Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The last three days

I’m sorry for the way I’ll deal with the last few days. You are entitled to more, but I’ve overworked my typing.

Sunday-
We reunited Marg and her friend Red to visit the WWII and FDR memorials. Red is losing her marbles unfortunately, and is much frailer than Marg. Around 1 pm-ish we arrived at her house to receive a tour. The walls were lined with presidential Christmas cards, graduate degrees and impressive titles because her husband was a 2-star general and deputy assistant secretary of business in one of the departments.

The tag team approach to old ladies and site-seeing goes like this: Steve and ladies are dropped off at site, Dad parks car and walks 1/4 mile back. By the time Dad arrives, ladies are ready to leave. Dad returns to car, picks up Steve and ladies.

We did this twice- and on Dad’s first pick-up at WWII, he got misdirected and drove over the Potomac before he could get back to us. Shamefully, I was the one who was cold sitting out waiting for him. The old ladies were properly attired.

Two memorials in 3 hours were enough to do in Red, so we went to dinner at Essy’s Carriage house in Arlington. I had Wienerschnitzel and was insulted by the owner (as all guests seem to be regularly chastised by the Persian owner of a German/American/French restaurant.

Came home, Marg was happy, went to bed.

Monday
Roanoke! Awake 6 am, drive to Roanoke. A long but beautiful drive through the Shenandoah Valley followed by a sunny arrival in Roanoke. We drove around town and looked at various neighborhoods, and got ourselves up to the town landmark mountain and hundred foot star.

We met up with Homer Bartley around noon and saw two multi-family Victorians. One in need of much work, one with work completed. The 2nd one I had wanted to see, and it was great. All apartments rented, and one hardly ever has an occupant because its for an organization that teaches living skills. This was, of course, a very neat apartment. Next door to the house, is a neighborhood restaurant and bakery where we ate lunch. It was delicious. I had a sandwich popular in New Orleans called a Muffaleta. A special of the day.

We toured around Roanoke a bit more, looking at the popular, but affordable, neighborhoods. One in particular reminds me of the parts of downtown Sacramento that everyone in their late 20’s flocked to three or four years ago. Hip little business district and cool Victorian and other houses.

Eventually, we headed over to the Blue Ridge parkway and ate dinner as the sun set at Otter’s peak lodge overlooking a lake. We continued on the BRP, found a place where the Appalachian Trail crossed the road, took a picture, and headed back to DC. I can’t decide whether seeing 379 Walnut Avenue or standing on the Appalachian trail was more thrilling. Second for second, probably the AT.

Tuesday
The morning was spent writing up a preliminary offer for the property in Roanoke because Dave Fainer wanted to get on it if we were going to do it. Plus, his time is free when he’s on vacation. We didn’t have any plans until lunchtime anyway.

I met Robin Rector for a quick lunch in Georgetown and we ate at Booeymonger’s Deli as I couldn’t remember where I’d placed Erik’s list of restaurant suggestions. She’ll be home in two weeks, but it was good to see her in her enviroment. She reports knowing Pierce Bush, nephew of the President, and says he’s actually quite funny.

From Georgetown, I practically ran back to the metro (a long distance really), across the wind-whipping Key Bridge. I met up with Marg, Dad, and Legislative Assistant Dan Bresette at the Dirksen Senate Building. Actually, I walked in unescorted, was searched, went up in an elevator to the fourth floor with many other people, and walked right in to Senator Jeffords office. Senator Jim Jeffords of “defecting from the Republicans” fame. Also, of Vermont.

Dan took us on a brief tour of the Capital building, including the underground Senate trains from the office buildings to below the Capital. Serious big-whig stuff. Actually, I nearly brushed shoulders with Sen. Orrin Hatch-R of Utah. Someone even I recognized! This was an exciting moment. We also went into the Senate gallery where Dan’s boss was reading during a quorum call and waited to beginning presenting a $300 billion highway bill. We didn’t stick around too long. Dan had to work, and the Senators weren’t doing much anyway.

We took the special trains again and then Dan left us on the first floor. Dad wanted to see the Supreme Court so Marg and I sat inside the building while Dad walked around reading all the exhibits he could in 30 minutes. For him, this was a mecca, and since he’d never actually visited the Supreme Court when he was in college, it was a big deal.

It being Marg’s 83rd birthday, we looked for a French restaurant. Thanks be to Erik for his quick survey of friends for a restaurant. La Chaumiere was the most highly recommended place, which was perfect because we had driven to Georgetown before Erik called us back and this place was right in Georgetown. Also, for a French restaurant, it was cheaper than normal and no-less tasty. All three of us were super pleased with the results, and my lamb shank was magnificent (though I’ve never had lamb shank so maybe it always is?).

We were tired, bloated, full, and content following dinner so we made our way to the Radisson, did laundry and lazed about. Happy Birthday to Marg!

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