Monday, July 01, 2013

What I Did On My Summer Vacation, East Coast Edition

OK, so, the trip! The family reunion thing was pretty much the same as the last one I went to -- which, somewhat to my surprise, turns out to have been six years ago. Surely it can't have been that long, can it? But there was lots and lots of food, and various aunts and uncles and cousins I mostly hadn't seen in years, and a few conversations with people I'm still not sure how I'm related to. The main thing that struck me was the reproductive explosion my various cousins have gone through since I saw them last. They now have more little kids between them than I can honestly keep track of. Well, hey, at least somebody's carrying on the family genes so I don't have to!

Besides the reunion, we also did a couple of side trips. Including one "down the shore," as I still cannot help but think of it. (You can take the girl out of South Jersey, but...) We frolicked in the waves a bit, and helped my nephew hunt for seashells, and walked along the boardwalk, which was chock-full of childhood nostalgia. Skee-ball and funnel cake and salt water taffy and Italian water ice and watching the tram car... South Jersey people, you know what I'm talkin' about! The rest of you: no Snooki jokes, please. Those get old before they even start.

My sister and my nephew and I also did an overnight road trip to Washington D.C. In my grandmother's 20-year-old car with no air conditioning, which I think was extremely brave of us (not to mention extremely cheap), but which was not nearly as bad as you're probably imagining. In fact, it was mostly fine, especially as I made my sister do all the driving. (I have lived too much of my life in New Mexico. Traffic kind of scares me.) Anyway, that was nice to do, because despite spending my entire youth only a fairly short drive from the nation's capital, I'd only been there once before. when I was a teenager. And that was for a bowling tournament, and we didn't have a whole lot of time for sightseeing. Mostly, I remember being vastly disappointed that my parents wouldn't take me to the Air and Space Museum, because that's the kind of geeky kid I was. Well, that has now finally been rectified! And I had my nice, satisfying Smithsonian geek-out only a quarter century or so late.

In fact, we not only went to the regular Air & Space museum, but also to the annex in Chantilly, Virginia, which now houses the space shuttle Discovery. Which also pleased me, since I just missed being able to see Atlantis when I was in Florida. It was something of a thrill to be able to see a shuttle close up and in person, but I found it an oddly melancholy experience, too. That vehicle just looked like it belonged on a launch pad, pointed at the sky, not sitting forlornly in a museum. Poor obsolete space truck.

We visited the National Museum of Natural History, too, although we saw only a fraction of what there was to see. There is a lot in those Smithsonian buildings, and I could happily spend months exploring them. In fact, when I finally figure out how to teleport, I think that's what I'm going to do with my free weekends and afternoons.

We also took a tour of the Capitol building, walked past the White House, and briefly visited the Library of Congress. (Where, apparently, my, "Ooooooh, books!" reaction was of immense amusement to my sister.) So that was a pretty packed two-day trip. Four days later, and I'm still feeling kind of tired from it. Man, I'm just really glad I don't have to go back to work until the 4th.


  1. Clearly, we need pictures! (And, yes, I am now more nostalgic than ever for the shore.)

    1. I was lax this trip and didn't take any, but my sister took more than enough to make up for it. I told her to send me the good ones. If she does, I'll be sure to share.