Monday, February 8, 2010

Snoverkill in the Capital

I lived in Minnesota for exactly 12 months and saw lots of cold days and fishing houses perched on frozen lakes (even in downtown Minneapolis). But, despite my purchase of cross-country skis and lessons, the one thing that I didn't see during my stint in the Midwest was a whole lot of snow. As luck would have it, my year there was an oddly dry one, with just a few small storms that didn't leave the ground covered for more than a couple of weeks total.

I guess that winter of lost Minnesota weather has finally caught up with me here south of the Mason-Dixon, as I sit confined to my cozy little apartment for the fifth day in a row. I walked around for a little bit yesterday, between this past weekend's dump of snow and last night's very real blizzard. There were a few people wandering around, looking a little dazed, but generally delighted by the sight. Mostly they were heading to the few bars that were open, clad in boots and thick coats, completely removed from the usual business attire that dominates the DC bar culture.

Feet upon feet of snow was piled, shoved, or just compacted by pedestrians, turning cars into pillows resting along side the human-made paths over sidewalks and streets. Just venturing outside at this point feels like an accomplishment, and those are able to do so with a smile on their face feel a bond with their fellow citizens. Today I would usually be at work, but the Federal Government has wisely called a snow day for the third straight day, with tomorrow looking likely to be number four. I'm not going complain about a paid vacation at home, with plenty of food, warmth, and internet, but getting back to my routine will be a relief. Enjoy the video below as proof that even bureaucrats can have fun when work and routine are disrupted:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

How government works

This week has been a very busy week with a excessively dramatic ending:

Monday -  I watched the Secretary of the Interior present the 2011 Department of the Interior Budget Request in front of a live audience of Interior employees and members of the press. Went to a Happy Hour hosted by the President of Pacific Lutheran University. Caught up with  him and met some fellow Lute alums who have also made their way out here to DC.

Tuesday - Went to a small lunch gathering in the Assistant Secretary's office and talked to her about recognizing the artistic talents of DOI employees. She thought it was a good idea, so I think they will be having a photo contest which I fully intend to enter.  Went to the dentist and found out I needed a crown on a back molar.

Wednesday - Worked hard and played hard. Went to PMF Happy Hour after work and smoozed with coworkers and friends at other agencies.  Kind of like Cheers, only everyone never remembers your name.  But that's okay, because they can just get your card and promise to do lunch sometime.

Thursday - I watched the President and family pull out of their house (the big White one) and drive to the National Prayer Breakfast, it was the first time I have gotten to glimpse the First Family through the windows of the motorcade (did you know that the windows are not tinted?), very exciting. I also got the temporary crown on my tooth, not so exciting.  Stocked up on a few supplies before the storm arrived.

Friday - Mentally prepared for a crippling snow storm, still went to work, though government employees had a 4-hour early dismissal. I ended up staying a little later to finish up our major Economic paper (look for press release next week) and then went to volunteer at Miriam's Kitchen to help prepare and serve food. The snow began Friday evening, causing DC and life as we know it here to come to a complete halt.