Saturday, April 30, 2011

Disney Part 3: We Are Officially Smoking

They weren't very excited about where we were until they really thought about why we in Florida.  We were going to Orlando-  Disney World!!  We thought we were awesome parents.  After hearing them moan and grown about not being able to go we were here.  No longer did my husband and I have to listen to " Well (so and so) is getting to go to Disney World and SeaWorld.  They have been there a bunch of times."  I think they were in shock that we were here.  We were here!

We find the management office where we check in.  No problem.   They were very nice and polite.  Pleased that everything was working out splendidly,  we hopped back into the van to make the trip to the condo. That's when the fun stopped. We are, at this point, so tired from the trip and helplessly dependent on HER.  You know HER.  Most of us have one that we use.  Yours might be a man but ours is female.  I'm talking about the GPS.   We begin our journey, our seemingly endless journey.  Our destination is right around the corner.

Along the way I keep thinking, "I've seen that building before.  Where have I seen that building?" The reason I thought I had seen that building before is because I HAD.  We were going in circles.  At first they were large circles and then they became smaller and smaller. It got to the point, after seeing "The Big Orange" for the 4th, yes 4th, time it became a joke.  We dubbed this convenience store "The Big Orange" because there was a big orange on top of the building.  I sure wish I would have snapped a picture of that place. It was quite the landmark, in more ways than one.

After several circles I couldn't stop the tears.  It became quite comical.   My belly and mouth were hurting from laughing so much.  Amazingly, after 323 circles, we pulled into the complex.  No need to ask for directions!  Who needs directions when you have such a fine piece of ____ electronic that would feed directions to you, any way you wanted.   I'm thinking that if we would have asked for directions from a human being, we wouldn't have had to make so many circles.  Well at least we now have the lay of the land.

We park the van and start to unload.  We are tired but eager to see where we would be staying for the next week.  From the outside it looked nice.  It was very beachy looking.  I do like the word so don't fault me for my adjectives.  As we opened the van doors the fun started.  My husband grabbed a couple of bags as well as  the key to our home for a week.  He unlocked the door as we are hit in the face with a stench that could only be one thing, smoke.  then it hit us.  It wasn't just a little smoke it was a wall of smoke.  Had we stood back from the door far enough we probably would have seen rolling out of the unit.

It wasn't just in the foyer, it was all through the unit.  All 5 rooms and 2 bathrooms!  No amount of fresh air and ceiling fan was going to take care of this.  If we were smokers we wouldn't have needed to light up.  We aren't smokers.  We are nonsmokers who requested a nonsmoking room.  UGH!!!!

We had to get out of that place!  We were tired and hungry.  Since we had to take ventilation of the condo into our own hands,  before we rested our weary bodies, we decided we needed to refuel.  Off to get some dinner.

It's nice that we got a lay of the land EARLIER but that didn't help in our quest for food.  The reason it didn't help is because we wanted Mexican.  Did we pass a Mexican restaurant in our hunt for smoke, no we didn't.  We had to ask HER for help again.  I said a little prayer.  Eventually we did find an awesome Mexican restaurant that we went back to later that week.

After dinner it was time to find a Target.  Nothing else will do especially when needing to purchase household items.  We had to invest in something to take care of the smokers paradise. Back in the day, finding any kind of store other than a convenience store, would be a challenge.  Lucky for me, Targets are everywhere.  Praise God!  We found one.

Now that we are all worked up,  my husband was on a mission.  Look out!  I love my husband to death but sometimes he goes into overkill mode when shopping for something.  Notice I said thing as in one item.  Don't get me wrong, my husband is very helpful.  He has been known to go to the store for me which is awesome.  If I were to say," Could you stop at the store and pickup a package of hotdogs?"  he is all over it.  In fact, he would come home with 10 packages of hotdogs.  Of those 10 packages 5 are different brands and 5 are different types.  "Why?" you say. I don't know.  Either there are too many choices or he wants to find the perfect hotdog.

Anyway,  on to find the perfect stinky air corrector.  2 hours later and we are done.  We come out of Target with solid freshener, spray freshener and deodorizer.  I thought to myself, here we go.  $20 on fresheners.  Apparently I didn't realize that the smell would reappear each day and the $20 was well spent.  Way to go honey!!    Any time we left the condo, we would have to spray again.  It became as automatic as filling up the washing machine with detergent or brushing your teeth before you go to bed or putting clothes on before you go outside.  You wouldn't think of going to your mailbox nude would you?   There was a solid freshener in every room, 6 fresheners in all.  We used the sprays as backups and the deodorizers to spray our clothes. All completely necessary.  Sorry for the doubt in my voice earlier.

When we returned home to Atlanta, and I opened my suitcase, the smoke had followed me home. There wasn't an article of clothing that didn't reek.   I was officially smoking :0) 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dinsey Part 2: Best Laid Plans

Okay, I have to say the funniest thing about this trip to Disney was the car ride to Disney.  My husband and I agreed that we would do our best so that this would be a total surprise for the kids.  It's not often you can pull one over on a 10 and 14 year-old.  I did my best to keep my research, notes, ... hidden and the computer's history wiped clean.

The kids already started asking about going to visit their Grandparents in Kentucky over the break.  They really look forward to seeing everyone but especially paying a visit to indiscretion,  the convenience store.  During a fuel stop they are allowed to select some junk food.  They may pick something sweet and something salty along with a soft drink of choice.  This only happens on trips like this.    They were pretty excited.  They were also excited their Dad was coming along too.  Usually Daddy doesn't get to make the spring break trip to Louisville.

It was countdown to Kentucky for the kids and countdown to Disney for me. 2 weeks away!  It's hard being sneaky. I'm not good at it.  This would be highly commendable in most situations but not while you are trying to pull one over on your kids. Every time I stopped using electronic,  I had to make certain I cleared the history on the mac, the iPad and my iPhone, as well as phone calls and texts.   That was hard enough to remember. I took extra caution to burn all of my notes.

It's Saturday the first official morning of Spring Break.  It's  6AM. We told the kids we wanted to get an early start.  Well, getting out the door so early didn't happen. In fact,  I thought it was going to be one of those stressful, "It's 10:25 and Chick-Fil-A stops serving breakfast at 10:30.  We have 5 minutes to get there!"  My husband loves a challenge.  We did arrive just in the nick of time.

Eventhough we are headed south on 75 instead of north the kids are completely oblivious.  Why? The kids are "plugged in."  You probably know what I'm talking about.  When they were little, as soon as the car was packed, the headphones went on and the DVD began playing.  The DVDs didn't stop until we pulled up in the driveway.  Now the earbuds are in everyone's ears.  They have their choice of games, movies, TVshows or music.  Not a peep from the back, although I wouldn't have been able to hear them anyway because my headphones were on.  Those earbuds are so uncomfortable.  None of the usual, "He's touching me."  "Well she's looking at me!"   8 hours of that.

Longing for a little human interaction, I took off my headphones and my husband followed suit.  We looked at each other in disbelief as we traveled farther south with billboard after billboard announcing how beautiful Florida is.  The peanut gallery is still quiet.  The farther we head south,  the more engrossed they are in their choice of electronic drug.  We pass advertising for the sunny Florida beaches, fruit stands, shell stands and still nothing from the back seat.  As we got closer to the Florida line, my husband and I would stifle our laughter but we really didn't have to.

Finally I could take it no longer.  We crossed the state line and exited to fill up the tanks, the car's and ours.  I even had to say,"Do you know where we are?"  My daughter came back with," Hopefully almost to Mama's and Papa's!"  I said no and were there any other guesses.  "Look around!"  I tell them hoping they will spot a sign or a palm tree.  Finally my son says, "Florida." I asked when he knew and as I had thought it was when we entered Valdosta, Ga, not too far from where we were.

They were both excited but not as excited as I would have thought until, ...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Disney: Spring Breaking With the Mouse

   We finally did it! Our first trip to Disney and boy am I exhausted.  If you've never been to Disney, or if it has been a few years,  it is overwhelming trying to decide what to do. Where do you start? So many parks and so little time.  I think I was more exhausted planning it than walking it. Well, it was almost as exhausting.  

I had no idea where to even begin so I decided to start with some novice friends, then I took a look at Disney's website and finally, after doing a little digging, Undercover Tourist. Friends gave me a heads-up regarding some of the ways to save a little money, Disney gave me ideas on which parks would be of interest to a 10 year old girl and 14 year old boy and Undercover Tourist was a great website for determining which parks to go to on what days. They even have an app for that.  They have a number of apps for that. I downloaded several.  The ones I used the most  let me know wait times for the various rides. That was invaluable!  Now if only my phone could hold a charge for about 15 hours that would be awesome.

Using Undercover Tourist's site I was able to see what parks we should go to on what days.  Depending on the month you are going, this site was able to tell me, via traffic light colors, the best and worst days to visit the various parks, including  non-Disney parks like SeaWorld and Aquatica.   From there I was able to  fill in a calendar and we were almost set. Yes, my husband thought this was hysterical when I whipped out the calendar showing that our every move was planned out.  

 We made arrangements for a condo online as well as purchasing all of our tickets.  It's amazing how much you can accomplish with a few clicks. For the most part that worked out well.  After checking into a few things  I figured out that staying off site was cheaper, even when you take into account the charges for parking.  Parking is usually included when you stay on site.  My husband found a  rental deal that included 2 extra tickets. This was 2 extra tickets for each family member.   I thought, this is awesome!! Two extra tickets means we would be able to visit all of the parks except Universal and the DIsney's water park.  That was okay though because I had planned a trip to SeaWorld, Aquatica and the Kennedy Space Center. On the second day of vacation I was thinking something different. 

"What the heck was I thinking!" was playing in my head when I woke the next morning.  For those of you who have tried to do all of the parks in 8 days you know what I'm talking about. It was crazy!  13 hours of walking around the first day.  We got up the second day and even the kids looked like they were a couple of 80 year olds hobbling around. Fortunately for everyone God decided we needed a break.  The the rains came.

 It poured the next day.  Not only did it pour but the lightning show was incredible.  I think my husband and I both said a little prayer that morning.  Definitely divine intervention!