Palm Springs, mid century architecture and Canadian speed bumps

Trigger alert: racism, agism, whining and anti-Canadianism follows.

What combines golf carts, snow capped mountains and Asian Hipster weddings?

Palm Springs of course.

My well cultivated stereotype cast Palm Springs as the place where aging jews and fabulous gays came together in Alexander houses for cocktails. They would toast with vintage glassware while floating beside reflection of mountains and palms in crystal clear pools. As it turns out that is only part of the picture.

Palm Springs has been one of my core Zillow searches for years, and I always imagined Steve and I would split our time between Palm Springs and Vermont once the boys had left the house. These communities are a natural pairing if there ever was one. As it turns out Palm Springs is still in California just as Austin is still in Texas. There are overly wide roads and unwalkable neighborhoods. Despite perfect weather and scenery it didn’t feel like a vacation spot. Or a vacation. This was partly our fault we brought the dog. I also shoehorned 17 houses viewings into 8 hours. More on that later.

We stayed at the Ace hotel. It has incredible French fries and easy to follow steps to shower. It has late night pool parties and a series of Asian hipster weddings.

Our room featured  a patio with a soaring canvas shelter and built in banquets large enough to use as kid mattresses (which we did.) In the corner sat a potted palm large enough for the dog to be placed in to pee. After I got over worrying about palm death I found it  pretty entertaining.

When we arrived the vintage vinyl was propped on the floor and our small dog was easily able to demonstrate his racism by barking his tiny head off at the lovely lady who was in the front of the pile. In case you were wondering the dog lost the staring contest.

The Ace features excellent fish tacos that you can eat in your room, on your patio, and in the pool. Not beside the pool. In the pool. If you bring your small shivering dog to sit by the hot tub a nice staff member will ply him with water and treats for him to ignore. The lifeguard will then invite the dog to join your boys in the pool. Even though that got him closer to the fish tacos the dog did not thing that  was an excellent idea. He ended up clawing his way to safety looking even more like a wet wingless bat than usual. Watching him struggle is possibly more entertaining than trapping the dog in the potted patio palm. Its close though.

While my family was alternatively enjoying and not enjoying the pool and unanimously enjoying french fries I was having my mind blown by midcentury architecture and furniture. It was so incredible that I actually stopped talking.

My house tour was led by Ty and Todd. They seemed inured to the spectacle of mid century architecture that surrounded them. In fact the two were unflappable. Incorrect entry codes, yapping dogs, and late listing agents left them as pristine as their perfectly pressed shirts. The only thing that made them mad? Canadians.

Zooming at 55 down 6 lane highways that connected tiny charming neighborhoods they complained loudly about ever having to tap on the brakes. Each time a car slowed one or the other of them would mutter “Damn Canadians.” In a land of retirees I wondered how they knew that the lead feet came from our northern neighbors but they seemed convinced. So I took their word for it.

That night the family (including dog) went “downtown” for dinner. The weather was of course perfect and we found an outdoor patio that accepted us and our pooch. Beloved by retirees and gay men alike small dogs abound in Palm Springs.  That is until we met Brutus, or Butch, or whatever his big name was.  No joke our dog was the size of his nose. Which twitched with the possibility of a snack as we held them close for a greeting.  In the photo you can sort of see Apollo sporting his faux burberry halter. We snagged that beauty at the local small dog shop. It was tough to find amongst the bling of the bedazzled collars and sweaters (the only beasts who wear sweaters in Palm Springs are dogs like ours who pretty much shiver in any climate and should not technically exist.) I’m pretty sure he hated it as much as the pool, but we wrestled it onto him nonetheless. After our big night of dinner, dog shopping, and dog sniffing we decided to look for some ice cream. Just as we crossed the street there was the blaring of horns and screeching of brakes.

Looking over at the near accident I muttered without thought: “damn Canadians.” We might not be destined to live in Palm Springs, but at least I learned how to talk like a local.


Published by

Anna Palmer

Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble,, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at

15 thoughts on “Palm Springs, mid century architecture and Canadian speed bumps”

  1. Palm Springs is in the desert. You really have to like the desert to live there. I need oceans and or Sierra Nevadas with pine trees. My (yes gay) brother and partner lived there for a year but moved back to San Diego as fast as they could. I spent three days in PS for a conference there. It was nice, I liked the Thursday street fair. I think it’s a nice place to visit. Your dog looks like he had a great time, too!

  2. True story. I’m sitting in a public Fair Hearing court right now, on behalf of the company, in a very run down building. Like all good Public buildings should be. Reading about Palm Springs.
    And for that I thank you.

  3. Oh, oh, OH! Gorgeous clean sunny houses and pools! God I love America (well THAT America anyway). Ok well, I have only ever been to New York state (whispers, Buffalo). Yes really! Well I would have gone anywhere to see The Stones and Buffalo it was. I love your little dog by the way and lovely to hear about your trip and see those beautiful places. It is dark, cold and raining here in England but better days are a comin’!

  4. Hey… wait a minute. Not sure WHICH Canadians are hanging out in Palm Springs but I assure you, it’s not any one from Toronto. We drive fast here, or at least I do. Or, quite possible they think the road signs say 55 kilometres/hour which is a measly 34 miles/hour for those of you still using imperial measurements.
    Just tell them to drive faster or tailgate, that’s what I’d do 🙂

  5. Haha, I had a roommate once that loved to hate on the Canadians, and enjoyed blaming them for everything. Mostly because when we were kid and a Canadian classmate had a lost a bet to him, he in turn paid him in only Canadian Currency, and being in Texas that was not anything that would be to any use of to him…a bag of pesos would have been less an insult. 😉

  6. Apollo? His name is Apollo? I don’t think I can cope with that. Although I do have a 900kg-nearly-a-ton horse called Rosie. So we are quits. As for Palm Springs, I now know 100% more about it than I did before.

  7. Loved this post – made me laugh at the dog scenarios. And can relate to the phrase, “Damn Canadians” which we use as a term of endearment living on the border and practically being part of the country. 🙂

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