We left Friday before Christmas as soon as we got home from work (and cleaned out the fridge, and did the dishes, and packed, and took out the trash, and all those other fun things that must be done before you leave for a week). So really we left at 7:30. Obviously driving all the way to Paso Robles was not going to cut it at that late hour, but luckily (or rather, due to excellent foresight) we booked a hotel in Vegas for $20. Yay cheap lodging, subsidized by casinos. We made good time and arrived at Paso by 5 or so Saturday (after a super cheap breakfast and a late start).
After we'd unpacked and pet the cats, Nathan's mom took us to the pet store to pick out hideous scratching posts for the cats for Christmas. (The hideous ones were half the price. Worth it.) Then on the way home she stopped by the barber "just to see if he was in" (on the Saturday night before Christmas), and of course he was, and I kid you not, within a minute, Nathan was in a chair with half his hair lopped off. Caroling followed the haircut ambush, as per tradition in the Major home, and Nathan (mostly) forgave his mother by the end of the night. Maybe.
|The new haircut.|
Sunday I had the auspicious honor of playing whack-a-mole with the Sunbeams during Primary; otherwise, the day was fairly uneventful. Nathan's uncles arrived, which always makes for more entertaining conversation, and his dad let them all go pick out new glasses (Nathan included). My eyesight didn't change, so I opted out of another pair since my old ones are still just fine.
|Walking along the beach|
Monday began with a long walk on the beach at Morro Bay, where I found lots and lots of seashells (which may or may not become earrings, depending on how well my experiments go) and only got my boot a little bit wet hopping around tide pools. Then we all stopped at Giovanni's for some extra-fresh fish and chips, which were excellent. I could definitely get used to fresh seafood if I lived on the coast.
|Fish and chips|
Following the beach adventure, we all piled back in the car for a jaunt down to the local hot springs, where everyone reveled in the warm and supposedly very healthy waters. It was a pretty cool hot springs; not fancy at all, just a big pool with a gravelly and sometimes silty bottom, pipes gushing out hot water on one end, and an enclosed hot tub area on the other end if you just wanted to sit and not do anything. Plus it was only $7 per person instead of $100 per person like the fancier one close by, so there was that little benefit too. I did have to roll my eyes a bit at the guy who insisted on telling us how clean the water is compared to a public swimming pool - I'm sure it's very clean water, but seriously, being cleaner than a public swimming pool is not very difficult...
|Moro Bay (right before eating fish and chips)|
There was more caroling that evening, and I believe some game playing as well (Poohead being the favorite), and then we all opened up our matching jammies and went to bed.
Christmas Day was, well, Christmas. Lots of good food and presents, family time, and all that. I was thoroughly spoiled by my in-laws, and Nathan got me some very lovely gifts as well. (Okay, he spoiled me too. I'll admit it.) But most of all it was nice to just relax and enjoy the day.
Wednesday we went shopping with my mother in law and got pedicures (well, Nathan didn't, but his mom and I did) - yet another tradition that she and I do every time we visit. (I like this tradition quite a bit.) We also had one of Nathan's old friends come over with his wife that evening and had a good time playing games with them. After they left, I helped Nathan's mom clean out her craft cupboard, which was actually fun despite what you might think. Plus I got a lot of things she didn't want anymore that were still good. (So if anyone knows how to do calligraphy in the area, I wouldn't mind a lesson or two...)
|Seahorse at Monterey Bay Aquarium|
Thursday we went down to Monterey Bay Aquarium and met up with my brother and his family, which was awesome. The aquarium there is awesome anyway, but it was extra fun with my niece and nephew. I wish we had had more time to spend with them before we both had to head back, but it was still great to see them all. And I got to eat fresh seafood again, so that's a pretty good bonus too. See fish, eat fish. (Swordfish, crab cakes, and more fish and chips, this time.)
|Fun at the Monterey Bay Aquarium with my niece and nephew|
Friday was mostly just packing stuff up and saying goodbyes, last minute petting of the cats, etc. We stopped at Vegas again to spend the night after an uneventful drive all afternoon/evening. Saturday we stopped at St. George to visit a massive retro game store, where Nathan exercised admirable self restraint and we found out that they would mail us games if we didn't want to drive down, as long as we paid the $2 in shipping (and buy the game, of course). We listened to Legion (by Brandon Sanderson) on audiobook after that, and got glummer and glummer as the temperature plummeted and snow started appearing on the sides of the road. The crowning glory of the drive home was when we arrived at our house, the driveway was completely blocked off with 3 feet of plowed snow... which we then tried to drive through and got stuck. We were unsure what broke that made our car twice as loud as normal... but when we finally got it to the mechanic yesterday, we were relieved to find out it would only cost $80 (and a day without the car) to fix. So now we are back in business.
And thus concludes our epic adventure. Suffice it to say, the weather this week has not convinced me that it was necessary to return, what with all the snow creating treacherous sidewalks and the weather that persists in staying around 5 degrees when I have to go to work every morning.