Friday, March 7, 2008

Universal Studios

I awoke at 3AM, my anxiety beginning to build. I knew that the flight would be leaving in a couple of hours and wondered just how well I would go with it. My daughter and I were flying to LA and going to Universal Studios. I had been given the tickets to the park and Trinity works for the airlines so the only cost would be the rented car, gas, and food.

I nibbled on one of my magic pills and tried to relax and clear my head but the anxiety just grew. I heard Trin's shower come on and waited till it stopped to get up and start my own shower hoping that the warm water would cure the fear that was growing inside of me.

After the shower, we said our goodbyes to Judy and off we went. We arrived at the airport and chatted with some friends who were heading down to Disneyland. As the flight got closer, my anxiety began to grow again. I took another nibble and Trin and I went for a walk in the cold morning air to try and clear my head. Returning to the terminal we quickly went through security and sat waiting for the flight. We sat in the back of the room and I took another nibble as I watched people begin to board. Trin asked if I wanted to go back home and I said "No" and we stood up and boarded the plane as the last two on.

I watched as the door closed and felt the vibration of the engines as they fired up and the plane began to taxi. I knew it was my now or never time and did my best to just relax and enjoy the ride. After take off, Trin pulled out her laptop and we tried to watch a movie but the head phone splitter malfunctioned so I told her to go ahead and I would just listen to my MP3 player. My anxiety grew so I took another nibble and tried to concentrate on the music. I dosed off for a few minutes and when I awoke I felt pretty good. Trin's movie finished and we talked as the plane made it's final approach. The anxiety behind me, the excitement begin to grow as the plane landed and taxied. We called Judy and Trin took our picture as I talked to Judy on the phone.

We followed the instructions on the computer sheet from the car rental company and before we knew it, I was behind the wheel of a brand new Dodge Charger and heading out towards I-405. We creeped along the 405 in the right lane going from 10 to 20 MPH. I looked over in the fast lane and spied one of those car pool lanes that was traveling pretty well. I told Trin that I was going to try for that lane. Putting on my left turn signal, I quickly realized the basic difference between Bend drivers and LA drivers. No one was going to let me in. I rolled down my window and stuck out my arm hoping that someone would be courteous enough to allow me over. That was a mistake as it seemed to give them a target. The game was who could come closer to the idiots hand.

Giving up, I rolled up my window and took my breaks when they came up. Fifteen minutes or so later, I was in the lane and traveling at a pretty good pace. The only problem came when a couple of miles down the road, the car pool lane ended and I was back in the bumper to bumper again but this time in the left lane knowing that I would have to be in the right lane when I arrived at the 101. I arrived over in the right lane just in time to make the turnoff and we pulled into Universal five minutes before the park opened.

As we walked into the park, Trin let me know that she was hungry so we stopped at the first restaurant. I spied a sign that talked about an all you can eat pass. We enquired and found that the pass was $20, good for three restaurants, and if we signed up there, we could get a free breakfast. We got our armbands and sat outside eating a breakfast burrito and figuring our first move.

Most of the rides and attractions were to start at 10:30 so we decided that we would go for the one that we wanted to go on the most, Jurassic Park. We arrived at the ride before anyone else and got on the first boat with no one else on beginning a day full of rides, attractions, and food. We hit every attraction at least once and rode on the two rides, Jurassic and Mummy many times. As we walked to one of the attractions, Frankenstein was walking the other way. He high fived Trin and I didnt notice that she was not walking next to me. "Dad!", Trin giggled and I turned around to find her dancing with Franky to the tune from a close by band.

We enjoyed the park and each others company until the park begin to close and then got back in the Charger and drove back to the airport. As we went down the 405, we were listening to the radio that was announcing that the freeway was running smoothly. Looking at the speedometer that read 20 MPH, I guess that smooth meant that it was not stopping. It took us as long or longer to get back to the airport and we arrived an hour before our flight.

Trin began complaining that her throat hurt and she was having problems breathing. I wondered if she had breathed in too much of the self induced fog on the rides and attractions. I bought her some Benedryl and we waited for the plane to board. As we sat there, she began to shake and I told her that she just needed to relax.

We boarded the plane and as the plane took off, Trin began to get sick. She grabbed a bag from in front of her and that began a very miserable ride back for her. She spent most of the time laying down on the vacant seats across from us.

As we approached Redmond, she came back over and sat next to me with her head on my shoulder. "Daddy", she said, "Even though I got sick on the way back, that was one of the best days of my life.". I had done allot today. I flew to LA and back, drove a brand new Dodge Charger, and spent the day in a very popular amusement park with absolutely no lines but that one statement had just made my day and when I layed my head down on the pillow, I was a happy and contented man from it.

PS. Trin went back to Portland the next day and went to see a doctor to find that she had the flu. She was so miserable that Judy ended up jumping a plane to be with her. I am kind of happy now that I took that flu shot last fall that made me feel so bad afterwards.....that is unless this flu is another strain. Only time will tell.

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