Surely by Sunday at the latest, I’ll have a working kitchen sink again.
Archive for the ‘family’ Category
Re-organizing a house means a lot of transitory chaos, in the pursuit of final order. This weekend, the folks came for a working visit, and completely revamped my house. Dad fixed the handle on one toilet, but managed to put the kitchen faucet out of commission. It’s hard to complain when he also bought me a new couch and gazillion shelves, not to mention all the heavy lifting in bringing it home and putting it together.
We certainly earned all the tasty food we ate; finally checked out the Swedish Center’s sunday breakfast, and lucky timing, turns out they don’t do them in the summer, so next one isn’t till september.
Flight out, via Virgin America, was perfect. Well except for the way the shuttle drops you off at the airport a full hour before Virgin opens their ticket counter to check bags. But there was a first class upgrade slot open for the longer leg, which is always awesome. Breakfast and lunch (a tasty sushi with soy sauce that came in a little plastic fish, tee hee), and a couple drinks, makes for a nice trip.
Getting 16 people into the Magic Kingdom is only the beginning. Keeping 16 people moving in the Magic Kingdom is a fools errand, with a reward of endless frustration. In the end, we did maybe a third of what we could have accomplished, if we’d split up into 3 groups based on age. But then we wouldn’t have been spending quality family time together =p. Still, our disney-virgins got to do all the important stuff, Space Mountain, Pirates, etc. We also did the safari and Everest rides at Animal Kingdom, the Tower of Terror and Aerosmith rides at Hollywood Studios, and a fair bit at Universal Studios, though I didn’t get to finish that day with the group, leaving afternoon for the local urgent care center to have my eye looked at. Drops and pills in hand, I spent the rest of the day relaxing at the hotel spa, required to stay out of direct sunlight by one of the meds. I used one of my mother’s super-sun-blocking umbrellas to wander one of the parks for part of a day, but the heat was getting to me, and I took it easy from then on.
There was a big lighting storm going on, when we were ready to leave Hard Rock Cafe, after our tour and food. Those of us with college educations were willing to run for the valet, but the more excitable dithered for a good hour, till the rain was really coming down, before we could all head out. And then walked through the storm with a friggin metal umbrella held high over their heads. I moved far away from that person.
A worrisome wait in the airport for my flight; I could see storms wreaking all sorts of havoc on flights to/from the east coast, but thankfully my plane ended up being unaffected, and left on time. On the second leg of the flight home, there was a woman who started throwing up as soon as we left the ground, hitting her call button urgently even during the period where it’s not safe for the flight crew to wander about yet. Thankfully, she was good at using her sick-bag, and I didn’t smell a thing.
The graduation celebration was a nice mix of serious and silly, as anything setup by my mother is likely to be. She used spa robes, and mickey ears with tassels, in a fancy top floor private space, amazing views of the park fireworks and more. There was a convention of some type of baptist evangelicals in the hotel; more than once, I found their teenage children sneaking into some dark corner of the top floor to make out.
The weather was hot and humid, unlike anything I’ve had to deal with for many decades now. I did not like that so much, and really want to go back someday at the right time of year, with the right size group (2-4 max), and without any medical issues =p Not that it still wasn’t tons of fun. =)
Just got an automated phone call wishing me happy birthday and playing a scratchy recording of some cheesetastic birthday song. My guess is something my mother signed up for. Thoughts counting etc.
Well I checked, and SMS messages are still working from/to my phone, so I know who doesn’t care about my cat, or rather that I care about my cat. I shouldn’t be surprised that the woman who kept all her cats locked in a laundry room for years cares less.
Spent last week on a whirlwind tour of all the Disneyworld parks in Floirda, and the Universal Studio’s Orlando parks as well. Didn’t do any of the waterparks, it was only 80.
Day 1 started with the Magic Kingdom. Stop one was Space Mountain where the regular wait time was listed as only 10 minutes; if probably took most of that just walking through all the empty switchbacks. The ride itself was all the fun I remembered from Disneyland 20+ years ago. Definitely going to go back and volunteer for a lights-on ride =) On the way to Space Mountain, Mom pointed out the Stitch’s Great Escape ‘ride’, warning that you got spit on and how disgusting it was, so of course I had to check it out. You go into a ‘stage’ with a group of people, with animatronic robots cracking wise for a 5 minute ‘show’, then move on to the real show, where everyone gets seated around a central column. When it comes, the ‘spit’ is light but unexpected.
Next up was Big Thunder Mountain railroad, a more recent ‘classic’. A traditional steel tube rollercoaster, again with a really short regular wait time. We did that one twice in a row, the line was so short. Small World was a nice relaxation break, wait time 10 mins. Then on to Pirates and the Jungle Cruise, not in that order. This mid-week, off-season stuff rocks, both rides less than 10 min wait times. Still haven’t needed to use a FastPass yet.
Mom had something to do, phone calls to make or something, and she skipped out on Haunted Mansion, another classic just as I remembered it. We had a couple of times where they had to stop the ride (wheelchair people getting loaded, and then unloaded) that meant I got a good look at a couple of place you normally don’t have enough time to study.
All the important rides hit up once, it was on to Epcot for the second half of the day.
I was majorly psyched to find out that Captain EO was making an encore appearance. I have no idea how faithful the theater and pre-theaters were to the original, but the movie itself was untouched, as I understand it. It isn’t too long before you realize that the Borg were ripped off from this short film. It’s a strange moment when the Queen comes down from the ceiling in all her tube-y glory and you have that WTF moment of recognition.
We hit up Soarin’, which had the longest line of anything that day, somewhere around 25 mins as posted. That is one impressive ‘ride’, reminding me of Cirque du Soleil’s KA in terms of the engineering required to hold up so many people on a moving platform. The screen had some really noticeable dirt streaks on it that my mom says aren’t usually there. I had a nasty stopped up head, but she says there’s scents as well.
Test Track was our last in-park activity, and had the second longest line of the day at 20mins. It is an OK roller coaster. No loops or swirling really, just speed and bumpy bits.
Day 2 started in the Animal Kingdom, with 3 back to back rides of Everest. There was a moment of surreality on our last ride, when mom and I noticed a group of 20 Buddhist monks in orange robes, waiting for their turn on the ride. We did the Safari ride, saw lots of animals, including an ostrich that started to follow our truck.
Lunch was had at the Rainforest Cafe; the soup is tasty.
Afternoon two was Hollywood Studios. Starting with the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a fun ride if the line is short, a too-short ride if the line is long. We did the backlot tour, getting to take part in the filmed ‘scene’ as Wild and Wacky Deck Crew. We also checked out the stunt car show. It was impressive and ate up a fair bit of time.
After a quick ride on the Rock n’ Roller Coaster, did another couple rides of the Twilight Zone, then off to dinner on top of the Contemporary, with an excellent view of the fireworks. And a birthday cake.
(see next post for days 3 and 4….)
Spent a stressful few days visiting the family. We took a trip out into the desert with my grandmother, who is, according to her doctor, capable of keeling over dead at any moment…he’s not saying it’s going to happen, just that we should be prepared for the eventuality. All of her sons and daughters had come into town for one last visit, having all been avoiding coming to visit her as she fades. Meanwhile my dad’s been taking care of her, with appropriate (expensive!!!) professional help. From the way they talked about her, I expected something out of a lifetime special, but it was much more … sedated?… than that. She isn’t very vocal, but seemed mostly cheerful. She didn’t make any obvious failures of memory in terms of who people were, or where we were. Not that that didn’t stop my mom and dad from treating her like a 3 year old with a head wound, and talking at her with a, to me, exceptionally grating sing-song voice. More than a couple of times, when one of her kids would do that, she’d glance over at me and we’d roll our eyes together. She did have problems expressing herself though, getting some sentences started, but never being able to finish them. Yet she still did manage to get in her customary dig for me not being married yet, without having to say a word, just by feeling my fingers for a wedding ring.
I can’t imagine it’s much fun for my dad, having to help her go to the bathroom now, and changing her diapers when they don’t quite make it. She’s started gaining back some of her excess weight, lots of retained water seemed to be sloshing around in her skin, so it’s not just an emotional chore.
Between grandma’s deteriorating condition, and my mom’s heart scare, I think the family is a little moribund as of late. Mom was telling me that my two sisters announced to her the other day that C would get the big diamond ring, and M would get the multi-stone band. Apperantly mum pointed out that she has three children, and if they were taking those two items, I am to get the mickey broach. You may laugh, but from the way my mom talks about it, it has more financial value, which is just as well, since I’ve never seen her wear it, to give it any emotional attachment.
Oh yeah…if you ever go jet-skiing on one of the sit down guys, when you’re applying sunscreen, don’t forget the part of the thigh that’s going to be exposed when you sit down, and the tops of your feet. I didn’t and am now paying for a mere two hours exposure.