Washington DC Trip Fail, Part I

Recently I took a vacation (I use that word loosely) with my 10 year old son to Washington DC. Just the two of us…and my 67 year old Aunt. We left The Hubs and the 9 year old daughter at home and hit the nation’s capital. Apparently so did every 8th grade class this side of the Mississippi River. And on top of the legions of pimple covered gawky 13 year olds there were a large number of international travelers. Did I mention DC was built on a swamp? Cause it pretty much was as hot as one.

After a day of travel through three airports I knew a 6 pack of beer would be essential for my survival. We dropped our stuff in our room, that only had a king bed for us to share and headed out. After googling if CVS carries alcohol (they do) I had a game plan. We walked down a block and entered the local red and white conglomerate. No booze…but luckily adjacent to CVS was a liquor store. Enter my 10 year old’s first trip ever into a liquor store! Very exciting stuff. I had to tell him at least 100 times not to touch anything, listen to him exclaim (very loudly) how much booze there was and why would anyone want this much alcohol before we could leave with my 6 pack of Sierra Nevada and a bottle opener (not my first rodeo). Priorities people.

The next day we headed out to see as much stuff as possible before my Aunt arrived from New Jersey. We walked past the White House which shockingly I was unable to score us guest passes to visit and along the way I was required to take a photo of every bronze, copper, and stone statue the city has. No statue left unphoto’ed.

Monument2 Collage

No worries about the White House, we were luckily able to go to the White House gift shop – because that’s open to everyone. It only required me to spend $10 to get these awesome ‘free’ photos with White House props. Fantastic.

WhiteHouse2 Collage

Next up the American History Museum (BTW it was very cool – we saw the original Star Spangled Banner) and then we headed over to Natural History to meet up with my Aunt. We toured the whole place in record time, when you have a kid with ADHD this is pretty much a given. It was getting towards closing time so we opted to walk back to the hotel – mainly because we couldn’t get a cab. It was beyond hot and the hotel was a good mile from where we were. At one point my kid just laid down in the grass and refused to move. Good times.

We toured Arlington Cemetery, a very solemn experience. I have many many photos of random graves, because well my son required all old ones be documented. When we happened upon the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier we were ‘lucky’ enough to catch the beginning of an hour long dignitary ceremony! Yes, we got to stand…in the sweltering heat…quietly…for an hour. Ahhh that was some quality bonding let me tell you. I realized too late that I deleted the video of it because you could have heard me whispering/scolding my son. It was a Bette Midler moment…Memories….

Due to my poor poor planning we ended up right in front, trapped. The Marines were guarding the sides making sure no one came close to the special Italian entourage. But don’t worry – the ceremony was punctuated with people passing out due to the heat. I would have happily traded places with the guy that was fortunate enough to carry his wife off the steps when she fainted because at least he was given transport out of the area. Come to think of it I should have just told my kid to fake faint, except I can’t carry him so he probably would have gotten a concussion when I dropped him. It still may have been worth it.

We also toured the National Archives where I tried to force my kid to read the exhibits before bee lining it to the Declaration and Constitution. We were done in less than 45 minutes, including the line and security just to get into the building. Next up the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian Art Museum…both done in about an hour, probably less. This included a special moment when I witnessed my child try to actually use an exhibit not realizing it was art. Ironically his grand father did the same thing when going to an art museum in college with me. Clearly it is hereditary.

Art Exhibit Pic And we saw weird Art that I couldn’t even explain to myself, none the less a 10 year old boy.

WTFArt Collage

Yes…this was one awesome trip with the kid. But in true Shitastrophy form there was one major and epic fail that I am saving till tomorrow.

Washington Part I

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  1. I feel for you. We live here and haven’t even tried all that you did in one day. Whew! Looking forward to Part 2.

    • It was painful – physically and mentally. File this one under shit you do for your kids.

  2. Lance says:

    We went last year, all five of us. I liked the museums a lot. My middle girl wants to be an astronaut, we could’ve stayed in air & space for days. They loved the Smithsonian and nat history and crime and punishment, which scared me.

    There was a lot on construction going on so we couldn’t really see the wash monument, the white house and a couple of other staples.

    My horrible part of the trip was all the shopping. Next time, you go shopping with my 4 women and I take him to the cool nerdy stuff.


  3. Washington, DC is high on the must-see list for my husband and me. Considering your post, I think we’ll take more days there than we considered. (And we will NOT bring the grandkids… until they’re 20 or so, I think!)

    Love your photos — and look forward to the “epic fail” part. 😀

    • We were there a full week, I would recommend at least 5 days there are seriously so many things to see and tour and eat.

  4. HAhahahaha! Now you know how your teachers felt on all those 8th grade trips to DC. I taught 36 years and went to DC 28 times. Last 8 to Gettysburg. Proud to say I never lost a kid.

    • Mr. Aronis I thought of you every time a class of kids walked by me. I totally have a new appreciation for you guys taking us, cause one kid and I was toast.

  5. Liv says:

    It’s on my bucket list. Sounds like you had an amazing adventure…and have a story to tell despite the surprises along the way.

    • It really is something everyone can do. I just recommend avoiding peak tourist season, and maybe bringing your own booze if possible.

  6. I’m sweating just reading about your Washington experience! And it’s never too early for a young man to be introduced to the inner workings of a liquor store (or an “off-licence” as we call them here in the UK); it’s all part of his core education.

  7. Blake says:

    Always carry a bottle opener. I suggest the “Mezza Luna” style cork screw, bottle opener, corkscrew, and knife in one stainless steel wedge that will also get the attention of any cab driver who thought the bullet proof glass was unbreakable. They’re also pretty handy when repairing copiers ;~)

    • Thank you wise one…thank you. I do have to say it only cost me $1 for my new opener but it is not very useful against bullet proof glass.

  8. I have never been to DC and it is on my list. This is too funny! Your son was just trying to make the experience interactive. Sadly, I can totally see my HUSBAND doing this…

  9. I bow down before you. I’m not the keen going to the market with my bunch of coconuts, never mind a trip to DC!! Can’t wait to read what happens next!

    • Oh but Kathy you are a saint! You would have handled so many of this trip waaaay better than I did!!

  10. I can’t stop laughing about your son attempting to make a phone call. I love those pictures of you being official in the White House. You’ll have to use them on Left Pop.

    • I probably should change my photo at Lefty Pop to me with the official background shouldn’t I?

  11. Terrye says:

    Whenever I feel the need to appreciate my world or want to jump on the next ship off this nut farm, I head to DC.

    • Food is amazing but just too much tourist action to make me like it. I tend to head to the beach. Nothing like putting my toes in the sand and listening to the waves. Of course I grew up at the beach so it’s ingrained in me.

  12. We plan on taking the kids soon. And I’m sure I will be taking pictures of them doing inappropriate things before telling them not to do that. Good times.


  1. […] trip to Washington, DC. Good times were had in between the complaining (you can read about it here). However, I saved the best part of the trip till today because it truly deserved it’s own […]