“For the Sake of the Alcohol and the Intellect.”

That was a line dropped this weekend to explain why a wine-induced extremely passionate debate was meant to continue long into the night.

Great line.

Dad and I drove to San Luis Obispo this weekend to see our cousins. Our car was hydroplaning in the rain on the way up the coast – 12 days until I’m driving in snow again! It’s almost the big Albany move date.

But that’s another post.

Talley Vineyards

Wine tasting, catching up with cousins, a Trader Joe’s run… a perfect California day.

After dinner, we walked upstairs to see the restaurant’s outdoor patio. The restaurant is next to a creek and the setting is absolutely beautiful. I crossed the wooden bridge to take a picture.

My dad and cousin Josh were across the bridge by the restaurant while I snapped these shots.

They were still standing there when a new male friend came over.

With a big grin.

“So… you getting any nice shots?”

Hah! I’m getting hit on in front of my dad. This is awesome.

I can’t handle this smoothly. But before I can say anything, again:

“You getting any nice shots?” Big ol’ smile.

So I say yes! I am, it’s beautiful here.

And he giggles.

“So… you’re getting nice shots?”

I glance over at Dad, who is 100% aware of what’s happening. I have little game as it is – this is too funny for me to respond to smoothly.

I giggle and say yes.

The guy smiles. “Good. You’re getting nice shots.”

And now I’m laughing. There’s really nothing I value more than being able to have a good conversation with someone, and this is looking exceptionally promising.

Dad calls out, “Honey?”

I said I had to go and walked away. He could have been The One.

I’ll never know.

What I do know is I loved Dad’s reaction. Happiness. And “Good job!” In further me+dating discussions, he also told me he could see me dating up to a “30-to-33-year-old”.

This is me putting that in writing.

Not a bad night for 22-year-old me and any future under-34 boyfriend of mine.

Dad and I had booked a hotel room at the Madonna Inn. The Madonna Inn opened over fifty years ago. Each of the 110 rooms has a special theme, and is decorated according to the theme. Paris, Italy, Old Victorian… The Jungle… The Cave… Americana. Tacky? No. AWESOME.

We’d originally been placed in the “Time of Your Life” Mardi-Gras themed-room. That was fitting – I’d just written a blog post titled that. Dad had called ahead to check on our reservation and asked, “There’s not anything inappropriate in that room, sexual… right? I’m with my daughter.” He was told just masks on the walls.

But when we got there, we had our choice of rooms. A free upgrade at a hotel only at 60% capacity.

I flipped through the book. No cave or jungle available, and Paris – Italy – King’s Castle seemed far too generic.

And then I saw our room. “Old Mill.”

When you flip a switch, the characters above the beds and desk move around. I was incorrectly referring to them as the three “glockenspiels” (picturing Munich’s Marienplatz tourist attraction)… But a glockenspiel is an instrument; these were just moving characters. Either way, fantastic and fully functional.

So was the water wheel.

As I’m runnning around taking photos and videos of our absurd, glittery, over-stimulating room, the doorbell rings. The security guard is there to tell us the hotel left something in our previously-assigned room and would be bringing it back for us. We asked him what it was and he said, “I think it’s more fun if I just bring it.”

Five minutes later, he was back at the door, and with a glance to both of us…

“Happy anniversary.”

We have no idea why, or who… We have no idea. But it immediately flashed us back to my 22nd birthday in Barcelona, Spain.

August 18, 2011

We wandered down along the water for quite sometime, then Dad surprises me. We have 7:30 p.m. massages at the hotel for my birthday. We grab a taxi and we’re back.

The spa is on level -1. You guys want a funny picture? Imagine dad and I both in robes at the spa reception being referred to as Mr. and Mrs. DeRusso. I don’t think the woman had seen more stricken faces or heard louder “no, no, oh nos” when asking if we wanted the couple’s massage room that was available.

We’re very prude spouses.

If the “glockenspiels” and water wheel weren’t enough, the toilet seat was heated. It really freaks you out when you don’t expect that. It also had a pressure-adjustable bidet.

Sent me back to another Spain flashback, this time from Madrid.

August 21, 2011
For someone about to live in hostels for three months, and fairly comfortable anywhere, I’ve been living comfortably these first few days. How you ask?

An hour after checking into the hotel, I’d gotten myself hammered from the complimentary bottle of champagne. Realized this as I slipped on my post shower robe, reached for the glass for another sip, then reached for the towel and realized the towel bar was heated. HOT.

And giggled my rear off. And made a call to share bottle-of-bubbly giggles with America. Ten minutes later, I’m standing locked out of the room as the metal key the size of my hand spins in the lock (yeah, you have to push and twist).

My standards haven’t changed. I mean, I won’t go anywhere that doesn’t have a bidet and three closets now, but other than that.

Life is good.

Bubblegum Alley, San Luis Obispo, CA

Five months later… Life is still good.

Favorite from the weekend. Pure bliss.

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