We drove back down to California for Memorial Day weekend. We left Utah on Saturday and came back on Wednesday.
Saturday night we stayed in a totally run down Vegas motel. On accident. I picked it using Google Maps on my phone. Basically we kept calling places and they were completely booked (ohhh, of course, people go to Vegas for the long weekend). And then I called this place and they had a vacancy! Okaywe'lltakeit!
We showed up at the Vegas Chalet Motel and the lobby was locked. They had to buzz us in. Well, that's ok. Signs everywhere: no visitors after 9 pm. We payed for our cheap motel, and as we walked up the stairs to our room, we heard sirens drive past. Hmm. When I flipped the light switch, nothing happened. Hmmm. Eventually we figured out how to have the light switch match up with the bedside lamps. The room looked like something maybe from the 60's. I'm serious. Old, mostly-matching furniture. There was a chair blocking a door, and it had this big tear in the fabric. The carpet was really worn out and had lumps in it. The sink was chipped. The artwork was old. Basically, it was just a really old room. Everything seemed quite clean; the bathroom wasn't gross or anything. (The shower head was even kind of fancy.)
We were happy to not be sleeping in our car.
In the morning I was talking to J about how seriously run down the place was. He said, "But if you think about it, it would have been really hard for anyone to prepare a place this nice for even a king, traveling a thousand years ago." "Well. That's true." So after that we kept joking about how fancy it was, as if we were royalty visiting 1000 years ago. ("What is this?! Water? Coming from the wall! Remarkable!" Because, of course, nobody had hot showers a thousand years ago.) So, we had a lot of fun with our old run-down motel. And then there were sirens in the morning, too. The front desk buzzed me in, I checked us out, and we continued on our way to California.
When we got to California, we weren't really sure what to do! It was early afternoon. So, we decided to go to the beach. It was so sunny and nice...but then we got to the beach and it still sunny, but not nice at all--it was windy. We changed into our swimsuits anyway, and when we stepped from our changing stalls outside, we realized that the wind made it really cold. No big deal! I put on my sweatshirt and J put on his coat. As we walked toward the coast, we were pelted with millions of airborne particles of sand. (Imagine a money booth filled with sewing pins instead of money, and that's basically what it was.)
Maybe the wind would die down, though, we hoped. Maybe when we put our towels down and sat down, closer to the ground there would be less wind and it would be better. As we tried to put our towels down, they flew like flags instead. They were hard to hang onto. Eventually we got them down, and we sat on them so they couldn't fly away. (It was partly how we got them on the ground to begin with.)
We sat next to each other and the wind was coming from J's side, so things were a little bit better (for me!). But actually, they weren't. We tried to rest, but it was really uncomfortable to keep having sand blown at us. I pulled my hood closed better so that I didn't get as much sand on my face. J covered his head with his coat. We stayed there for ten minutes or something, "enjoying" the beach. Then J decided he wanted to go in the water. He put his coat back on, and I held his towel and our flip-flops so they wouldn't fly away when he got up. J walked along the beach, getting his feet wet for several minutes. By the time he came back I felt like I had enjoyed the beach as much as I wanted to. J had too. We decided to leave, and realized that in the time that he was down in the water, his towel had been buried in sand. Just from the wind. So, that was kind of funny.
We left the beach and went out to meet up with my best friend from high school, Erin, and her husband and kids. We had dinner with them, and visited for a while. It was a lot of fun because we hadn't seen them since our wedding.
We went to my grandparents' house that night. One of the reasons we wanted to go to California this time was because I wanted to visit my grandparents at their house one last time. My grandparents are both pretty old, and they have nurses at their house all the time now, so my mom's family decided it is time to move them to a place where they can get better care, or, rather, cheaper care that's good enough. In Utah, their money is going to go a lot farther, so they're making my grandparents move. It's kind of sad. (It will be nice to be able to see them more often, anyway. They're moving up this weekend.)
We talked with them for a couple hours that night. J thought I should share memories that I have with them, instead of just talking about our life up here. So I did. They loved it. I have a lot of memories with them. We used to visit their house about every other weekend when I was growing up. A lot of times I spent the night. Grandma would do crafts with us, and we would go on walks, and we would cook and bake together. Grandma used to always come to our friend birthday parties. Sometimes I "helped" Grandpa at his nursery, which mostly involved playing, getting bored, and then not wanting to do things like fill pots with dirt, but doing it a little bit anyway, and then wondering loudly and repeatedly when we were going home. Sometimes he'd let me choose a plant to keep (like, a pansy or something) and it seemed really exciting and like it was a big deal. We talked to them about their memories a little bit, too. They've been living in their house for 40 years. That's a long time.
Anyway, after a couple hours, we were all pretty tired, so J and I brought things in and stayed the night there.
Those were the first couple days of our trip!