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2005 Los Angeles vacation, day 1.

Thanks to the airline's web check-in, we checked our luggage and got printed boarding passes curbside. While Vogon parked the car and returned on the shuttle, Laurel and I went through security and found seats at our gate. Laurel spent most of the wait coloring in one of the coloring books I packed in her carry-on, but gets up once to shout "That's Brett!" at a boy that looks like one of her friends and again to look closely at another traveler's portable DVD player. When Vogon rejoined us, he said he felt a bit jumpy preflight, so he went walking and checked in periodically until it's time to board, stopping by once to share a copy of Discover he bought and again to ask if we want anything to eat.

We talked briefly with Wade, the traveler with the DVD player. He was recharging it after standing in lines all day. His flight was canceled due to aircraft problems and he said he was re-booked to our flight and a connection to his original destination instead of spending the night like other travelers on the cancelled flight because he had a first-class upgrade. We wished him good luck getting home, but I should have taken it as foreshadowing for our own return home.

We board with some delicious-smelling barbecue sandwiches and Laurel and I shared a turkey sandwich with the aforementioned hickory barbecue sauce, which Vogon later wipes off my face with a comment that it must have been good for me. Laurel ate a packet of fruit snacks after takeoff and spent most of the flight drawing and writing strings of letters in a wide-ruled notebook she declares her favorite new coloring book, periodically asking "When are we going down?"

After landing at Phoenix Sky Harbor, we had an hour to wait before boarding our connecting flight, so we go in search of snacks. Most of the food vendors appear to be near closing, so we got in line at one and waited ten minutes to order only to find out they were out of both of the decent-sounding pretzels. We headed off in search of other food vendors after passing on that and spent most of the time riding the moving sidewalks, where I observed that the "no wheelchair" symbol at the ends look like "no upright vacuums" to me.

Almost every food vendor is closing or has closed as we found them, so I pulled out my phone and called people. Laurel spends a few minutes talking to Mom. I called lil_sass and talk briefly with her husband, jimcasso. I told Vogon that the Starbucks being closed was a sign that There Is No God. While falling behind Vogon and Laurel on one of the moving sidewalks, I watched a kid wearing a Burger King crown on the moving sidewalk heading in the opposite direction be ill just as he's spit off the end of the sidewalk and wail "I tried to hold it!", which I find rather amusing. Luckily there's a lady with a housekeeping cart heading in their direction, so it's been cleaned up by the time we return that way.

We finally found a late-closing food court and Vogon got in line while I took Laurel to the bathroom after she announced She Has To Go Now. We returned to find Burger King closed in the interim, but Vogon got an enormous cup of soup and a Coke from California Pizza Kitchen.

Laurel fell asleep shortly after we took our seats and I stuff her stuffed frog against the armrest to cushion her head during the flight. She slept until after landing and when the lady sitting behind her stood up to deplane, she said "I didn't know I was sitting behind a child!". I took that as a compliment since the kids sitting behind me and Laurel on our first flight were kickers.

As we went off in search of our baggage claim carousel at Ontario, my older sister called and I told her the gate number we came in on. A sleepy Laurel got excited by the Disneyland banners and music clips played over the PA, then fussy as we find our carousel and encourage her to sit on her carseat once we retrieve it. My sister and I talk on the phone again and she said since she can't see us, she's going to yell. I felt embarrassed, then confused because I didn't hear her. She called again a few minutes later to say they were in the wrong terminal and asked if we were ready to load the car once she pulled up.

We were still waiting on some of our luggage when they arrived, so my younger sister and cousin came in to help us take our luggage outside. While my older sister was setting up Laurel's carseat, an airport employee told her she can't park there and to move the car. She replied, "I'm waiting for the kid that goes in the carseat!" and they leave her alone.

It's about a half-hour drive to Grandma's from the airport and Vogon nodded off while my sisters fill me in on their road trip down, telling me about things like how hot it was in Baker, CA earlier that day (118) and they didn't wake Dad up so he could take a picture of Sarah in the giant rocking chair [note to self: update later with more info or the photo of Dad in it taken a few years ago].

We got in well after 2300 and I was surprised that most of my cousin's kids (ages 8-14) are still awake. We greeted everyone, found out where we're sleeping (not where I was expecting) and assure everyone we'll eat in the morning. Laurel wanted to share a bed with her aunt Sarah and she agrees, so we gave her a pair of Laurel's pajamas and went to sleep ourselves.

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oddharmonic
Melissa, starry-eyed soy-lovin' Expatriated Zulu

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