As if one visit yesterday weren’t exciting enough, today I returned to the White House AGAIN for the official tour. For those who are unfamiliar with how these things happen, one tours the White House by requesting such permission directly from one’s congress people and you must do this many months in advance. You are told ‘yes’ or ‘no’ you can go on the tour only 2 weeks before your requested date. In keeping with every other glitch associated from the get-go with my tour request via this congressman, the tour almost didn’t happen and I ached by the time it did but the tour was indeed absolutely fantastic. Long story on that detail but the tour I was sent on (arranged for me by my congressman’s Chief of Staff no less – because of so many problems that occurred from the time I first made my request) was “self-guided”. But what a great time that was. The long wait was made up for a great time just talking with the intern that accompanied me – a complete fool for Aaron Sorkin’s “West Wing”.
You cannot have ANYthing with you except for a legal photo ID, money, your phone (turned completely off), and possibly Rx medicine. So I dropped my stuff off at my congressman’s office and took a cab to the White House.
The public gets to tour the first floor of the residence. They won’t tell you whose room is whose upstairs but I did learn that one of the kid hung a butterfly in their window and I saw that butterfly hanging up there. Obama keeps fresh fruit in his office. Other presidents kept flowers or candy. The aides and interns didn’t know why he chose fruit but a new friend I made at my conference this weekend who is from Hawaii told me that this is a ‘Hawaii’ thing – which makes sense. Obama keeps a bowl of apples on his table in the O office.
The paintings at the WH are quite something. The Singer Sargent was luscious and there was a gorgeous O’Keefe hanging above the fireplace in the I think Vermeil room. Each of the rooms are named by color. The front and back of the house is identical to assure all who enter that they are equal as isnthe convention of what is placed on the President’s office coffee table (whatever it is, it’s always the same).
After every group walks through the house, the entire Swat team goes in with the dogs and does a sweep.
The garden was exquisite. I was disappointed we couldn’t walk out into the garden – so gorgeous and you just knew it smelled fantastic. After this, I rushed back to my congressman’s office to retrieve my stuff and then rushed back to my meetings.
Next chapter here will be on stuff from the conference… Well, maybe… Since today I have a one-on-one meeting with congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA).