SoCal 2009

I’m sitting at the bar in my brother-in-law, Ron and sister, Lisa’s backyard, enjoying my final evening in gorgeous La Jolla. I love the climate in southern California, but it will take some serious convincing to ever get Elise to move out here. The week has blow by so quickly (what vacation doesn’t?!), but we’ve had a total blast, as we always do whenever we come out here to spend time with family.

The primary reason for coming to California was for Ron and Lisa’s wedding; and I’ll get to that soon. I want to try to recap everything we’ve done since we’ve been here, otherwise we’ll get back home tomorrow, get back into the hustle and bustle and this trip will quickly become yet another fading memory.

I worked most of the day last Tuesday. My mom drove into Austin around 4 p.m. and we were quickly shuttled off to the airport by our friend and neighbor Matt. Before heading to sunny Cali, we had to indulge in Salt Lick Barbecue at ABIA. Hopped on our plane and 3 hours later we were standing curbside at SDIA, waiting for my bro-in-law, Craig to pick us up. Twenty minute drive out to the house in Poway where took a load off and visited with Terri and Craig.

Wednesday morning, first thing we did was hop in the 88-degree pool and take a few runs on the slide (which is a great way to start a Wednesday morning!) We lounged around, swam, lounged, swam, and later cruised around the neighborhood in the Jeep golf cart. We fed the neighborhood horse some carrots. I left Poway around 11 a.m. and headed to the northern outskirts of San Diego to take clients out to lunch. We had a great lunch at Karl Strauss Brewing Company. After lunch we all headed back to their office for some brainstorming and Q&A. Always great to put faces to names when meeting clients in person. I left my client’s office around 3 p.m. and headed back to Poway. On the way, I happened upon an AT&T store, so I ducked in and upgraded to an iPhone 3GS. I got back to Poway in time to go swimming with the kids again. Craig and I smoked chicken breasts and grilled squash for dinner.

Thursday came early and was a busy day. We all loaded up and drove out to Pacific Beach for the wedding rehearsal at the ZLAC Rowing Club. After the rehearsal, Adam and I played football by the bay and happened upon a couple rays. After a couple hours, we headed over to World Famous on Pacific Beach for dinner. I wasn’t there for dinner, more there to wait on Ron to pick me up for the bachelor party.

After being at World Famous for an hour or so, Ron picked me up along with his best man, Jeff and Ron’s sister’s boyfriend, Dan. We drove a short while to Ron’s friend, Dave’s house for dinner, drinks and debauchery. Dave’s house, in a word: Amazing. Here’s a panoramic of the view from the rooftop.

Craig and I retired early from the bachelor party and headed back to Poway to call it a night.

On Friday, Craig and Terri had a few errands to run. The better part of the day was spent by us all setting up the house for the rehearsal dinner. Of course there were a few breaks to go swimming a couple times. Around 4 p.m., the guests started showing up. We had a great catered taco dinner complete with lemon, white chocolate and chocolate cakes. Later in the evening, I pulled my sister into the house and gave her my wedding gift to her. Earlier that week I had pulled out my dad’s old jewelry, which I’d inherited after he died. He had a simple gold band that looked like a wedding ring. He didn’t get a ring when he and my mom were married, so I assumed it was his wedding ring from his first marriage, which was to Elaine, my sisters’ mom. I asked my mom is she knew anything about the ring. She wasn’t sure if it was his wedding ring from his marriage to Elaine. So I put the ring on my right hand and wore it until this past Friday. During the rehearsal dinner, I pulled Elaine aside and asked her if she thought the ring was my dad’s from their marriage. She said she thought it was, keeping in mind this ring is probably 50-years-old.

So I told Lisa that I wanted her to have the ring. I took it off of my finger and put it into her hand. The look on her face was priceless. Lots of tears were shed and we hugged. I know she appreciated the gift and I’m really glad that I was able to give it to her.

The rest of the evening was spent breaking down tables and cleaning up after the party.

Saturday was the big wedding. The wedding was beautiful. My sisters looked gorgeous. Ron was very dapper. Gavin (Ron’s grandson) and Maly were adorable. The ceremony and reception went off without a hitch. Fun was had by all and I’m glad to have a new brother in the family and glad that Maly was able to be the gorgeous little flower girl.

Sunday was a day of rest and relaxation. The rehearsal and wedding were over and we just needed some time to hang out and do nothing. Grant and I worked on a new sailboat, we all swam and hung out in the hot tub, watched the boys race PlasmaCars down the big hill in front of the house (video coming soon), and ran a PlasmaCar down the waterslide (again, video coming soon).

On Monday we went to the Birch Aquarium where we met our Austinite friends Bradley, Susanna, Zachary, Grace and Caleb as well as Ron and Lisa. We saw lionfish, starfish, urchins and lobsters in a tidepool, jellyfish, more jellyfish, even more jellyfish, lots of indigenous aquatic life, a living shark embryo, sharks and stingrays, gorgeous sea dragons, potbelly seahorses, scorpion fish among other cool stuff.

We left the aquarium and had a great lunch with Ron and Lisa at the Cass Street Grill and Bakery. Then we were off to Ron and Lisa’s house in La Jolla. We made quick detour to catch my nephew Jason at two-a-day football practice at La Jolla High. He’s a freshman defensive lineman that I know will make me proud.

Shortly after getting to Ron and Lisa’s place, Lisa got a phone call to find that she got a job as a kindergarten/1st grade teacher, which was HUGE news. There was much rejoicing… two days prior, Lisa got married and then to find out she got a job that she’d been dying to get… doesn’t get much better than that! We were (and still are) so proud of and happy for her.

That night we celebrated by ordering a pizza from a local joint; the name escapes me but, holy crap, was that the best pizza ever!

Soon Tuesday was among us. We woke up early and started scurrying about the house. I was quick to find out that a few websites that I host were hacked, so I started “working”. Lisa had woken up at 3 a.m. and went to work getting her classroom at school setup. Mom & Elise started packing and helped clean the house. Ron had to go to work for an hour or so just to touch base and check in. It was a pretty stressful morning.

Ron came home and before we knew it, we were rushing out the door to head to the airport. We said our sweet goodbyes. The girls gave hugs and kisses to Ron and thanked him for the hospitality. I shook his hand, gave him a big hug and again welcomed him to the family. It was a sad farewell. I was last to enter the airport. Before I stepped foot inside, I turned west and took a deep breath in to collect the nice, dry, breezy and cool air of southern California before joining in the chaos.

The vacation came to an end. The whirlwind dissipated. Three hours later, traveling east by air, which always makes the weary traveler that much more weary, we found ourselves back in Austin. Humid, hot, sweaty, burnt grass abound.

Now we’re home, somewhat avoiding the imminent back-to-the-routine and silently reminiscing on the fair weather and the comfort of being with family and enjoying times with minimal worries.

I love southern California, probably more than my native Texas. I find comfort in knowing that we have family there who have told us on every previous visit that we’re welcome anytime. And I’ll gladly take ’em up on it.

Photos of Ron & Lisa’s wedding can be seen here.

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