I had to run to Kohl's to get some stuff, then got packed and headed into the city to meet Janine. I showed up a little after lunch, and she had slept in a bit, so she wasn't as prepared as I was. Eventually we got some lunch, and then she finished packing while I avoided looking outside at the chauffeur who was waiting.
On our pleasant towncar ride to the airport we learned that "Classic Towncar" is no more, it's now "Excel Towncar". Then normal airport airportyness, pleasant enough Jet Blue flight to San Diego, and a taxi ride to our first night at the Omni Hotel, San Diego. About 2-4 blocks from Hard Rock Hotel we could hear their rooftop party going on through the car, it was a bit intense; but that appeared to be due to the holiday weekend.
We wandered around for a bit looking for some food, and ended up eating at a wood-fired pizza place which happened to have Regal/United Artists movie passes for $6.50 with the purchase of an entree, so we picked up a pair.
Took a cab to the Kearney Mesa Avis to get our rental car, interestingly the cabbie didn't know how to get there, he relied entirely on GPS; guess anyone can be a cabbie now. Then we met with Melissa Barrad (I Do... Weddings), and that meeting reinforced that we both liked her (originally concluded that based on the two wedding planner episodes featuring her on WeTV). Then we rode out to Del Mar to check out Powerhouse Park (rejected: way too hard to park); and La Jolla to check out the Estancia (rejected: too cramped, no ocean), La Valencia (candidate), Scripps Seaside Forum (rejected: "concrete meets Ikea"), and the La Jolla Bridge Club (rejected: my notes say no private parking, but I think that it was also a bit boring). Somewhere along the way we tried to return the car to Avis because Janine couldn't see well enough to back up in it, but they were closed for the day. Cue Omni night two. Oh, and after failing Powerhouse Park we stopped to get out the map to find the next place, and since we were still close to the beach we went down to walk in the sand a bit.
Ate fish tacos at the place next to the hotel, they were good (using fish instead of breaded fish fillets seems to have a huge impact). Went to Avis again, it was closed due to being a holiday, but customer service sent us to the airport Avis for the exchange, but we didn't have to pay airport fees. The car we got in its stead I almost managed to not drive at all, but I ended up driving it one trip. We went to Old Town San Diego (for touristy-goodness), where the hundred year old Wells Fargo had a auspiciously-modern-looking ATM, and then to Balboa Park to evaluate it for wedding capability (candidate). We got there a bit late, so things were closing down, didn't get to see everything we wanted to. Dinner at Baja Betty's (was good), then went back to Del Mar to meet a friend of Janine's for a drink, and then back to the Omni for our final night.
Went back to Balboa Park to look at things when they were open, then up the coast to head to Laguna Beach. So, let's say you're heading up CA-101 from San Diego, you have to get on I-5 N to make it past Camp Pendelton Marine Corps Base... naturally Janine missed the turn off, and we had to pass through a military-ID checkpoint to turn around and get back on it. It's not natural in "of course Janine would miss it", but in "why would I be mentioning it otherwise". In Laguna Beach we looked at the Surf and Sand Hotel (ultimately rejected, but it held in for a couple days, the biggest reason was that the beach access requires stairs, and grandparents might have trouble with that), Casa Laguna Inn and Spa (rejected: wrong side of PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) thus no beach access and probably bad road noise), and Occasions at Laguna Village (rejected: way too cookie cutter). Ate dinner at Tommy Bahama in Newport Beach, where our friendly waitress suggested a hotel; so we ended up at the Doryman's Inn. Walked the pier and down the beach a bit before bed; and found the awesome secret stair entrance in the lobby.
Stayed at Newport Beach for a while, she did sunbathing (and got a mild burn) and I went swimming in the ocean (and got a mild burn). Hotels.com said that we wanted to stay at the Hyatt in Long Beach, so we booked that before continuing our drive up the coast. Stopped off at a Barnes and Noble (unless it was a Borders) for a while, and found that there's now a book "The Bro Code", which was quite amusing. Not remembering what else we did.
Drove up to Malibu to check out Adamson House (rejected: the good places are off-limits, and there's a really ugly fence between the property and the beach to keep surfers out). This may or may not be the day we met another of Janine's friends. It was either Thursday or Wednesday, since I know we were staying at the Hyatt at the time. Tried to extend our stay for the rest of the trip, but there were 2 conventions and a boat show going on we had to make Thursday be our last night.
Checked out of the Hyatt, and went to get hair taken care of. Janine to her favourite stylist, and me to the barber shop down the street from her favourite stylist. Then we drove all the way back down to San Juan Capistrano to meet Stephanie Williams (Stephanie Williams Photography), and went and got our engagement photos taken (3.5 months after the fact, but whatever). Since it took me so long there's now even a preview. We ate at Tommy Bahama again on the way back up to Long Beach, because we were all dressed up and only knew of one place to go :) Since we liked the hotel recommendation we asked for the same waitress again, but she had just gone off-shift. She came by anyways and chatted for a few minutes. Checked in at the Courtyard by Marriott in Long Beach, and we tried to extend it to two nights at the desk (our plan when we booked one night was stay there Friday, and do Boat and Bed Saturday; but when we got back we decided it was just easier to stay in one hotel and do the boat thing on another trip. They seemed to have trouble merging a pre-pay with an extension, and told us that we'd have to do check-out/check-in in the morning. Had one of the worst nights sleep in a while (could hear everything outside, in adjacent rooms, etc), and then worst shower ever (dude, water pressure, where was it?)
Something actually approaching a vacation day. Checked out of the Marriott and went back to Belmont Shores (Long Beach) for lunch and a couples manicure. Having done so we were going to go rollerblading, but got a request to wait until 1; so I indulged Janine and let her wander around into a few clothing shops. When we were supposed to meet for skating we realized we hadn't really eaten in a while, so we got lunch and then set off to meet the first friend of the day. Went to the other end of Long Beach, where we were supposed to do our rendezvous; except the people we were meeting had gotten bored and moved on by then. By the time we actually got around to meeting them we were practically back to where we had eaten lunch. Oh well. Since I didn't plan ahead I got my blisters back; clearly I need some kind of arch support inserts to put in my skates. And since we sunblocked up at noon (when we were originally going to go skating) and were out until 4 we both got mild burns again; mine entirely on the upper arms (went in a sleeveless shirt to get -some- sun to reduce the farmer's tan look). Then we went to meet the final friend at the Irish(-y) bar across the street from the hotel which was appropriately awesome and had cider on tap. Then down the road for dessert, where we had a huge chunk of chocolate cake; split 3 ways we probably managed about a third of it.
Tried to go to Janine's favourite restaurant for lunch, but there was a breast cancer walk (or something) going on, and traffic/parking was destroyed from it; we took a 20 minute trip to park practically back in the hotel parking garage. Instead of getting some onion rings at Islands we went to Game Works and did a couple rounds of DDR, which we both seem to have lost skill and endurance in. And we parked in a chair and cooled down while watching some kid play a dinosaur hunting game. Then off to LGB for an amusing trip through a regional airport, another Excel Towncar ride back, and vacation was over.
Also notable: We've cleared 6 months of exclusive dating. Yeah, feel free to have your "whoa, I forgot you haven't been together all that long" moment... it feels long enough to us :)