How to Host Your Father on a Visit to San Diego

Prepare for the visit of your one and only father. Since you are a wife now, and there are new family to meld, don’t worry about anything except getting those sheets washed and toilet bowls clean.  Any other worries will be in vain, as everything will go beautifully…That is until dad leaves and you realize the floorboards are full of dust which could have been the reason he was sneezing so much…

Day One

Pick dad up at the airport and have a hot meal ready.  Since he has traveled all the way from Wisconsin in February, he is going to be cold and could use a warm welcome.

Day Two

Take dad to a church nestled in the hills and valleys that will give him respite from the busy world. Steal him away for a lunch of Oysters Rockefeller overlooking the ocean, followed up with a cloudy walk on the beach.  Collect a few rocks and talk about life. Catch a surfing competition alongside a curious seal. Head home to give the guy a nap.  He is going to be tired of course, so cook him something he can write home about.

Day Three

Its cloudy and cold today.  So uncharacteristic of paradise, but that won’t stop you from having a great day. Head to Seaport Village where he can buy his favorite cigars for dirt cheap. Just before the weather takes a turn for the worse, take him to the top of the city and watch the rain clouds gather. Stop for donuts and coffee and check out the location of the shop your husband is opening up soon.  Head home for leftover and listen to rain/hail pound on the windows until daybreak the next day.

Day Four

Its a beautiful day, perfect for wearing the new beret dad bought for himself at the hat shop. Dad will come down wearing the shirt your husband’s father bought for him.  Your husband’s father will be wearing the same one, and when you visit your husband’s brother at his place of business, you will realize he also will be adorned identically.

Family solidified, check.

Uniforms for the ride, check.

Everybody is happy so celebrate with a quaint lunch.

Spend the afternoon at the lovely Balboa Park ducking in and out gardens and free museums. Hold off on the Japanese Friendship Garden until their renovations are complete. Your husband’s father will have spent half the day with the butcher making sure the Kofta is fresh and mixed correctly for dinner tonight.  Dad will marvel at the Arab cuisine and its use of all the food groups that the body needs. Reintroduce him to dates so he can fascinate about the potassium content. Did you know that potassium is an important part of your diet because it harmonizes your pH levels and balances the fluids in your body? Imagine you are one part salt and the other part potassium. Keep in mind the salty diet we tend to digest and it is easy to see how important potassium is for the healthy function of the heart and muscles, and the brain and nervous system. They are most exquisite in taste too.

Day Five

Accompany your husband to class today, so you and your dad can visit the campus. Browse the art gallery and peruse the library.   

Cap it off with a game of tennis just below a giant hawk’s nest.

Rendezvous with the husband and rest over some delicious frozen yogurt. Decide you want one last visit to the beach and end it with a bang at La Jolla Children’s Pool.

There you can view the real babes on the beaches of San Diego.

Let dad treat you and the family to a farewell of dinner of seafood… the smell of the seals baking in the sun has surprisingly not deterred you.

Day Six

Send dad home dead tired so he can sleep on the plane ride. Get moving a little earlier than usual today and scale a mountain. Take dad off trail so he can do some real climbing…where the only sound you can hear is your heartbeat, if it weren’t for the vultures circling and screaming above your heads.

Surprise yourselves and make it to the top, just to take a breath and descale carefully.

Take dad for the best secret in La Mesa: Schawerma sandwiches worth the drive.

By then it will be time to say farewell…

And dad must head back home to his studies in the priesthood.

But you will always have each other, no matter the distance.


Still Dreamin’…

Remember when I told you my husband I made a life plan to someday build a ranch in the country?  Here’s to that dream:

And, of course, I cannot forget my sister, author of We used to live together in Wisconsin while we attended school at the University.  She and I shared many a winter together, and a lot of Paul Simon played through the record player. We raised parakeets there, the best we could.  Learned to cook, paint, draw, and throw parties that always involved costumes!  We learned to put a house and a wardrobe together by carousing thrift shops. We learned to keep a home together and most importantly we fell hopelessly in love! Sisterly love like nothing in the whole world.  If you have a sister, consider yourself blessed, treat her well, love her and take care of her always.

Here’s to you Ringleader, my sister, my confidante, my best friend:

Honeymoon Road Trip Part II

OKLAHOMA: Arrive in the late evening and forgive the clerk for not checking you in for another weary hour. He and Tiny Tim were dining on a goose in room 107, and they couldn’t hear the bell. Drop off your luggage and shower.  Hop into the car to grab a snack and check out the sites.  You’re going to be tired and won’t want to get back in the car, but luckily you will be paid in full.

This will be one of the most profound moments of your journey.  In the dead of the evening, tour the OK City national memorial.  On Christmas night, it will be completely empty, silent, and endless. In fact, the whole city will seem that way, eerily peaceful and apocalyptic.

The next day, greet the long day of driving with a breakfast of steak and eggs right in the stockyards.  Drive until you hit the continental divide and stop at the first authentic trading post you see. Pick up the moccasins. They will be your favorite souvenir.

NEW MEXICO: Here you will begin to see the landscape dramatically change. The snow will recede if you’re lucky and it will only get warmer from here on out, so drop your big sweater, avoid the cracker barrel (too much pork and not enough non-pork), and drive!  Make a life plan to buy property in the canyons and build a ranch. Continue on. If you leave in the late morning, you can hit the petrified forest just as its closing for sunset.  Stretch your legs and lament at the closing, and get back on the road.

The road to Phoenix will be as curvy as Marilyn Monroe and it will be night, so say your prayers and grip the steering wheel until your knuckles turn white.

ARIZONA: Just before getting to your rest destination stop at the casino on the outskirts and play the wheel to decide if its steak or hamburgers for dinner.  Find out the special is $7 for ribeye with all the fixins’, and decide win, lose, its steak tonight. For your final layover on the way to California, plan to stay two nights in Phoenix so you can rest and see the sights.  Stay at a cheap hotel with all the amenities, including a little living area/kitchen and free coffee, breakfast, and WIFI. Wonder at how you spent half of what you spent one night at the boutique hotel for two nights with everything.  Visit a cheesy amusement park as soon as it opens and ride the giant drop three times or until you become an adrenaline junky. Try to keep your eyes open.  Ride a couple coasters and lunch on gooey mall sandwiches kitty corner to the amusement park.  Go back and take a long nap, you did a lot, your body thinks you almost died a bunch of times.  Let it rest.

CALIFORNIA: Speaking of rest, its time for the final stretch.  Drive lazily past Yuma and as the sun is setting visit the spot your husband first proposed with the words, “No one really wants to get married, but do you want to anyway?”  Take your final trek home, just in time to have dinner with your new family.  Go to sleep, singing that song that has been in your head since you began your journey.