While we were living in the RV park on the base waiting for housing we never thought we would meet the President of the Free World at the golf course, but meet him we did! Several of the park’s temporary residents had a rather big day, when we had the opportunity to chat just for a few seconds with President O’Bama. Since then, random things like that keep happening since we moved to the DC area. This past Monday night, we actually had the opportunity to attend the Commander and Chief’s Inaugural Ball. I don’t write these things to try impress anyone, but as proof positive that fairy tales still come true.
When my husband first told me we would be attending the ball, I did what many females in the U.S. do when told they are going to an important event and asked myself what in the world I was going to wear. I had something in mind that ran along the lines of the dress the smiling mice and singing birds created in the animated Disney version of Cinderella. However, with this goal in mind I knew I would need to take someone along on my shopping trip that had a discerning eye, especially since I am no longer Cinderella's age or shoe size. I enlisted the help of my husband, and on the day of our shopping trip, true to his military fashion, he was waiting at the bottom of the stairs tapping his watch and saying, "Let's do this thing." Mmm...not exactly what I envisioned for the day.My daughter on the other hand, while concerned that I not embarrass the family name by showing up at the ball in one of my usual make-do" dresses I'm fond of, was more concerned that we might show up at the ball and discover we had counterfeit tickets, hence making our last name synonymous with the Salahi’s, the couple who had become embarrassingly famous in 2009 for attending a White House state dinner as uninvited guests.
Keeping this in mind, I began my ball gown search at the Dress Barn. I know, not exactly ball gown inventory, but I honestly did not know where to start in this area. The clerk took pity on me and directed us to Nordstrom's, however, on our way there we spotted Macy's Department store. I figured since many years ago Macy's Santa Claus helped make dreams come true for one little girl in the Christmas movie "Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus," Macy's could certainly help with my Disney-like ball gown. Amazingly, I was able to find a suitable gown after trying on only three dresses! It helped to remind myself to use common sense and not overdo the budget for just one evening. Too many years of budget-stretching has created the inability to splurge too much even knowing we would be in the company of the President and his wife (albeit from a distance and with lots of security) The day of the ball, I had a manicure done complete with bright red gel polish because my sister-in-law wisely recommended it would last longer, and had my hair styled at an alarming high DC price. I was all set to go with my new Payless budget shoes (I can feel my daughter cringing now) when at the last minute I decided to grab a pair of hand-me-up shoes that my niece gave me several years ago. I thought I might change my mind at the last minute and opt for more comfortable shoes like Forest Gump.
The traffic was downright scary getting there, and I was afraid we would turn into pumpkins for arriving late. I'm also pretty sure "Cindi" didn't have to go through all the security screening we did to get to her Prince.
We did enjoy having an evening out: hearing famous entertainers-mostly by big screen due to the crowd, seeing a lot of beautiful gowns, some of which I'm sure did not come from a department store, watching the President and his wife dance on stage by standing on my tippy toes and squinting really, really hard (it helped she wore red), and eating something that resembled ravioli because I was starving after our long walk in frigid temperatures to get to the venue. We spent several hours standing throughout the festivities, until I finally yelled, "uncle" because my feet hurt so badly, even with the more comfortable shoes. We took a lot of time taking pictures because our next duty station might not be quite as exciting, and after a late night drive home, I laid my head on my pillow that night and knew without a shadow of a doubt that, "yes, Virginia" there really is a Santa Claus not because I got to go a Presidential ball, but because I attended the ball with my very own Prince Charming, a man who does his very best to make my dreams come true!