Every two years the DOE sponsors a Solar House Decathlon. This is the University of Minnesota's first time competing among the 20 universities who design and build net zero houses that are moved to the National Mall for 3 weeks of competition. As a "decathlete" I am responsible for two nights of dinner parties in our house, where 2 of us will cook and serve 6 team members from 3 other houses. I'll be posting menu items and recipes throughout this week.
Yesterday I arrived in DC and started soaking it all in! The Mall is about the coolest place ever. Our little ICON house is nestled among the others beneath the oak tree-like Washington Monument. The wind blew up dust and sand and gave the solar neighborhood a Mad Max meets the Jetson's kind of feel. There are some really cool houses and I cannot wait to tour them all, should time allow. Returning champs Team Germany have a really cool tile exterior thing going on, and there is a house down the block from us that looks like Mr. Brady's den. When will they let me move in? And the big controversy in the neighborhood is that Virginia Tech took FOUR YEARS to design their "control it with your IPOD" house. Back at the ICON there is lots of last minute scrambling, and the guys getting the house up and ready have been working 22 hours shifts. They are exhausted but morale seems pretty high.
Talk in the house was that the Washington Post was doing dinner party stories but when I arrived at the media room Team Boston had already beat us out. Lots of self-important guys in expensive suits walked by our house and yelled encouragement. They assumed that we recognized them but I can only guess from their swaggers that they are politicians and new anchors.
At check-in yesterday I met two students from Team Madrid. Asked them about Chef Jose and apparently he will be making an appearance today! Will seek him out between last minute house stuff, shopping at the White House farmers market, and opening ceremonies.
Am staying with my dear friends Kelly and Dan, and they are treating me like a queen. Had one of the best nights of sleep ever and after one more cup of coffee I will be ready to face what comes today. Will post photos later when I can figure out this computer as I can only imagine how anxious you must be to see a photo of me in my hardhat.