So How Come Not Everything's Shut Down in a Shutdown?

Papa says Congress and the President are having a fight and that’s why the National Zoo is closed. I don’t mind too much because I don’t really like the pandas. But my favorite museum in the whole world, the National Portrait Gallery, is closed too.

It’s what they call a government shutdown. But when I visit Papa on Capitol Hill, everything seems to be open. The lunch lady is still working the register in the Capitol basement snack bar. The AOC janitor still collects the trash and the recycling every night. (AOC stands for Architect of the Capitol. Everything in DC has initials. Everything.) The crabby Capitol policewoman is still working and still crabby. Papa says she has to work because she’s “essential,” but she doesn’t get paid. That’s probably why she’s crabbier than usual.

When my sister Gabby and I have a fight, Abuelita makes us go to our rooms for five minutes to “cool off” and then apologize. Maybe Abuelita can make the President and Speaker Pelosi go to their offices for five minutes and apologize. Maybe.


My name is Fina Mendoza. I just moved to Washington because my dad is a big deal congressman. I walk dogs and solve mysteries on Capitol Hill. Abuelita says I have to write about living in DC, so I started this blog.