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Ms. Big Rake goes to Washington

September 4, 2007 | Books,Getting sick,Traveling

I got sick during the first week of school two weeks ago. Everyone got sick. Then I started to feel better. Until Saturday. It was worse. I was sick all weekend. Then today. Much, much worse. Fever. Chills. And various nastiness. I swear, I’m ready for hospice. Is it this bad everywhere? Or is it just me?

Questions about visiting Washington, D.C.

If I miraculously rise from my death bed, however, I plan to visit our nation’s capital next month. Yes, when searching for “death bed,” one of the first results was Abraham Lincoln on his, which I have been reading about in Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation. Coincidence? I think not. She also talks a lot about Washington, D.C., which brings me to my questions.

I will attend a conference, and I’m not sure what to expect with weather, what I will need clothing-wise, what in the world I can pack in a suitcase anymore and such. Yes, I’m flying, which means I will probably miss the entire first day of the conference because of delays or cancellations.


What is a person allowed to pack in a checked suitcase anymore? Last time I flew, I only took a carry-on. I didn’t want to mess with having my nail clippers or shampoo swiped, so I took nothing of the sort. I just went to the nearest supermarket when I arrived at my destination. I doubt that will be possible in October. So … can I pack toothpaste, creams, lotions and various sharp objects in my checked luggage? (I had cuticle clippers swiped once, and it made me wonder if they thought I might stalk and tackle someone on the plane, hold them down and … clip their cuticles.)


This will be the first time I will pretend to be professional in public in, well, a while. I will already be an outsider as a freelancer (not to mention, hiss, a blogger), and I will probably have that first-day-at-Kindergarten look with my new satchel for my laptop. Yes, satchel. I have bags. I want a satchel. So I don’t want to go overboard with a whole new wardrobe or anything. But I don’t want to seem completely out of it.


My feet have become Floridated. No, they don’t consume fluoride. They just live in sandals day in and day out because they can, and they don’t do well in normal shoes. I only have shoes and socks for visiting other places, and I always get blisters on my feet whenever that happens. But, tell me, sandals in D.C. in October won’t fly. Will they?

Dress code

The dress code is “business casual.” What does that mean these days? Way back when I worked the mushroom shift (you know, after dark and through to the early-morning hours), there was only a two-hour gap when the day-shift folks would sneer at our ratty jeans and tennis shoes. After that, nobody cared what we looked like. So … what is business casual? Does it include clothing that most people would dry clean? Or just slacks that aren’t denim?


Is it cold there in October? (Anything 75 degrees or below would cause me to break out the winter stuff here.) Do I need a sweater? Jacket? Ear muffs and mittens?

Posted by Becky @ 9:30 pm  

5 Responses to “Ms. Big Rake goes to Washington”

  1. Arwen Says:

    A person can carry anything in a checked bag, even a gun if you have the correct documentation. The bag won’t get ot your final destination while you are there but you can check it. A carry on is a little different. TSA (cough) loves their little motto 3-3-1. I forget what the 2cnd 3 stands for (so much for marketing) but basically you can put any liquid in a 3 oz container and you fit as many 3 oz containers in a 1 quart bag.
    Business casual: no jeans. Cords, khakis and slacks are fine. A button blouse or a sweater twin set is fine.
    Shoes: spend all your money on these. Sandals are never business casual. Actually have a great pair of mary janes that Merrill put out and they are so comfy (my feet swoon thinking about them). Merrill, the hiking boot people can make some great business casual shoes.
    DC in October, super fun!

  2. PunditMom Says:

    Wow! Plenty o’ D.C. questions! D.C. in October is a crapshoot! Could be 75 or could be 55. I know that’s not helpful in the carry-on category. Make sure you have your “liquids” — makeup, lip gloss, etc, in the one-quart ziploc bag. Easy in and out through the screening point.

    And E-mail me — maybe we can meet for coffee!!

  3. MotherPie Says:

    I think you can pack shampoo and nail clippers, etc. and be fine. A product called NuSkin is great if you get blisters.

    Hope you feel better. Your trip should be fun.

  4. Gunfighter Says:

    I’m with punditmom about the weather in October.

    One suggestion… if you have the time. take a visti of the National Cathedral… it is one of my favorite places in the city.

  5. Devra Says:

    If you find you can’t bring certain things because you don’t have the 3 oz size, give me a list and I’ll drive em in from Virginia for you. I don’t need to stuff anything into a quart sized bag to bring over to your hotel! : )

    Looking forward to your visit!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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