Saturday, September 17, 2005

Vacation's End

The vacation concludes. We're home again, safe and sound. It was a long trip with more travelling by planes, trains and automobiles than I care to repeat anytime soon. Except I will, within the next year, because we volunteered our seats on the way out and received THREE FREE ROUND TRIP TICKETS as compensation. They have to be used within the year. We're thinking maybe we'll take the kids to Disney next summer. Either that or Mr. Chick and I will run away to Vegas for some adult fun. Can't decide.

We started our vacation close to Washington D.C. We did the whole tourist routine and saw many of the sights. Mr. Chick and I have been to D.C. before and have visited most, if not all, of the Smithsonians (which ROCK, btw...) but we didn't think the kids would be too keen on doing a whole day of museum stuff. So we opted to do the walking tour of the memorials instead. We started at the Washington monument and made the loop down to the new WWII memorial. It's rather new, and pretty cool. Lots of water and fountains, which the kids liked. It's right next to the Vietnam Memorial, so we saw that. Both war memorials were pretty moving, but for us the WWII made a bigger impact because Mr. Chick's grandfather fought in that war and was a Japanese POW for over a year. We don't have any family members who were really involved with the Vietnam war, thankfully. Then we wandered over to the Lincoln Memorial, which is so impressive in it's sheer size alone. And the famous words he spoke are etched into the walls for eternity... We walked passed the White House, which always amazes me for how close it is to everything. You just walk along and BAM! The White House - right in the middle of everything. I always expect it to be set apart from the rest for some reason. We did do a fast and dirty look-see of the Smithsonian museum of Natural History - we thought the kids might enjoy seeing the dinosaurs and such. They did, but we ran out of time to really do it justice.

The weather was decent, and relatively low humidity for D.C., but it was still way to f'ing hot & humid for my liking. Damn! You break a sweat just standing. So uncool. A/C is a way of life - a necessity. It makes me appreciate living in the Pac NW even more. We saw LOTS of joggers running the paths all around the memorials. Lunchtime runners. How in the hell they can stand to run in that heat is utterly beyond me. If I lived there I would HAVE to join a gym or get super-fat. There is no way I could imagine exercising in that heat. Here are a few pics from our day:

Baby Chicks at Dubya's crib

MP & Nicholas at WWII memorial. The Lincoln Memorial is in the background. I'm pretty much melting in the heat/humidity at this point. Can you see how pink I look??

Mr. Chick & chicklets at the Lincoln Memorial

Chick Family in D.C. This was taken outside the Lincoln Memorial looking back across the reflecting pool and the Washington Monument.

We left the kids for a night and travelled 4.5 hours north to New Jersey for the wedding of some law school friends. OMG - the ESTATE where the reception was held was stunning! Absolutely something from a magazine. Old money. It's where the groom grew up and was built by his great-grandfather at the turn of the century. It's like a museum. Like the kind of place you expect to pay money to tour. We're told it's worth close to $10 million - gulp! I guess the family used to own something like 60 blocks of real estate in Manhattan back in the day, and still owns quite a bit. Big skyscrapers have, like, 100 year leases on the land and that's where the family continues to grow wealth. You can still see some of the NYC skyline from the roof of this mansion. It's truly how the other half live. But you know what? I don't think I'd want to live there. It didn't exactly give off a warmth that makes you feel comfortable and welcome. I can't picture coming down the grand staircase in my ratty bathrobe on a Saturday morning in search of coffee. Or the kids scampering about with a bunch of brightly-colored plastic toys strewn about. This place has a STAFF, for christ sake! Now, I would certainly be open to having a housekeeper help me out with the big cleaning, but otherwise, I'm good. No need for such extravagances.

I got good and wasted at the wedding. The cosmo's were going down too easy. 'Nuff said.

The last part of our trip was spent in Charlottesville, VA. We toured Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. It was a very interesting tour. He was a slave owner who struggled with the concept of slavery, yet didn't ever free his own slaves. Ultimately, at his death, he freed 5-7 slaves of the over 100 he owned. The Hemmings were given their freedom, and it was recently proven that Sally Hemming, a house slave, had one child that was a Jefferson. DNA bore this out. They can't confirm if it was Thomas Jefferson or one of his relatives, but it is definitely Jefferson DNA. Also? Jefferson seemed to be an early example of current Americans in that he died in debt. $107,000, to be exact. Just think of how much that truly represents back in the early 19th century. Staggering. They had to sell off quite a few things to pay off the debt, including most of the slaves. Jefferson was the "father of UVA", the big university in Charlottesville, and we got to see a lot of the campus. Gorgeous! It's what you would expect a big east coast traditional university to look like. Lots of brick buildings and white trim, and big trees. Very, very pretty. And muggy! God, the heat - !

But now we're home again and I'm faced with unpacking a shitload of laundry. But first, I'm going to join my family in the hottub. I missed the hottub. It's good to be back.
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It sounds like you guys had a great time!

Thanks for sharing the pictures... I can't believe how BIG the baby chicks are getting!
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