Friday, June 26, 2009

The Family Comes To Visit!

Hello World! I've been absent from Le Blog because I've been interacting with REAL HUMAN BEINGS! Crazy, I know, right?

We had family in town this week (my Dad, Mom, and brothers Matt (23) and Chris (18) -- my other brother Jon (25) and his wife Mandy and my one-year-old niece Riley were vacationing at Jekyll Island, GA). They flew in on Monday and flew out on Thursday, and we had a whirlwind of a time in between.

So what all did we do while they were here? I'll give you an overview:

We visited the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum. (After stopping by Sbux first, of course.) (Also, doesn't this look like a rock band photo?)

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We visited Steven's favorite plane at the museum, the SR-71, which flew from California to DC in an hour and 4 minutes. Sweet.

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Dad checked out the cologne-seeking semi-automatics... (I'm married now, Dad - those days are over...)

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The gentlemen patiently waited for us when we had to take a potty break.

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We saw the Space Shuttle. (It is huge.)

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And we rode a Flight Simulator. (See that white contraption behind Chris? Yeah. We were inside that thing. And it went upside down. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally.)

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We rode in groups of two -- Dad and Chris, Steven and Matt, Mom and me. Mom was the gunner, I was the pilot (and therefore the reason we were upside-down multiple times). It was utterly hilarious (and pretty affordable!).

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We also went up into the Observation Tower. Steven and Chris took it quite seriously.

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Their self-described mission? "Find the Van in the Parking Lot."

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(We borrowed a friend's minivan with license plates that read "L8NLost." Steven, our main driver, was mortified to say the least. Also, I think we were denied entry to at least two parking garages in DC because of the license plates. Or at least that's what I'm choosing to believe.)

Back at the house, we opened birthday presents for Mom and Matt.

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Dad got Mom a new camera for her birthday. She loved it. (I think she is reading Matt's birthday card to her -- he writes the best birthday card messages. Its his literature background - makes for excellent card-message-writing abilities.)

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We hit up Best Buy that afternoon, and played our traditional round of Guitar Hero in the store (Steven, Matt and I did this for the first time when Matt came to town in March).

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I think they were playing Bon Jovi's Livin On A Prayer.

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And for dinner that night we had ravioli and salad in our first-ever meal at the dining room table. I was unreasonably happy to have my family sitting around my dining room table, eating food that I made myself. I felt quite grown up.

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We also had our first-annual Huff Family Book Club discussion over spice cake and coffee after dinner. We'd just finished reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, so we all talked about what we thought. I sat there, watching everyone interact and laugh and ask for a second piece of cake, and just beamed. It was a lovely memory-making type of moment.

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The next day, we traversed to DC and visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum. It was very sad and thought-provoking, and it felt kind of weird to take pictures in there, so I didn't take any.

But I did get a shot of everyone outside as we paused for a Gatorade break...
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And where were we rushing off to? Why, to the Cannon House Office Building, of course.

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And what for, you might ask? Why, to meet with Ron Paul, of course.

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You know, we just thought we'd drop in and check on the progress of his bill to Audit the Fed.

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Seriously though, we arranged a meeting with his scheduling people because my brother Chris is a huge fan. I was shocked that it worked out as well as it did, but there's something to be said for being persistent. (And we were.)

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After the meeting with Congressman Paul, we walked down to the Bullfeathers restaurant for a quick bite to eat, since we'd sort of skipped lunch that day. We all split appetizers and talked about how cool the meeting had just been. Elated that we'd managed to make it work out so well, I whipped out my phone and did a quick search on the Metro website to figure out how to get back to our car. I entered the cross streets into the trip planner and it said to take the blue line to Eastern Market. I confidently informed the family of our planned route, and we headed off to the Metro.

And that, my friends, is when the universe sought balance.

We checked the map after we'd bought our Metro cards. (Mistake #1) And it looked like the Potomac Station stop would get us closer to our destination (but still really far south...). I thought I remembered walking by a Metro station on our way toward the Holocaust Museum, but for some reason the map wasn't making sense to me. I was starting to get upset at the Metro website for deceiving me in such a way, but I just hoped for the best and we set off to the Potomac Station stop.

Which (Surprise!) just so happened to be in Southeast DC. Which just so happens to be the murder capital of the ENTIRE UNITED STATES. Oh dear God. We rode the escalator up to daylight, and I surveyed the unfamiliar streets and started to totally freak out. I had somehow managed to lead my entire family into the lion's den and had absolutely no idea how to get us out of there. I frantically called for a taxi, but then realized we'd either need two taxis or a minivan taxi... and it was steadily approaching rush hour. I was nearly hyperventilating.

And that's when the combined genius of Steven Steele and my Dad took over. They calmly walked over to the Metro map, plotted out how to get back to our van in the parking garage (the third parking garage, due to the aforementioned license plates that shall not be named), and I just nodded and followed them, very very grateful that they'd taken the reins.

When we got out at the next Metro stop, it almost became a comedy of errors. We couldn't figure out how to get out of the station. The exit arrows on the columns pointed at each other, creating a physical impossibility of an exit. I just leaned my forehead against the sign and started laughing. We finally managed to trek back to the car, and after a valiant drive through rush hour by Steven (during which most of us grabbed some shut-eye), we finally made it home.

That evening, we had the classic M&M birthday cake (for Mom and Matt), along with ice cream and coffee.

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We sang happy birthday to the birthday duo, and dug in. It was delicious, and I promptly ate way too much and gave myself a stomachache. Mom and Matt had also ventured out to the store and bought us some Starbucks ice cream, which was heavenly (and we've taken a spoon directly to the carton tonight, just to finish it up).

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Happy Birthday to Mom and Matt, and thank you for visiting, Family! We had a total blast and can't wait to do it again!

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