So, hopefully you all read the part 1 of my advocacy trip to D.C. yesterday. The objective of my trip to D.C. was very personal and the outcome was fulfilling. BUT how could I have a trip without a “pulling a Brooke” (As my mom says).
First of all, I need to give a shout out to The Liaison Capitol Hill & it’s restaurant, Art And Soul DC. It’s very rare that I can go to a hotel, have a comfortable room AND a yummy modernized home-style reasonably priced meal with atmosphere and great drinks! The bell hops were amazing with directions and breaking the area down for me, and super sweet. Loved the ladies at the front desk and they were very helpful with trying to get me checked in early so I could rush off to the legislation agenda meeting. The room was comfortable and cute. The location is great because it’s literally within walking distance of Capitol Hill AND The White House! Yes, these old arthritic knees walk down the street to Union Station to The White House. Then I walked from The White House to The Washington Monument to Capitol Hill and then back to the hotel. The day after the snowstorm there was still Ice and snow, so it probably took longer than it normally would, but the hotel was still centered in a great location. Cute, chic and modern, but still kid friendly!! So yes, Jax and I will be staying there in June. If not for anything but, the biscuits!! Oh sweet baby jesus, have mercy on my soul, those biscuits!!!!! The food at Art and Soul DC is AMAZING!! Was it IBD friendly…not really. But it was just what the doctored ordered for a mommy looking for a little atmosphere and not having to share her portions with a little hippo. I had the boudin balls, homemade chips, Beet & Baby Kale Salad, Hanger Steak and the chicken & biscuits. Not all on the same night…but I did have to unbutton my jeans half way through both meals! The bartenders are awesome and make amazing drinks. Shout out to Chef Wes Morton & Lee the bartender! There was also a blonde bartender that recommended the boudin balls, whose name is escaping me at the moment, but she ROCKED my food life that night! LOL!
Okay so jump flash forward to Monday, our day on The Hill. I rush out and find myself in the middle of beautiful falling snow. So I take the short walk from The Liaison to The Phoenix Park Hotel for the DDNC’s morning breakfast and briefing. As I’m walking, it seems pretty cold, but it’s not all that bad. Okay, so I’m make it to the Phoenix Park Hotel, walk inside and don’t realize that my nose has been running the whole time I’ve been walking. Basically my face is frozen. Jump to, its time to make our way over to The Hill. So, Laura and I walk out to the front door and find that there is so much snow falling in such random directions that the short walk to the Senate offices could be challenging. Luckily, for a price someone offers to take a bunch of us over in a van. I get in the back next to Laura, move to say something to her and realize that in that 5 minutes I was standing out in the mini blizzard, my face froze. I have to over work my jaws just to get a few words out! THAT WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING!!!
After we visited our two Senate appointments with Senator Feinstein & Senator Boxer , Laura and I met up with IBD advocate & Blogger, Carly and her mom. We all went downstairs to get coffee and snacks when I realized I had left my wallet back at my hotel. But it was no problem, I thought because my hotel was right down Constitution to New Jersey! Super easy and simple. I told the ladies I would be right back, said goodbye to the Capitol Police officers at the door and headed out. Now…when I got out the door on C st. the snow actually didn’t look that bad. But then…then I turned the corner on First St. and BAM! THERE’S SNOW EVERYWHERE!!! It was coming from the sky, from the side, from the Dirksen Building and hitting me in the back of the head! I didn’t even know snow moved like that! I figured the best thing for me to do was to act like I knew what I was doing and get back to hotel before it was time to head over to the Longworth & Rayburn buildings. So I just start walking. Can’t really see, so I decide to pull out my phone and put the address in my GPS. I didn’t know that the cold would have an effect on my phone battery. Well, it didn’t matter because my GPS was just as lost as I was in this vortex of snowflakes. But I kept saying, just get to Constitution Ave., you’ll be alright. I walk down Delaware and see a road block which looked like a parking lot or something so I kept going because I knew I wasn’t near Constitution Ave. Constitution Ave. and the source point of direction, The Capitol Building. I just kept glancing at the Capitol Building as if it was the north star and just kept walking…but wait…wasn’t the Capitol building on the other side of me a minute ago? Everything is very white and very quiet. Wait…where is the street? A snow plow goes by…hmm…that must be the street, let me head over…wait…is that The House? Did I pass the Supreme Court? Where the hell are the sidewalks?! Then I hear, “Ma’am? Is everything okay?” I turn around to find a Capitol police officer. Long story short and a wild working of my frozen jaws later we concluded that I was very lost and was far from my destination. LOL! Yep! Well the kind officer pointed me to the direction of another Capitol Police officer who referred to me as, “California” and he was kind enough to point me in the right direction of New Jersey Ave. I made it to the hotel and upstairs. And it was at the door that I remembered I had put the wallet in the inner pocket of my purse to keep it from getting wet! YES! YES I DID! I pulled the ultimate Brooke! In fact when I called my mother hysterically laughing at myself she actually said, “Can you not pull a “Brooke” in 10 degree weather?” I made it downstairs to the lobby of the hotel where the kind Art and Soul bartender, Lee made me a very yummy, very hot, body warming adult hot chocolate and sent me and books back into the blizzard. On the way I encountered my old pal from the Capitol Police Force who pointed me back to direction of the Senate Office buildings. When I opened the door (50 minutes later), the security guards were cracking up at the California girl roaming the snowy streets of DC. Apparently I gave the good officers of The Nation’s Capitol a nice chuckle!
Then the time came for me & Laura to head over to The House. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take the underground shuttle so we headed back out into The Abyss. The guards did make sure I had a buddy before I left again! Good looking out guys! Half way through our walking through mounds of snow and ice, we took a break…er uh…a picture! I mean we took a picture in front of the Capitol Building with our frozen fingers. yes, I was wearing gloves but STILL couldn’t feel my fingers (or my toes for that matter and I had on socks and my super warm leather Ugg boots). When we walked into The Longworth building, you would have thought we were aliens the way the guards were looking at us. LOL! We each had snow piled onto our coats, faces red and frozen and runny eyes and noses! HAHA!!! Yes, we are here to see our local representatives! Legs were hurting, shoulders sore and fingers stiff…but we made it. After we were all done, we had some time to sit and chat. I have to say, I love me some Laura Wingate! She is a true patient advocate and just a sweet soul! I felt honored and privileged to be able to speak with such a great human being. I mean, you know when you meet someone and they are just super cool and compassionate and they really listen to what you’re saying. She is that person! She’s the perfect spokesperson for CCFA or any non-profit and I look forward to re-connecting with her again in June.
That’s one thing I love about being apart of this community. There are some people who are not so positive and warm, but for the most part you can connect with some amazing amazing souls! Terrell, Dale, Priyanka & Dr. DeGerome from The Digestive Disease National Coalition were absolutely amazing and persistent, which only made you want to keep pushing. And then there were just some AMAZING people I fell in love with from different parts of the country because of their strengths, talents and perseverance. And now that I’ve seen change and things pass, I know that all this was worth the effort. I’ll be back in June and then next year…well…I’ll be packing an extra pair of long johns!
Ps. Yes, I did go by The White House. Yes, I did geek out. Yes, I did try to call Jaxon while standing in front of the White House. Yes, I did cry a little at the fact that I was standing in front of the White House where a black man was sitting in the Oval Office as Commander In Chief. Yes, I did recite the preamble, possibly in the school house rock song melody…WHATEVER! You know I’m a nerd! Oh and yes while I was taking a picture of the Pennsylvania/Executive street sign, I heard the chirp of the police cars and looked to see THE BEAST turn the corner!!! And yes, I did proceed to call everyone in my phone to tell them I had seen the motorcade. I was like a kid at a One Direction concert Fa-Reaking out!!! HAHAHA!