But the careful planning factored in with the timing of our traveling. We left Massachusetts Friday afternoon, hoping to get a jump on Memorial Day traffic - it worked. We breezed to New York City, meeting my parents, and spent the night at their house. We wanted to leave Saturday morning at 6am, but by the time we got going it was after 7. No problem...we hit little pockets of traffic here and there, but we did pretty well considering Memorial Day weekend is usually a heavy traffic time, and we had lunch at our hotel a little after 1. (An aside - it's a long drive through New Jersey. And, with apologies to Justin in NYC - who's originally from Jersey - I think I figured out on this drive why Jersey is such a dump. In Connecticut, the fine for littering on the highway is $219. In Maryland, it's more than $100. But in New Jersey, it's $50. I almost threw stuff out the window just because it was such a bargain, comparatively. Everyone must do it.)
Thus began the bad decisions I made over the course of the weekend, which could have ruined everything for everyone (or, at the very least, me):
1) We walked from our hotel to the White House. That was fine. But I suggested, since we already came that far, that we go to the National Archives, which was only a little (a lot) farther, and see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. So I made my parents and pregnant wife (The Baby was asleep in a stroller) walk all that way to see that the line was an hour-plus long, and we didn't go in. We just hopped on the Metro (the subway) and went back to the hotel.
2) On our way to brunch on Sunday morning, I pulled into a parking garage that cost $12. This may not seem like a big deal, but Sunday morning is pretty quiet in Washington, DC. There was a lot of street parking. I felt pretty stupid.
3) There was a big motorcycle rally in DC this weekend. We knew that going in, and we knew there would be some sort of rally by the Capitol Building. Turns out, it was right when we were on our way to the game. We had to cross right where the motorcycles were parading. Every street I turned down was the wrong one. The Wife somehow got us across and into the game.
4) This one affects no one but me. You may or may not be aware that the Nationals' big attraction (besides the baseball, I guess, but only by a little) is the "President Race", where four big mascot-type people race, dressed as Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Teddy Roosevelt (Franklin would race, but the wheelchair gives him an advantage) start in center field, run around the warning track, and end their race at a finish line down the right field line. As you can tell from my picture of Tim Redding yesterday, our seats were right at where this finish line would be. I realized this as soon as we sat down. Sadly, my first thought was, "These are going to be great seats for the President Race." Well, I assumed the race would be in the sixth or seventh innings, so come the end of the third, I decided to hit the souvenir stand, and because we weren't as early to the game as I wanted, because of the aforementioned motorcycles, I hadn't toured the park yet. So I walked around the stadium.
I came out of the Team Store behind home plate and around the third base side just in time to see Redding fan the opposing pitcher, Parra, with the bases loaded and two out (it was a long top of the fourth). So I'm walking, and the PA Announcer says, "Ladies and Gentleman, it's the moment you've all been waiting for..." or some such thing like that. I turn, and sure enough, it's the President race, and I was sorely out of position. I managed this picture - click on it, though, for an enlarged version, and you can see how engrossed everyone is. I love the people out in the outfield peering over the wall to see Jefferson go by. Incidentally, Lincoln won.
One last thing about the Nationals - Cristian Guzman was born on March 21. Wily Mo Pena was born January 23. That's a 3/21 and a 1/23, if you're scoring at home. Needless to say, I was thrilled.