So, at pretty much the very last month of the year, my better half decided that a trip would be required to end the year with a bang! After a few days of frantic scouring of travel sites, an itinerary was procured for the entire family, grandparents included. We would basically be flying out right after Christmas and spend 3 days in San Diego and 3 days in LA with an extra day capping both ends lost to travel time. This was not exactly the best laid of plans. To begin with, airfare is astronomical around that time of the year. Even more so when you're booking less than a month out. =p And it turned out to be pretty much the most annoyingly eventful "vacation" I've ever been on. What happened? I will proceed from the beginning and start with the bad stuff:
First off, this would be Cailyn's first plane ride ever. Taking a 6 month old on a plane is always a crap shoot. I think we were feeling particularly brave because Devon had been so good with flying. Then again, he was also twice Cailyn's age for his first flight. Unfortunately luck was not with us this time, mainly due to some of her current idiosyncrasies. At this point in her life she prefers being held (or carried). On top of that, she prefers the person holding her to be standing so she has a better view of everything. On top of that, she by far prefers her mother to be the one doing the holding. And on top of all that, she has literally no middle ground between happy and wailing banshee. Oh and she was suffering from a sinus infection caught during our trip to the Great Wolf Lodge water park right before Christmas so was still on a daily antibiotic regimen. And to add further drama, we caught her at a cranky period where she desperately wanted to nap but was unable to do so due to all the movement, new environment, illness, etc. Suffice to say, the first half of the departing flight was no picnic. Luckily the second half was more manageable and less mortifying.
Now, due to the lack of sufficiently sized rental car inventory at San Diego airport, we flew in to LAX even though our first 3 days would be spent in San Diego. So after driving down to SD, we were all pretty beat and everyone pretty much hit the sack soon upon arrival at our hotel. Only to be woken up an hour or so later by Erin screaming about bed bugs. That's right,bed bugs. And she wasn't kidding either. I flipped over the pillows on her bed and then mine to find bugs of varying sizes on both. Plus the three Erin had squashed before waking me up. I called down to guest services and they told us we'd be moving to another room asap. Luckily Devon, Cailyn and I weren't bit and Erin only had a few bites. Unfortunately, we had to leave pretty much all our luggage in the infested room because they were going to lock it down immediately. So with pretty much just us in our jammies, the only thing I brought to the new room was my jeans, my computer/photo bag (no way in hell was I leaving that there), and the next day's clothes for the kids. Everything else we had to leave. So we were pretty much without our luggage and clothes for a bit over a day. I'll come back to the resolution of this particular episode later on.
Next, while we were in LA, we dropped by Little Tokyo for what was supposed to be a brief "so this is Little Tokyo" sightseeing stop. We wound up parking in this small underground lot that was super busy because of ongoing New Year's festivities. It was half-self park, half-assisted parking. Because the lot was small and the owners wanted more business than they had parking spaces, people were allowed to park in front of the marked parking spaces as well. So basically if you actually found a space to park, you were fine. If you parked in front of one of the marked parking spaces, you had to leave your keys with the attendant in case they needed to move your car when the owner of the car in the marked space wanted to leave. Luckily, we parked in a marked space. Unluckily, the fool who parked in front of us gave the attendant his garage door opener instead of his key fob. Harvard Alumni (license plate frame) my ass. =p Which of course was not realized until we had come back and wanted to leave. After wasting an hour or so trying to figure out what to do and having a "If you're the owner of a black BMW..." announcement made at the New Year's festivities happening outside, I took it upon myself to rummage through the contents of the car's center storage console and interior door storage. Found the owner's checkbook and..... an one month old AT&T wireless revised service receipt. From the receipt, we were able to figure out the owner's cell phone #. My cousin's husband managed to call the owner from the depths of the parking garage (I had no bars on my phone, stupid AT&T. Cousin's hubby's phone was on T-Mobile. =p) and after arguing with him for a few minutes ("I left my keys w/the parking attendant." "No, you didn't." "Yes, I did." "No, you didn't." etc.), he finally realized his mistake and said it'd take him 20 minutes to get back to the lot. WTF, who parks that far away from wherever it is you're going? *sigh* So anyway, thanks to this bonehead we had to scratch our next stop at the planetarium for a nice view of the "Hollywood" sign. =p
And finally, to top things off, Continental lost a piece of our luggage on the flight back. To this day it still hasn't been found. And they only had ONE PERSON working the baggage service counter that night so I had to pay our car service extra for waiting around an hour and a half for us to get everything squared away.
However, despite all the crap that happened, it wasn't all bad. Upon initial arrival in LA, I was able to upgrade our rental car from a 7-passenger SUV to a minivan at the counter which was much better as I was worried that we wouldn't be able to fit all our luggage in an SUV. Wasn't able to reserve a minivan online as it was "sold out" since forever. And we must've made the drive down to SD in record time: about an hour and 50 minutes. People were telling me closer to 3 hours was more the norm for that trip.
For the hotel fiasco, initially when I reported the bugs, they said they'd be moving us to a new room and oh, "here's some coupons for complimentary breakfast on us for tomorrow." Erin was having none of that so after calling for the manager the next morning and airing our grievances, we wound up staying there the 3 nights for free. So yeah, 2 rooms 3 nights for free. Plus they had given us 4 breakfast coupons which I gave to my parents so they had free breakfast for 2 days. And they let us have an in-room breakfast (spherical pancakes, yum!) for free as well. And they gave us free reign to buy new clothes and baby supplies for the one day when our luggage was quarantined, up to $500. We clocked in at almost $490. =p I was the loser of that deal as I just picked up a cheapo t-shirt and light jacket at Target while Erin went to town at Nordstrom and Macy's for herself and the kids. =p And we had all our clothes dry cleaned for free. And free valet parking during our stay. Plus we didn't let it screw up our plans too much as we spent a full afternoon at the San Diego Zoo after getting our shopping done. ;-p My parents said that the next day they saw two big, burly guys basically dismantling the room so I guess there really was an issue and not us just blowing things out of proportion. =p
Was also finally able to try out In & Out. Verdict: not bad. Cheap and thinnest hamburger patties I've ever seen but fresh and good. Also, I was surprised at how they're pretty much everywhere in the LA/SD area. I think I saw more of them than I did McDonald's. Also stopped by a Jack in the Box for my usual sourdough jack. ;-) And bubble tea almost every day while in the LA area. My cousin's house is within short driving distance from FIVE bubble tea places. So damn awesome. =) Oh, and lest I forget, Din Tai Fung!!! =) The wait for that was ridiculous but oh so worth it. =)
As for the parking incident, suffice to say, we didn't have to pay for parking. =p We were also nice enough not to key the offending car before leaving. ;-p
And the flight back with Cailyn was better. Not without her moments but still, better. Plus there were three other families with little ones on the same flight so if you weren't paying attention you couldn't really tell which baby was currently causing the ruckus. ;-p
And the luggage that Continental lost? It was just Cailyn's stroller so not a huge deal. Plus I assume we'll be compensated for it if they never find it.
But still, all in all I've never had more unlucky occurrences happen in one period of time than what happened during this trip. Luckily it didn't completely ruin our trip but it did make things more stressful than one would normally like for a vacation. =p I can't say I regret going on the trip as we did manage to see everything we originally wanted to see and it was great to stay with my cousin and finally meet her family and have Devon play with his cousins for a few days. Special thanks to them for being the best hosts that we could possibly hope for. =) Beats spending his winter vacation at home that's for sure. I just hope this doesn't happen every time though. ;-p Anyway, photos currently being sorted/processed so will be up in the usual places when I get around to 'em. =)