Monday, May 29, 2023

DC: The Week That Was

So, I spent the past week in Washington. The Other Washington, as we like to call it in our corner of the Lower 48. The DC version of Washington.

 We were there because the Lovely Bride was part of a group talking to the various offices of Senators and Representatives. The LB is an Enrolled Agent, a professional tax preparer who is certified and approved to deal with taxes and the IRS. She has been in the past a big wheel in local tax preparer organizations (former president for a couple), and she still is putting together conferences and teaching people about tax law. The National Association of Enrolled Agents were looking for people to come to Washington and talk to government leaders (well, their staffs) about professional tax preparers and why they are good things to have around.

Me? I tagged along as arm candy.

We flew out on Monday and got to the the conference motel, the Madison just off M Street, late in the evening. Tuesday the LB had a training session, and Wednesday they met with the government representatives. The LB's team was a mix of out-type-of-Washingtonians and South Carolingian. So they met with the offices of Patty Murphy, Kim Schrier, Ric Larsen, and Lindsey Graham. Only Ric Larsen was available to say hello, and then briefly. Lindsey's meeting was in a hallway.

What I can show you.

While the LB was hobnobbing with people who actually can see the levers of power (if not touch them), I used my Tuesday to take a trip up to Maryland to visit the offices of Zenimax Online Services, who are the makers of Elder Scrolls Online and my bosses. I took a tour of the facilities with my immediate superior, Bill Slavicsek, and had lunch with the other writers in the new cafe. It was a really nice cafe, and it was the first time all the writers were in the same room. After the tour, Bill and I watched Quantumania (which was pretty much a family adventure film), and went out with the talented Michelle Carter to dinner a local place (Tarks) which had excellent food (I had the duck). Long drive back to DC.

Teaching moment.
Wednesday the Lovely B visited lawmakers and I went to the National Galley of Art. The American rooms were closed for renovation and the Vermeers were in the Netherlands for a big Vermeer retrospective, but I had a good time taking in the museum at my leisure. Favorites were a hall filled with Rodins, a collection of Renoirs and Monets, and rooms full of Calders and Rothkos in the newer, weirder modern art annex. Joined the LB at a tax preparers' reception at the District Wharf, which is a new upscale office and restaurant district on the Potomac. As I said, I was the arm candy, fetching drinks and making small talk. Nice work if you can get it.

Thursday through Saturday the LB and I walked around Washington. Well, took a taxi down to the mall and walked about. Our hotel was a few blocks away from the metro, so we our aged legs relied on cabs and the occasional Lyft. And for once I had excellent luck with taxis - about 9 out of 10 times I found one easily. 

View from the
Botanical Gardens 
Anyway our agenda over the next three days included the Lincoln, Korea, WWI, and MLB memorials, with an attempt to visit the new African-American Arts and Culture museum, only to find it swarmed by school groups and individual tickets booked out to the next Wednesday. Instead we took in the Freer Museum with its Asian Art and Whistler's Peacock Room. That was the first day. The second day we slowed down a little, sleeping in and hitting smaller museums.  We did the Spy museum on Friday, a private museum that was recommended by at least five people, and was very good - we spent about four hours there. Saturday was the Botanical Gardens in the shadow of the Capitol Building, with a trip out to the  Kennelworth Aquatic Gardens, a marsh and former aquatic plant garden run by the National Park Service. Lots of photos of lilies. Sunday we were up way too early to return to our Washington.  

We feasted on hotel breakfasts in the morning, then one large meal in the early evening. Mandu on K Street was a intro for the LB for Korean cooking like mandu (dumplings) and  bulgogi. Nama was a sushi place nearby. Del Mar was a sumptuous and expensive restaurant at the District Wharf. and finally, 
Jaleo by Andre Jose, which had some excellent tapas. And sangia. Kool-Aide pitchers of sangria. The weather was great and we dined alfresco whenever we could manage it. Despite all the walking, I gained a couple pounds this trip. Go figure. 

So that was Washington. There was a great trip, and I would go back if the Lovely Bride chooses to go. We missed a bunch of stuff, but avoided getting that Thousand-Yard-Museum-State that hits when you try to do everything. Memorial Day was proved to be quiet (The former house-mates, Anne and Sig, looked after the cats while we were gone and did some serious yardwork), and I still feel a little exhausted, but ready to go back to work.

More later,