Coming back from vacation is always difficult. My vacations usually involve a million moving parts – juggling the children and the microclimates of their emotional meltdowns, or making sure that at all times there are snacks and that not one member of my family suffer even a single second of a tiny pang of hunger. And since my relatives live in really inconvenient parts of California, it usually means that there is a lot of time spent inside the car, breeding contemptuous familiarity.

This vacation was nothing like that. The kids had electronic devices, I forked over the $10 extra to activate Hawaiian Airlines Keiki TV, and I had a purse full of Cliff Bars and bubble gum. This flight was going to be freaking relaxing or else. I ordered a double Bloody Mary, put my seat in the backest of back positions, and I took a nap. I TOOK A NAP. We landed in Honolulu and everything went smoothly. In fact, the entire vacation went smoothly. I slept in, I rolled out of bed onto the beach, I lollygagged, shopped, went for drives, paddleboarded, visited the family farm, ate a ton of raw fish chunks and fresh eggs, drank cappuccinos every morning, got a flaming-hot Cheeto sunburn, sacrificed a day to the god of piña colada hangovers, and just generally wiled away the days like a lady of leisure.

And all the while, my little beach bums were entertained, minimally demanding, and only minutely annoying. In fact, I actually fell in love with my family all over again; shepherding my little swimmers around Haunauma Bay, showing them how to clear their masks and “snorkelers” as they point out tropical fish, all while I witness the world blowing their minds. Is that not the best family vacation anybody could ask for? I didn’t even give 100 rips about work for once. I didn’t worry that Nolan would somehow take over the paper and start forcing everybody to listen to his terrible hipster music. Best vacation ever! Big thank you to Nolan for covering for me and to Matt’s family for pampering us within an inch of our lives, and to the island of Oahu for just existing so gloriously. Now that I’m back, I’m pretty much spending all day messing around with my peeling sunburn and scheming up ways to get back to Hawaii.

I hope you enjoy this April 1st edition of the Synthesis as we delve into City Council shenanigans, present you with part two of our ongoing original fantasy series by Justin Ferrin, and Nolan jumps inside the collective nugget of Surrogate. As Nolan would say, this issue is legit.

Sara makes the words happen.