I loved the sunsets in NYC.
The neon lights flickered on as the sky grew darker.
In La Jolla, the sky flickers on as the trees grow darker.

Read part one and part two first!

It’s only 2 hours until I return home (down the street), but I feel like I am in a recovery room. I can now return home to my kids, rested. Connected to my husband and ready to take on a night of sleepless-ness, if it finds me again. (who am I kidding.  When it finds me again…).

So the short of it, will I stay-cation again? Yes. And No.

I do think our family needs to vacate the physical property of our home to connect. Sad, but true.  But being home was relaxing. It would have been even more relaxing if I could have stop stressing about maximizing every single minute.

Amid the multi-day flu my kids had, we still managed a Legoland trip, a family jaunt to the movies and an evening where Dave and I enjoyed The Yamazaki, a Japanese whiskey.

As I type this, while a swarm of sitters collect their stuff to leave, I feel guilty not doing anything touristy. I am sitting in my office.

The weather is glorious today. A perfect beach breeze wanders into our house. The girls play with Legos. Our baby son naps, and yet – I know we aren’t going to the beach, jumping in the pool, or grabbing tennis racquets – like I had fantasized.

Why?  Because we are so freakin’ tired.  Like parents of three kids, tired.  And part of my stay-cation taught me to just honor that tiredness. Be still. Be restful. And be appreciative of our home.

Of course, for our next stay-cation, (because I think we should do this once a year) I hope can we become true tourists! Because I really want to hike Sunset Cliffs, kayak off of Coronado Island, drive to Julian…sometimes, my husband says that just the list of my ideas are exhausting to him. I guess I could be still and pet my dog. She is the biggest fan of the stay-cation idea, after all.

Read part one here.

Oh, staycation?  How could I have questioned you?  We now have little stones around our pathway in the backyard.  My eldest daughter has a desk in her bedroom.  We hung a hummingbird feeder.  We became experts in homemade playdough.

But still, we basically had a really, really, really long weekend.  I am not sure I captured the art of stay-cationing.  I read on many blogs that the art of staycationing is to become a tourist in your hometown.

We still had to wipe kids butts, change diapers, pick up dog poop and clean kitty litter boxes every day.  So, we didn’t exactly vacate that reality.  But we do live in San Diego.  People pay big bucks to visit here.  At least that’s what we told ourselves, when we were bone tired at night and our house looked like it had been robbed.

But for the very last night of the week, my husband and I flew the nest– alone, away from the kids – and landed at the fancy, The Lodge at Torrey Pines.

Immediately upon checking into our room, I showered, changed into the terry cloth robe, and smothered myself in lemongrass and sage moisturizer.  I love hotel freebies.

People have asked me, did you like the hotel?  Before we checked in to the hotel, I could have slept in the back of my minivan from how tired I was.

So, when I said: “I need a break from the kids,” and “I am exhausted from nursing,” I didn’t mean we had to go fancy!

But a staycation does that to a person.  So many “why nots?” get tossed around.  After all, we didn’t have to pay for a real vacation.

Spending money on a hotel down the street from my house is the baby’s fault.  I have been very clear with that.

His ten month old dripping nose, ceaseless coughing and double ear infection is the reason, my husband, in the eighteen hours we were out of the house, went shopping in Del Mar at The Row and bought a belt and sunglasses.

Our eight days of insomnia is the reason we drank two delicious, yet outrageously priced, glasses of white wine at the hotel lounge.

When I woke in the hotel bed in the morning, not to the soundtracks of children coughing, but to the hum of my mini fridge storing my breast milk, I was delighted.  Not a soul asked me for anything; it was worth it. Stay-cation, you silly beast.  You had me at “hello.”

To be continued…

It is Samuel’s fault, really. He fell ill. And then continued to be sick for days and days and days.

He was the last one standing of the pack. And then his immune system toppled. Hard. It was almost too much for me to take.

I stopped using under eye concealer. The world should see how tired I was.

Half sipped caffeinated teas were scattered atop tabletops throughout my house. I obsessively washed my hands. No matter what I did, in the course of five days, three kids became sick.

Maybe I don’t use strong enough cleaning chemicals? I wracked my brain at night while pacing, soothing my crying baby.

I blame all those kids incessantly coughing at my daughters’ school. At drop-off the other morning, their classroom sounded like an intermission at the symphony. Deep coughs. Nursing home, emphysema coughs. “Why aren’t these kids at home?” kind of coughs.

I learned that a few parents took their kids to pediatrician only to be told their kids were fine. Other kids were finishing antibiotics. There was a lot of shoulder shrugging and use of placating statements like: “It’s just that time of year.”

Our little family was ripe for the picking.

It’s a tsunami of germs descending against one woman. Like Moses holding a staff of Purell, I declare: “Please don’t put that croissant in your mouth unless you use hannitizer!” That’s what we call it. Hannitizer.

It was Friday, the very last day of school before a week-long stretch of kids’ vacation. Here is a list of some things I was saying to myself in my thought:

a) “I am going skiing in a few days and look like a sexy ski bunny with smoky eyes while carving beautiful edged turns!”

c) “I am to sip bourbon with my husband by the fire, at night. And gaze lovingly at his beard.”

d) “I am going to make snowmen with my kids in the front yard of my in-laws ski house. And the girls will not fight about who has found bigger snow chunks.”

Picture perfect. Ra-ta-ta-ta-ta!

Even though…last year’s ski trip, I forgot my bathing suit, having to instead, don my mother in law’s miracle suit into the hot tub. And last year, I passed-out cold with my kids each night. And although throughout last year’s entire ski trip, I smelled like an octogenarian from applying Bengay morning, noon and night, to my aching muscles, this year’s trip would be different!

However, reality was setting in as germs seeped their way into my house…

Long, yellow snot rockets shot from my eldest daughter’s nose like Spider-man’s webs attaching to walls. Low-grade fevers were crept across both my daughters’ bodies. Sweaty pajamas and princess pillowcases piled-up in the laundry room each morning.

We didn’t use our miles to buy tickets last minute. We didn’t dig out our suitcases. We let inertia take over, and for the first time ever, we declared for ourselves a “stay-cation.” (This was our way of coping with the harsh reality that we were using vacation days to run a family infirmary.)

To be continued…

“People are always saying you should be yourself, like yourself is this definite thing, like a toaster. Like you know what it is even.’” — Angela Chase (Claire Danes’s character) from My So Called Life



I had dinner tonight with my husband, David, at Le Petit Cafe in a sleepy beach town in Connecticut. We were the youngest diners by about 90 years. As I discovered the “extraordinary” 2004 NY Times review framed on the wall above the back table, I thought “impressive” and “wow, this place is pretty rad” and “how special that we are here.” I thought of Ratatouille and how the critic must have loved the food from her childhood when she came to this joint.

Quite simply, the food was amazing. But along with my chamomile tea, I was delivered a bout of explosive diarrhea and nearly crapped my pants.

But why the colon cleanse? It wasn’t the dinner. Couldn’t be. Could it be that instant? The sea scallops were heavenly. It must have been lunch. I replayed the days’ culinary intake, as I sweat.

Was it the milk in the tea at lunch? The three bites of chicken parm sandwich my father-in-law brought home and I ate while standing-up and nursing my baby? Doesn’t matter. Too late to figure out now. Maybe it’s the prospect of moving to La Jolla? My second bout of explosive diarrhea visited as Dave signed the check. Didn’t have much time to think. Must pull down pants now.

My second visit to the restroom was harried, as all second visits to bathrooms are. I realized I was in the men’s room when a) it was less clean the previous bathroom I just used, b) there was some pee on the floor, c) the toilet seat was raised and d) the hand soap was neutrogena face wash (or so it seemed).

Anyway, we’re moving to San Diego in ten days. I’ve been living out of a suitcase since July. My daughters were put to sleep by grandpa tonight and here I was out on a date with Dave, in a classy restaurant, enjoying my dessert and last sips of wine before facing a total unknown fate.

And as weird as reading a top notch review from a NY Times food critic while pooping your brains out is (they posted the review on the wall of the restroom), nothing compares to the weirdness of moving to Southern California to set-up a life when you’ve only visited that region of the country for 4 days. You’re a New Yorker at heart. You don’t have a back tattoo to show-off. And the only person you know is the broker who got you your rental property. And you think he’s nice but that’s his job description.