Since our little nugget was in camp last week, my husband and I decided to get away on our own for a couple of days. The location was kept under wraps, as he wanted to surprise me. I'm a lover of all things ocean, so I had an inkling that whatever it was, it was going to be water adjacent. I was correct. Or he's predictable. Or a combination of the two. What I didn't expect, however, was The Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel, California.
|The lobby. This is one of two insane flower arrangements.|
|My husband and I played a little game called "How much does The Ritz spend on fresh flowers every day?" every time we walked down the hall to and from our room. There was a bundle like this every few feet.|
As much as l'd like to say, "Oh, yeah...we always stay at The Ritz! We wipe with gold-flecked TP and bathe in Dom Pérignon and hydrate with only the finest sparkling water and...", I'd be lying. We are more Holiday Inn Express folks. They have amazing mattresses and warm cinnamon buns in the morning. I wouldn't mind being a Ritz-ite, but alas. Actually, I'm not sure I'd ever feel comfortable throwing that much money around, no matter how much I had at my disposal. Perhaps some day I'll have the chance to find out.
|Even their fire hydrants are fancy! I stayed there so I must be fancy, too!|
Although we didn't shell out $500+ for our room, it was fun to live like someone who did, if only for a night. I did not, however, partake in $15 hamburgers or a $200 bikini wax. Instead, my husband and I took the free trolley to Laguna Beach and behaved like mere mortals. We ate at local restaurants that used (gasp!) paper napkins and served their mojitos strong and in mason jars.
|This pomegranate mojito was no joke. I grew chest hair. My husband finished the last few sips or I would have been toe-up.|
That's more "us" than turndown service. We like immersing ourselves in the local culture and take great interest in finding the highest rated breakfast joint on Yelp. This is not to say that The Ritz didn't rock my world. It did. Despite being out of character for us, I really appreciated what it tries to do. Motel 6 couldn't have offered this:
|If my gym had this view, I might actually work out every day.|
This stay at the The Ritz gifted me with three things: An amazing time with my husband; a reminder as to why we work so hard; and the motivation to accomplish my long-term goals. Geez, maybe it is worth its weight in gold fire hydrants. I got to feel fancy with my husband and remember why he's the only gent for me. The time we have spent apart or living in places that are not of our choosing will be worth it if we ensure it is building a brighter future for our family. I've been studying my bum off for the last few years so that we can have the life we desire. I want to leave work everyday feeling fulfilled. I want to have the house of my dreams in the town of my choosing. I want to stay at The Ritz and reconnect with my husband. Maybe not on a regular basis...I'm a Biology major, not Bill Gates. We won't ever be in the 1%, nor do we want to be. We simply want each other and to live life on our own terms.
This was a trip I will remember forever. But not because it was spent at some fancy schmancy hotel. That was just a bonus. It was the time spent with my husband that made it so memorable. Perhaps for the first time in our marriage, we were totally free to just experience the entity that is us, without the constraints that come with being a parent, student, or employee. It was freeing in so many ways. A renewed sense of excitement for the future was also a happy result of this little side trip. As we were driving back down to San Diego, my husband said to me, "This showed me how compatible we really are. Sometimes when we are home and arguing about little things I wonder 'Can we do this forever?'" He was right. I've felt the same way. Are we going to argue about the same silly shiz for the next fifty years? Am I ever not going to be annoyed by the way he loads the dishwasher? Our marriage is solid, but we often get caught up in the minutiae and daily frustrations and forget to appreciate what we love about each other. In just a few short years it will be just the two of us for the first time. Spending two days as a couple reignited the spark between us. We have fun! We make each other laugh! My husband is a hottie! I knew those things, but neglected to acknowledge them as often as I should.