When I tell people I am spending my vacation in El Paso with my in-laws, I get pitying looks. Is it the "El Paso" or the "in-laws" that draws such sympathy? Let me speak in defense of both. Coming here (where I am as I write this) is relaxing, in some way more relaxing than all but the most tranquil, lie-around-and-do-nothing beach vacation (the kind we don't go on because we like to do things). There are no sights we have to hustle to see (just some family to visit). There are no fancy restaurants to get into (just various local cuisine to sample, much of it made by Grandma herself). And unlike being at home, there are no house projects, no laundry, no busy social life. Just a swimming pool and plenty of free time.

Oh, and I like my in-laws. They are fabulous hosts. They love my children. They appreciate me. They are thrilled we are here. And did I mention the swimming pool?