The alarm went off at 4am this morning; how's that for a good start to "Today's the first day of the rest of your life, Sarah!!"? Blech. that's how. But when non-stop flights leave DC for the West coast @7am, you have to get up before the birds and get your sorry ass to the airport.
Fortunately Ethan isn't the sort of child who frets too much about waking up early because let's face it, if he could spend his entire existence entirely awake, he'd be more than happy to do just that. So getting him up and dressed at 4:30 entailed little more than a few fussy "what the hell, mom??!" whines and that was it---Mr. E up and ready! He talked to himself the entire way to the airport as Husband and I mumbled and muttered to ourselves in the front seat just to make sure we stayed awake long enough to get ourselves to the airport in tact.
We flew Virgin America, which I believe is one of the few airlines not being investigated for flying massive heaps of tin ready to fall from the sky at any moment. By the way, it was loads of fun to watch that report on CNN over and over again this morning as I cruised at 38,000 feet.
Also at 38,000 feet, I had the auspicious opportunity to see what a $9 turkey club wrap tastes like. Pretty much like a $5 turkey club wrap. But surrounded by pressurized air. I guess that's the "wow" factor? Eh.
This was Ethan's first flight with his own seat and I am pretty sure that I would be saying it went super successfully had I not been functioning on 4 hours of sleep and therefore way less than half a tank of patience. There was some fussing about being "all done! all done!" with his carseat before the plane had even begun taxi'ing. And by the end of the flight, I'm fairly certain he'd punched a hole in the seat back in front of him. Lucky for us, the occupant of the seat front was a 6 year old kid who was so busy bouncing around playing his video game, he probably had no idea my 2 year old was beating the crap out of him from one seat back. So it's all good.
My first impression of LA was at probably 25,000 feet. After flying over the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon (seriously? That whole erosion by wind, water and time line they give you? It staggers the mind--not to get corny flaky on you, but my entire believe in a higher power is based on the existence of things like the Grand Canyon), and the massive expanse of the desert, which is also beautiful in it's own "I'd hate like hell to get stuck out there" kind of way, I was so disappointed to see LA appear ahead of me as a wall of smog. Literally brown-tinged gray air hovering below me, covering more tightly-packed buildings than I'd ever seen since flying into Mexico City years ago.
My brain gave me two options--burst into tears or hyperventilate. I decided to go with the tears option because it wouldn't require flight attendant intervention. Poor Husband. I believe he probably thinks I need to be medicated. But it was an honest reaction--it's not secret I'm not thrilled by the idea of moving here and no one likes smog, so putting 2 and 2 together, a few tears isn't shocking. And after I was on the ground for awhile I did come to the very rational conclusion that I won't be living in LA @ 22,000 feet; I'll be on the ground, where I don't see the smog as much and where I don't realize how tightly packed the houses are 5 miles away from my own little corner. And, Husband assured me, the path the airplane took was miles and miles away from where we'd be living anyway. And he's right. As I look out the window of my hotel room on Sunset Blvd, I can see the planes taking off and landing way off in the distance and realize what I saw on our descent is not what I would see in my daily life here.
How very healthy of me.
After checking in to our hotel, I dropped Husband off at work down in Hollywood and then Ethan and I headed up through Laurel Canyon for some exploration. And by "exploration" I mean, driving for miles down Laurel Canyon Blvd, with a navigation system, and back again. Woot! We did stop for "lunch" in Studio City. And by "lunch" I mean a temper tantrum that cost me $15. We ended up at Trader Joe's buying a week's supply of Snap Peas and freeze dried mangoes which have proven to be the entire sum total of Ethan's nutritional intake today. I'm a wicked good mom.
I will say one thing for Los Angeles and it's not something I ever thought I'd say--the people here are incredibly friendly. From the second we stepped on the shuttle to the Hertz car rental place to the waitress at dinner who just kept. on. talking. people here have been so courteous and just plain old pleasant.
So there's that, at least. I have also learned that I'm going to really enjoy eavesdropping on pretentious conversations while I'm here. Tonight at Greenblatt's (please, Husband had matzo ball soup; what's not to love?), these two women behind us started out with what I can only assume was what they found to be a deeply meaningful and philosophical discussion about feminism in Hollywood, or the lack thereof. Probably a very worthy discussion topic, but these women went on and on about Meredith Grey for what felt like an eternity when all they really had to say was, "I didn't like her the first time around when her name was Ally McBeal." Husband and I listened, enthralled, until the uber-nice waitress, who was on her break, came over and chatted with us about Ethan for another eternity. I especially liked when she cautioned me about waiting too long to have another child so that Ethan doesn't become selfish. Awesome, on so many levels.
And here we are, almost 20 hours after we woke up on the other side of the country, now on this side. The side that's going to be home for the next couple of years at least. We're only here right now until next Tuesday, then we go home to start the long process of saying "farewell" to DC. Bummer.
Tomorrow I will give you pictures. But now I have to sleep.