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A Perfect Day in Solvang, California

Sexy Nerd has an annoying habit of calling me to complain when he's on business trips. "It's too hot here in Napa Valley," and "That chocolate lava cake was too rich after such a big dinner." After a morning surrounded by screaming pediatric dental patients and their overprotective, crazy parents (my generation is nuts, BTW), I'll check my voicemail during lunch and learn Sexy Nerd's flight bumped him to first class and the rental lot only had BMWs left. Also, his meeting has been postponed so he's "stuck here" another two days.

Boo hoo hoo, Sexy Nerd.

Also, if you bring your children to our dental office, it's the other parents I'm referring to, not you.

Wondering where I'm going with this? I was recently a bad employee and played hooky from work, which is something I never, ever do. (You know, after having received permission for said-hooky several weeks in advance. I'd hate for you to think I'm that bad.) I didn't pack until the last minute and I didn't create an itinerary, detailed or otherwise. Jetting off to LAX, I even used a Southwest drink coupon and consumed a *gasp* alcoholic beverage. Clearly, playing hooky had turned me into a total bad girl.

My coupon drink of choice was a plastic cup of chardonnay, which I thought would come in a tiny, adorable bottle but didn't. I instantly regretted my choice. Also, don't think me less of a bad girl for asking this, but should it actually be "consumed an *gasp* alcoholic beverage" above? What's the grammatical rule for words within asterisks? If I type "Grammar Girl" here, will she find it through Google and email me an answer? I guess I'll need to wait and see. Oh, now she's going to read all of this and find so many errors I hadn't even known I'd made. How embarrassing.

But I'm getting off-topic. The real reason for this post isn't to ramble, it's to share vacation business trip photos! Here is everything that happened on Day 1 of our trip:

We stayed at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, which used the coolest accent wall mural ever to create a cozy nook inside our room. Even though it looks exactly like they hand-painted a horse onto wood paneling, I think the entire thing is actually just wallpaper. Where can I buy this?

The downside? The bathroom door is a sheet of glass. See all that light glaring on the right side of the photo, burning your retinas? That's with the door closed. I'm a chronic insomniac. How could you even think about answering nature's call when I was trying to sleep, Sexy Nerd?

Leading up to our trip, Sexy Nerd said I'd enjoy exploring Lompoc on foot while he was working. It's safe and there's easily enough to see and do that even four or five hours would be fine. At least, that's what he told me before I got into the car.

Shortly before abandoning me on the rough streets to fend for myself, he said it's just like the area surrounding any other air force base. We have an air force base in Albuquerque and leaving your wife there would be grounds for divorce. Further ruining my expectation of Lompoc, he told me the city had fallen on hard times but has been trying to make a comeback. That's fine, I thought, acknowledging that there had recently been a recession. Oh, but Lompoc's trouble came before that. So...the big technology crash in the early 2000s? No. Sexy Nerd clarified that the hard times in Lompoc were due to the ending of the Cold War a million, zillion years ago.

I may have added those last few words myself. The murals throughout Lompoc's downtown were enjoyable. I viewed them with my wedding ring upside down and an eye of suspicion on every friendly passerby.

There should be a new paragraph here, going on in great detail about the Snowy Plover (so cute!) and how this trip finally turned me into a beach person. 

*Sigh*

This entire blog post was finished. Instead of posting it though, I decided to go to sleep and proofread it in the morning. In the morning, everything from this point on was GONE. I saved it. I swear I saved it. Didn't I save it?

*Sob*

Moral of the story? Never proofread.

This guy feels my pain. 

 With low expectations, we stopped in Solvang, the Americanized tourist trap town meant to resemble Denmark. We loved it! The buildings were cute and the streets felt safe. Filled with bakeries, home decor shops, and antique stores, four hours there wasn't enough time.



That said, four hours may have been plenty if you-know-who hadn't stopped every few minutes to reply to work emails. 

Sexy Nerd was always quick to remind me, "Well, it is a business trip."

We popped into a nursery, not expecting it to differ from our local stores, and quickly found ourselves reenacting scenes from our all-time favorite movie. Californians have fun with their landscaping. I'd love to hide this gal around a corner, perhaps with her head sticking out through one of our rose bushes.

"AAGH! You almost gave me a heart attack," is what our unsuspecting victims guests will cry out. 

I'd also like to bring this squirrel home. Isn't it funny how $600 for the velociraptor above seemed like a bargain but $50 for the cutest squirrel ever was too much? It's easy to be a big spender when the purchase won't fit in your suitcase.

Wanting to remember the fun time we had at the Solvang nursery, I told Sexy Nerd to smile for a photo. I'm tempted to rename this post The Grump Goes to Southern California

Next, I dragged The Grump Sexy Nerd to California Tacos for lunch, practically kicking and screaming. What kind of a person doesn't want chimichangas and flautas? "It's not going to be any good," he insisted, even after reading a long list of stellar Yelp reviews. Oh, how wrong he was.

California Tacos is amazing! All that deep fried deliciousness you see above? The entire meal cost less than $15, soda included. Sexy Nerd licked his plate clean.

Good Mexican food? Check. Friendly Velociraptors? Check. I'm ready to move back to my home state. Also, in the years I've been gone, California has decided they love plug-in vehicles. Stealth, our Chevy Volt, would be so happy there. C'mon, Sexy Nerd. Do it for Stealth.

Next, we headed to the Mission Santa Inés, which was at the top of my list. Folks who know me are always surprised to learn I love visiting old churches. I grew up in San Jose, where missions are a big deal. You're pretty much not allowed to pass 4th grade unless you love missions.

They have so much character.

See the snakes? Character, but also scandalous histories and controversy.

Remember this photo - our hallway should end up looking just like it (assuming our new house is ever finished). Our design style is California Mission. We could have saved our builder so much stress if we'd realized that sooner.

Mission Santa Inés is surrounded by jaw-dropping scenery. Lush, green hillsides? Check. Let's move there, let's move there, let's move there!

Sexy Nerd insisted California is never this green and that I was getting an unrealistic idea of what it's really like. "I've been here a million times and it's always brown and dead. This is a fluke."

Phooey.

Despite all his grumpiness, Sexy Nerd did actually enjoy the first day of our California trip. I have the photos to prove it:

You can't walk past a windmill without posing for a selfie. Try it for yourself.

I've never noticed before, but Sexy Nerd smiles the tiniest little smile I've ever seen. Where are his teeth? His orthodontist would be so sad to see these photos.

He actually has a perfectly handsome smile. In more than 13 years together, how have I never noticed this before?

LET'S MOVE TO CALIFORNIA!

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