Wednesday, July 9, 2014

If You Go, Don't Forget Your Louis Valentins.

Family vacations can be a lot like watching a last-place baseball team: You come home sunburned and pissed off, wondering why you spent all that time and money on such selfish bastards.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

So simple. My wife, ever the brains of the organization, proposed letting our older daughter have the house to herself while her younger sister brought a friend with us down to San Diego over the July Fourth weekend.

It was the magic of addition by subtraction, like segregating an oxidizing agent from a reducing compound to stave off explosive polymerization.

Sorry, I just started watching Breaking Bad again. 

Sure, there were a few Griswoldian hitches in our get-along. My first couple of forays behind the wheel of our sporty Kia Soul proved a little dicey, but that’s what happens when a high performance motor car is piloted by a dude in flip flops who constantly has to pee a little. 

Did I drive over a few curbs? Sure. Did my ham-footed braking illicit a smattering of spirited “JC Tim!"s from my lovely bride after exerting forced flexion on her delicate neck tissue? Maybe.

But on the whole, this was our best trip in a long time. I won’t bore you with my watered down Rick Stevesishness, but I will say this: check out San Diego. It’s a beautiful, manageable place to spend a few days. And as if there aren’t a Brazilian other reasons to visit, everything takes about twenty minutes to reach. Whether it’s Pacific Beach, Mission Bay, Coronado or Balboa Park, your inner thighs will be chaffing from the salty beach air faster than you can say fish taco.

And speaking of Balboa Park, it’s ground zero for Dr. Suess enthusiasts. Theodore Geisel, having lived in La Jolla for nearly fifty years, surely drew inspiration for his illustrations strolling through and around this locale. Here's what I mean:

I couldn't believe it! I half expected the Lorax to peek his head around the trunk and scream at us for supporting Monsanto. Many of us will line up to see where Mozart was born or where Hemingway drank, but no waiting is necessary to catch the splendor of my personal Mecca, the Suessian forest at Balboa Park.

Of course, traveling and living in close quarters with a couple of fourteen-year-old girls poses its own challenges. They were often so occupied with posting photos of themselves in San Diego that they spent about forty percent of the time actually being in San Diego as the adults did. Oh well, at least they supplied a few verbal gems:

Teenaager: “Dad, these sunglasses were only $10. They’re Louis Valentin. I got a great deal.”

Me: “Are you thinking of Louis Vuitton?"

Teenager: “Whatever."

Teenager: “Dad, this place is too small. Can we just stay in a hotel?”

Me: “No.”

Teenager: “Whatever."

Teenager: “Dad, I want to go to college in San Diego.”

Me: “Okay. How will you pay for it?”

Teenager: “Dad, Stop it.”

I did.

We returned refreshed and, let’s just say, slightly secretly sandy. Our older daughter picked us up at the airport and returned us to a house that was nearly as cleanish as she’s ever cleaned it.

And next time we’re thinking about trying the whole San Diego thing with no kids. I'm confident our delicate family chemistry will survive intact.

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