Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Screaming on Roller Coasters - The Disney Adventure

When last I left you, dear reader, I had a date with the Winchester Brothers and stayed up until almost 2 am watching episodes when I should have been sleeping... ahem.

Our story picks up with Thursday morning.   I had two dates lined up for the day.

In the morning, my friend Peri from high school came to hang out. She lives nearby, and her kids are at school so we burned the day happily together. Peri and I (I think) were last in the same place at the same time in, I'm not kidding, 1985? Maybe? I don't recall.

Anyway, we had a blast, we took a drive over to Downtown Disney on a bright and beautiful morning. We ate an early lunch at Raglan Road Irish pub, talked about kids with learning disabilities (we each have one), food and cooking and cuisine, travel and fun, how one lands where one lives, weather, old friends and what it is like to live this close to Disney World.

We walked all about Downtown Disney, probably 2 miles. After Wednesday's walk total of 5 miles of walking, remember that my feet are killing me.  but ... we were having fun and I was powering through it.

Peri and I went back to my hotel, sat by the lagoon and talked more about parents who suck and how they make their kids grow up to suck. And how that totally sucks.

It truly felt like we've never been apart there for a such a long time. We both love our unique weird boys, and it is truly so lovely to connect with someone who sees their kid exactly how I see my kid.

After Peri left, my cousin Teri (yes, they rhyme. My friend and my family member rhyme, which confused the hell out of my husband) arrived and we had fun catching up.

We decided to take a walk (again, the feet!) and did about 3/4 of a mile before Doug called to let me know he was back at our room and ready to go to dinner. Teri and I trekked back, and we  talked about where would be best to go for dinner. She had never been to Disney, and we weren't sure where we could go that had stuff for us to see, would be a good amount of time, and would be free.

 We knew about the Boardwalk from the night before, but wanted to see somewhere different. Well, 2/3 of our group didn't know about Downtown Disney so we headed there. 

Thing was, 5pm and only one restaurant had any availability! Everything else was booked. Stupid Disney!

So we booked a seat at Cap'n Jack's and headed over in Teri's car. We made it over in plenty of time and enjoyed more walking (oh.my.god.my.FEET! They were hurting so bad that now my shins hurt).

We enjoyed lots of sights, sounds and people, and had a great dinner. So much fun. Doug was incredibly gracious as he has never met Teri (I think he did one time but he says no). We again walked all over the place, again with the painful feet, and Teri hit the road for her ride home just before sunset.

 Doug and I checked out the House of Blues, Splitsville (I wanted to go in but my feet wouldn't let me) and Cirque de Soleil (seriously folks, how many shows do these people have? it used to be SPECIAL. But I feel like they've totally jumped a shark or at least tight-roped over one). 

We sat and watched the balloon go up and down. We listened to some good music and waded through huge crowds. We got back to the room and headed out to the pool and hot tub. Mind you, it is about 67 degrees out. But to us, where we've been hanging out where it is maybe 20 degrees out, this is a heat wave. The pool water was warm and lovely - surprisingly. They pumped in nice warm water through vents in the bottom. No one else was in the pool so we swam under the giant fake Mayan ruins, and loved it. The hot tub had about 20 people in it, so we waited for it to thin out a bit and went in for a while. It felt so good on my pained feet and sore calves.  I was a hurt puppy.

Not taking any walks/hikes for the entire winter, wow was my body sore.

We lounged in the hot tub for about 45 minutes and decided to walk back to our room. On the way back, one of my blisters broke, painfully and violently. I thought I might die. The adorable British concierge happily gave me band aids and rendered first aid (so cute) and I slept like I was dead. Well, after one or two episodes of Supernatural.

Doug went conferencing again Friday morning. I nursed my feet, drank coffee, edited photos, emailed people. Tried to write this journal entry but the Disney WiFi network told me my website was R rated and violated the standards use for their policies. That made me honestly laugh. Seriously, yo...

Yeah, and Hannah Montana is one of your employees. Nice.

Doug got back and we had passes to go to any park we wanted after 4pm. Kind of lame, but free so ... no complaints there. We had three hours to kill so ... pool. Swimming. Floating. Sunning. Enjoying. Just enough time to pick up some sun and not get fried half to death.

Then... to Animal Kingdom.

I didn't want to go to Magic Kingdom because as much as I was enjoying myself, it kind of freaks me out. There would be a million people there, and screaming children, and so many creepy characters in their costumes coming up to me and being all "hey! friendly character! woo!" and I'd run away screaming from them. The only thing I really felt compelled to see there would be the Castle. Anything else... not interested really.

Doug doesn't like Epcot. He thinks it is for 70 year olds who still are fascinated by "the future." We thought the test track for some chevy car thing where you could drive at speeds up to 65 miles an hour was ridiculous. I drive at speeds up to 90 miles an hour on 128 on a daily basis. How lame.

Which really left Animal Kingdom. Now, we've gone to so many animal parks in our time. So. Many. I have to say this one was pretty nice. There weren't nearly as many actual animals as I would like to see in an Animal Park, compared to shops and stores and stuff, but ... overall, the presentation was gorgeous, the layout was lovely. There was a sudden thunderstorm shortly after we got there and we snuck into the "It's Tough To Be A Bug" show, which was funnier and cuter than I thought it would be, and we rode out the storm. Coming out we found the park had pretty much emptied out. We walked up into "Africa" and enjoyed being there with very few people.

We walked to "Asia" and really enjoyed the presentation and details put into that area. It was lovely. ... and then...

...(oh my GOD!) we're standing in front of the Everest Adventure ride.

And Doug wants to go on it and wants me to go with him.

I hate roller coasters. I get vertigo easily. I do not want to get sick or poop my pants. But he's jumping up and down and saying that we have to go. A park employee (excuse me, cast member) hands us a Fast Pass ticket (the wait for non-fast pass was 20 minutes) and tells Doug "I like your smile! here's a fast pass!"


So Doug grabs my hand and we go through and we get on the very next car when we get down there. It is now pouring out. And we're on a roller coaster, zipping around to our death.

In all reality it was fun. I didn't poop my pants, I didn't even scream. It didn't have any straight forward drop face first plummet thing that I hate. Going backwards in the advanced darkness wasn't a problem. And we never went upside down.

Not a bad trip.

Then, Doug wants to go down the water float ride. We are already wet from riding the roller coaster so ... why not go get more wet. Sure. Sun is setting, it's windy and cold, but hey. You're in Florida and everyone else at home is wearing fleece jackets while you're wearing shorts.

We go for it. We ride it twice. It was fun. And we got soaked to the bone. Doug got me a sweatshirt from the gift shop, and we enjoyed our walk back to the shuttle with me being exhausted but nice and warm.

Dinner was at the Maya Grill at our hotel and it was overall the most disappointing meal of the trip. There was way too much food, but it wasn't really flavorful, just salty. The sangria was nice, and I drank a little too much of it and felt bloated and sick. I didn't sleep well or much, and when the alarm went off at 3:45 am I was already up packing.

Our flight was at 7:30am, and I've made a mental note to never ever in a million years make an early flight out like that. Getting to the shuttle bus for 4:30am was a huge pain. I was still full from dinner and sick to my stomach. My feet were killing me. I needed another couple hours of relaxing and laying back... maybe by a pool.

We were home by noon, I was napping by 1.

It was a good trip. I feel like I need to do it again. I have a lot of thoughts about the "Disney Experience" as it were, but will try and articulate them later.

All the photos are up on Flickr if you would like to see them.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Thoughts on Florida

I am in a tank top and panties.

In a hotel bed. In Orlando Florida.

Doug is asleep in the next bed. I'm going to make another cocktail and watch the season 3 finale of Supernatural on my laptop (God bless streaming Netflix!) and go to sleep.

Before that... some observations.

  • First of all, Manchester NH airport is THE way to go if you live north of Boston. Easy and cheap parking, and great effort by the ground crew to make sure flights in blizzards get off the ground. Also, very nice TSA agents. 
  • I hate babies on planes. I love babies... but. Man alive. I hate them on planes. I subjected the world to Geoff once, in 2001. It was the hardest trip I've ever taken. He didn't scream or fight or cry but he didn't understand that he had to stay in his seat and he wore me out... I felt bad for all the other passengers. 
  • The baby next to us did pretty good... there was some screaming. But thank God once we were in the air my ears were too clogged to hear any of his yelling and his parents trying to cope with him. I needed a cocktail after the flight. 
  • Disney should be in charge of just about every federal government agency. People would be so much nicer and more helpful. So far our experience here in Orlando at a Disney Resort has been amazing. I feel almost guilty because everyone is so nice. Please, be somewhat rude to me. I'll be okay with it. 
  • That said, shuttle buses to get around the whole area suck. We left at 6pm for a 7pm reservation for dinner and were 10 minutes late. 
  • There is no really good one stop comprehensive map to show you ALL of what Disney offers so it is slightly confusing. I'm starting to figure shit out, but it has been hard. 
  • We are staying at a hotel/conference center called Coronado Springs. The celebration of Spanish Colonization and Mayan Culture. Which cracks me up because it is kind of weird to "celebrate" both, considering Colonization wiped out the Mayan Culture. But.... hey! let's celebrate it! Woooo! 
  • They take this whole Mouse motif very seriously. 
  • I walked over 3.5 miles today. My feet are not used to hiking/walking and now I have the biggest blisters on my left foot. 
  • Rum is a wonderfully numbing. 
  • We went to the Boardwalk for dinner tonight and Cat Cora's "Kouzzina" was fantastic. Well not 100% fantastic. The food was mind-blowingly good. But the service wasn't the best. Our waiter was very good, but very slow and deliberate. No one bussed our table, so we sat there for 20 minutes with our appetizer plates, only got offered one chance to order a cocktail (no "can I get you another drink, sir?") And we sat for 30 minutes with empty dinner plates in front of us. Not sure why. 
  • This may be why you always need a reservation for any restaurant in the Disney world... no one buses tables. 
  • 70 degrees feels cold in the rain. But it feels much much warmer than 41 degrees in the snow. 
  • Always remember your sweatshirt. 
  • There are Disney characters that we don't recognize. We noticed there are no references to certain characters though, like ... where are the 101 dalmatians? But what is that platypus thing? Rur? 
Okay. Me and the Winchester boys have a date. Photos coming soon.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Last Summer On Earth 2013

I may not be able to function today after seeing this. I literally yelped when I saw the news on facebook. Guster, BNL and Ben Folds, all on the same bill. My literal Holy Trinity of favorites. 

All joking aside, it may be my last summer on earth because I can die happily once I see these guys all together.

I'll be wandering in circles in my kitchen if you need me.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

thoughts on trampolines...

I had a great time with the Boy Scout troop this weekend.

I did jump on trampolines but I didn't do any tricks or anything. I had this mental block that prevented me from letting certain things happen.

This happens to me where I think "yeah, I can totally do that" and then I get to the point where it has to happen and then... I can't. I simply cannot do it. This was the case last year when I had to give myself shots when I had the DVT. My doctor demonstrated it to me like it was nothing, I had dozens of friends who have to give themselves shots all the time say "oh yeah, it's nothing you can do that." I felt confident, put the needle in my hand and held it to my side and just couldn't do it.   Doug had to give them to me, because I just could NOT GET PAST the putting the needle into my body.

The same thing happened to me at the trampoline place. I can jump, stop myself from jumping, but can't do the sit-bounce move because I can't get over the fact that I am falling down.

All our lives, we work rather hard to stay upright. Not fall down. Falling Down HURTS. So why would I want to deliberately shoot my legs out from under me and land on my ass? That shit's gonna hurt. Right?

I know, I know, I'm not landing on solid ground. I'm landing on a mesh surface with springs attached that is going to sproing me back upwards and I'll put my feet back UNDER ME and stand up again.

I can do this if I jump into WATER. It is nothing. I know, I can shoot my legs straight out in front of me and land on my butt and it is called a cannonball. I've done it a billion times, maybe a billion and a third. Yeah. But...

I totally could not do it on the trampoline. One of the kids, Kevin, totally tried to coach me in doing it. But there was just this thing, this "OH SHIT I'MMA GONNA FALL DOWN AN'DIEEEEEEE" thought that was going through my head. As I stood there in a room surrounded by 24 other people who literally were doing this as easily as if it were breathing.

There were long stretches of me just jumping up and down, swinging my arms, enjoying myself, and then I would psych myself up for it and .... No.

This has been said a thousand times by me here and elsewhere, but I love our Boy Scout Troop. I love that they love Geoff. I love the friends I have in both the dads and moms involved in the troop.

And I totally love the kids. The newer kids I'm still getting to know, and going on these trips gives me an opportunity to talk to them and get to know them. One little boy, Ryan, was running all over the joint having a blast. He came over to the area where the coach was teaching people how to do flips in a tethered harness, and I asked him if he was having a good time. He nodded yes, and smiled. "No you're not." I said. And he looked and me and said "Oh, yes, I really am. I'm having a good time."

"I don't believe you." I said, smirking.

Now all the other boys know that this is my M.O. but he doesn't really know me well. So I had to look at him and tell him I was joking. He eventually got it. When we left I asked him if he had fun, and he said "No, not one bit."


So I have no pictures of me jumping, thank God. You don't need to see that. Me in all my fatness airborne. But I have a ton of pictures and some video of the kids in action. It was hard to take pictures inside. Even with the flash on, most of the pictures came out blurry. Only a few were truly awesome, and I think that is when the guys seemed to hang in the air for a few seconds, weightless and joyful.

Another observation is that my son has the most rock and roll hair ever. It's been close to a year since his last haircut, which is driving his father mad, but I love it. Video of Geoff rocking out on the trampoline, with apologies for the slight butt-crack visible (and me laughing) due to the fact his shorts are too big. All the pictures are over on Flickr if you want to go see. Enjoy.

Saturday, March 09, 2013


In a little over 15 minutes I will have four boy scouts in my car, and we will be headed to Connecticut to go jump on trampolines. I bought myself some yoga pants and a top, because schlubby old T-shirts and sweatpants are no good for going up on a trampoline.

I'm sure I can just sit there and do nothing, but ... I will want to join in and probably throw my back out or bust my butt.

But I have an air mattress, and am looking forward to sleeping tonight already.