L.A. Looks Better All the Time


We were so excited for our little July 4 getaway in Ojai this weekend (can’t you just hear the ominous undertones?). As usual, we packed Beverly Hillbillies style, our truck bed piled high with bikes and backpacks and dog beds and clothes and food and music equipment. And if that weren’t enough, we brought along Tariku’s two aunties and their dog and bikes and backpacks etc etc.

We arrive after driving through nearly three hours of holiday traffic– four adults, two trucks, three dogs and one toddler who had just had an unfortunate poop explosion– to find that our favorite little inn had lost our reservation. Not only that, the desk clerk looked me in the eye and snottily said, “I suggest you call ahead next time. If the computer reservation system doesn’t work, it’s not our fault.”

Friends, I lost it. Scott later confirmed that in the eight years we’ve been together, he has never seen me blow my stack like that. I used language that I hope my son never has to hear out of my mouth again. I was so furious that my whole body was shaking.

The thing is, I’ve had a date with a massive meltdown for a few weeks now. I had exactly three days of transition time between a mad book tour and the mad final revisions for my next book. I haven’t had enough time with my family; I haven’t had enough time to properly care for myself; I haven’t been getting enough sleep. I’m having hair trigger migraines that fell me in minutes. I’d say that my breakdown in Ojai is a red flag letting me know that I need to actively seek a better balance in my life.

I was able to sponge off Tariku on the lawn and then find us a couple of rooms for the night at a motel where the health department had shut down the pool, the floors were so dirty that the bottoms of our feet were black, and the continental breakfast was made up of three jelly donuts individually wrapped in cellophane. And when I tried to take advantage of the jacuzzi that was next to the bed, I apparently did something wrong, because the jets shot epic blasts of water clear across the room, completely soaking the comforter and traumatizing my son. He was crying and screaming, “FOUNTAIN! SCARY!”

Then, to ice the cake, the July 4 parade we had come to see was actually held on July 3 this year (no parades on Sundays in Ojai apparently), so we missed it. It didn’t seem worth it to stay another night, so we turned around and went home. We got back in time to eat a few Dorito crumbs left over at our neighbor’s party.

How did my life turn into an eighties movie starring Chevy Chase? And Scott is really curious to know when the Christie Brinkley part happens…


On Monday, I decided to have a vacation day at home instead. I turned off the iPhone and partied with T-bone all day long, first at Griffith Park and then at the Santa Monica Airport. Check out my brave cowboy on his first pony ride.


The truth is, all those romantic getaways that seem blissful in retrospect were overshadowed for years by how badly we wanted a family. Now we have one, and I guess that with a family comes a much higher probability of disastrous vacations.

I’ll take it.


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5 thoughts on “L.A. Looks Better All the Time

  1. Oh, Jillian, that sounds horrible. Yes, you need to take care of yourself. You need a spa day. Or a spa week. Hell, why not take an entire month and go to Hawaii (with a babysitter, of course)?!

    If Mama ain’t happy….

  2. Oh no! Spa day for sure (or whatever your version of a pony ride is). Great story though and your son has the best line, FOUNTAIN! SCARY!

  3. although a train wreck of a family vacay…you make it one funny story to read! thanks for making me laugh this morning…SO needed! xo

  4. Great pics though. Especially the one of T on the pony. We wrestle between feeling like fuddy-duds nowadays by staying home and playing it safe OR being adventurous and then potentially setting ourselves up for a disaster (or near disaster as case may be). It’s a balancing act for sure. Especially since the kiddos at this age don’t care where they are necessarily- they’re just as happy looking at gravel or dead bugs as they are going somewhere “fun”. 🙂

  5. Whoa. I would have lost it too- whether I was overdo for a meltdown or not!! T-chan (‘chan’ is an affectionate term for kids in Japanese!) is probably scared off of bedroom jacuzzis forever now….not necessarily a bad thing, right?! That desk clerk sounds downright evil and should have started helping you find something comparable in the area. Hope the rogue jacuzzi jet nails her in the face one day.

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