This weekend was busy with fun. Before the weekend, though, I decided that the best course of action was to work 4 10-hour days last week. This enabled me to take Friday off without loss of wages/time devoted towards work projects. So what to do on my day off, you ask… well, I naturally went to a costume store and picked up three costumes (a gorilla, penguin, and rooster). I then proceeded to BWI to pickup a good friend and his girlfriend. They had flown in from Milwaukee, for this specific weekend. I do admit that I was about 15-20 minutes behind schedule at this point, but some things are out of my hands… I got out of my bed as soon as the coast was clear.
So… Josh, Berry, and I continued the expedition as we drove to Washington DC. Apparently, I decided that Mapquest directions would be sufficient and decided not to bring another map of any kind. Note, I only printed the written directions, not the little maps. We drove from BWI around DC, via 295, and continued into Virginia. At the point of driving over a drawbridge, we were able to look across a lake/river and see the Washington monument (expected destination) in the distance. Being quite the navigator, I figured that we would be better off taking the city streets rather than turning around and catching the correct exit from 295. We hopped on a street and drove in the direction of the monument. At one of the intersections, we got directions from a VERY nice man driving a flower truck. If I remembered the company name, I would make note, but that has long left my memory. Anyway, the guy said that we were going in the right direction and only needed to find the 14th street bridge to cross back over the river and get towards the capital, etc. After missing that bridge and finding another, we eventually made it to the hotel to drop off all of our stuff. By the time we got into costumes and started walking towards the capital, it was around 1:30-2:00. Josh and I decided that it was best to just wear the costumes as we walked from 14th & M to the capital building. Along the way, we stopped at a local flower shop to pickup a dozen roses. By the time we got about 2 blocks away from the capital, we put on the large heads so that we were in full costume. I have to admit that the majority of locals seemed to take the sight of a penguin and gorilla walking down the sidewalk as an everyday occurrence. A few people laughed and pointed, but the majority just continued on like it was normal.
Once we reached the capital area, we were surrounded by people who wanted to take pictures of us in our suits. I think we gave the Whitehouse some solid competition for photographs. Anyway, at that point, we met up with Gwen & Ben (they live in California now, but we met originally in Milwaukee). Gwen proceeded to put on the rooster costume and called Rachel. While she was talking to Rachel, I called Rob and found out that they were sitting by the reflection pool near the Washington monument side. The call from Gwen was a pre-planned call to distract Rachel from realizing that Rob was talking to me. So, we all started walking in the direction of the reflection pool. Along the way, we had a little boy (4-5 years old maybe) walk about 2 blocks with us, cause he thought we were really cool. Josh was asked to jump on someone’s back, for a picture… and generally, we got a great response from people and found ourselves in many pictures. Heh, I tried to give a flower to a little girl (maybe 3); and she saw a flap on the suit. She said something like “That’s not a real penguin, there’s a person inside.” At that point, I gave up on giving her the flower and just waved and walked away. I did find a girl to give the flower to, but she was more my age and pretty to boot… anyway, that was to make it look like we weren’t heading straight for Rob & Rachel.
We did come to them, and Josh handed Rob a flower. It was sort of a weird silence and then Gwen asked for $2 for the flower to sort of break the tension. At that point, Rob started his speech and reached into his vest pocket. He pulled out the ring and got down on his knee. He then proceeded to ask Rachel to marry him, with a small crowd of people (walking along the reflection pool & path) and the three of us right by the blanket. Berry and Ben were hiding behind a tree watching it all unfold. Rachel started crying and accepted and at that point, Rob told us that it was a good time to take off the costume heads. I think people at the capital could have heard Rachel scream in excitement when she realized that her best friend and other great friends were there to experience it all with her.
After all of that, we hung out in DC for the night and the next day. To sort of sum up how the night evolved, it involved drunk walking some of the streets by the hotel, after bar time, with Josh. Heh… we were even approached by a girl (in her car) to see if we were looking for some $100 action. She was very pretty, but that’s just not me… both of us really aren’t sure why we decided to walk around, but there were probably better things that we could have been doing at that point (like drinking water or sleeping!). The weather was beautiful both days (around 80+ degrees and sunny). All in all, I don’t think that it could have worked out better. We all came back and went out in Baltimore on Saturday night. Josh and Berry then had (probably a very interesting/drunken flight) at 6:00am on Sunday morning. I know that Josh stayed up till the cab came around 5:30, so that was probably an evil flight for him. Ben and Gwen left today around 6:00pm.
This all made for quite a fun weekend and a definitely memorable experience. I wish both of them the best and want to thank them for allowing me to be a part of it all. There were some pictures of our own that were taken, and once I get those from Josh, I’ll post them on this site. So, if you happen across Rob, wish him the best!