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Friday, July 17, 2009

mission: escape hellacious heat

tuesday saw us still unsure of what we wanted to go in terms of scooping up the girls and going somewhere fun for a quickie overnight getaway. we were pretty sure san diego was the destination, but as of 1:00 that afternoon, we still hadn't picked a place to stay.

i'd done some online research the day before and found some decent-looking hotels that were 1) right by the beach and 2) within the budget i was shooting for (<$150). with several windows open to their websites, i literally closed my eyes and picked one, called, and made a reservation.

and a little over two hours later, we pulled up to the ocean beach hotel.

okay, i'm not gonna lie - the place, the folks milling around, and the area just looked sketchy as all hell. the teen and the hub both gave me the stink eye as we checked in and lugged our bags to the second floor, especially when we turned the corner and were met with an open door that offered a view of two pairs of naked legs sprawled out on a bed in a room that looked about as big as the bathroom at home.

and then we put the key in the door, and - nothing. tried it again, nada. tested out the second key - zip. we looked around, verified that we were at the right door, and even gave the unmarked closed door next to it a shot. still nothing. the hub gave an exasperated sigh and headed back down to the lobby. as we waited there, another hotel guest who was walking by glanced over and said "can't get into your room, huh? that happened to me, too."

not. good.

the hub returned with new keys. inserted. nothing. again.

we all trooped back downstairs and waited in the courtyard this time. and when the hotel dude returned, he announced "yeah, the lock is broken." fuck, dude. you're a genius.

and when he checked for another room, the only option he had to offer was to give us two separate rooms. while this would've worked fine had we had BFF with us (who was invited to come along, but couldn't due to daily cheer practice), in this case it was a no-go. and also in this case, we were more than happy to pick up and head off for another hotel that wouldn't be nearly as creepy.

the fuel light came on when we got back in the car, and i was pleased to see how far we'd managed to go on this tank - this is the most miles i've seen without refueling so far. and check out the temperature - it was in the mid to high 70s the whole time we were in san diego. heavenly.

bye bye, ocean beach! thanks anyway!

i lunged for the camera when we came upon this street. muahahahahahaha!

in pacific beach, we all snickered as we passed these two. they were just kickin' it...on the street corner. heh.

the hub and i have stayed at tower 23 before. it's a super cool and modern hotel that offers awesome views of the beach. we'd resisted the temptation to book there due to the fact that it was a lot higher than the budget we'd set, but desperate times = desperate measures. never mind the fact that we could have just gone for a holiday inn or best western-type joint for cheaper - we wanted somewhere nice. and we got it.

while the hub handled the check-in process, the bean made herself right at home.

we knew the hotel's restaurant, jrdn, was awesome - but we'd already splurged on the hotel, not to mention the fact that the bean would most likely draw some stares. meh. we were just happy to be there at all.

after a long ride in the car, a potty break was long overdue.

and look! i got to share the magic of the dyson airblade with the teen. she was less than impressed, but she played along anyway.

it was fun watching the bean's face as she stood on the floor of the moving elevator. wish i'd have gotten a picture, but we were too busy giggling. we got out on the third floor and made our way to our room.

"bed!" the bean shouted.

we had quite a lovely view from our open sliding glass doors.

the bathroom was small, but i liked it. we weren't sure about the frosted glass door that separated it from the rest of the room, since you could totally see through the cracks, but nobody wanted to see each other in there anyway. we just didn't look in that direction whenever someone went in.

super duper overpriced snacks and a cool pen and pad that i made a note to swipe when we left. haha!

while packing, i'd come to realize that the ultra adorable bathing suit i'd bought for the bean last summer on clearance was nowhere to be found. damn. it's probably buried in storage, along with my freaking candy thermometer. and so we ended up here:

this target had some cool plastic carts. well, at least, i thought so.

we found a suit for the bean easily, and then i spied this display:

sorry, monkey. it seems that your beloved paul frank products have, indeed, been bastardized and made available to the general public at much lower prices than regular PF merchandise.

you'll totally point and laugh when you see where we ended up grabbing dinner:

hey, whatever. it was yummy, cheap, and close to the hotel. and right next to a grocery store, where we picked up a few more snacks, dessert, and a shovel and pail set for the bean to play with on the beach.

look at our hip, trendy home for the night!

of course, as we got back to our room and changed into comfy jammies and got ready to relax in the cushy, plush beds, i realized that i'd forgotten to pack a couple of necessary items. lucky for me, the hotel had some available and sent them up right away.

hell, for the price of the room, they could easily afford to toss us a couple of toothbrushes and toothpaste. heh.

one last look at the awesome view before snuggling in the bed with the bean.

i slept great until about 3, when i woke up uncomfortable and itchy. in my half-asleep daze, i wondered if i'd eaten something bad, or if i was allergic to the bed sheets? i couldn't figure it out, and i fought to get back to sleep after clawing away at my entire upper body in an effort to get rid of the awful sensation. ugh.

the bean is like an alarm clock. at 7:00 on the dot, she sat up, looked over at me and chirped a cheerful "hi!" as tired as i was, i couldn't help but smile at her. she wriggled off of the bed and headed right out to the balcony to check out the view.

and then i caught sight of myself and realized what had happened to me during the night. the soothing, relaxing sound of the ocean came with a price: i'd been a delicious meal for what must've been a swarm of mosquitoes. ewwww. i looked in the mirror and counted 1, 2, 3...15 bites. son of a...

on the flip side, the hub woke up completely energized. he gave the bean a quick shower, got her dressed, and took her down for a walk on the beach. i debated going with them, camera in hand, but the need for sleep won out by a mile.

they returned about 45 minutes later, with the hub laughing at the bean. apparently, our finicky daughter doesn't care for being dirty - and this includes playing in sand. she didn't want to touch it, put her toes in it, walk in it, or pretty much have anything at all to do with the stuff. she chose to ride on her daddy's shoulders as they walked along the beach instead, and it gave me and the teen enough time to hop in the shower and get ready for the day.

after sadly checking out of our awesome hotel not a minute earlier than 11 (check-out time), we headed over to sea world to use our annual passes that we'd acquired during fun family time with the ILs back in january.

to be perfectly honest, because we'd been there so recently, i didn't really find much need to pick up the camera. the shots would mostly be the same! but after having lunch, watching the dolphin show, and strolling around with the bean (who was overdue for her nap but refused to go to sleep), i did end up snapping a few shots.

there's a fun water area for kids in the elmo playland. so we put a swim diaper on the bean, slathered her with more sunscreen, and decked her out in her brand new bikini.

i got the teen to take her closer to the water, where they both squealed and screamed whenever droplets of water touched them. "my hair!" moaned the teen.

they ran through these little doorways together, where the bean eventually got brave and let go of her sister's hand.

she gave this poor kid the side eye when he dared to invade her territory. so she dragged the teen over to another area, where she climbed up to the top and proclaimed herself queen of the mountain.

and then she was spent. she toddled over to her daddy and the stroller, and collapsed into it gratefully.

we walked around a little more, and then we were over it. a quick stop at the restrooms before exiting the park, and we were outta there. the bean was finally so tired that she started nodding off in the stroller between the exit and the car.

as the hub chose the scenic route and drove along the coast, the bean and i both snoozed happily in our seats. about two hours into the drive, he stopped at mcdonald's for something cold to drink, and then hopped onto the freeway for the rest of the way home.

unfortunately (or not, depending on how you look at it), we hit rush-hour traffic as we approached the irvine area. "wanna hang out down here while we let traffic die down?" he said. and not really wanting to end our fun getaway, i said an enthusiastic "yes!"

we walked up and down the main street and peeked in at some of our favorite shops.

in that "teddy bears & teacups" shop, a favorite stop for browsing, the bean found some cute little resting places fit for a princess.

i love this shop - so girly and cute! check out the colors of that tutu. but man - i couldn't stomach the idea of shelling out $75 for a freaking skirt made of chiffon and tulle, no matter how cute it was.

the bean found another spot to sit and watch the teen try on props, including this leprechaun hat.

i always laugh at these two establishments, both claiming to be the original balboa bar, just a few doors apart.

something else i always snicker at: this dentist's name. again, i am 8.

in the toy store, the teen found a couple of things she HAD to have. and, feeling indulgent, the hub brought them to the counter and paid for them.

balboa island's main drag isn't very long. plus, it was after 5 and a bunch of the little shops were already closed. so we hopped back in the car and headed towards the freeway. #3 of "places i always laugh at":

so out of place, although i'm fully aware that it was most likely there before the other, trendier, more modern shops popped up around it.

again, we ended up at a pretty darn ordinary place to grab a bite to eat:

i mean, it's not like we couldn't get this at home. but it sounded good to all of us, and so that's what we had. i actually broke free from my typical steak burrito and opted for the carnitas, and then wondered why i'd waited so long. it was so delicious, and i think i've found a new favorite. it was about damn time i got out of the rut.

back home, mollydog was thrilled to see us come through the door. and i had to admit, while it was great to get away, i was happy to be home, too.

yay for mini-vacays!


  1. Dude. OB = Sketch City. I wish I would have known you were considering it! Glad you got out. Tower 23 is a much better choice!

  2. (1) That is totally Diane on the street corner.

    (2) Do you have something against priceline?

    (3) I fucking hate that Paul Frank is at Target. Fuck you, corporate bastards. I may stop buying PF and just support Paul Sunich in his new endeavors. He is the real PF.

  3. I agree with WM...why don't you use Priceline?

    And that Chipotle is right across the street from my house. :-D

  4. Wait, did the teen squealing go something like:

    ::clasping hands to her head::
    OH MY HAIR!!


  5. actually, we <3 priceline. but we totally procrastinated on this one, and last time i checked, you can't do a "name your own price" for a same-day arrival.

  6. Glad you were able to find somewhere better to stay. I totally laughed at the pic of the street signs. John's uncle lives on Bacon Street! I always giggle when I'm addressing his Christmas card.

  7. That hotel looks so sketchy - glad you went somewhere else!

    Chipotle is such my addiction - YUM!

  8. I love that you guys just pick up and go on vacation :) The second hotel looks so awesome. Very chic.

  9. I love Tower 23! We went there for our anniv. weekend last year.


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