White House experience...whew

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DammitJanet, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    First let me say...there were over 30,000 people at this event. From what I understand it was the largest in history. Trust me to pick this time to attend...lol. It was a madhouse.

    Our scheduled time was 1:45 to 3:45. Definitely a bad time to have picked. I thought that was an ideal time but it wasnt. The temp was horrible because it was supposed to be mid 70's and turned out to be almost 90.

    Let me start from the beginning.

    I ended up getting hurt on in the middle of the night on Saturday when I had to go to the bathroom and attempted to return to the couch where Tony, Keyana and I were sleeping. Jamie has this evil coffee table that is made from some sort of extremely hard material with sharp edges. Its not rounded at all. More like something you would see in a business office or something. I went to reach for the couch, lost my balance and fell straight into that damned thing hitting my left knee on the corner edge, then my right hip then both knees onto his floor which is tile covered with a thin rug. I was in agony and had to throw toys at Tony to wake him up to help me up. Oh...one reason I fell was all the toys all over the floor. Sigh.

    Then on Monday we had to wake the girls up by 8 to start getting them ready to leave by 9:30 to get to the Metro train we wanted to take which we wanted to leave at 11 or so. Well...that kind of went ok...lol.

    Then we get to the Metro lot and had to drive around for around an hour in their parking garage looking for a place to park! It was packed full. We tried to leave the garage at one point but you couldnt without some smart card and we couldnt get a smart card without riding the Metro! There was no attendant in the booth! It was idiotic. Finally we found a spot. One! We got on the Metro and the girls had a blast riding the train into Difficult Child. I think that was the highlight for them...lol.

    We actually got to Difficult Child at exactly 1 which was when we were supposed to arrive according to my tickets. OMG! There must have been 5,000 people in line with another thousand arriving after us. We were in those snake lines. We had been told that we were not allowed to bring in outside food or drink so we didnt bring any. Fools! It was sweltering and the girls were dying out there. They were absolutely miserable. By this time I could hardly walk. We did bring a stroller and I had the good sense to bring my walker so I had a place to sit down. My walker did also allow me to go up to the security people and ask about handicapped access after I had attempted to comply with the snake walking and just couldnt manage it. I tried but I would have died doing it. I finally just went up to one of them after the second row and asked them if there was some way of me just getting to the ticket area and waiting on my family...lol. I couldnt do all that walking. Then we still had to go through the ticketing and the security.

    Then it was more walking. At that point...they gave everyone water and vitamin water. LOTS OF IT!!!

    But....almost as soon as they got done giving everyone loads of this water...and we all were drinking it like there was no tomorrow, they announced that it was time for the egg roll and they herded us through another line and made us throw all our water away...open and closed...and the snacks they had just given us!

    That made the kids scream again!!!!

    It was so hot.

    People were so ticked off. Not just us. I heard several people say that they had been to other of these events and they werent like this.

    We eventually got in to where the stuff was going on and the girls got to see a concert with that Justin Beiber guy (I think thats his name) and they got to do the egg roll one time and they got pics with lots of cartoon characters. We never saw the President or the First Lady. We never saw any of those book readings or any of that stuff.

    By the time we actually got into the White House lawn it was already after 2:30 so we really didnt have a whole lot of time and lots of that time was taken up in getting water in us and walking to places. It was so incredibly hot! I had several of the rescue squad people coming over to me handing me water and asking if I was alright...lol. I really must not have looked well!

    At 3:45 they announced that it was time to leave and we were ushered out and the girls got their Egg signed by President and First Lady.

    Then we had to walk for ages and ages to find the Metro stop again. Let me tell you, people arent nice when giving directions in Difficult Child for that.

    All in all...I wouldnt be doing that again. I was mostly livid with most of it. I am told that the feds or someone listens in on phone calls made in the Difficult Child area. Well...they wont be happy with me then...lmao. I didnt threaten anyone exactly but I did say it was a good darned thing they didnt let me bring explosives in or I would have made a new metro stop!

    No more traveling for me until/unless I get a power scooter. I literally thought I was going to die in Difficult Child!
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Janet! Don't ever mention explosives in front of a federal agent!
  3. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Witz, come on. Live a little. :tongue:
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Lordy Lordy! Our Janet is gonna make the nations most wanted list before I do! :rofl: Witz is right, you never say explosive (even figuratively) in front of the secret service dudes. Tends to totally freak them out. lol

    You'd think doing this every single year for ages it would be down to an art form by now. Guess each president and first lady......or maybe someone one their staff does the details?? But you'd think it would be set up better than that, or sheesh have less people attend to make it run smoother!

    Still, it will be something special to remember with the girls forever.

  5. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Well, it's disappointing things didn't go more smoothly, but no doubt the grandbabies will remember taking the train trip with grandma, and they have their souvenir signed egg, not to mention the wonderful news article! You are a wonderful grandmother for trying to make this special event happen, and that's what really matters. :bigsmile:
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    :rofl: I AM sorry about your hurt leg and that you were probably about to pass out. But I can't help but chuckle when I read this. So did I get this right- at the end the girls were able to see the President and First Lady and get their eggs signed? Or did someone hand them eggs with sigs stamped on them? I'm imagining how much fun it would be to try to find and use a portable potty after drinking all that water and standing in line in the heat so long.

    I took difficult child to Disney when he was 5yo and that was his first real vacation so I took him on amtrak, then a plane. He enjoyed the transportation as much as Disney. LOL!
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am sorry you were so miserable. Maybe you should first send some child-gma-proofing stuff for that coffee table!

    It sure does NOT sound like this was well thought out, at least not this year. I hope the girls have awesome memories and that you have good memories of them during this.

    Sending you a big hug - you truly are a Gma who goes over and above!!

    So what are we doing to take care of your knees?
  8. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I have a friend who decades before 9/11 got uppity at the airport about security. This was when you could still go to the gate to meet arrivals, but you had to go through security. Someone was taking too much time for her taste, and she finally gets to her spot at the checkpoint and says "What do you think? That I have a bomb or something?" Said friend spent 4 hours in a room with the Feds before being let go with a warning.

    Last week we got off a plane where a passenger was drunk and harassing a guy (whom she did not know) who was sitting near her. She wouldn't let up, so they moved the passenger. There was also 12 police officers on the gangway waiting for her. I imagine she didn't have a pleasant evening.

    Unless you want to be arrested, don't ever talk about guns, bombs, explosions, crashes, etc., in front of a Federal Agent. Especially not at the White House!
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think Witz is right about that. When I took difficult child to Difficult Child once for July 4th, we were walking around and I got twisted in figuring out how to get where I wanted so was only squinting, looking hard to read a sign that was on the back of a building and I was next to the street. Next thing I know, some guy with an FBI badge was standing there asking difficult child and me what we were doing, where we going, and what we were looking for.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Just had a thought- I think you should copy clip your post here and send it to that reporter for his follow-up on the wonderful easter egg hunt at the WH. And enclose a photo of you and the girls about to pass out- with you and a swollen leg and Tony bruised from the toys thrown at him. (Just leave out the part about a bomb or explosion.) LOL!
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh I didnt say the part about explosives to anyone in person, I said them to Tony on my cellphone while limping along some damnable street in Difficult Child...I think 15th or 17th and E or F if I am not mistaken. Looking for that idiotic Metro station! I was in utter misery at that point and really didnt care who was listening in on my private call...lol. I know...I was next to the Dwight Eisenhower Bldg. It has this fencing that looks like spears and I was ready to just throw myself on them!

    If a Feebie had shown up, I would have begged him for a ride to his headquarters at Quantico!
  12. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Janet, sounds like my kinda luck hahaha. Sorry to laugh. The knee thing sounds wretched and the line and heat sounds a horror too. I can't imagine waiting to hand out water to melting folks right before making them toss them to move forward. I'd have plunked my feet on one spot till we all finished and a secret service person could have darn well moved me themselves if it was that important lol. It just sounds like how my luck usually is, thus the giggles!!!

    I'm curious too how they handled the collectible signed egg! Was it a mass produced thing or did the girls get to stop and actually have it signed? Either way kinda neat, but would be far cooler if they signed them in person.

    You is a good egg Janet ;)
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh they were mass produced wooden eggs that have were painted in one of four colors and then have a picture of the White House on one side and the stamped sigs of the President and First lady on the other. They are obviously not hand signed. Good lord they couldnt sign 30K!

    MM, there were people passing out. I saw one little boy in a first aid tent when I stopped for water and sunscreen who was being given an IV and some small white pill. My hands were so swollen I couldnt make a fist. I was extremely worried because of all the medications I am on and half of them say stay out of the sun do to heat exposure...lol.
  14. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You are a celebrity Janet. I loved the article in the paper.

    My niece worked as an intern in the treasury department in Washington one semester in college and often times all the cell phones would just go dead. Also there were times when all traffice was stopped around the white house and no one was allowed to walk past. She had some interesting stories.

    You had a once in a lifetime experience.

  15. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    It doesn't sound like things were well-organized at all, and then to have no accommodations for disabled people? Not very ADA-friendly. How are you doing today?
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It sounds to me like the problem is security. It's a sad indictment on society, that we have to endure this sort of thing. Frankly, I think the terrorists have won when events like this are so hampered by the need to be extra certain.

    Having to throw away the water and snacks - it doesn't make sense if it was water that they gave you. You see, that CAN be done - last year we went to the Open Day for our only Aussie nuclear reactor. The security here isn't just because it's a nuclear reactor, but because it's a research facility doing some at times very sensitive work. They had a higher level of security than we have at any of our airports; I've never been through such tight security, not even when we went to Parliament House in Canberra.

    The reactor is on Federal land so Federal Police are in charge of it. We were under Federal jurisdiction from the moment we entered the car park, which is miles away from the reactor base. To get to the reactor we had to catch buses, because only the buses would get through security. Then once we were in there, we had to individually go through another security check. There were different levels of security as well as lockers you could use. I had water bottles and food with me, plus the Swiss army knife I always carry (although I left the knife in the car). When we were about to go on the tour of the reactor itself, that was the highest security. At that point, we had to put EVERYTHING into a locker. These lockers were under constant surveillance (Federal police as well as security cameras). I worried about water because it was a hot day, but in the queue they handed out small bottles of water, freely. These bottles were clearly only for the reactor, they weren't bottles you could have purchased anywhere else. So when other water bottles and stuff had to be discarded, these ones were allowed through. And instead of having to throw stuff out, if you were OK to take the time, you could duck back and grab a locker to put your water and snacks in.

    The lockers worked with a key. Once you locked your stuff in there, you took the key with you. On your return, you took your stuff out of the locker and left the key in the lock for the next person to use. A good system.

    I'm thinking though, with 30,000 people, they would have been shoving you along an assembly line system with no possible returns. The other thing they should allow (which is what we do when we're catching a flight and I insist on having access to a water bottle) - I take my water bottle through EMPTY, then fill it from a tap once I'm through to the other side.

    If they want to improve on security for the White House egg roll, they could have paper cups and water coolers available, or they could issue water bottles with, say, the Presidential Seal on them (or some other design, made just for that occasion). The water bottles could become souvenirs, but with a different design each year or even each day (a colour system?). And frankly, the concern is that the clear liquid in the bottle could be something like hydrogen peroxide, brought in by a terrorist who wants to use it as some sort of accelerant or catalyst. So if security want to be sure, they just have to ask you to drink some of the bottle.

    I do think we've gone too far on this, I know we need to be safe but terrorism has won when security controls our lives to this extent. When we were coming back from NZ, I had a jar of Vegemite confiscated, because I had forgotten to put it in my hold luggage and there was a chance if could have been something other than Vegemite! For heaven's sake, just taste it already! Vegemite can't be faked, and it can't be mistaken, either.

    However, Witz is right when it comes to being careful about what you say and where you say it. Even in laid-back Australia, you do not comment about bombs or terrorism or joke about it, anywhere sensitive. Our security here may look laid-back but they are there ready to pounce. Quickly, discreetly.

    It's a shame, the freedom of speech we believe we still have, is evaporating. But it is a fact, unfortunately, and one we need to be very wary of.

    Mind you, I do sympathise with you, Janet. There are a few laws I routinely break and I announce, "I am just waiting to be arrested on this one. We need a test case!"

  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The bottled water they were giving out was all Desani, Vitamin Water and one of those flavored sports drinks. I am not a big fan of those drinks. Too sickly sweet for me. Plus the drinks werent very cold at all. They were just being brought in off the pallets. Now I was so thirsty I was plenty thankful for anything but plain water tasted better than a sweet drink at a warmer temp. The kids liked either though. I think I drank more water that day than I have in a year...lol.
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I must have missed the article somewhere. Is there a link to it?

  19. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Jessie sends a kiss for the boo boos you and Tony got.