Back to Bruegger’s Bagels for a chocolate chip – no cream cheese – for Mom. My hot coffee would get cold in the cup holder in the backseat of their Prius while we explored the beach of Coronado. We found parking just across the street and as we made our way to the stairs, Mom pauses – Are those real?! Yes, the beautiful spotted ground squirrels on the rocks live and breath; they weren’t just put there for decoration – yet just another reason I love seeing a place through someone else’s eyes – though Mom and Barry realize that I take a ton of photos and seem to notice things that others miss.
They aren’t the only ones on the beach in jeans, but we seem to be the only ones with our shoes on. I would’ve taken my boots off, but had no husband to carry them. And only kids are crazy enough to be in swimsuits in the water. Today seemed like Couples Day Out – walking, running, laughing, taking selfies. The water was performing great acrobatic stunts and moving chunks of kelp all over the sand. I love experiencing kelp with people for the first time – watching them pose with it, stomp on it, and toss it around. Mom got lucky and found one still attached to a rock.
I saw a ship in the distance with smaller dark figures moving around it – fishing boats, kayakers, lost surfers? Later, at home I would learn that it was the Navy Seals doing training. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons the San Diego area has smog, fog, and haze – less visibility makes better camouflage. Then I saw a guy hiking, poles and all, on the beach. I suppose he could be training for the mountains, less than an hour away, or he has read an inspiring article about ‘How to Live Radically’ or ‘Stand Out from the Norm and Make Your Life more Interesting’. I should’ve asked him.
I turn around and Mom is fanning herself with a shell. She could get used to this – look for sand dollars in the morning, have cute boys fan her in the afternoon while she reads romance novels and eats bread, and finish the evening with some dancing and margaritas – ah, the beach life. Mom debates bringing back some kelp for the grandsons, but “they’ll just break them.” Of course they will probably get damaged around two boys aged 6 1/2 and almost 8. I guess the two-year old doesn’t get toys from the ocean. To me, kelp is like nature’s bubble wrap, but safer, more green, and sustainable.
We slowly made our way towards the Hotel Del. And we were in luck. There was a sandcastle-in-progress as we approached. Mom used his water bucket to rinse her hands and rid them of the evidence of the kelp she abandoned in the sand. Then it was past the flowers into a shop that sells things. I wasn’t paying attention, but I did note the advice from instant HAPPY by Karen Salmansohn, “When life starts feeling a bit too serious, find someone you can GIGGLE with!” This might’ve been more demanding in the days of horse-and-buggy, but now we have social media and GPS tracking – bring on the laughter.
Next was the walk down hotel-history-hall and into the lobby where the Christmas tree has been replaced with a chandelier and white flowers, the mirror in the entrance with a golden branched painting, and the wall newly adorned with metal butterflies. The hotel’s landscapers are still working on replacing the grass that got murdered under the holiday skate rink – bringing seasonal cheer and keeping people employed. As we pass by the fountain on the corner of Orange Ave. and R.H. Dana Place Mom sticks her hand in the fountain. She wants to find warm water and regrets not bringing her swimsuit.
We pick up the kelp that was hidden from harm and make our way back to the car. We will make it to my house by noon and ten minutes later – after packing the car, getting coffee from 7-11, and hugging me – they are gone. Time to wash the sheets, fold the mattress, sweep the floor, and clean the dishes before some reading and a nap while I wait for Caleb to get home. I love having company and I love being a guest. I can go for weeks or months or days, but no matter the length I still enjoy the me time that I’ve grown accustomed to – the possible nudity, the obnoxious singing, and drinking out of the milk jug – because I’m an adult! And I can do these things.