Posted in adventure, Blogging, escape, fun, Holidays, kids, Life, living, parenting, travel

Vacation Recap, Day One: Pismo

pismo

I am writing this from a hotel room in Pismo at 5:15 in the morning, and I have this to say- the number one time that my bizarre sleeping habits get on my nerves is when I am away from home. It doesn’t matter what time I go to sleep (although, in the spirit of full disclosure, I will admit that I was asleep by probably 8 last night) I always wake up between 4:30 and 5. This is fine when I am at home, but when I am not, it can be a little…limiting. It’s not like I can take off and go exploring. I have a seven year old who is a bit of a night owl, and I know she was up late because I finally threatened her life at 11 last night if she didn’t put the Kindle away and try to sleep. Also, I am writing this to the smooth sounds of Larry King and some other guy, pedaling some type of credit repair scheme on an infomercial. I can’t find the TV remote, and I don’t know how to turn it off.

On the plus side, I had the presence of mind to bring my Starbucks Via Instant Vanilla Latte packets with me, so I don’t have to go without coffee or drink the awful crap they give you in these bargain hotels! I have heard horror stories about using the little coffee pots anyway, and even though they might not be true, I don’t generally want to gamble on that. Another good thing is that my trusty little laptop seems to be working okay so far, so I get to write this while I let Cammy sleep. Hey! I just found the off switch for the TV! I am so happy! I have a hard time writing with background noise. Ah, that really is better.

Okay, so here’s the recap for day one: I had a chiropractor appointment at 9:30 yesterday, and I had to go, so I went to that real quick, hoping that whatever he did to me didn’t make my lower back hurt even worse than it already did. As an aside, I will tell you that my back was REALLY hurting yesterday morning, after my first night in my brand new bed which was a terrible bummer, but…the doctor told me to give my back a few weeks to adjust. Anyway, naturally, whatever he did to me made everything a thousand times worse, and then he put some long strips of black tape on my back, which I have to leave there for several days. I was determined to let none of the deter me, though, so on I went. I got my car washed and vacuumed, and got my oil changed like a responsible adult, went home, grabbed our stuff, and off we went, stopping for gas real quick on our way out of town.

Literally, within 30 minutes, Camryn was asking “How many more hours til we get there?” Which confirmed for me that I had made the right call in deciding to stick closer to home on this trip. But all in all she was a good sport, eventually just covering her head with my sweater and taking a light snooze. I just enjoyed the drive through farmland and rolling hills, feeling a little bit thrilled with the scenery and the Spanish names of all the little towns I passed by, like Santa Margarita and others I already forgot. Anyway, we rolled into town about 3 o’clock, and had no trouble at all finding the hotel.

The hotel. Oh, God, this is so funny. There’s this thing that happens in my brain whenever I am at a hotel that is somewhat sub-par. I imagine my mother there with me, being outraged about whatever thing is just not right. So, anyway, I booked the room online, and of course, they showed pictures of the sparkling blue pool, and the neat, cozy rooms. What they didn’t show, however, was the back row of rooms (where I am staying) that have an expansive view of…wait for it…a GIANT mud pit, with a rather quaint, meandering mud river flowing through it. There are tractors, also, placed artfully around in the mud, and in the distance, there is just a peek of a lovely RV village. The version of my mother that I carry around with me is disgusted by this. Luckily, if anything, I find it amusing, so no biggy.

quality inn pool

We dumped our stuff in our room, and headed out to find food. I don’t know where anything is in this town, so I picked a place out of the little book they leave in hotel rooms, and we headed there. Unfortunately, I missed my turn, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I found myself right in the little downtown area quite by mistake, and I rolled right into a public parking lot, where we decided to just walk around and see the sights. There were the usual salt water taffy places, and surf shops, and kitschy little souvenir stores- all stuff I could see any day of the week at home, but of course, it was all much more interesting because it was somewhere new. As we searched for a place to eat, I saw a young couple eating what looked like fresh potato chips, and since the original place we were going to eat at was called “Chipwrecked”, specializing in homemade chips, I asked where they’d gotten them. Sure enough, the place I had been shooting for was right there across the street! Lucky again!

The restaurant is tiny, and there was only one person working behind the counter, but we waited, placed our order (I got the bella bella, a Portobello sandwich, Cam got a grilled cheese) and then proceeded to wait some more. The poor lady working hadn’t planned on it being so busy, and we weren’t in a hurry at all, so I just hung out in the sun outside. The food was really good, the chips were good, but the best part was that there were tons of dipping sauces for the chips that you could try. I got the loaded baked potato, which I realized a bit too late had bacon in it (Meatless March, remember?) and the beer cheddar ( one dip and it had so much beer in it that I almost called my sponsor…another oops.) but they were both really good. I didn’t keep going with the beer one, but I’m not going to lie, I finished the one with bacon. Cam tried the brownie batter dip- it was really good with the salty chips, but she just ate it plain. I mean…we’re on vacation, right? Live it up, kid. By the time we finished eating, the place had cleared out, and I got to chat with the woman behind the counter- turns out, her name is Sarah, she’s the owner, and I’m pretty sure we are best friends now. Totally unflappable woman, with big dimples when she smiles, and from the looks of it, lots of loyal local customers who were more than happy to wait for their food. That tells you everything you need to know, in my opinion. Solid place.

chipwrecked

Oh my gosh, these Latte’s are clearly working their magic on me. This is a long ass post. Anyway, after that we came back to the room, put on our suits, and hit the heated pool and massive hot tub for about two hours. It was awesome. Cam found some kids to play with while I just soaked, and I didn’t even have to worry because the pool was only 4.5 feet deep. When we were done, I ran Cam to McDonalds for more food (I was still stuffed) and I told her “I’m so tired…I’m just exhausted…but in a good way.” And then the light bulb went off over my head. “I’m relaxed!! That’s the word I was looking for!” To be honest with you, that’s not a word I use very often in relation to myself. I guess that is what vacations are for, right?

Well, if you made it this far, congrats! I left out the part where we went to the beach, but now it’s in here, so…yeah. I’ll be checking in again soon for part two!

Posted in escape, family, Goals, inner peace, kids, Life, People, random, relationships

So…What’s The Plan?

whats-the-plan-298x300I like to have a plan. I feel better, safer, more prepared, when I have a plan. I like to know what is next on the agenda. Some people might say that this makes me a bit of a control freak…I’m not going to lie, they would not be wrong.  I lived the first thirty years of my life with absolutely no plan, whatsoever, and that is just no good, either.  I can kind of relax, you know, when I know that I have this long until we do this thing…

I have been in a relationship with someone for a very, very long time (more about that later) who is totally okay with “going with the flow” and just sort of “seeing what happens”, which, as you can probably imagine, tends to drive me out of my MIND.  There have been times over the past million  (five) years that we have not seen eye to eye on this particular subject. There have been times when his laid back-ness has driven me into a frenzy of control freaky-ness that has been nothing short of astounding.

Guess how far that got me?

Lately, I have been trying to relax a little bit (“For Christ’s Sake, Courtney!” says  his voice in my head.) and be a little more open to understanding the possibility that maybe things will  be okay even if I am not corralling everyone into their proper places. This weekend, we reached a very nice compromise- I went to an undisclosed location in California, where it is actual summer right now, rather than this gloomy, fogged in crap we get here on the coast, and I sat by a pool, in the sun, with a book, and I relaxed. I watched my two year old daughter swimming (or bobbing, actually, with her floaties and her little plastic blow up ring) with her father, and my sixteen year old lounging next to me, giving all of the teenaged boys- of which there were lots at this hotel, for some reason- whiplash when they walked by and saw her in a bikini. I just lay there and watched them turn brown. I literally did nothing. In a funny twist of fate, I had also forgotten my phone charger, so my phone was dead, keeping me from stress inducing phone calls and emails. No Facebook, no texting, NOTHING. Sometimes I did jump in the pool to cool off.  Other than that, nothing.

“What’s mama doing?” I heard my two year old ask her father.

“She’s laying out in the sun.” He answered. How funny that my kid sees me in that state so seldom that she has to ask her dad what, exactly, it is that I am doing.

The part where the compromise comes in is this: I found that I could ask some very important questions about our lives and future together in that atmosphere, with no heat behind my words, and get relatively satisfactory answers, with very little prodding and prying at all. It’s kind of hard to get all heated when it’s that…well, hot, and you are that mellow.

Another valuable thing I took from the time spent by the pool is that I am much more capable of coming up with solutions on my own when my mind is quiet and not being hassled every five seconds by another worry or alert from my phone. I made some important decisions over the course of the past few days. I came home tired, but also feeling very rested.

I still like to have a plan. My life operates at it’s finest when I am working towards a goal, or towards a set of goals. I like having a schedule, and I like having some idea of what each day holds for me. But I think it is best if I exercise that control over ME, and not expect everyone else to fall into my agenda like neat little puzzle pieces. That is very frustrating, for everyone, and generally requires the use of a hammer to make those pieces fit- that would be me, playing the hammer. Everything is not always going to fall into place, especially if you are very attached to your idea of what “in place” is.

My goal now is to leave some space in the puzzle for other people to be what they need to be. I think I will up my chances of things going well considerably, don’t you? So, I still have a plan…it’s to be okay with whatever happens next. I’m sure it will take a while to relinquish my imaginary control over everything, but that’s good. It gives me something to work on!