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I am a mom to twin boys, full-time employee of a telecommunications company and wife to a professional musician. I work, do yoga, cook and try to squeeze in DIY projects and spending time with friends.

Monday, June 30, 2014

US Capitol Building, Washington DC

I work in the wireless industry, and sometimes that makes for an interesting opportunity.  Like today, when this normally white collar gal put on a figurative hardhat and went on a site walk.  Wireless, after all, has become a utility.  Like electricity and running water, most people can't do without wireless, and most buildings need to have it inside.

After all, the phone on the desk (if you are sitting at a desk) is used less and less.  And since most wireless traffic originates indoors anyway, there need to be indoor systems to support voice and data services.

Today's opportunity was to walk the House of Representatives (HoR) in Washington DC.  When you're standing at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, looking east towards the Capitol Dome, the HoR is everything on the right of the midline of the dome.  That line dividing House and Senate might as well be literal, but since that would wreck the aesthetics of the historic building, it's merely figurative.

The downside of this opportunity:  had to arrive at 530am.  Yup, dressed, make-up, breakfast.... 530am.  I am a morning person, but this, to my mind, is still the night before!

My cab was early-- I got there at 510am.

The silver lining of arriving at this hour was the opportunity to breathe the still, mild air of a beautiful city while standing in the shadow of a quiet, captivating, historic building.... The US Capitol.

East front of the US Capitol at 515am.... what a jewel!

Amazing.  Simply awe-inspiring.

Back to business.... the job of the day was to inspect 100+ wireless antennas inside the building.  They exist to bring your carrier's wireless signal to most every nook and cranny of this huge, historically significant space.

I say 'most every nook and cranny' because there are spaces where signal is not wanted.  Not to worry though, most of us mortals will never be inside the private Members Only dining room, so you won't notice.

I am not an engineer, but I had one with me.  He did the hard work, and I played tourist, spectator, gawker and student.  Lots to learn, both about the building and the wireless project.  And what a space to learn it in!
View from one of the private offices on the West side of the Capitol.  House Majority maybe?

While there are no wireless assets on the roof, we did get to wander out there to take in the view.  Wow!

Standing on the roof, looking up towards the Freedom statue on the Capitol Dome.

The old House Chamber-- this photo is taken from what was spectator seating (only accessible now via one of the House Speaker's private offices) 

Wireless is a utility, which means basements and attics and ugly spaces.  These are some of the cables/conduits running through the basement-- also called the Headache Chamber, because of all the VERY low ceilings!

Our day ended about 1215.  I walked 4 1/2 miles since 5am, and it was time to head home and get my actual job done.  Before I left, I walked out to the same spot as the first photo, for another picture of the Capitol.  This time, in the full light of a sunny, Washington DC summer day.

I purposely did not crop this photo.... there are people and cars at 1230pm.  Wow!

Thanks for a great day Washington DC.  You take a lot of heat for lazy, entitled politicians.  I saw only hard working facilities and security folks on my tour today, taking care of a magnificent building and the people who work there.

Cheers to you, US Capitol.  Happy early July 4th!

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