Friday, April 25th
We flew out of Nashville on my sister’s birthday, at 8:35am. Of course we got to the airport around 7a so we’d have plenty of time to spare getting the three of us through security. Security wasn’t too big of a deal, especially since we’ve gotten the nice collapsible stroller, mostly for trips just like this one. Susan held onto Olivia and we got right through without a problem.
Our first flight was from Nashville to Dallas-Fort Worth. We held out on feeding Olivia as long as we could so she’d still be interested in the bottle during takeoff. We ended up needing to feed her around the time we started to push back from the jetway, so it worked out nicely. Once in the air, she was a dream – playing with her toys and napping briefly. The gentleman next to us had a granddaughter a few years older than Olive, so he was quite friendly to our situation and ended up getting off the plane trying to figure out how to go visit his family as soon as he could!
At DFW, we had a little more than an hour to make our connection, so it was a comfortable move from terminal to terminal. We got a bite to eat, made a few phone calls, and then got back on a plane. We were once again seated in the window & middle seats, but our aisle-mate was again comfortable with a child as her neighbor. Olivia was again a great flying companion, eating and sleeping a good bit. She did complicate things a little bit by loading up a diaper with poop, sending her father to the tiny restroom!
Her father, being the genius that he is, didn’t notice the baby changing table, so he ended sitting on the toilet with her in his lap to change the nasty diaper. It probably would have been almost as difficult with the changing table, considering the overall size of the bathroom, but I’ll never know!
Once we landed in San Diego, we grabbed our stuff and hopped on a rental-car bus. After almost 20 minutes, we finally arrived at the business. Traffic around the airport on a Friday evening was pretty significant. The bus driver, though, was a very friendly guy that actually had family from the Nashville area, so we talked about that some. Susan was quite excited to see the bay as we drove along…
When we got the car, we headed straight for the hotel, a whopping 5 minutes down the street. Our directions, provided by Google via text message (!), didn’t quite work perfectly, though. The exit from the highway actually didn’t allow us to make the turn onto the proper street, so we got a quick crash course in downtown San Diego’s one-way street system, which wasn’t that much different from Chattanooga’s…
Our arrival at the hotel gave me a bit of a shock – after staying in Hampton Inns for so many years and so many times, I was a bit thrown off by a 50’s era courtyard motel. As we drove through the arches into the parking lot (of 18 spaces), I wasn’t sure how this 3 story hotel was going to suit me and my family.
We checked in, got their pack-n-play for Olivia to sleep in and headed to our room on the third floor. The room was pretty sizable and very clean. The crib was just fine and exactly what we’d expected – so much so that we brought our own pack-n-play sheet!
We met Tiffany at her house after she got off work and walked to Ono Sushi a few blocks from her place. The food was good and the companionship even better. I’ve not seen Tiffany for years upon years, but you wouldn’t have known it from the way we all interacted. After dinner, we went back to her place briefly and visited with her boyfriend.
Our night in the hotel was decent, but there was a fair amount of noise around the hotel – apparently the pricing brings in a host of noisy people on the weekends…
Saturday, April 26th
After a reasonable night’s sleep, we had a lazy morning before driving up to Balbao Park to check things out a bit. Around 1p, after a quick bite at a very expensive McDonald’s, we met up with Tiffany to go to the Little Italy Art Walk.
The Art Walk was a lot of fun and it gave us a chance to get a good look at this part of town. There are, as one would expect, tons of Italian restaurants in this area. I can’t speak much to the quality of the art – it was… art. There was, however, a really great lemonade stand there.
After plenty of walking around, we stumbled into a little park where a group of kids from a local circus arts school were putting on a demonstration. That was a fun little diversion, especially since we’d located some shade to hide in.
Oh yeah – we were in San Diego just time for a record breaking heatwave. Great, huh?
After a little down time at Tiffany’s place, we all headed over to Old Town for Mexican food at La Pinata, one of a few places that claims to be the oldest restaurant in Old Town. It was pretty decent meal, with the pre-meal being the most interesting – they had slices of carrots that had apparently been marinating in jalapeño juice! Miss Olivia slept through almost the entire meal, resting in her car seat on the ground.
We again spent a little time back at Tiffany’s place visiting before we made the short drive back to our hotel. And again, the hotel was noisy – this time it was a couple of teenage girls standing on the common balcony talking to boys on their cell phones. I was just sleepy enough not to bother with going out and sharing in the gossip.
Sunday, April 27th
We woke early again today, but with good reason – we were headed to the zoo! After another quick trip to the Albertson’s, we met Tiffany and Scott at the zoo entrance. We went straight for the reptile house for Susan’s benefit. I fed Olivia while the other three ogled the reptiles, then we headed to the Orangutan exhibit.
Scott took off after seeing the Orangs, what with those being his favorite animal in addition to having other plans a little later in the morning. Tiffany, Susan, Olivia and I continued on our merry way, keeping an eye out for shade considering the rising temperatures. We’d planned ahead reasonably well, though – we had a spray bottle and a little battery operated fan to keep Olive moist and cool.
In the aviary, Miss Olivia was mesmerized by the fish tank. We took a short break in the shaded, covered aviary, and noticed that Olivia was staring at the silver flashes in the small fish tank. We took her out of the stroller so she’d be closer to the tank and she could have likely spent a few hours watching them swim around.
Around 2p, we decided we’d spent enough time in the sun and headed out. When I got to the car, it registered 107 degrees, so I took a couple of trips around the lot to cool it down before picking up the girls.
Our evening was pretty uneventful, with Olivia sleeping in nothing but a diaper in the bed next to her mom. I walked a block down the street and picked up a pizza for our dinner, and that was that.
Monday, April 28th
Luckily we’ve gotten pretty used to waking around 7a here, so getting up a little early to prepare for my first day of class wasn’t a big deal. We drove through very light downtown traffic and I hopped out. Of course, what I didn’t know was that class didn’t start until a little more than an hour later!
The first day of class was kind of slow, but should pick up in the coming days. Because it didn’t have a solid end-time, I decided just to walk back to the hotel when it sort suddenly ended. It was a nice walk of about 15 minutes and it kept the girls from having to deal with it. Traffic isn’t a big deal, but the traffic lights slow things down a great deal.
For dinner we drove a few minutes down the road and ate at an Afghan place called Khyber Pass. The food was good, albeit a slight bit expensive. Susan’s sweet and sour cherry chicken was fantastic, blowing my eggplant and lamb dish out of the water.
Tuesday, April 29th
We woke when Olivia woke. The heat-wave had broken, but it was still comfortable. I walked to the training class again, and the girls spent the day lazing around the hotel room.
That evening, we drove to Mission Beach and stopped at an In-N-Out burger joint along the way. Susan go to see and feel the Pacific Ocean, a first for her. We also got to see the sunset.
The In-N-Out burger was a fantastic choice of dinner – for a fast food restaurant, they make amazing food. Its had to pinpoint exactly, but there was just something that made it completely different from everything else. It made me wish they’d go ahead and expand to the other side of the Mississippi. I can certainly tell anyone that if they get out into In-N-Out territory, you’ve got to stop here and eat.
Wednesday, April 30th
We woke when Olivia woke. It was chilly out today, what with the clouds blocking the sunlight the majority of the day.
I ate lunch at Taco Del Mar, and Susan ate at Ai Teriyaki. We ate dinner with Scott and Tiffany at A— Thai.
Thursday, May 1st
We woke around 7a again today. I called the rental car company about swapping the car ahead of our trip to LA this weekend. I headed to class, and then, on my return, we drove the car over to the rental place. We swapped our Pontiac G6 for a really ugly HHR. The G6, while it was a bit of a boat, at least looked like a normal vehicle. It, unfortunately, had a tire with low pressure that was getting lower in addition to being well overdue for preventative maintenance.
During the afternoon Susan went to Old Town Park for a look around there. Miss Olivia decided she didn’t need a nap at any point during the day, working her mother’s nerves pretty well.
After the swap, we went to Little Italy for dinner. We first headed toward Tiffany’s suggestion, Buon Appetito, but when we overheard the hostess telling the couple in front of us that she’d call them on the phone when they had a table, we decided that wasn’t for us. Instead, we randomly picked Vincenzo just down the street.
It was a decent meal, nothing to write home about. The service was quick, albeit a little un-talkative. Olivia was a dream, sleeping through the majority of the meal, making next to no noise, like she so often does.
Friday, May 2nd
We got up a little earlier today so as to have plenty of time for leaving town in the afternoon. I packed as much stuff as I could before heading to class so that Susan wouldn’t have to deal with too much in the meantime.
While I was gone to class, she finished everything up and got us checked out of the hotel. She also took a trip to the Target and ate at the In-N-Out a second time. Around 1:30, my class wrapped up and she drove out to pick me up.
She drove us up to Anaheim, through a fair amount of rush hour traffic, including a section near Anaheim that was moving at around 10 miles per hour.
(In an effort to keep things logically separated, I’m going to put our Anaheim / DisneyLand trip into another page…)