Do you want to know what the Ambien of museums is for me?
Anything to do with air. Or space. Or heaven forbid, both.
My kids were begging to go to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. last week, and I was all, "Sure kids! But how about if we go to (this) museum/(that) museum/(this) exhibit/(this) tour/stick straight pins in our eyeballs first!" In other words, I stalled them as long as I could with other diversions.
The National Museum of American History was my favorite. We got to see Dorothy's ruby red shoes from "The Wizard of Oz", Fonzie's jacket, Archie Bunker's chair, Lincoln's top hat, and my favorite exhibit, the dresses of the First Ladies. My kids ran through that particular exhibit as they were all, "Who wants to look at boring old lady dresses?"
Why I would like to, thankyouverymuch.
The Museum of Natural History was fascinating, with its huge collection of dinosaur bones and other assorted fossils, and the bling of all bling, the Hope Diamond.
This guy was hanging around in the lobby as well.
But soon enough, the day arrived when Bill and I (very reluctantly, and gritting my teeth and fake smiling the whole time, mind you) announced, "Today's the day! Let's go check out the rocket ships/airplanes/astronaut suits/boring-stuff-that-mommy-has-no-interest in." (Bill left out that last part, of course.)
Mama took one for the team.
It's not that I don't appreciate air. Or space. I do, very much. I am totally down with air. O2, CO2, and N2 all the way, baby. I am flabbergasted that people invented huge, heavy steel tubes with wings that can carry a few hundred people at a time and actually fly! Through the air! To faraway places! And as far as outer space is concerned, well. That's beyond amazing.
However, there is something about going to a museum to look at airplanes that I find so incredibly boring.
I'm looking at you too, rocket ships.
And don't think I forgot about you either, boring movies about the planets and the cosmos.
By the way, I'm not 100% sure what a cosmo is, but I'm sure it's a snooze-fest.
But here's the thing. The National Air and Space Museum in D.C. is not so much Ambien as it is a much less potent Tylenol PM or Tylenol Cold. No, I take that back. It's more like a may-or-may-not-cause-drowsiness-so-don't-operate-heavy-machinery dose of Sudafed.
Look at me gushing on them with the compliments and such.
(Disclaimer: I know the above paragraph makes me sound like a big prescription/OTC drug pusher, but it's an analogy, people. I have never taken Ambien before, so I cannot vouch for its purported wonders as a sleep aid, but I will go on record and say that I do loves me a little Tylenol Cold on that rare night when I am stuffed up and my head feels like it's going to explode and I. just. want. to. sleep.)
No, really. I actually enjoyed this museum. And I'm only gritting my teeth ever so slightly, and fake smiling ever so slightly as I write this.
This museum has the cream of the crop of airplanes and space ships, and my kids absolutely, positively hearted the National Museum of Air and Space. They didn't want to leave. As for me, well, I also learned new stuff. Like did you know that Red Baron was a real person, and not just some guy that Snoopy likes to imitate while sitting on the top of his dog house and wearing goggles?
I'm kidding, of course. I was a history minor in college.
Also, what respectable trip to the Air and Space Museum would be complete without giving the kids a taste of astronaut ice cream. Come on, I know you did it at some point when you were a kid. If you have never had the "pleasure" of tasting this concoction, grab your Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, sprinkle some chocolate sauce and vanilla extract on it, freeze it for maximum breakage potential, and then eat it. It's not very yum, but it's a rite of passage of childhood, at least for me.
We were lucky enough to score a visit to the White House, something we had to request directly from our congressman about 6 months in advance. I was very appreciative of all the new restrictions as far as what people could bring to the White House. No purse allowed. No camera. No stroller. No water bottles. Nothing. NOTH. ING. It was quite liberating just walking around town not laden down by my usual bags and unnecessary accoutrement. I just had to bring myself, a photo I.D. and a few credit cards. I loved it. If only I could force myself to travel so lightly more often.
The White House itself? Stunning. A must-see.
The National Archives was right up my inner history geek alley. However, I have a small piece of advice to share with you. If you are standing in the National Archives, and you just so happen to be looking at the REAL Constitution, you know, those 200+ year old pieces of paper that are pivotal in our nation's history, which are guarded on each side by two men packing firearms in holsters, and your 9-year old tugs on your arm repeatedly begging you to, "Ask him, Mom! Ask him!" and you look at aforementioned guard nervously and say, "Um...yeah...um...we heard that if there is a threat to the Constitution...or..the...um...Declaration of Independence that they get...um...sucked up into a vault for protection. Is this....um...true?" then PLEASE try and stop yourself. Just don't do it. Because the guard will totally give you the stink eye, and shake his head (which is the universal sign for, "Hell no, crazy lady"). You will also feel like a totally idiot, and think to yourself, "So this is what it would feel like if I were the ditziest ditzbag in the whole world who stumbled into a Mensa meeting!" You also might skulk away from the exhibit hanging your head in shame for asking such a stupid question.
In my defense, we googled this fact later when we got back at the hotel, and yes, it is true. According to the National Park Services website, "