The last time we went on a real vacation, we were celebrating a tenth anniversary and a 30th birthday. We went to St. Lucia, where I proceeded to lie on my back with a drink in hand for an entire week. I’m telling you. I did not move a muscle, unless it was to cool off in the pool or to exercise my arm to shove nachos into my gob or to reapply a 45th coat of my children’s SPF 100 sunscreen (I’m a burner, you know).
It was wonderful. I was all, “YOU GUYS, DO I KNOW HOW TO VACATION OR WHAT? THIS IS THE LIFE!”
So, when I was surprised with a fourteen anniversary and 34th birthday trip to California, I just assumed that I would be vacationing the same slothlike wayâ€”pool, nachos. Oh no. This was not that trip.
40 beer tastings.
1 horseback riding adventure through a vineyard and a ranch with a real live cowboy who even wore Wrangler jeans.
1 six mile bike ride down the Santa Barbara beach, whereupon I managed to flash every single person we passed. You guys, biking in a sundress looks way better in magazines, when it’s fake. There’s really very little that’s ladylike about this.
1 art museum.
1 cookies and cream birthday cupcake the size of my face.
2 farmer’s markets.
2 Mexican restaurants.
2 adorable main streets of two adorable towns.
1 coffee shop that was also a post office.
Every morning spent up at 5am (hello, not adjusting to PST!) watching all the crap that Bravo likes to run at ungodly hours of the day. (Also, why don’t we have Bravo in Canada??)
Too many hours looking at houses that are for sale.
Yes. YES, it’s true.
I have the ALIMARTELL SYNDROME.
We were trying to figure out the name for the syndrome I occasionally show symptoms of. You may suffer from this as well. You travel to someplace and you immediately fall in love with it and you donâ€™t want to leave and you can see yourself putting down roots and hanging around for a while. You can immediately see where your children will go to school, what you will do on weekends; you can see the rest of your days plotted out in this spot. At first we thought it was called Florence Syndrome, but after consulting my pal google, it seems that there is a Florence Syndrome (and a Paris one! and a Jerusalem one!) but they involve hallucinations and fainting and dizziness on account of all the culture.
Thatâ€™s not exactly what happens to me, but there may be a little bit of dizziness involved.
I had it after visiting PEI. BAD. It happens every time I visit New York City or Atlanta. It happened when I went to visit my nieces in Nashville. And, you guys, I mean, it even happened to me after spending a month last summer in Milwaukee. I could see our family living in an old house near Lake Michigan and having Friday night dinners with my mom, Packer Sundays, and my kids picking up thick midwestern accents.
I doubt thereâ€™s a Milwaukee syndrome, unless itâ€™s hallucinations from too much beer and cheese.
And that’s why it’s now officially called the ALIMARTELL SYNDROME.
So, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, and Los Angeles?
FORGET IT.Â I mean, come on. How can you not fall in love with this piece of paradise?
I had to be forced to get on that plane.
I already miss it.