Your house is being fumigated…where are you going to go?

No, not Disneyland — we were just there two months ago.

Instead, we went to Universal Studios Hollywood, where we had a pleasant two days. The weather was good, the crowds weren’t too large, the lines for Jurassic Park: The Ride were non-existent, the jokes on the Studio Tour were ok, and the food at Citywalk was pretty good.

We even got a decent price on our hotel, by following a procedure recommended in a recent Murky Nooz article: first, check prices on Expedia or Travelocity (yikes: $150/night for the nearby Sheraton or Hilton, and that’s at a “special rate”). Second, try Hotwire — hmmm, $60/night for an unknown hotel in the Burbank/Universal City area…sounds better. Third, bid less than the Hotwire price on priceline — I tried $50, but priceline said that that price would be “unlikely to be accepted” and that the average bid was about $130. So I tried $52, and a few minutes later, was told that the Sheraton Universal City had accepted the bid. Not bad, since that was the same hotel Expedia wanted $150 for…and at $52, I was willing to buy two rooms. So we did, making the time at the hotel more pleasant for everyone (though I wish we’d gotten connecting rooms, not just adjoining rooms).

Today, we drove home rather quickly, arriving a full hour before PG&E was due to turn the gas back on. The fumigation had been completed and the house was in good order. And then PG&E surprised us by showing up early — in two trucks, one of which was hauling a big yellow piece of construction equipment. It seems that the valve on our gas meter had broken off when they turned off the gas, and they wanted to be ready in case of problems. But we (and they) got lucky — they were able to install a new valve without digging up the gas line, the street, or any trees — and they even turned the gas back on and lit the pilot on the water heater, instead of making us wait for the previously-scheduled service visit.

Universal Studios was offering a special deal — pay full-price for a one-day ticket and get a full year pass (minus some blackout dates) for free. If we lived closer to LA, that probably would be a good deal, but for us, a two-day ticket through our hotel for slightly less than the normal one-day price was a better choice. We got to see everything we wanted to see, which we couldn’t have done in one day, and I don’t feel obligated to drive back down later in the year because it would be “free”!

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