Because one weekend away just wasn’t enough, we decided to do it two weekends in a row and met up with some of Johnny’s family for the ND-Navy game in DC. We were both pretty excited, because DC is a favorite destination for both of us. I’m not much of a city girl in general, but there’s something about Washington that I really like (probably the Metro system).
As we usually do, we left on Friday after work. This time, though, we were travelling on Halloween, which meant that we didn’t encounter any traffic at all. We had been planning to stop on the way and get a cheap hotel room, but by the time we were breezing through NYC with no traffic in sight, we decided to just go all the way in one shot. Johnny called the hotel to extend our reservation while I made my umpteenth (or really, third) bathroom stop at a gas station in New Jersey. I couldn’t tell whether the other patrons were dressed up creepily for Halloween or just wearing their normal attire, so we got out of there quickly.
We got in at about 1am, and slept very soundly until he wanted to wake up for Mass in the morning. It was All Saints Day, and there are no transferred Holy Days of Obligation in this family. We went to Saint Mary’s for Tridentine Mass, which was exactly the way he likes it: starting on time, quick, and with a great homily. Johnny used to go there when he interned for a summer in DC, and I had been there for Mass a couple of years ago after the March for Life (photos here). We met a friend at Mass, and afterwards walked a couple blocks to the same pub that I had been to last time I was in the area (also mentioned here).
The game wasn’t until 8:00, so we spent the afternoon walking around the city, getting lunch (oh, green chili grits, I’ve been dreaming about you since), and checking out the mini-bookstore that Notre Dame had set up in a downtown hotel’s conference room. Unsurprisingly, the setting was right in keeping with the cost of the sweatshirts.
We decided to drive to the game rather than take the Metro, which was a great idea until we got there, and there were zero signs for parking but lots of “attendants” yelling angrily at people for being in the wrong lane. Don’t worry, though – it wasn’t stressful at all. By the time we made it to the stadium, it was about 35 and windy (though calmer inside the bowl). We had dressed for 50 and rainy, which I quickly discovered is a whole different ballgame. I was quite jealous of the people next to me, who were curled up under large blankets.
The entire student body of the Naval Academy was there, and their pre-game formation was quite the sight.
Our seats were great, even if the game itself was a little frustrating. At one point, Johnny’s dad went out for snacks and was gone for quite a while. When he came back, he was wearing one of the foam battleship hats that the Navy Midshipmen all had. Apparently he found a kid who was willing to give it up for $20, so he was now equipped to cheer for whoever was ahead (and given that he did serve in the Navy, we couldn’t blame him).
By the time we got back to the hotel, it was pretty late, but I still thought I felt disproportionately tired. Sometimes I underestimate the whole pregnancy thing. Then I checked my pedometer and realized that no, I would have been tired and blistered no matter what.
The next morning we got an extra hour of sleep, thanks to Daylight Savings Time, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful. We went back to Saint Mary’s for 9:00 Mass, which was lovely. Bonus: Pat Buchanan and his wife were sitting just across the aisle from us (cue fangirling from Johnny)!
Unfortunately, the time change meant that by the time Mass was over, it felt like 11:30, which meant that I was at least 2 meals behind for the day. I’ve never been so grateful for post-Mass coffee and doughnuts. The community down in that basement was great, too – this Mass had the highest number of babies per capita that I’ve seen in a while (maybe ever). We’re happy with our parish back home, but seeing this made me really miss having a more active social life within the parish.
Lunch happened at The Italian Store, and involved sandwiches that were giant and so messy as to defy photography. Trust me, they were good. They stocked all sorts of authentic Italian products that were really fun to see.
After lunch, it was very definitely time to hit the road, so we said our goodbyes, and set out through so very many states. The Traffic Fairies smiled on us again, and the hardest part of the drive (for Johnny, anyway) was having to listen to the 49ers lose in heartbreaking fashion on ESPN Radio.
As always, though, the company was good. We still haven’t run out of things to talk about, although it’s possible that we’ve just been rehashing the same subjects for seven years. One thing was new, though: for the final push through the tri-state area, we stopped at the Vince Lombardi Rest Area and got Cinnabon. I had never gotten further than jealously sniffing it in various airports, so this was quite a treat (and definitely not something to undertake alone). Then it was home again, home again, to unpack and unwind.