Wednesday, March 19, 2008

All Hail The 24-Hour Kid-less Vacation





So it was nearly our seventh wedding anniversary, and our fabulous part-time nanny volunteered to do an overnight shift on a weekend, giving us a 1:30 Saturday afternoon to 1:30 Sunday afternoon vacation without the kids.

We jumped at the chance.

What to do for such a small but much-needed respite?

First thing first: we booked a hotel room. With a king-sized bed.

Mostly for sentimental reasons -- but also because we could get a good rate -- we picked the Westin Pasadena (formerly Doubletree) hotel, home of the advertised "heavenly bed," a nice, classy place where we had our wedding reception. (Staying at an even moderately nice hotel in Los Angeles is waaaaay more than staying at a really nice one in Pasadena; as we discovered when we booked our wedding there, everything is more reasonable in the San Gabriel Valley). We also picked Pasadena because it's close -- just 29 miles from where we live -- but distinctly different. It feels more historic and old and atmospheric than most of Los Angeles, it has well-preserved nice buildings and shopping areas, tons of good restaurants, and in the winter, very livable temperatures and clear views of the mountains.

But the main attraction of the weekend was that we wouldn't have to mind the kids for 24 hours. Bliss.

Mind you, no sooner did we get to our destination than we began to talk about them ... and miss them ... and chat about how we'd have to take them to the amazing famous pastrami sandwich stand in which we were chowing down on our first stop (The Hat).

But as much as we missed them, it was heaven to wander around Vroman's Bookstore to our heart's content without having to wrangle them and reconstitute the children's book section after they would undoubtedly destroy it.

We strolled through the gigantic, two-story Whole Foods on South Arroyo, the chain's flagship store west of the rockies, munching on free samples and marveling at its in-store wine/tapas bar, seafood bar, pizza & sandwich & brunch restaurant, freshly baked donuts, etc. We took a late afternoon nap and read the New Yorker in bed. We waited half an hour to be seated at a dim sum temple in Arcadia (Din Tai Fung -- oh, juicy dumplings, I can taste you now), something we could NEVER do with impatient three-year-olds. We had a nightcap later in the hotel bar. With alcohol. And we enjoyed having our bed to ourselves, all night ....

... and into the morning. I'd love to say we slept in, but somehow our body clocks have been set to kid wake-up time. Nevertheless, we DID manage to stay in bed after waking up, for quite some time. Then we leisurely made our way through the entire Sunday New York Times (sooooo much more interesting than the LA Times, which has really sucked lately since they've been bleeding staff and cutting back sections). We window-shopped on Lake Avenue, popped into the Mexican bakery/taqueria Dona Rosa for a breakfast burrito and Mexican hot chocolate, did more window-shopping, and headed home, after a quick swing by the hotel to check out ... and nab the left-over dumplings from the hotel fridge where we'd stashed them the night before.

We came home to reports from aforementioned indispensable nanny that our kids were absolute angels with her. They were already napping.

An hour or so later, they were up and back in their old habits: apparently they'd saved an entire weekend's worth of whining up for our return home. But they were also cute and warm and soft and huggable. Though we had our own tired and cranky moments by the evening's end, it was nevertheless good to be home ... and good to have gone away. The kids did fine sans parents ... and we recharged our batteries as a couple, as parents, as individuals in need of sleep and time to do whatever the hell we wanted -- eat pastrami, drink booze without having to worry about getting up too early, read a newspaper in bed all morning.

After paying for the nanny, the meals out, and whatever else we bought, it wasn't a cheap 24 hours. But it was precious.

I can't wait to do it again.

1 comment:

Alyssa said...

It sounds like you both had a really good time. If you ever need a weekend like that, and can't get your regular nanny, I would be more than willing. See you on Saturday!
-Alyssa