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TAKE THAT, HILTON

25 July 2005

Well, I thumb my nose at the Hilton Hotel, Gaithersburg.

Feh to their ridiculous local telephone call rules, their expensive breakfasts, their lack of vending machines, their 50 cents a bottle water.

When we all met in the lobby this morning, Shirley and Joe were packing their car to start their 7 hour drive home after brunch. Laura was checking out because she was moving to Melody's house for her last night here. Walt was returning to his hotel at Dupont Circle.

"What are you doing tonight?" Melody asked me.

When I said I guessed I was staying in my room at the hotel, she suggested I check out a day early too and spent the night at her house as well.

I didn't need further invitation!

I rushed upstairs, packed my things, and tossed them in Joe and Shirley's truck and we all headed to Melody's house for a lovely brunch. I was in a house with two of the world's most gracious hostesses: Melody and Laura, who were both determined that we would all have enough to eat (with the result that we were all stuffed by the time the meal ended!) There was talk of taking Laura on a tour of the mall area in DC, but somehow we just never got around to that. A family barbeque was planned for that evening and what with shopping for food and getting caught up on news and rehashing the previous evening's party, there just didn't seem to be enough time to do any sightseeing.

Shirley and Joe packed up and left for their 7 hour drive back to upstate New York and the rest of us pitched in to get ready for the barbeque. We shopped, we shucked corn, Laura made a couple of salads, and Todd's fiancée Anna took over the cooking of the corn out on the barbeque.

Blissfully, our weather concerns were that it might rain. It was, in comparison to our first two days here, delightful weather.

The twins and their mates arrived for dinner and we enjoyed a table full of 10 people, lots and lots of food, and lots of conversation.

Melody took Walt to the Metro so he could get back to his hotel so that he could get up to go to work in the morning, and I stayed home helping Anna clean up.

We sat around chatting for a long while and finally Todd and Anna decided to go home and the rest of us prepared for the end of our respective days. For Melody, Tenere and Laura, that meant heading off to their bedrooms to sleep. For me, it meant logging onto the Internet and taking advantage of the fact that I'm not paying for this call and I can stay on line as long as I damn well please.

What's more, when I finally log off, there is a recliner for me to sleep in. After my 3 hour fitful sleep at the hotel last night, I am very much looking forward to that.

The plan tomorrow is to do the sightseeing, then drop Laura off at Dulles Airport for her 3 p.m. flight and drive on up to Baltimore to drop me at BWI for my 5:30 flight. Melody will spend most of her day in the car, but I'm glad to have these last hours with her. It's been five years since I last saw her and even though this weekend has been much too brief, I'm still savoring the chance to be together, even for this abbreviated visit.

I'll be home by 9 tomorrow night. If I'm still awake by then, I might actually have some photos to post....and as soon as I can get it ready, I will have an actual MOVIE of Mary juggling.

PHOTO OF THE DAY

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Harry, Weasley, Hagrid

 
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