This past week my sisters, my mom, and I embarked on a once in a lifetime 4 day journey to Los Angeles. My sister Kirsten is turning 30, so we decided to go to LA to make a dream of hers come true. She is a HUGE Tim Allen fan, so we went to LA to see a taping of Last Man Standing. We were so disappointed when Last Man Standing got abruptly cancelled last year, but thanks to fan persistence and another network willing to take a chance on it, the show was revamped. And we knew that this was THE time to go! Kirsten lives in Vancouver, WA, so we decided the rest of us would make the 14 hour each way journey to LA and meet Kirsten there. I had this bright idea that if I drank as much water as I could on the journey down I wouldn’t gain weight from having to eat out. It didn’t work! But what does work is a bladder that’s got a gallon of water in it. And unfortunately it decided to work in the heart of the desert where apparently the state of California has decided to close down every single rest stop for cleaning at the exact same time. Finally, in the middle of nowhere, we found a gas station. And I’m not proud to say I nearly plowed over two old women in short shorts and sunhats to get to that bathroom first!
We made it into LA just as Kirsten’s plane landed in Burbank. We booked an Airbnb in North Hollywood that advertised easy access, plenty of street parking, and free WiFi. When we arrived we discovered that plenty of street parking only applied to early mornings, and we had to park and hike with all our bags to the actual apartment. There was NO Wifi, which wouldn’t have been so bad if the building wasn’t in a complete dead spot. And the whole building smelled like weed. BUT…it was cheap and we didn’t expect to spend a lot of time there. My favorite part of the place was the neighbor and her Corgi named Carl. I will never forget her telling Carl to “make good choices” on the elevator!
Our first full day was spent at Universal Studios. As a parent I have to say, theme parks are SO much more fun without kids! We got there early without any whining and spent the whole day running from ride to ride and store to store without having to worry about where our kids were! It was awesome! I went on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride until I was sick! And I drank $36 worth of butterbeer! They had a Hello Kitty store to die for and Krusty World made me feel like I was actually in The Simpsons! It was so much fun!
Our 2nd full day was spent mailing at a taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Yes people, we made it to Ellen!! BUT….you’ll have to wait for a few more days for that report. Sorry! That’s a full blog post of its own! But after Ellen we met one of my dearest friends Ashley for dinner (check out her husband Stephen on The Conners on ABC!!) and then went to see The Brady Bunch house!
Our 3rd day was dedicated to the reason we all joined up, the reason for the epic mother/ daughter weekend. It was Last Man Standing day!! We were so excited we showed up to the studio 3 hours early! And of course they turned us away. We bought lunch and ate it at a park watching the nannies play with their kids. Then we staked out a certain “The Office” character’s house and circled back to try and get into the studio again, and were turned away for the 2nd time. So we went to buy bottled water and discovered water in a carton instead. Which we thought was cool because it was LA, but most people just asked why wee were carrying our own milk! Then we showed up at the studio again, were turned away by a now annoyed security guard, and waited again. Unfortunately we waited about 30 seconds too long and then got caught in a long line of cars! Kirsten was so worried we wouldn’t get into the taping that I jumped out of our moving car while she was trying to park to get through security faster. I think our excitement for the even overwhelmed everyone in line, but we didn’t care! We were just so thrilled to be there! The set was so beautiful! It was so cool to see all the little details I love from the show in person. Like the chair by the window in the front room or the clock on the kitchen wall. Oh and the camping picture in Mike’s office I always thought looked a little familiar! Kirsten was practically crying by the time we got into the studio, so when the cast came out she was beside herself. The poor old man in front of us kept looking back at us, it was hilarious! Now as much as we were all excited to see Tim Allen, I was especially excited to see Nancy Travis. Nancy Travis plays Vanessa on the show, but I’ve loved her since I first saw So I Married An Axe Murderer as a kid. And Vanessa is my spirit animal, the mother and woman I want to be. She’s intelligent, determined, and laughs at her own jokes. One time I was attending a religious ceremony, and during the quietest and most somber time Vanessa’s “That’s what She Shed” joke from the show popped in my head! I started laughing so hard I was crying! So seeing her in person was a dream come true! And she is even more beautiful and lovely in person! Her personality and beautiful smile radiated through the whole studio and immediately made my whole trip! And it was fun to see Amanda Fuller too. I’ve always liked her as Kristin on the show, but after seeing her role as Badison on OITNB, my respect for her has grown emensly. The taping itself was so funny! Not only was the episode funny but the actors goofing off in between takes was even better. The cast meshes so well together, even the newer members. At one point Tim Allen did that signature laugh at one of his own jokes, I was dying! Kirsten says it was definitely the highlight of the trip!
Since we were there celebrating Kirsten’s birthday, I convinced the warm up guy that he needed to give her something. And boy did he deliver! He gave her an autographed picture of Tim Allen! We protected that picture with our lives the rest of the night! The warm up guy and his antics in between takes was just as funny as the taping. He pretty much made fun of anything on anybody he could fine! At one point he asked this cute older lady to put on a Yoda mask to do a star wars scene with. But clearly she isn’t a fan of the movie because she put the mask on upside down and then couldn’t see out of it! He passed out playing cards during the show to do a drawing for prizes at the end. He forgot his extra deck of cards to draw from so he asked this poor clueless girl to call out random cards. Her first answer was 17! Then he tried to explain what she was supposed to do again and she called out 11! But she finally figured out what she was doing and she called out my card! So I got a free t-shirt and sticker! It was such a fun night that we’ll never forget!
The next day we packed up our little pot filled apartment and got ready to leave LA. But since we had a little time before Kirsten had to be to the airport, so we played tourists! We went down to the Chinese Theater and looked at the stars on the walk of fame. I screamed when I saw Ryan Seacrest’s and Melissa McCarthy’s! Then I stomped on Donald Trump’s for a minute! Then we drove up to the Conservatory and took pictures of the Hollywood sign. Then we dropped Kirsten off and headed on our long journey home!
It was such a fun trip full of the greatest memories! I’m so glad I got to experience it with my favorite family members!