The Dormouse came home with this drawing last week. I'm not even sure that this coloring page was really intended to be Obama... a) with different crayon choices, I can see how this could also pass for George Bush and b) it seems a little early for him to have been immortalized in coloring book form. But then again, he got a whole series of bridges shut down... so I guess anything is possible. (Aside: The Dormouse now owns both this book, because she received it as a birthday present from someone who might be a little too in love with the guy, and this book because the line, "She didn't vote for a llama, Mama voted for Obama" tickles me to no end. I'm wondering how far other presidents were into their administration before they got their own children's books and whether that is somehow indicative of their respective places in history.) Either way, it seems The Dormouse has recovered nicely from the disappointment of Sarah Palin not winning the Presidency and has returned to her old hero worship standby:

Barack Obama's teeth look a little yellow, don't they?
Perhaps if he
really gave up the smoking, they'd whiten up a bit.

I'm extremely disappointed that I won't be spending the day downtown today. Believe me, it kills me to live as close as I do and not go to experience the city on a day like today. I was there for the Million Man March, several installments of A Capitol Fourth, the opening of the Korean War and FDR Memorials, a large percentage of Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rallies and a host of other events that occurred there. Whether you believe in the cause that's going on or not, whatever happens in Washington, it's just an amazing place to experience community and people and the political process and the first amendment and everything that goes with it. This is why Washington, D.C. is "my" city.
"Whatever we are looking for, we come to Washington in millions to stand in silence and try to find it."
- Bruce Catton, 1959

Even up until late last week, I'd still planned on bringing the girls to experience this day with me. The KingofHearts has to work, mainly because his company hates America (he also had to work on Milk Day -- tell me I'm wrong). But I was still up for it. Transportation problems? Pshaw, I know the streets better than most who work on the hill everyday. Hard to get there? Pfft, I can get up earlier than anyone else in the city. Crowds? Phooey, I am an expert at squeezing my way through crowds. Once I heard that you couldn't bring strollers to the mall, however, my heart sank. There is no way I'd be able to carry a squirming, twisting, Tasmanian-devil-cloud of a twenty-five pound Caterpillar on my hip and chase after a five-year-old who tends to wander off and has no concept or fear of the word stranger amidst a million-plus people in a 68.3 square mile area. I might be an idiot, but I'm not a complete moron. I do not want to spend the day looking for my kids lost in a sea of unfamiliar faces. Add to that the fact that I can't even bring a diaper bag and, well, I like the guy and all, but even I'm not willing to walk around with a child who's oozing feces for half the day with no way to change her. I'm thinking the other inaugural attendees would thank me.

This is a page from the Washington Post. See the large red arrow in the corner? If you look close, you'll see that it says "Does your bag fit in this box? If not, it is prohibited along the parade route and on the Capitol grounds."
This box isn't even the width of one side of a page from the newspaper.

I was talking to a colleague at work and mentioning how my plans to go had been thwarted. I complained, "It's just something I wanted to be able to say to my grand kids, you know? 'I was there.'"

"Oh I plan to tell my grand kids I was there," he said, "I just don't plan to go. Just like the last eight inaugurations."

Well, it's a thought.

Ultimately, it doesn't really matter. Did people have to be on the moon to appreciate the moon landing? No. Renting an apartment here to remember the Watergate scandal? Not if you ask my mother. The important thing here is that we're about to experience an historic moment in this country and you can't help but appreciate that collective consciousness no matter where you are. I hope that he turns out to be all we expect him to be. I know that he can't. But I still feel like it's a brand new day, and having hope? Well, that's a welcome change, now isn't it?

So we are staying home, wrapping up in our Snuggies and watching the whole thing the way God and the networks intended: on 25" television screen. We'll hear all the words and see all the people's faces and I'll tell my girls to remember this moment because they were there and someday they'll want to tell their grandchildren about it. And because they are one and five, they won't remember a thing. But at least I'll have this photograph to prove it.