Homeless and Hassled…Nonetheless Happy! Our 2013 U.S. Presidential Inauguration Trip

Don’t try to figure it out. I’ll explain!

Big trip. Wonderful experience. Especially for our eighth grader. UScapitol

My husband, daughter and I traveled with friends from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to Washington D.C. for the 57th U.S. presidential inauguration.

And now—Uhh…the back-story.

The Players

The Hightowers- (Rick & Rita): aka – “The Fixers”

The Fixers

The Fixers

Masters of logistics, harmony and superfluous flow; funny as ALL get-out despite the serious, cool exterior.

The Walkers- (Kelvin &Celia): aka – “The HBCU High Rollers”

Big power players on multiple fronts; of Morehouse and Clark College fame; Celia is Marketing Director guru for rollingout.com. These two know SO many people it has become our running joke. (Close to a million folks attended the inauguration. The Walkers knew half of them.)

The HBCU High Rollers

The HBCU High Rollers

The Anglins- (John, Dionne & Madison): aka – “The Producers”

The Producers

The Producers

We stop, drop and cover news wherever it’s happening. From live phone reports in the middle of a million people at the president’s inauguration to emailing iPhone video back to my Dallas TV station… We’re ON it! (all the while the 13-year old just mumbles- ‘you guys are embarrassing me.’)

Ms. Aubla Clay- (Single and Fabulous): aka — “The Color Commentator”

The Color Commentator

The Color Commentator

Aubla (in the bright sweater) calls it like she sees it; which usually involves a unique shot of humor! Needed our protection from the many D.C. suitors trying to propose marriage to her. (including the accordion player at a vegan restaurant she and I stopped by to grab food to-go)

The Situation

First…some background. Our group had previously arranged to rent a swanky 4-bedroom home in Georgetown.

We had photos!! Our inaugural digs were going to be awesome! BUT… as it turned out we NEVER made it to the place!

Stay with me.

We (The Anglins) flew into town on the Thursday before the inauguration. The rest of the crew arrived Friday. This gave us a great opportunity to spend some time with friends and family in Maryland… including some also traveling for the inauguration.

That was awesome.

Dionne & Paige Owens

Dionne & Paige Owens in Maryland

The Chaos Begins

Saturday morning was the agreed upon time for the north Texas group to hook up and check into the swanky rental. Instead though…an email from the owner arrives…

(I’m probably exaggerating, but this is how it appeared to me…in my mind)

Dear People,

“I’m so sorry to have to tell you… Blah blah blah… A serious leak in the kitchen… Blah blah… The ceiling collapsed… Blah blah blah… The water had to be turned off… Can’t rent it in this condition…blah blah… Sorry. You’re out of luck. I’ll refund your money. Good luck finding a place with over 900,000 visitors in our city this weekend.

Tootle Loo,

Regretful Owner

Okay okay…honestly– it wasn’t that nonchalant. But it might as well have been!!

The reporter in me… Yeah, the one who has covered a zillion scam artist stories. Yes, that one. I immediately thought, “We have been SCAMMED!” I just knew it.

BUT hold on–

Mrs. “Fixer,” Rita Hightower, was ALL OVER the situation like Beyonce lip-synching to a track! (wow..did I say that?)

Anyway… since Rita had been the main contact with the owner AND had visited and actually seen the swanky rental while on a previous business trip… it was like she morphed into this super tough power negotiator! So.. while we were in the background trying to ask a hundred questions, Rita held up the index finger—and communicated the sentiment…“let me work.” So we did.

Now! In case you’re holding your breath— YES! The owner DID deposit our money back into Rita’s account right away. She even went a step further and called in some favors to help find a place for us to stay.

Also…we searched and came across a couple of available rentals that ended up being… Lemme see how to put it… “not-so-nice..” shoot, forget it– awful looking!

Homeless... in front of a rental we DECLINED

Homeless… in front of a rental we DECLINED

I’ll just say this… We graciously declined the “best” one which had a musty odor, a sign that read, “Quiet Time after 10pm” and questionable looking box springs and mattresses!

So now… picture us driving around in 2 rental vehicles…HOMELESS in D.C. with tons of luggage. You know—being from Texas (& used to doing things BIG) we over-packed, fearful it would be 25 degrees below zero in D.C.

We missed participating in our National Day of Service project… and to make matters a little more panicked we were tightly clutching our pre-paid tickets to the fabulous Celebrity Chefs’ Inaugural Ball that was… uh huh… starting in just a few short hours.

Back in Inaugural Action! Yep... Texans!

For the sake of time and space—I’ll jump to the way it was all resolved. Ms. Swanky rental owner was connected enough to get us a last minute reservation at a prestigious hotel conveniently located in downtown D.C.

AND…thanks to the work of our “Fixer,” Rita…. Ms. Swanky rental owner paid the difference between what we had

Mrs. Fixer

Mrs. Fixer!

paid her and the hotel’s inflated room rate for 4 separate rooms on the same floor. How about that!

For the hundredth time… Ri Ri you Rock!!

We made it to the ball on time… some of the crew even attended a pre-Ball mixer with scores of other visitors. This, of course, was because High Roller Kelvin Walker was one of the hosts. (Did I mention the Walkers know half the U.S. population? I did…okay, my bad.)

Who was worried?!! Not us!

Who was worried?!! Not us!

Now before I wrap this up… (and because I’ve gotten so many questions about one event in particular…) I just wanted to add..

Celia and I were the only two from our group who ventured out on Sunday night (yes.. the night before the crack of dawn journey to the Capitol for the ceremony) to Russell Simmons’ Hip Hop Inaugural Ball. (See…a high rolling friend of high roller Celia invited us.) The next thing I knew…we were backstage during the live performances with some people I never dreamed I’d ever meet! THAT experience alone is another whole blog post in itself!!

Thanks for reading!! I will most likely keep adding them..(we have tons)… but check out some pics below of our exhilarating, zany, nerve-wracking, emotional roller-coaster, hilarious, unforgettable and all-around fun trip to the nation’s capitol.

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18 thoughts on “Homeless and Hassled…Nonetheless Happy! Our 2013 U.S. Presidential Inauguration Trip

  1. This is the best commentary eva!!!! Yes the Hightowers of Carrollton and the Walker’s of Plano know how to do it big. Dionne you storytelling is magnificent!!! P.S. One day I will have to tell you my little secret Pretty Ricky and I share! Lol! So glad you guys had a good time.

  2. Di’, I’m tired just reading about it…WHEW! Good stuff! Thanks for sharing…and was that John Leggins? lol (Legend, right?)

  3. WOW!
    I gotta ask, whatever happened to your daughter in all of this? i assume she missed the gala event? sounds like an adventure ride to me, you had the long lines, the angst feelings and in the end it was fun.

  4. Still love reading your accounts Dionne! This was a trip to remember on SO many levels! Making Memories is what life is about! Smoochies!

  5. Dionne, after seeing you and our girl Madison last night at our Snow Jam 2015, this story came to mind. It still brings a smile to my face! Whew!

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