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Old 10-13-2009, 11:16 AM   #196
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Sitting on the balcony, drinking part of a 9 dollar pot of coffee (they brought one cup for a 40 oz pot???) using wireless internet while DS watches the DVC ad channel in the room.

Poor little dude...as a "remember me" thing from his illness, he had icky dried out spots at the corners of his mouth, and the go-go-go trip along with not quite enough water (though we're doing pretty well), not quite enough sleep, and too much chocolate milk (he has always gotten slight skin reactions from cow milk)...and it's just awful looking.

We decided to just STOP today. We're checking out and being the parks was just too addictive the other days...hubby and son (and maybe me not sure) are going to go ride Grizzly several times in a row, until they are sopping, then come on back and we'll swim. They've said we can use the pool after checkout, so as long as I plan out the bags correctly it will be good.

If I don't go on GRR, I can use that time to pack, and then we can go shop with birthday fun card and then maybe Lego (don't tell DS yet).


OK that's enough of that. Especially b/c our next door neighbors are on their own balcony, smoking cigarettes and I gotta go inside.
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:19 PM   #197
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How nice to be able to sit on the balcony. I look forward to your trip report. And your take on the hotel.
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Old 10-14-2009, 03:22 PM   #198
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Things that come to mind about the trip....


possibly the furthest away room EVER, and no one knew where the super-secret door out of the GCH was. if we could just have had a trampoline we could have gotten into the room from where Naples is...alas....

painful feet.

fun.

love that funcard.

bad service at Cafe Orleans.

worst flight home we've ever had.




And now we have to get ready to get down to Portland for the Star Wars concert!
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Old 10-14-2009, 05:52 PM   #199
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Enjoy your concert. I look forward to reading your trip report.
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Old 10-15-2009, 03:31 PM   #200
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flight and arrival Saturday!

With my mind still swirling with Star Wars music, and the fun of watching E conduct using his new, small, keychain lightsaber as a baton, and some dizziness from our nosebleed section seats...I will try to think about the trip.

It was a really good trip...just, perhaps, didn't stick in our minds all that well. The days were just SO long, and we kept forgetting what we had done only hours before! Crazy.


So we'll start at the beginning! Robert took the Friday off, b/c he still had the brownie points from working so dang hard on his business trip. While he was there he found out that there had been some weirdness with the travel arrangements of one of his co-workers...at first they thought the co-worker had been sneaky, but it turns out the travel agency the company uses is staffed with apparent idiots who think that putting someone in a hotel in London is acceptable when the business is in Slough...over an hour's train ride each way... Anyway, I booked the hotels for Robert after actual research, we were proactive with the flights, etc etc, and he's very frugal with eating, and works his tushy off...so they love him. Also, a 17 hour, then 19, then 20 (b/c it changed to DST while he was in NZ) hour time difference was difficult but he worked and worked and worked some more.

So he had that Friday off. Alas, it was his post-cabergoline day, and he slept most of the day. He said it was his worst/sleepiest day yet, and we were glad he wasn't trying to work. I only woke him because I knew he'd be upset if he hadn't *chosen* to sleep absolutely all day...he chose to get up.

However, I was very very behind in packing/preparing. So we were up rather late.

And then awake way way too early. But we made it, parked at the chosen lot, shuttled to the airport, checked in to get the cool VA boarding passes. Checked one bag, then got to the gate and they offered to anyone who felt like checking another bag that they'd do it for free, so...what the heck, right?

TSA was wandering around, checking peoples' boarding passes and IDs. Very odd, since anyone in that area had already been checked out. Though I just realized that Seatac isn't having you show your boarding pass as you go through the metal detectors now...you show ID at checkin and to the initial TSA agent, then you can just put it all away as you go through the detectors. So maybe it's a spot-check thing to make sure that's going well?

Anyway, they came through twice...and entirely SKIPPED us altogether, both times. Makes a person feel so safe!


The flight was fine, if bumpy (I hate bumpy but I try to stay brave for E and fellow passengers). Got to LAX baggage area just after the 9:30 bus left. So we took our time and walked from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1, just to be among the first on the bus and as something to do.

Still haven't seen a celebrity there!

Although this was our last trip for a good while, we've decided that when we do start going again, we're not going to LAX. Don't get me wrong, I actually really enjoy the airport. I find it to be hassle-free and simple.

But the wait there is just interminable and annoying, and I think I want to be closer in the future.


I've decided that most Grayline Disneyland Express interviews go like this:

"Hi, I'm applying to be a driver."

"Hello, nice to meet you. Here are our requirements. Are you a decent driver and can you handle heavy suitcases?"

"Yes."

"And are you slightly "off", just a bit more prone to going OFF about silly things that your guests won't care about, and you'll make them just a little bit nervous?"

"Yes."

"You're hired!"



See...instead of "Hello, I'm sorry I'm 3 minutes later than expected...the rules for transport companies involve having to check in with officials, and sometimes it takes longer than expected" and moving on....we got a HUGE rant (half inaudible) about the "corral" where they have to check in, that the LA cops will impound a bus, that they'll impound a car with the drivers in it, etc etc etc, on and on. Further down the terminals, seems someone might have called dispatch because people felt the bus was late, and when we got to that
terminal instead of "Hello, sorry I'm a few minutes late" they got a huge rant about not calling dispatch etc etc.

Frankly, I have my doubts about if it was the guests that called. See, at our terminal where we were waiting, there was a large group of Princess Cruise guests waiting, and the Princess reps were having a FIT about all the Grayline people taking up space on the island. I know for a fact that at least one Princess rep was calling some dispatchy type place to complain, because she needed to get 50 cruise passengers onto the island that us pesky Disneyland people were standing on...


While waiting, we met a woman who is doing casting for some travel show, and she was just going on (pleasantly) about Eamon's "look" and how his hair and face and eyes would really catch the eye of a casting/modeling agent and that we should think about it... It was pretty cool! And she didn't seem to be delusional...

The bus ride itself was pleasant once we got out of the airport. Again it was a plain white bus.

We stopped at DLH first, the ticket/money takers boarded. We hadn't paid anything up front so we just bought round-trip tickets right then, and it was a bargain. Same as we could have gotten from Ares ahead of time, but without the service charge. We got to stay on the same bus (actually, no one on the bus had to switch buses), and they took us to GCH very very next.
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Old 10-15-2009, 05:38 PM   #201
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Glad you had a good time and got there safely and back safely and had a chance to see StarWars! Sounds like you've been going and going! Looking forward to reading more about your adventures!
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Old 10-15-2009, 05:43 PM   #202
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first day

We were dropped off, and it wasn't so bad, pulling up to the GCH in a bus. My silly brain was very silly afterall.

Let me go back in time...we have been using cash as much as possible, and we save all change. We have envelopes for things like "Robert's coffee" and "Molly's money for random stuff", and when we get change back, we keep the change in the envelope to the end of the month, then add it to the change jar. It's been very surprising how much we can NOT spend by doing that.

And the change jar was turned into our tip funds. I *hate* tipping. Even when I was in a tipped position I hated it, because I saw how unfair the cashout policies could be. I worked in a bar/restaurant, and the food servers/barmaids all shared tips with each other and the bartender. The bartender, however, did not share his with anyone. And he got HUGE tips. The barmaids got our own drinks and served them, but he got part of OUR tips. He had NOTHING to do with the food. And so often, even though we'd brought drinks, the customers would go tip the bartender, thinking that he'd had something to do with their service, and we got none of that. Now...we were actually paid normal minimum, not server minimum, and no credit cards were taken at the time b/c the place had no interest in dealing with estimated tips, etc, for the IRS. So that was nice, but the tipout situation was rotten, and I still hate tipping.

But I know it's expected, so we saved for it. And we saved almost exactly the right amount! So getting off the bus was the first of MANY tipping occasions....

Then we went in to store our bags, and another one of those tipping things happened. Sigh. So annoying. But at least it was fully funded in cash and we didn't run out.


We were SO tired. On the flight, E finally fell asleep about 50 minutes before landing. Augh. And of course if he's awake, at least one of us is awake, and since naps are almost impossible for me, guess who that one of us was. So tired.

We got in line to check in, and were helped quickly. Using a debit card, they do a $50 hold. Quite reasonable! Now...that was put on the card Saturday morning, and it's *still* pending...so that's a little annoying, but then for some reason Disney takes a LONG time to get out of pending status and into charge, so it makes sense that it takes a long time to drop off as well.

When he looked at our reservation, he smiled and said "Welcome Home", which is the DVC thing if you're staying "on points" (as we were doing, though not in the villas). Although I think it's ridiculously cheesy, I'll admit that in my exhausted state, it brought a smile to my face. I'm such a goof.

After carefully packing a carryon so that we could go swimming...there were problems:

1. it was on the chilly side
2. it was breezy!
3. we were absolutely wiped out

We made the decision to NOT swim at that time. Just didn't seem safe. I was sad. We did tour the pool area so we could see what we were missing, but we figured we'd be back to swim later on.


So we made our way to WhiteWater Snacks, where Eamon said he only wanted fruit, I decided on a egg salad sandwich, and Robert had a veggie burger.

The veggie burger turned out to be the same vegetable burger that caused the problems during E and my little trip in June, but the adults at the table found it to be quite delish.




Too much flash on the sandwich. It was pretty good. The strawberries were iffy, but then again, it's October, ya know? I wish they'd had wheat bread.



Before we gave in to the lure of the Dasani, we asked for cups for water, and got these. Also shown, the fruit cup that E ate half of.





As with most of our meals, it was somewhere in the vicinity of $20. Always turns out this way, it seems. It was good, and nice to have a proper meal, after waking up at sick-and-wrong in the morning, when no one but Robert is even near hungry.



I wish we could have swam b/c it would have helped E, but the grownups were too tired. I wish we could have napped, but no room yet. So E just posed in one of the ear hats we brought back from home.

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Old 10-15-2009, 09:18 PM   #203
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I'm looking forward to more!! Glad to hear that the Star Wars Concert was fun. I wanted to go to it when it was out here. Could not afford to though.

E does look like he should be in a commercial of some sort. I somehow picture it as a cereal commercial though.
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:04 PM   #204
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The concert was fun. That said...because it was so amplified, it *could* have just been a CD playing while watching parts of the movies...

The one super-cool thing I learned from it was that it's a flute that makes this crazy noise that I personally haven't heard in a movie, but have heard in youtube videos when I searched "star wars rap". It's like a tweeting twiddling crazy crazy noise and I had NO idea how it was made, and since I was a flautist in my youth, I was astonished and impressed to see that it's made with a flute!

Oh, and E has a really strong musical sense. No perfect pitch, and he's not going to start writing his own music, but he really really really gets into the music.

But really, it *could* have just been a loud CD...I think seeing it in a smaller venue where it didn't have to be amplified would have been *far* more impressive.

People did get VERY into it...I shouldn't have been surprised, and yet I was.
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Old 10-16-2009, 08:41 AM   #205
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Oohhhh!! A trip report!

Subscribing.

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Old 10-16-2009, 09:19 AM   #206
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Oh, and E has a really strong musical sense. No perfect pitch, and he's not going to start writing his own music, but he really really really gets into the music.
I love to see a kid enjoy music! Actually, I am very impressed with anyone with musical talent. My oldest plays trumpet and is in Jazz Band this year. It is his 3rd year, and while the journey has not always been easy, he is sounding pretty good now. A funny story about Nathan. I was taking him to Andrew's trumpet lesson, and when Andrew transitioned into practicing Jazz with a CD, Nathan started practicing with his mouth (there is a specific term, but I can't remember it) and he was darn good at it. Right on beat and in tune. The teacher paid him so much attention about it that I had to stop bringing him to the lesson as it drove his brother crazy. DooWhap DooWhap

On another note (pun intended)...you are totally kicking my but in the trip report department. I have been insanely busy since returning, but today, after I finish two real reports for work, I am going to put in a session on my TR before heading off to the audiologists to get a new pair of hearing aids for number son number one that come with some high tech devise that can send sound to his ears via blue tooth techonology, like the TV or even his ipod, and maybe the FM system, and then it is off to The Flying Pig for dinner and The Silvertips hockey game. Wow, that was a lot more info than you needed, but I guess I am just making excuses
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:41 AM   #207
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No need for excuses or guilt. I'm fairly certain that anyone with more than 1 kid, who has a paying job (which I think you do, yes), is allowed to be slower than, well, me.

Though even I will be away for a good part of the day, as I'm finally crying "uncle" and taking E up to Bastyr. (for those not in the area it's a naturopathic college with a clinic...it's as close to the urgent care as I'm going to get unless symptoms were to get a whole lot worse than just nagging continued nonsense and lips that look like the Joker, LOL)

Gotta go get sleepyhead up and dressed; why did I make a 10:30 appointment up in Seattle? E and I sleep late around here!
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Old 10-16-2009, 03:45 PM   #208
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No need for excuses or guilt. I'm fairly certain that anyone with more than 1 kid, who has a paying job (which I think you do, yes), is allowed to be slower than, well, me.

Though even I will be away for a good part of the day, as I'm finally crying "uncle" and taking E up to Bastyr. (for those not in the area it's a naturopathic college with a clinic...it's as close to the urgent care as I'm going to get unless symptoms were to get a whole lot worse than just nagging continued nonsense and lips that look like the Joker, LOL)

Gotta go get sleepyhead up and dressed; why did I make a 10:30 appointment up in Seattle? E and I sleep late around here!
Oh, see, I knew I could count on you to go easy on me. You are too nice. Bastyr is nearly to my house! If it wasn't for that darn paying job, etc.. we could have had a play. Well, the rain does also put a damper on that, but they do have that really great play area at St Edwards there.

I have made a start on my TR and will post it soon!
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Old 10-17-2009, 08:11 PM   #209
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...Nathan started practicing with his mouth (there is a specific term, but I can't remember it) and he was darn good at it. Right on beat and in tune. The teacher paid him so much attention about it that I had to stop bringing him to the lesson as it drove his brother crazy. DooWhap DooWhap
Yay for Nathan! And your poor older boy, having N do that. My brother has always been SO much more talented than I am in almost every way, and it is indeed maddening.



The appointment went well, and they have him taking a wellness formula (which is, annoyingly, almost the exact same thing I'd bought at Fred Meyer) and this amazing lip balm that has taken him from The Joker type lips to just one little blob of extra redness and some peeling skin inside of 36 hours. WOW. Poor dude, though, we also had to go to a lab for them to get some blood for a CBC, just to see if there's some big infection going on; they also took a swab to culture. We'll go back on Friday for a followup, see how he's doing and if anything showed up as positive and if he needs anything else.

There was one thing that happened during the trip that has caused my extreme concern over his lips, and from discussion of that reason, I learned that salt water can kill staph in the mouth! How awesome is THAT?

UW Med Center's lab on Roosevelt has Lana the amazing blood-getter...she was incredible. How I wish it had been her taking E's blood when he was a day old...for some unfathomable reason, on his 1st day earthside they sent someone up from the lab to take blood for the PKU test, but instead of a heel stick or slice, they actually used a needle and drew two vials of blood...we could not get an answer as to WHY she was doing this, she didn't let us hold him so he just screamed in the bassinet thing (it was the ONLY time he was in that thing) while she did it...there was never any extra tests in his records or in the itemized bill I had sent...so we still don't know WHY they did that to a one day old baby... Lana couldn't figure it out why (I was having some PTSD that we had to talk about really quickly so they knew they might need to help ME as well as him) either...no one has ever been able to explain/understand why they did it that way...not even my stepmom, a NICU nurse.

Anyway, Lana was much much better than that. Plus, he got a sticky lizard, a paddleball thing, and a yoyo that lights up after they drew his blood.

And then we got stuck in the Land of Traffic Jams. From the moment we got back on 5 from the 45th exit area until we got home, there were four of them. At one point we hadn't even moved for something like 10 minutes on the freeway...that one turned out to be a car fire, yikes. The jam before it was b/c a car had just stopped in the middle lane south of Southcenter. Just an awful day to drive!!!


All the while, Robert got to spend the day in Canada with co-workers, and they got back so late he just took the rental car home then had to wake up at 6am to take it back inside of 24 hours. Poor dude. Then again, he didn't have to deal with the blood draw, so I think we both had bad days in different ways, as did E (since he was the one stuck with the needle).


Before I move on in the report, I need to reconcile the expenditures. I think it's really important to do that for future trips (not that one will be taken by the family for a year or so), so that we can more appropriately save for each portion of the trip.
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Old 10-18-2009, 12:17 AM   #210
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Oh man, and I thought you were really going to tell us how much you spent on water. I swear I spent a fortune too! Makes me crazy, but it was pretty warm and hydration is so important. By the way, when I eat at WWS, I just take a bit soda glass and fill it full of ice water and leave the lid off, and they never charge me
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