October 1, 2008.
Yesterday was a chore day with me jerry jugging 100 gallons of water to the boat while Christy did the laundry.
Today however we decided to head over to the capitol building and take the tour.
The youngest girl child is staying with us in our floatel for a few days as she can’t move into her new apartment until October 4th. So we left her at the yacht club doing school work while we went to the capitol.
Tickets are free but they do “sell” out so we were pleased to arrive early enough to procure a pair. Security is pretty tight so there are a few rules that must be followed if you want to get in.
At the bottom of the hill is a small tent covered rally point where the guide told us that absolutely no food, drink, sharp objects or sprays of any type would be allowed into the building. After walking about 250 yards up the hill we came to the second checkpoint where these rules were once again reiterated by a second guide. Then after a short walk we were at the first real security check.
There were 2 huge plastic barrels that were full of banned objects that the people from the previous groups thought would be okay to bring through. I was standing there thinking that everyone before us must have been an idiot. The guard stepped forward, stood everyone in a single file line and repeated the banned objects list yet once again. He said you can’t bring …. blah blah blah and if you have any of those items on your person step forward and discard them in the bins. About half of our 50 person group stepped forward and started throwing all kinds of shit in the garbage. Sandwiches, water bottles, thermoses, hairspray and even mace. WTH? Weren’t they listening, did they think the first 2 guides were talking to someone else.
After that we went through a metal detector and were inside the security screening building. Once everyone was admitted we were sent on a 400 yard walk to the entrance where our guide was waiting. Once there we were all issued a pretty slick headset. This enabled the guide to talk to everyone without having to yell.
The building itself was absolutely gorgeous. The centrally located rotunda was huge. The ceiling was 188 feet above our heads. The guide explained that if the Statue of Liberty was removed from its pedestal in NYC and placed in this room it would fit with 29 feet to spare.
There were statues and artwork everywhere. The amount of history that has taken place within these walls is amazing.
After the tour was over we left our group and wandered down to the House of Representatives. We had gotten passes from our representative, Jim Saxton, which enabled us to go up into the visitor’s gallery.
After finding our way there and transiting yet another security checkpoint (where we had to check our cell phone & camera) we were let into the gallery. Of course since they had voted just yesterday to shoot down the fiscal bailout bill they all must have needed the day off because the house wasn’t in session. So we were in the rafters looking down at the very large, very empty room. So much for the highlight of the visit. It would have been cool to be here yesterday but ya’ know, we had laundry.
We left the building just before the arrival of a nasty looking front. We were able to just make it back to the boat in time before the rain hit.
After dinner we accepted an invite from our friend Bess to stop over for a bit. I was going to have to go to shore anyway as Ashlee was on her way to the boat. As soon as we got to Bess’s boat Ashlee called and said she was close by so I went out and brought her back to Bess’s with me.
We ended up having a great time with several other couples as they made their way through the boat. At one point there were 5 couples seated in the aft salon with the guy from every couple being named “Bill”. It was probably the first night I had no trouble keeping names straight.
One of Bess’s neighbors is a Congressman. We had met him before so when he arrived I introduced him to Ashlee by name but without his title. I was impressed with the reserve she showed meeting such an important person.
After we said our good byes and retreated to the Veranda I remarked to Ashlee as to how impressed I was with her coolness when meeting the Congressman. She looked at me and said “Congressman? Who was a Congressman?”. When she realized that she had just met a fairly important person in our government she immediately called her beau, Mark, to tease him with “Guess who I just met? So much for coolness…….