My delightful husband suggested we stay at the Westin Hotel in San Diego, and I happily agreed. Last summer, my husband was unable to join us at on a planned vacation stay at this same luxurious hotel, and the two kids and myself created many happy (and scary -- lost GPS signal, lost cell phone, found cell phone, where's our underwear? ) memories.
We stayed and decided that although it was a bit tight on our budget this time, the NEXT time we stay at San Diego, we will stay at the Westin (or thereabouts) and definitely use SD's mass transit system. Two reasons: economical (it costs minimum $25.00 overnight for parking... 4 days = 100 bucks, but $5 for an all day pass) and guess what? All that walking around tires out the kids a LOT, so that makes for restful bedtimes.
The Westin is within a 15 minute walking distance of the famous pier area, we saw the ships' museum, and we didn't see (but it was a five minute walk!) the contemporary art museum; we cruised and ate within the Gaslamp district, and Little Italy (real Italian pizza is GROSS).
My daughter had a few fits about things. I belatedly realized it was because she wanted everything to be SO perfect (so IMPOSSIBLY perfect) that every suggestion I made (the beach, a gift shop) was a PROMISE and a HUGE crying disappointment if we ran out of time. Over the three days we were there, we slowly fought our way to the childhood damhead of understanding: Hey, things can change, and sometime we just have to ... flow with it. We're still not quite on agreement on that, but I felt the bricks in her head give way to... a little bit of understanding inbetween defiant sobs when she realized we were not going to the beach again, because we agreed to go to Balboa Park (A great place, and the parking is free. Tons of museums but only mediocre places to eat).
My son's own realization was it's important to check out the entire buffet before gorging on the first two pans of eggs and toast. "Cinnamon rolls? They had CINNAMON rolls?" The wail was audible in my heart, because he could not force himself to eat more. He whimpered at the steaming pan of melted sugary goodness. I used that as one of my famous "yet boring" life lessons: Look at ALL the options before making a decision. Make a PLAN after you survey the landscape. (No, we didn't get into GIRLS. It applies to that, but also so much more!). I brought it up later several times, and stopped when his eyes began to roll back into his head.
Another experience was waiting forever to be acknowledged at a local deli/restaurant in Little Italy which then forced me to make the unhappy decision to drag a tired husband and hungry kids to the first place which greeted our bedraggled family of four with a smile. There! You lost money, honey! I felt vindicated except my daughter's authentic pizza was a slab of cooked dough smeared with unseasoned tomato sauce. Yick. To her credit, she just smiled, took two bites and announced she was full, while stuffing herself on the dinner rolls. Looked like she was just "going with the flow."
Kudos to a well-deserved and well-earned vacation.