Was it fun?

The thing about taking a trip to Disney with the kids is that you have kids with you. Kids ruin everything.

My biggest crippling fear about this trip included the kids. How would they behave? When would they flip out? How long would it be before we were “Those parents”? You know…the ones with the screaming sticky kids who are screaming at each other about things like “Well…I never liked your mother’s meatloaf anyway!”

The goal was to A: Survive, B: Give the kids an enjoyable trip. Survival was always #1.

Shmuppie, until this point in her life was a ride wuss. She’d convinced herself that everything more exciting than the little cars that ride around in a slow circle would make her sick. My mother had done a great job convincing Moo she was afraid of the dark. So, things would be awesome.

So, we drove down…10 hours in the car with the kids and my mother in the back seat. Thankfully, we made good time and disgorged ourselves into the condo. Do you take a crock pot when you go on vacation? We do. We’d planned to manage the days so we’d be back in time for dinner each night. As much as I wanted to do 8AM – 10PM every day, it just wasn’t something we could do. We had a ton of food packed for dinners and lunches.

We’d learned on a trip in 2000 that the #1 way to waste time at Disney is to spend time eating. Lunch can quickly turn into a lost hour and leave you nearly $100 poorer. Nope. We’d done our best to convince the kids that this was for the best. They had to play along if we were making this trip; we’d skimp on some things and splurge on others. Hot dogs were not a splurge item.

Sunday rolled along and we set out for our first park day…and promptly fell flat on our faces. The tickets were a pain in the ass to use (I’d bought them from a discounter) and Moo was overwhelmed. We started at the Magic Kingdom and it was just too much for her. She started shutting down within minutes. By the 2nd ide, we were in “combat the tears” crisis mode. We recovered with minimal blood loss but started realizing just what we were dealing with. This trip was to be about her pace; no one else’s. We regrouped, split up and managed to have a full day at the Magic Kingdom. We even got Shmuppie on Space Mountain. That was good because there were plenty of more thrill rides to go and we didn’t need 2 toddlers on our hands.

We even managed to hit EPCOT at the end of the day and had fun there. By 9:00, JewelrySlut and I had fed the family and were sipping pink wine on the condo’s screened-in porch.

Monday’s biggest success was me not vomiting on Mission Space. JewelrySlut and I rode the crazy version and I walked…nay I staggered off the ride and had to lie down for a while. Shmuppie was a pain in the ass, but it wasn’t a horrible day. Plus…EPCOT 2 days in a row. Pink wine was consumed in celebration.

Tuesday was the make or break day. Shmuppie was feeling sick with a head cold. I was ignoring the cold I was developing. And…it was Animal Kingdom day. Fucking Animal Kingdom. We were out of there by 2:00, hot, sweaty, cranky and snotty. We’d lost Moo and Shmuppie was grouchy (albeit understandably). We needed to rescue things fast.

You realize when you see your 4 year old light up at the sight of Fantasy Land why people will spend everything they have to go to Disney. We let Moo run amok in the Magic Kingdom for the afternoon and rode all of the rides she liked. We turned disaster into success with a trip on Small World and Dumbo. We also found that $10 is NOT too much to spend on a caramel apple.

Wednesday was arrival day for the other 2 and also a planned off-day. We needed a rest mid-week. We had a character breakfast and did some shopping. It also poured all afternoon. Wed gotten lucky with the weather and everyone relaxed. Once Grampy and C arrived, JewelrySlut and I left. We’d prepared dinner for the group and went on a Disney date.

We spent the evening in EPCOT having drinks in a few countries, having our traditional pre-fireworks dinner and enjoying some peace. I wasn’t lugging around a 40-lb backpack and we had no kids with us. For 4 hours, we were on our honeymoon again. Then, because we’d snuck in the park’s back entrance at avoid the $14 parking fee, we got lost finding the car. We went to the wrong hotel’s parking lot and I actually had to ask a hotel staffer “Where am I?” They understood…the 2 hotels look nearly alike and sit side by side. Getting lost was fun.

On Thursday, we hit the Studios. JewelrySlut and I had a good time with Moo. We took her to the kiddie areas while Shmuppie, the grandparents and C did the action rides. We met up for some of the shows and had a nice morning and afternoon. Grampy was grumpy. Because my father is a moron, he purposely brought brand new sneakers on the trip. He did this so we’d be able to make fun of him for doing so. As if we needed a reason. His feet hurt. The kids were not done so we went back to EPCOT…because why not! We bribed my father with beer from Mexico and had a nice late afternoon walking about. We were back to the condo for dinner and bought the kids a rotisserie chicken that they ate poolside. Pink wine.

I think Friday was the day that we walked 11 miles. We did the Magic Kingdom and, everyone with me now, EPCOT. We managed to get Grampy all the way to Germany for his beer on Friday. It was a long day and longer evening. My darling parents decided to start bickering at dinner and my father stormed off to bury his head in the USA Today. My mother one-upped him by spontaneously developing a migraine. YAY! It was a terse and tense evening. Saturday was gonna be fun!

Saturday was our anniversary. JewelrySlut and I wanted to revisit our commemorative brick and have a little alone time in the morning. Of course, my parents were not speaking and my mother was wrecked from her headache. YAY! We went anyway because we wanted to and didn’t care about the rest of them. The older kids ran off on their own with $100 from me burning a hole in their pockets. Moo and the grandparents did their thing. We regrouped a few hours later to shuffle along while my mother slowly died. It wasn’t a very fun day, but we did get beer in Japan that had a foam ice-cream topper on it. Beer ice cream! Yay beer!

We survived the week and nobody got too injured. The weather cooperated and everyone (mostly) got along. I did declare on the way home that I needed a full year of non-Disney trips to recover. This was not a vacation; it was another week of work in a different job. We all had a ton of fun, but it was not relaxing at all. Me being me, I was hooked to an iPhone all day judging line times, scouting maps, and herding the masses. JewelrySlut was trying to keep everyone from killing one another. Was it worth it? Yes. Moo’s face on the kiddie rides and Shmuppie getting to enjoy the thrill rides…in a huge sombrero made it worth the hassle.

We’re going back next year.

Who are we? We’re not the Millers…

Before I bore roughly nobody with a tale of a trip to Disney that, at one point, had my mother lying on the floor of the Canada movie, you need to know who went.

It’s been a while. We’re not the droids we used to be.

Me: Well, I’m still me. I’m an asshole albeit one with less hair than the last time we spoke. However, I’m an older asshole…not to say I’ve grown up…simply older. I’ll be 40 in a few months and while this doesn’t scare me into the whole “Ermahgerd I’m old” way at all, it’s something to ponder. I usually don’t have time to ponder it because I’m too damn lazy. I’m just trying to do my thing and wring a little joy out of life (man…this whole “get back into writing” really is showing off its dark side, isn’t it?).

Let’s face it, 2013 really sucked ass and I’d like to move on. So, here I am. Nearly 40, bald, high blood pressure, generalized malaise.

I like to think that I look more like this:
run

But really, it’s more like this:
crazy
This is who led the troupe south for a week. Shackleton I am not.

JewelrySlut: We remember her. Sassy, potty-mouthed, oh so tolerant… Well, she’s still many of those things but a little more tired around the edges. Having 3 children will do that to a woman, especially when one of the children is a nearly 40 year-old bald asshole. She’s now a Zumba lady and got her license in 2013. So that’s cool. She likes it and is good at it so why not try to make a few bucks doing something you like. Beats sitting here writing this shit.

She likes to think that she looks like this:
hat
Mostly she feels like this
finger
Shmuppie: Remember her? My little pants-crapping spawn? She’ll be 12 in a few months and is in the 6th grade. What now? She’s a budding soccer star who is learning the ukulele. She’s a good big sister. Howevah…she’s got the common sense of a sea cucumber. She also has the hygiene of a 14 year old boy. This is a kid who, when given $100 for the day in Disney, came back with a 6’-foot wide sombrero and asked me to hold it for her.

Sometimes, she can be this.
J 1-20-14
Mostly, she’s this
J hat
Moo: Well…then there’s Moo. She’s….well…she’s hard to define because if she didn’t look like her parents, we’d be convinced she belongs to another family or another species. This is NOT her sister’s sister. For all the jock that Shmuppie always was, this is the family princess. This is the spitting image of her mother. This is what happens when the 2 of them spend a LOT of time together. It’s not fair to me. She’s got every single nuance, eye roll, glare, mannerism and body language her mother has.

She sees herself as:
moo1
We see her somewhere between here:
moo2

And here:
moo choc
This group got in a car and drove 500 miles in September. We all made it home.

It’s about a Mouse

Last September, we had to do it. One can take one’s children to the beach only so many times before they start chanting like deranged lunatics about what they REALLY want to do. So, we did it. And it wasn’t too bad.

We did Disney.

We’d been holding them off for a while because we’re of the mindset that if you take a toddler to Disney, you’re a fucking lunatic. Taking kids…taking ANYONE there is a chore. But a slobbering pants-crapping kid? No thank you. I’ll handle those 2 areas on my own thank you very much.

Like all things, we planned the trip. My parents belong to a timeshare thing. They bought it in 2004 for reasons unknown and have been adding points to their account at a pace unknown to mankind ever since. They’re all platinum level and have 80,000 points per year to play with. What does 80,000 points get you as a platinum member? Enough to spend 8 weeks in Hawaii in the high season in an oceanfront deluxe condo.

Or…it’s enough to buy a resort in the Disney area.

Over the years, whenever they didn’t’ know what to get us for any occasion, my parents gave us “a week of points” knowing damn well we’d never use them. So, while we had probably 4-6 weeks of points in our Christmas stocking, we had never cashed them in. Now was the time to do so. But, we did so with great trepidation because nothing in this world is free. I tried to convince myself that we could stay on the grounds in a discount hotel. I tried…and failed. We were stuck.. Basically, we couldn’t NOT ask for the points because we’d be in BIG TROUBLE if we went and didn’t use the points.

So I asked. In a “Well…if you have any extra points available and might be able to spare them, and it wouldn’t be too much trouble, we’d be really grateful if we could have some points…but really…only if you have plenty to spare”. They said yes. I was only using like 1800 points so my father laughed at me for even asking.

Then it was time to pay. “So Mom…do you want to come too?”

JewelrySlut and I cringed as she said yes. We’d discussed this too and knew that this was, at least, a double-edged sword.
Pros: We had an extra adult and could split the kids up and handle them separately
Cons: Have you met my mother?

We booked a 3BR condo and bought the admission tickets.

And wouldn’t you know it, as we got closer to the trip, the other shoe fell. JewelrySlut and I are not stupid; we were ready for these shoes because we KNEW this was coming.

“Your father wants to come too. “

Of course he does.

“And, he can come mid-week and bring C”

Of course he can.

C, you see, is Shmuppie’s best friendboy. We’re not allowed to call him a boyfriend. He’s a friendboy. So, why the hell not, let’s take a family vacation for 4 and turn it into a 7-person circus.

We has some old passes that we hoped my father and C could use.

So, we had quite a mission on our hands. We had 2 kids to deal with all week and then a cranky old man and another kid arriving on Wednesday. To say nothing of my mental state in 2013; this trip could not have come at a worse point in the project schedule, but I didn’t care. I was going away for the week and the world probably wouldn’t spin off of its axis. But, fingers crossed!

So, that’s all you get for now.

Though, the week down there led to this picture
1240173_10201638564461885_1935338952_n

2010

What an odd year 2010 was. Odd to me at least.

I spent 361 days this year sleeping in the same place as either JewelrySlut or one of the kids. In other words, I only was away from home for work for a total of 4 nights. I can’t quite explain how very odd that was. I peaked in 2008 with probably close to 100 nights (including vacations) away from home. It was strange to be normal, but not at all bad. Though, it did make me sad to watch my status at Marriott drop down to “common schlub” .

The year stated off in crazy fashion. We spent January packing up the basement in anticipation of the construction. I worked in the guest room, which I shared with Miss Moo from January to April. But, the work went smoothly and the end result was worth the hassle of being displaced. We now have a nice basement with a neat and tidy office for me, a guest suite and a lovely bathroom that doesn’t flood.

March brought our annual trip to Emerald Isle. The 4 of us had a great time, but JewelrySlut didn’t see much beach time. She did, however, have the opportunity to change some fantastic diapers while I played in the sand with Shmuppie.

Springtime was rough at school for someone, so we decided that we’d move her to a new year-round school. The change of scenery, coupled with the t new schedule has worked wonders. Our future juvenile delinquent is back on the straight and narrow and doing quite well. Summer school was odd and took some getting used to though. But, it’s all good.

Speaking of summer…

The Boy and I kicked ass in the First Annual Stanley Family Drunken on the Side of a Hill Badminton Tournament.

Poolside shenanigans were kept to a minimum. No Coitus Aquatus and very few random hoodlums invaded our little sanctuary. I can’t say I missed the mayhem.

We had an amazing trip to St John. Shmuppie got to see the island for the first time, go to our favorite places, meet our friends and miss a week of school. Poor JewelrySlut had to play school teacher all week. Copious amounts of rum and a kick ass view helped ease her pain a bit. We also learned what puke looks like when you eat nothing but chocolate cake for breakfast. (It looks horrible and is even more horrible at about mile marker 6.5 on Centerline Road).

The fall brought the onset of movement from Miss Moo. Her commando crawl evolved into a standard crawl which in turn evolved into the drunken stumbling that she exhibits today. Her first full year on Earth seemed to have treated her well. She’s quite a little thing. She’s developed a sense of humor but needs to learn to talk. The constant grunting and yelling has worn thin.

Thanksgiving was its usual madness with many offerings to Bacchus. December flew by with a Big Bob Birthday Bash in Williamsburg and the usual insanity of Christmas.

I’d say that 2010 goes into the books as a success. I’m cautiously eyeballing 2011. We’re hoping for the best but are steeling ourselves for what may be a messy year filled with bouts of unpleasantness. However it goes, I’m sure I’ll find a way to be attacked by bees, run over by an old lady in a scooter or generally have things happen to me that could only happen to me.

See you next year.

Baby baby baby oh…

What a weekend. It started oddly and ended even more oddly.

The middle was good though.

Let’s do this in order:
Friday evening was the school dance. It was a horror show. Here are my comments:

at the school dance. expect this to resemble a twitter page tonight. question: should a woman my age know the words to any justin beiber song?

Not sure what my favorite Macarena memory is. Could be my father in law at the wedding. Could be when we got Ketan to do it that one time.
Both were improbably awesome

These kids know the words to these rap music songs. Yes, I said rap music songs

Thriller? It’s only 6:40 and they’re that far down the list? Songs I won’t hear include: in da butt and I wanna sex you up

The current song is either being sung by chipmunks or I just had a stroke. In either case, send an ambulance and 3 fingers of rum

You can feel it (it’s electric)

There is little dancing. Mostly its 100 screaming kids beating each other with balloons. Every parent is buried in their phone

I went to get myself a water. A bulging, rippling woman in a Tinkerbelle shirt (irony anyone) grabbed my hand and said “grownup?” I said “last I checked” I was given a larger bottle. It does not contain vodka I’m sad to say

20 minutes later we have not crowned a limbo winner

Fog machine + no ventilation = bad.
I got gloss on my lips. Man on my hip.

Know the “everybody clap your hands song?” It doesn’t work well when half the kids get the steps wrong because they can’t tell left from right (my child is in that half)

Some “best of both worlds” song just came on and, in unison, each kid hit the floor and writhed and screamed. What the hell was that?

These songs all have organized choreography. In my day (leans on cane) all we had was the electric slide
/shoos kids off my lawn

Large breasted mother’s shirt reads “I’m not short. My (obscured by the underside of said breasts) is”. And it is Macarena time again

The world better prepare for another billionaire…or in my case, another drunk 36 year old.

The gym has 2 city certificates. One says over 170 occupants is dangerous. The other says 540 people. What?

So, Shmuppie had a blast. There was no dancing. Just a lot of running around by a mass of children. Of course, the dance was for kids in Kindergarten through 5th grade so the mix of people was strange. Parents were also dancing, including one mother in way too small of a dress (she looked like an overstuffed sausage) gyrating suggestively.

I also saw a woman who bore a striking resemblance to the girl I dated in high school. Well…she would have if she’d decided to forgo trying anymore, buy a large purse and found it acceptable to go out in public in knee-high argyle socks and fuzzy slippers.

The parents all looked horrified and tried to avoid eye contact with each other. We could have banded together but all chose to go through our own personal hells on our own. Because, without booze, what was there to do?

I went home and drank too much wine.

Saturday: FAIR DAY!

Wisely, we set out to go to the far at about 9:30. We arrived and found the fairgrounds mostly empty. We were able to move through the front half and all of the animal exhibits in no time. Moo was having a really good time and was in a good mood. She enjoyed all the fried goodies we were giving her. The crowds picked up as we hit the main midway, but it still wasn’t bad. It turned out that they set the single-day attendance record on Saturday, but we were gone by 2:30 and missed most of the crowds.

By that time, I was done. Moo had been strapped to my chest all afternoon and I was sore in places I didn’t know could be sore. She had also gone from happy to exhausted to furious to asleep and was a rather dead weight hanging from me. Shmuppie, despite not admitting to any fatigue, fell asleep on the bus.

It goes without saying that Saturday’s dinner was a large salad. We needed vegetation to fight off the afternoon. For reasons unknown, Moo was in a great mood at dinner and ate a slice of pizza, 4-5 shrimp, some feta cheese and some salad. She’s an odd little duck.

All in all, we had a really good time and now have a plan for next year; arrive early, leave early.

Sunday:
We really didn’t have much planned, but isn’t that how it always goes. By the end of the day, I’d been skewered by a wire fence and been threatened by some white trash.

My father needed me to run up to their house in the morning to winterize their fish pond.

Remember their pond?

They have problems with a blue heron who likes to come by and spend the winter eating their fish. So, they spread this claptrap of wire mesh across the pond. My father’s got a bad knee, so I was drafted to assist. We uncoiled these evil spools of mesh, stabbing ourselves multiple times and more or less covered the pond. As I understand things, this isn’t a 100% foolproof method of pond covering. One winter, as I understand things, the heron came to visit and then got stuck under the mesh. My father had to scoop/fish an angry heron out of his pond. Oh, I wish I had been there that day.

We got the pond set and I went home. We went to the store and I limped my ass to the couch for some football. Shmuppie and I made a lovely dinner of chicken thighs in a light tomato sauce. It was served over spaghetti. All it really needed were some kalamata olives to put a really thorough Greek spin on it. But, it was good.

Oh look…the little red light on my blackberry is flashing. I have email. Could it be?

Yup.

Dingaling had gotten herself good and drunk and wrote back. Needless to say, I was called every name in the book, sworn at and told that if I ever emailed them again I’d be sorry.

Did an employee of the State of NC just threaten me in an email send from her State of NC email address? Could someone be so foolish?

Yup.

JewelrySlut and I had a look at it and shook our heads. Not smart…not smart at all. I could send this to her boss and she could find herself in some hot water.

Right before we sat down to eat, the little light started flashing again. Quasi was answering!

I was called a crybaby because I didn’t like that I was getting calls at work. I was told that I had made Dingaling angry because I had insulted her (I’ll wait while you go to Friday’s post to re-read the email) and that I shouldn’t make her mad (Hulk get mad. Hulk eat at Hardees!). I was also told that both JewelrySlut and I had insulted them and that we had made it known to them and their family how we felt about them. And that, more or less, I should fuck myself.

Did I also mention that he’s a state employee using his state email address?

Great. Now those 2 sacks of shit are all riled up and, for all I know, ready to come firebomb the house.

Monday:
I had yet another dentist appointment. In the waiting room, the little red light started flashing.

Dingaling had sobered up. She told e that they had spoken to their lawyer and that he advises that I could tell anyone who called that if they kept calling, my job could be in jeopardy.

Hmmm…interesting. Let’s parse that sentence, shall we?

“Their lawyer” They’re not the types to keep a genteel southern gentleman (I suspect he wears seersucker all year long and looks downright rakish in his bowtie and suspenders) on retainer. This means they have a need for a lawyer.

Calls at work putting a job in jeopardy: Happen to you guys much lately?

Hmmm…sounds like someone’s in a bit of trouble. I’d guess that now would be the wrong time to call them and see if we could buy their Wii off them. We’re getting one for Christmas, but if I can save a few bucks and help out a family member…I’m that kind of magnanimous.

So…they seem to have a mess on their hands. You know…you could have said that from the start and not acted nasty. We didn’t start out nasty…it only got there once I got involved.

We won’t see them or communicate with them again until JewelrySlut’s father dies. I just hope they have a phone so I can call them.

Pictures tomorrow.