Monday, June 8, 2015

San Diego Sunshine

My much anticipated trip to San Diego was finally here!  I was beyond excited!

Originally I had planned to drive out there, but some obligations here at home (play rehearsals) meant changing my plans and flying out instead of driving.  This was actually going to be better anyway.  It would mean a couple more days spent with family rather than on the road getting there and getting home.

As part of this trip, I registered to run the Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon.  San Diego was the home to the very first, original Rock 'n' Roll marathon back in the 1980's,  It will be fun to run this race, given its longstanding presence in the city.

The weather decided to be very uncooperative, letting loose torrential rains as I drove from my home to the airport early Wednesday morning.  Once I got to the airport, got checked in, and found my gate, I settled in for what I thought would be only a 45 minute wait or so before they started to board us onto the plane.  But the problem quickly became apparent.  The airport was officially closed due to the strong storms, and no flights were getting in or out.  Our plane was coming from Dallas, and it hadn't even left the ground at DFW airport.

The PA system was droning continuously, announcing delayed flights and changed gate assignments. We were at gate C37.  A couple of hours later they moved us to gate E1.  Then an hour later they moved us to gate E14.  Finally, four hours later, we boarded our flight and departed.  My arrival time in San Diego was supposed to be 10:27 AM, but we actually landed in San Diego at 3:00 PM.  Just a little late....

I took the Avis shuttle to their rental car lot, found my name and car location on the Avis Preferred board, and then headed in that direction.  What's this?  There must be a mistake!  I walked back to the kiosk and re-read the car location info again.  Yep, D9.  That's the spot, all right.  But there's a bright yellow Mustang convertible parked there, not the dinky econobox I'd reserved and was expecting.  I had a momentary thought that this isn't a car I wanted to drive in an unfamiliar city on unfamiliar, crowded freeways.  But what the heck... Yeehaw!  Once again my USAA Avis Preferred membership has upgraded me to top-of-the-line!

I turned my cell phone on, entered my son's address in Google Maps, and let it guide me to my son's home, up in the hills northeast of the city.  It was only a few miles, and seemingly in moments I was in front of their house, unloading my luggage from the tiny trunk of the Mustang.

Now, we as moms reserve the right to worry about our children no matter what.  No matter how old they are, how deeply into the marriage and parenting thing they've embedded themselves, how responsible their current jobs are, how well they've done managing their lives, we are still going to worry about them.  So when my son described the house they'd purchased in the hills of San Diego and how much they'd paid for it, I worried.  That amount of money would buy a mansion here in greater Houston, not, in his words, a small, 1950's era three bedroom ranch.

I was expecting a little cookie-cutter ranch house, the kind we lived in growing up in post-war Eisenhower era of the 1950's in California.  So when I pulled up in front of the house, I was wow'd by angular lines, windows from here to eternity, a very stylish roof-line, and a walled, gated yard and entrance.  His home is gorgeous!  Why did I expect anything less?!

The house is built sideways into a hill, and seems to "drip," terrace by terrace, down the slope.  It is a breathtaking home!  My daughter-in-law greeted me at the door and gave me the tour.  There is nothing cookie cutter about this house at all.  Floating 2-sided fireplace, immaculate hardwood floors, step-down living room, spacious and airy rooms with giant picture windows everywhere.  They had the two bathrooms gutted to the studs and completely rebuilt, with all new and gorgeous cabinets, quartz counter tops, fixtures, sinks, master bath shower, tub, toilets, and beautiful and unique tile on walls and floors.  Walls and ceilings throughout the house are freshly painted and the bedrooms and hallway are freshly carpeted.  Money well-spent.

But the back of the house - the extensive outdoor living areas with built-in gas grill, built-in fire pit, mature and beautiful landscaping - trumped it all.  The living space is nearly doubled in square footage with the extensive outdoor terraced patios in a weather climate that begs year-round outdoor living!
Monstrously large bougainvilleas line the steep
retaining wall at the back of the patio areas.

The terraced patios are connected one to the other and wrap around the side and part of the front of the house, all private and secluded, secluded from the homes on all sides by the steep hills, and in front by the solid stucco wall part way out from the house, hiding little patios on the sides and front of the house.  Beyond that wall and out the rest of the way to the street, the "lawn" is not grass but a low-growing flowering ground cover.

Gorgeous terraced patio areas in son's back yard.  This looking southwest from the edge of the
central patio area.  Backs up to a steep hillside retaining wall. Terrace patio beyond
has the built-in gas grill and another seating area.

An adorable and very spacious separate in-law apartment attached to the back of the garage was going to be my home for the next few days.  Little kitchenette with fridge, microwave, coffee maker, sink, spacious bathroom, and very large, light and airy sitting/sleeping area was going to be more than comfortable for my stay.  It connects to the house by a small patio, yet is very private.  It was charming!

Terraced patio looking northeast from central patio area.  Upper terrace has
the fire pit and large seating area.

My son cooked tri-tips on the grill for dinner and we enjoyed eating at their outdoor table, sipping some of his home-brew beer out of his kegorator.

Central patio area with table seating area.  Upper terrace with fire pit is in background.

Thursday morning after breakfast with the kids, I showered and dressed while Christina drove the kids to school and then she and I headed out in her car to a nursery near Encinitas.  She had decided on some plants for the back yard along the cliff wall, and had called ahead to make sure the nursery had them in stock.  We thought we'd get lunch while out, before returning to pick up the kids after school.  The nursery was fun and funky, not like the regimented order of nurseries here in Houston and we bought way more than we orginally planned, bringing home a red tea and a Ligularia along with the plants we'd set out to buy originally.

The Ligularia that I fell in love with and bought
for Christina.

Afterward, we had lunch at a cute little outdoor cafe right on the road across from the beaches where surfers were braving the cool temps and cold water.  And rather than picking up the freeway to head south back to San Diego, Christina continued south on the coastal road nearly into the city, before hopping onto the freeway for the last few miles to home.  It was a sweet first full day in San Diego!

A bit chilly this late morning to eat outside, but the food was great, as
was the ambience.  At Swami's Cafe in Encinitas.

Waiting for our lunch at Swami's in Encinitas.
Christina in the sweater I knit for her.

Tomorrow, more family time!

1 comment:

  1. So glad you got to fly out. Not that driving is bad, but you get to spend more time this way.

    The yard looks beautiful. How is the weather? We've been seeing weather in the 90's.