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Monday, February 6, 2012

Our Staycation

For the last year, Dave and I had been planning to go to Costa Rica or Hawaii for a week alone.  This vacation would be to celebrate passing my QE and to have some quality "us" time, which has been sorely lacking in recent years considering his work, my school, and Eddie.We set aside a little money and eventually bought a Groupon for a week in Costa Rica at a resort, complete with cooking lessons and a 4 course dinner from a private chef.

But after reviewing my research project and teaching calendars (along with the available dates for the small resort), I realized we couldn't go.  Lucky for me, I was able to cancel for a full refund, within Groupon's 30 day policy.

So we settled on Kauai and began looking on occasion at package deals.  Theeeeeeeeeeen I had a meeting with my fellowship administrator at the beginning of January...and it basically ruined my plans for a nice vacation.  Her exact words were that she would be taking my instrument back, "no questions asked, end of discussion, by May 1."  This isn't unreasonable, of course, but still sucks.  I mean, having a deadline and some pressure from above is always a good thing for a graduate student.  But it means that I will be busting my butt in the lab until then and probably can't squeeze in any long weekends up to Gualala, much less a week in Hawaii.

I could have cried over this, but instead decided to change our plans again--instead of having a week long vacation, we'd just take smaller local vacations instead.  Cassie still owes us a few free overnights for Eddie so booking a hotel for a weekend once a month is doable.  First up was a weekend in the wine country over a long weekend.  Lucky for me, it was a three day weekend so we could spend two nights away.

We started out with sneaking Taco Bell burritos into the theater to see MI4.  Then we drove to Napa to stay in a Pricelined 3 star hotel. It was nice, but sort of loud too early in the morning since our room was near the lobby. 
Our hotel room.

Happy hotellers
We ate a very small breakfast of coffee and OJ at the hotel that morning so we could save our calories for an amazing lunch at Bouchon.  It did not disappoint!


 
We started with mussels and pate.
I had the rabbit cassoulet.
 Dave had gnocchi...no surprise.
 After that we headed to Vacaville for some outlet shopping.  Dave was in serious, serious need of new sneakers and my mom had given him a New Balance Outlet card for Christmas. On our way there we witnessed a scary SUV-motorcycle accident.  A giant piece of plastic bumper flew up across the freeway and landed on the windshield of a Landrover. It was in the left lane just ahead of us (we were in the middle) and it drove up onto the cement barrier and then swerved across all the lanes and spun to a stop on the right of the freeway. In the right lane was a motorcyclist and she was run over and then spun over an embankment, across the exit lane, and landed on the right shoulder.  HOLY CRAP IT WAS SCARY. We pulled over, called 911 (I was so flustered I told the operator it happened at the wrong exit), and walked back to the cyclist. There were other people by the time we arrived and there were a few women literally holding this lady down on her back because she kept trying to get up. She was bleeding from the back of her head and you could see that her ear was torn at the top. Dave and I talked to the family in the SUV who had hit her. The guy was so freaked out and shaking and remorseful--poor guy was so scared for the cyclist. I hope the lady is okay. I keep thinking about her and hoping that she's out of the hospital with just some stitches or something.

Eventually we left the accident scene and bought Dave some new shoes, me a few kitchen things (like a donut pan!), and got a coffee. Then we headed to Winters and checked into our room at the Abbey House Inn.  We got to stay in the Sherlock Holmes room.

Since we've both eaten at the Buckhorn Steakhouse several times (including as take-out the night Eddie was born...my mom brought us some trip tip to the hospital!), we decided to try something new.  Cassie RAVES about Ficelles, this little tapas restaurant. Oh man, I am so glad we decided to eat there.  It was insane inside, crammed full of people, and a little confusing as to how/where to order.  But for good reason: the food is amazing.  We ordered something like 5 plates and they were all super delish. I only have pictures of these ones...but I think there were more.
Veggie plate (croutons, bean salad, green beans, roasted baby bells).

Chile relleno with cherry tomatoes and mole sauce.
Teriyaki beef skewers.

Downtown Winters, very small and quaint (at least on the main drag).
We walked back to the Inn, where we watched a documentary about wolverines while digesting our dinner.  Dave took a short nap and I surfed the web for a bunk bed for Eddie.  We were going to go see a used one posted on Craigslist but it was sold before we got there.  Dave was having seconds thoughts on having Eddie (who is only 2.5 years old) use a ladder bunk bed.  So when I found some styles with stairs, Dave decided that we should buy one of those.  When Dave woke up from his nap we finalized the online purchase of the bunk bed before walking back downtown for some dessert at Buckhorn. 
Mud pie and lemon berry cake (Dave is getting tired of my picture-taking I think).
The night at the Inn was okay--our room was a little too warm even with the window open and I could hear the guy in the next room snoring from our bathroom.

We had an early breakfast at Putah Creek Cafe, where I had this delicious pomegranate mimosa with my French toast.  Mmmm.
Before heading out of town we stopped by a pharmacy store and bought a dinosaur for Eddie.  I also bought him a cute tea set, but he'll have to wait until his Easter basket to get that.  Dave picked out a clearanced John Deere mug and tea pot set for his dad, too.

Then we picked Eddie up at Cassie's and got to spend the rest of the day together doing normal Bower weekend stuff: laundry, playing outside, gathering eggs, playing trains inside, etc.  It was an absolutely perfect weekend.

3 comments:

Leah Roy said...

It sounded perfect! So much yummy food and so much hubby/wife time - hooray! But that scary accident, yikes. That would take anyone a while to shake, I hope the motorcyclist is alright too.

Mariah said...

So bummed for you not to take your grand adventure but still sounds like a good staycation (minus the accident!!!) oh man K and I were saving for a vactaion to hawaii this june and then we need to redo the bathroom....one day grateful for monies obviously either way but this gives me hope of a fun staycation (hopefully) away from kids

steph.kelley said...

Sigh...how wonderful. So glad you two got a gorgeous weekend together. xoxo