottles of water. The zoo was nice. There was a lot of really beautiful scenery and wonderful animal exhibits to enjoy. But unfortunately late in the afternoon and in the high heat/humidity many of the animals were not enjoying their outdoor exhibits as much! We did see the zebras and some other random animals that I can't name. I think we see a wallabe, and some monkey thing, we saw one cougar (or other cat species) a lot of wild squirrels, chipmunks and even one wild deer fawn! So cute! Andrea was so fun because she would stop by most of the random places around the zoo and tell me "take a picture TO me here". The saddest part though (for me) was not getting to see the elephants! They also have panda's there which would have been fun to see as well, but again they were not out n about! When we had seen what animals we could and gotten to the bottom of the zoo Collin went to request the shuttle to ride back to the top, and it had stopped running a little while before. So we had to walk back up to the top. It felt like the longest journey ever. Maybe it was just because I had already spent 2 days walking around and my knee was getting pretty sore already (yes I had my cane that day) So it was a slow walk up the hill. But my friends are patient with me which is a blessing! I tried not to let anyone notice (I think Sharon may have seen it happen once or twice) but my knee "popped" and kinda gave out on me a couple times. NOT FUN! But I kept on going. I did ask Collin though if he could take me that evening to get a refillable ice pack so that I could use it in the evenings. I had meant to pack mine from home but forgotten it.
During the hike back up the hill we decided on having pizza for dinner. When we got to the top we picked upo some more waters from the yogurt shop (only .29c each) and sat for a few. I was thankful for that break, not just for my knee but because I think I was starting to get a little bit of heat exhaustion. I was feeling queasy and light headed. But sitting and having the water sure helped. Thankfully because I didn't want to get sick or end up in the urgent care or anything! Collin found a pizza place he enjoyed and the metro line we needed to get there. So we walked back to the metro, again with one line change and went to the pizza place. By this time it was after 8pm, we were all hungry and tired and hot! They were crowded and we waited like 40 min for our table. (we couldn't have been like normal people and gone back to the condo and just ordered delivery) During which Andrea fell asleep. But once we were sitting it was nice to have a cold drink and we ordered some bruschetta for an appetizer and (huge) individual pizzas to eat. It was really tasty! I loved that mine had mushrooms (I had to throw that in here since Sharon and Collin were harrassing me about liking mushrooms) Mine had pepperoni, mushroom and red onion, as well as tomato (from the sauce), sharon had the same except hers was sausage not mushrooms. And to be honest I am not sure what Collin had on his. Kalen's was just pepperoni. Collin being so amazing as he is paid for our dinner. Sharon and I both offered him money but he insisted, I tried to offer to pay just the tip but he wouldn't let me. (thanks again) After dinner we got back on the metro and headed back to the condo. This time though since it was already after 11pm we took a cab from the metro to the condo. So not only did I get my first experience "riding on the metro-o-o-o" I also got my first ride in a taxi cab!
When we got back I asked Collin if he didn't mind could we still go and get an ice pack. So we found a 24 hour CVS and just before midnight we went there. The unbelievable thing was at that hour it was still like 87* outside! So gross! It really made me appreciate my So. Cal weather! It gets hot here but not with that humidity and it usually cools down at night at least! We picked up my ice pack, some Tylenol, some milk, juice and cereal and headed back again! When we got back Sharon and the kids were already asleep on the air mattress (I told her I would take the floor, Collin offered me his sleeping bag but I said no, I had my blanket so I was good) It felt so nice to ice my knee! In fact when I laid down to go to sleep I postioned myself so that I was lying on the ice pack still.
In the morning we all had breakfast and showered and we were going to Washington DC. Collin looked online to see how much it would cost for one of the bus tours through the city (so we wouldn't spend another day walking) but they're like $40 a person, so he offered to give us a driving tour instead. I told him I didn't mind walking but he wouldn't listen! So we loaded up his car and headed out. He showed us around Maryland a little bit then we went into Washington DC. We saw the capital building and he stopped so Sharon, the kids and I could go a take a few pictures. We also went inside to the bathroom and gift shop for a minute. Then he drove us around and showed us where the monuments.memorials are. Showed us the treasury building, the White House andthe museums. We decided to park somewhere and get some lunch. Then after lunch we walked to the WHite House. Took some more pictures and headed to the Old Post Office Tower. So we could get a "birds eye" type view of DC.
All this sight seeing we did on foot. It was kinda nice to be walking around again, even though I was still uncomfortable most of the time. I enjoy walking around because I can pause and take pictures. I can look at angles and I don't miss as much as when driving/riding in the car. It's fun to see the people and things like plaques about the history of the building or the significance of the statue etc. So I didn't care about the pain because I got to see more! While on the way to the post office tower we stopped at CVS for some drinks. We went inside and decided to get gatorade (they were on sale) The coolers are right inside the door to the right and inside the door to the left are the registers. Once we had gotten our drinks and we were at the register paying a large group of juveniles came running in the doors, making a lot of noise and started stealing drinks from the coolers and running back out. The CVS staff came running up and yelled @ a few of them they caught with stuff (one kid looked to be maybe 8 years old!) and made the rest leave, even if they were insistant that they were going to pay for their items. I am so glad we were not still standing there picking our drinks when it happened especially since Kalen and Andrea would've easily been trampled! (There were that many of them and they came in that packed together an carrying skateboards) After we paid and stepped outside we saw at least 5 times as many kids all on their skateboards take off from the park area across the street going down the street. In the middle of the cars and traffic paying no attention to getting hit or hitting anybody! It was really quite interesting to witness! I feel bad for those kids. I am glad that (to my knowledge) none did get hit by a car or seriously injured or anything. They sure were not making smart choices that day!
After that interesting trip to CVS we continued down the street to the tower. It was really unique inside. A lot of really intereting architecture and there were some cool little shops and stuff too. And a penny pressing machine!) We went up the glass elevator to the top of the tower to see the view. It was cool, I took a lot more pictures from there as well. Then we went down one level and saw the bells in the tower. We talked about how loud they must be if you're in that room or even in the tower when they're going off! I couldn't imagine really! I know I wouldn't want to be there! After the view from the tower we headed back to the car to avoid traffic and back to the condo. When we got back we hung out for awhile again and in the evening Sharon had to head back to NC. It was so hard to say goodbye to her yet again! When we met in 2006 we became fast friends. The very first shift we worked together we connected and have been close ever since. Within a few weeks of working together we were going to the zoo with her son and Disneyland and hanging out both at work or after! It was great! So when she moved it was hard, and she came back once for a visit and we said goodbye again, then this time we had to say goodbye not knowing when the next visit will be. In Sept her husband is getting re-stationed in Germany! So it may be awhile before our paths can cross again! I am going to miss her! As soon as it was time to hug her goodbye the tears were already flowing (for both of us) and even Andrea started crying! (but that may have been because Collin carried her on his shoulders pretty much anytime we were walking around, so she was enjoying that) I walked them out to the car and more tears were shed. We chatted for a few and she was heading out. I went back inside and just sat on the floor crying.
Collin started making dinner while I was outside with Sharon and when I came in he gave me some space for a few. Once I had cried for a bit I offered to help but he said he had it under control. We had some pasta with spaghetti sauce, green beans and corn, and some bread for dinner that night. We enjoyed our meal on paper plates on the floor. It makes me smile to remember it. I have never had an experience with moving since my parents moved into our house when I was an infant. I have never gone away to school or anything and so my house is all I know. Even generally when you travel there are tables in hotel rooms, or you're at someone's home. So I really enjoyed being in an empty condo just kinda laid back and enjoying things without being distracted by a TV or video game or whatever else there is to deal with. It wasn't a fancy meal but I enjoyed it. It was fun to sit and chat and eat a simple meal. It was also nice to not be eating out for another meal! I had plenty of money with me (especially since Collin didn't always let me buy my own stuff) but sometimes it's nice to stay in.
After dinner we decided to go miniature golfing. We went to one place nearby and although their sign showed summer hours that they should be open they weren't so we went to another place a little further away. It was a driving range and mini-golf course. They had this huge bar and loud music, kinda like a club scene too! It was all in one entertainment. We got our stuff and went out to the course. There are 2 courses and you're allowed to do both so we started with the closer one. I told Collin I planned to get the highest score (and I did) but at the beginning I was actually doing really well! I don't know what happened but then later in the course I finally started missing shots! Maybe it was after I knocked my ball in the water and had to get a replacement. Or after one of the other 2 times my ball went astray and onto another course... I am not really sure. But at first Collin thought I was some sort of mini-golf female Tiger Woods or something!I don't even know what came over me! Maybe not having a castle to shoot at or a windmill to aim for improved my playing! After the first course we decided to get some drinks and we sat for a bit. It was getting kinda late already so we decided to skip the second one and head back. I wouldn't have minded staying but it worked out well that we didn't. (plus it was still stinkin hot!) After we got back and cleaned up some we played cards for awhile. ... in fact I better document it here in case either of us ever forgets (more liekly him than me) the very last game we played he said "winner takes all, past present or future" and of course I won! So I guess in reality there is no sense in my playing games with Collin ever again because I have already won! --- although I don't know if we were just talking card games or all games-- or just crazy eights since that was what we were playing... maybe I need to clarify with him. No matter what I still won!
Well I think this blog entry is long enough... I will leave Fri and Sat to part 3! :-)