Drenched at the White House

It's such a sad and pathetic story, I just have to blog about it. Sit back, relax, because this could take some time to tell. It all started in January, when my SIL was discussing a trip out here to D.C. Her husband had never been to D.C., and since we have a "guest suite" in our palatial abode (aka an inflatable queen bed we can set up in my son's playroom), they decided it might be nice to come out. I said, "You should come out when something cool is going on in D.C., like the Cherry Blossom Festival, or the White House Easter Egg Hunt." Well, the thought of going to the White House and hunting eggs was just too cool, so they scheduled their trip to come over Easter. And so the day after Easter dawned--cold, and rainy. "Oh, pooh-it's just a little rain--let's go anyway!" My parents, who live in the D.C. area as well, accompanied us. Well, the White House had shut down all the streets to cars anywhere near the place , so we had to take the subway downtown. As we hiked through the streets, the "little rain" turned steadily into a downpour. But hey, we had two kids who needed some Easter Eggs, so we pressed on. Finally we got to the White House, and literally, just as we got there (I am not making this up) some very official looking people started putting up barricades and saying, "You can't go through." Hey, we got kids here, we've been walking for a half an hour through the rain, we've got tickets! Sorry, the White House Easter Egg Roll (I learned later that you couldn't actually hunt the eggs, you could just roll them down a little course) was officially called because of rain. But, they said, they would be giving out the goody bags free on the Ellipse of the White House. At this point my father said, "Let's go home." My mother said, "O.k., let's go." My BIL said, "Wait, let's get a picture." My SIL said, "My feet have never been this wet." I said, "Jacob needs some Easter eggs!" Jacob, safe in his "space suit bubble", aka the rain cover that kept him and his stroller miraculously dry in the deluge, screamed, "I want to go to the Easter Egg hunt!" Multiple times. My nephew, a lad of 15 months, said nothing. So my dad turned around and went home, and the rest of trekked through the ever rising rivers in the street to get to the ellipse, where we found a complete madhouse of people, all looking wet and grumpy, and no goody bags in sight. We finally pushed our way through some very wet gravel (Have you ever tried to push a stroller through wet gravel? I actually did feel a little like Elastigirl at the end of it) to get to an official looking table with stuff on it, only to find some official looking people packing the stuff quickly away and saying, "Clear the area, people!" At this point, my BIL said, "I think we can go." My SIL said, "Let's just go." My mother said, "I've had enough." I said, "My pants are so wet, I think they're falling off." My son screamed, "I want to go to the Easter Egg Hunt!" My nephew again said nothing. But my SIL had enclosed him in his own special "stroller rain apron", so he didn't have much to complain about. He was definitely the dryest one in the bunch. We turned around again, and headed for a gate that was opening. The familiar "Clear the area, people" was heard, and a large truck full of bags headed through the gate. At last--the goody bags! The free stuff that would redeem this whole miserable experience! "Hey," I said hopefully to a man dressed in combat green, "are those the goody bags?" "No ma'am, those are bags full of trash." Oh. At this point, I try to get through the still open gate, but Green Man stopped me. "Can't get through here, ma'am. You'll have to go around." I think that was the breaking point for my mother, a women out in a freakin' hurricane who could have cared less about the dumb goody bags in the first place because she gets dragged to this event by some kid or another every year. She yelled at Green Man, "C'MON! It's packed back there, we can't get through that crowd of people, for pete's sake let us through the open gate!" I think Green Man was just so stunned at hearing a civilian speak to him in such a manner, because he did not protest as I eased the gate open enough to get through. As we were leaving, I saw a woman I knew. She had trekked out with her three children, and asked us if we were leaving. When I told her we were, she said, "Well, I'm staying. I didn't make all this effort for nothing. I want some free stuff!" at which point her very wet young son screamed, "No, No I want to go home!" and started seriously wailing on his mother with his completely drenched rainbow umbrella. I saw that and thought, "Yeah, I feel like hitting somebody with an umbrella,too." To make a long story short(too late?), we trudged back through the mud to the subway, and eased our saddened hearts with a hot lunch, dry sweats, and a hot chocolate from Starbucks. And then Jacob hid all the plastic eggs we had in our living room, closed his eyes, counted to 10, and soon informed me that he found EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM HIMSELF! At last he had his Easter Egg hunt. In the Washington Post the next morning, the front page had a picture of a very wet, very sad looking child being held by an equally wet looking father with the caption, "Easter eggs washed out", or something like that. The picture captured the whole sorry event perfectly. I'm just glad they didn't come out for the Cherry Blossom festival. As one tourist put it, "There's the ONE tree in this whole freakin' town that has some blossoms on it. Take a picture of it so we can go."


Blogger Amy Lynn said...

That is truly the saddest Easter egg story I have ever heard. My kids would have been HYSTERICAL! But I was laughing at the whole adventure because I understand the pain! And strollers through gravel or sand (don't ask!) IS a total nightmare!

3/31/2005 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

So sad, so pathetic... so funny! Think of it this way: It'll make a great story in years to come.

The White House Easter Egg roll was one thing we never did in our years in DC... we did, however, stand in line for 2 1/2 hours in the freezing cold to get a 1/2 hour tour of the White House at Christmas. And we spent the whole time marvelling at just how tacky the decorations the Clintons had chosen were. But, hey, we can say we did it.

I truly am sorry about the cherry blossoms, though. They are one of my favorite things about DC.

3/31/2005 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

We are in Maryland and a bunch of people from our ward stood in line for hours to get tickets to the egg hunt/roll and didn't get them. They thought that because of the rain, there wouldn't be as many people vying for tickets, but they were wrong. Our dd is too young this year, so I'm glad we were able to miss out on that soggy day!

3/31/2005 02:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

We are in Maryland and a bunch of people from our ward stood in line for hours to get tickets to the egg hunt/roll and didn't get them. They thought that because of the rain, there wouldn't be as many people vying for tickets, but they were wrong. Our dd is too young this year, so I'm glad we were able to miss out on that soggy day!

3/31/2005 02:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Andrea Wright said...

It cracks me up what measures we'll take in order to facilitate fun for our kids. Not that Jacob didn't have fun on your adventure through the rain -- he probably loved it. But, he was just as happy hiding and finding eggs in your own home. I don't know how many times I've caught myself getting frustrated at my kids for not "having fun" the way I wanted them to.

3/31/2005 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


The White House tours are surprisingly short, and I always wonder what would happen if I broke from the tour and ran up one of the forbidden staircases. I mean, how much could I see before the Secret Service took me down?

The Cherry Blossoms are coming out, they are just very slow. And there certainly weren't many to speak of during the Cherry Blossom Parade, which I'm sure was a very wet venue. But they are on their way, and I'd have to agree with you that they one of the best things about D.C.

You make a great point about how we go to such great lengths to give our children fun, when they really are just as happy playing with whatever is around them. I've even seen Jacob fight with his cousin a year older than he is over a piece of garbage. Hey, she had it, so he WANTED IT! Just another example of how we parents often transfer our thoughts and desires onto our kids.

3/31/2005 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I did omit that my then 2-year-old was complaining the whole time that it was cold and boring and could we please go home.

And it's not like she can even remember it now. Which gives us an excuse to do it again someday, right??

4/01/2005 01:16:00 PM  

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