Inauguration Diary January 19

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8:30 AM – Joe took Claudia and I to the Airport. ( its nice to have nice friends).

9:45AM – We’re at the Atlanta airport, Claudia gets out her guidebook and I take out my iPhone. Its a race between new and old school to see
who finds a great place for lunch once we get into DC. She thumbs through her book and I give Urban Spoon a shake. Et voila, we both come up with Matchbox, a little bar restaurant on H street in Chinatown around the corner from where we were staying at the Renaissance Hotel. Claudia called and made reservations. I called that round a tie.

1:00 PM – Took the Metro from the Airport. Thinking about how crowded it had been the day before after the concert on the mall, and visions of WalMart trampling in my head, I was glad we would not have to ride it to or from the festivities tomorrow. Our hotel is six blocks from the Mall.

1:30 PM – We checked into Duane’s room he has had for a week while he has been up here working for CNN. Nice room. Bottle of champagne waiting. I called to tell him we got in and thank him for the champagne. He said, oh that came with the room.” I said,Duane, “The the correct response is, “No problem honey and your flowers will be there later.”

2:15 PM – Claudia’s daughter, Janet, also in town for the inauguration, was meeting us at Matchbox. We thought by 2:00 the lunch rush would have died down. But, no, the place was hopping, with an hour wait. We went to the bar to wait and couldn’t even get a drink. About ten minutes later, we saw a forty something, attractive man go behind the bar, we caught his attention and we asked him if we could order. It turns out he was the person with whom Claudia had spoken to on the phone that morning. Perry was an owner who had thought she was going to ask for him when we got there. He bought us a round of drinks, took our order an got us set up. Claudia, in her slightly nosy way, found out his entire life story, which was really nice and he gave us his cell phone number to call directly when we wanted to come back. Did I say that I loved that place? What a great feeling it had and although I usually don’t eat wheat, the pizza was the best.

3:30 PM- It was cold, we were bundled up we walked a mile down to the mall to check out the inaugural set up and made our plan for where we wanted to view it.
The sidewalks were crowded with street vendors and great gaggles of happy cold people haggling for Obama paraphernalia.

4:30 PM -After checking things out we decided we had to bring our energy there with the masses on the mall for the ceremony. We had decided against the four hour parade, which started at 2:30 but you had to line up to go through security for at 7:00 AM. I am really not a parade person, unless I can be in it.pm

5:30 – Bought two great t-shirts on the way home and got back to the hotel to get dressed for the Georgia State Society Ball to be held in the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum.

7:30 PM – We had heard cabs were going to be difficult to get since some of the roads were closed for the security of the next day. Claudia wore he ball dress with her tights, Merrils and down jacket. I said no way was I walking and that I would call the police for a ride if need be. I wore my heels and a light velvet jacket suitable to be warm enough to run from the cab to the Museum.

8:30 PM – We had gotten a cab from the hotel and had gone three blocs when we were in total gridlock for fifteen minutes. There was no relief in sight. We got out of the cab and walked down 10th street ducking in open stores and restaurants in order for me not be completely frozen by the time we went the ten blocks to the ball.

9:00 PM – We got to the Ball and it would have been great had the thought not been hanging over my head about the prospect of our cold walk home. I tried to dismiss it and be in the moment while I had a couple of drinks to thaw out. Dinner was a delicious buffet of Georgia dishes. Not your usual fare for those big parties.
While sitting on beautiful white Mies Van der Rohe couches and eating our dinners on the Mies Van der Rohe coffee tables ( I have one of those at home) we met and chatted with a woman, Sarah Hunter, who it happens was at my house campaigning for Obama before the election. Small world.

11:30 PM – Walked back to the hotel. I decided to just shut up and do it. I was not going to get there any faster by complaining. I thought about the revolutionary soldiers trudging through the snow in tattered uniforms ( being in DC brought out my latent patriotism). I was actually wondering if I was going to be able to thaw out in time to go to get a spot on the grass of the mall at 8:00 the next morning. Tried not to think. ….to be continued.