Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Brrrr. ...

It was fun and strange at the same time to be back on the mountain. So many familiar faces, but so many unfamiliar ones, too! I was basically stuck at the Greeter position all night because they needed a trainer to re-certify me. It was cooooold, friends. I had stopped on the way to work and bought a pair of tights to wear under my costume, had a long-sleeved shirt under my costume, a jacket, and two pairs of gloves. The only things that got really cold were my fingers and my nose. I may have to go to costuming again and ask for a beannie hat!

Highlight of the evening:

I saw a group of young gentlemen wearing familiar high school shirts and sweatshirts. Turns out they went to the same high school I did in California! I was so happy and excited to see them, and they told me of all the changes happening at my old school. I immediately wrote them a fast pass and one of them asked me which year I graduated.

They passed me again with high fives as they were going through the fast pass line. One of them, the one who asked which year I graduated, stopped and asked me, "Hey did you know Jackie B?"

"Jackie B? I graduated with her!"

"She's my Mom."

I didn't care. I grabbed him and hugged him. =)

The park was so full last night. There were two e-stops, which makes the wait time much, much longer. At one time we had a 200 minute wait for standby! For most of the night, it was 160 minutes! I spent my entire time at greeter saying, "Yes, the wait time is REALLY 160 minutes. That's 2 hours and 40 minutes. Yes, the wait time is REALLY 160 minutes!" We were able to clear most of it out during the fireworks and the longest it was after that was 30 minutes. From 12 am to 1 am it was a straight walk through.

When I left at 1:30, I had to sit and warm up the car quite a bit before I could drive home. It was covered in ice! As people would get to their cars and warm up, the steam from their exhausts would flow over my car and freeze. Cars that were by themselves or where no one had left yet were fine.

Tonight, I'm praying a trainer will be available to re-certify me so I can go through rotation. This means they have to explain to me the new cell phone policy and new lost child policy, click it off on my account, and then I'm qualified to push buttons again.

Off to check the weather report!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:7

O Lord, I always want to have room for You in my life.
We praise You, Father, as we remember how You sent Your Son to earth!

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmas Eve!

Yes, we were the crazy ones who waited until today to finish our Christmas shopping.

We went pretty early in the morning, so we actually beat most of the crowds at the mall. We had our lists, left our babies at home, and conquered!

Highlights in hilarity:

Himself: See that shiny red outfit in the store window? I'd pay you $100 if you wore it to church on Sunday.

Me: Those are pajamas!

Himself: $200 . . . .

At Target, we were repeatedly blocked from all progress. There was a woman in front of us at one point whose hips stood at least 12" wider than each side of her shopping cart. As she ambled along, she would drift, with her cart, toward whichever side she happened to be perusing. Himself was following behind me with our cart and I would try to go around her one way; she'd drift and cut me off. I'd try heading to the other side of her; she'd drift and cut me off.

Finally, I feigned right and when she went to cut me off, I zigged to the left! Ha!

Immediately, a man with shoulders the size of Texas stepped from an aisle and blocked my way.

I couldn't believe it.

The two of them blocked the entire aisle. I just prayed and prayed that they didn't know the meaning of Himself's laughter! He practically had tears streaming down his cheeks, he was laughing so hard!

I finally ducked down an aisle to cut across the store. The whole time Himself was chanting, "She's coming at ya! She's gonna get ya!" which of course referred to Miss Wide Angle. Finally, I successfully popped out into the area of intention and let out a "HA!"

At that moment, a very familiar voice spoke in my ear with, "What are you guys getting?"

Ack!

Sons should not sneak up on their mothers who are shopping at Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Since the Pinkie Swear

Ok, the update:

Himself has already shed 10 pounds, simply by not drinking any soda or milkshakes since the pinkie swear.

Don't hate, people. He can't help it that he's male.

I'd like to say I've lost 3 pounds. Of course, it can never be that simple - I bought these new shoes and they add (not kidding) two pounds (we checked) and then at work there's a scale in the bathroom that also looks to be off by two pounds and that's just too much math for me to handle when all I want is chocolate.

Our dear patients are determined to sabotage my efforts. This week we've been gifted with cake, cookies, truffles, bon bons, crackers, Belgian chocolate cups, more cookies, etc. I had to do a double pinkie-swear with Nancy to keep out of it!

Good thing she won't be in the office today.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lovely


Ty's Brown-Eyed-Girl sent me this photo. I love it.

I'm so glad Ty's over the phase of glaring at the camera whenever someone wanted to take his picture! That was so annoying.

One more day of work and then I'm off for three days! I plan on staying up late and sleeping in, not out of rebellion or anything, but to prepare me for my Space shifts next week. I'm so looking forward to getting back to the mountain!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I Will Remember

Dear Mementos, Old Costume Jewelry, Trinkets and Tidbits,

You're probably wondering why I asked you here today.

Each of you came into my life through a special event. It may not have been a particularly earth-shattering event, but it was one that brought a smile to my face, laughter to my heart, or tears to my eyes. I have kept you around these many years to remind me of our special day together.

Here's the deal - I can't keep up with you anymore.

The dusting, storing, arranging, and upkeep of you has become a burden I can no longer carry, so I'm releasing you to bring joy to others.This doesn't mean I will forget our special day, it just means I no longer need you to remind me of it.

Thanks for the memories!


Whew! I spent an entire day doing laundry and cleaning my room yesterday. I still haven't finished, because I have dusting to do. I can't describe how good it felt to be able to walk across my bedroom floor again! Ty brought Jessie over and we were all in my room, BECAUSE WE COULD BE, laughing and chatting. I still have some taming-of-the-desk to do but I'm getting much closer to simplifying everything. It feels like I've actually conquered something!

Yesterday, I also wrote a chore list on our white board and invited any and all to pick up a chore. Glenna vacuumed the stairs and washed BOTH dogs (yes!). Himself cleaned off his own desk. We laughed and said we needed to add his desk and our room to the chore list, just so we could cross them off! If only Missy would stay out of my room - I could leave the door open all the time. She gets mad at me and leaves little "prizes" for me to find, so that can't happen. Ugh! Why do I let these dogs run my life?

I also went on the Hub to see if I was able to pick up any Space shifts during the week the dentist office is closed. Boy, did I! I'll be working four days, each shift BEGINNING at 7:30 or 8:15 PM. I can't wait to be back at the mountain, but I'm not looking forward to the late hours again. These days I'm a pumpkin-head by 9:30 at night. It's worth it, however, to keep my seasonal status at the park.

Off to prepare for the church brunch!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fabulous Friday

Drove all by my onsies last night to pick up our girl. I'm so, so proud of her for completing her first semester of college!

I'm also so happy that she's home for Three Whole Weeks!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Magical Night

On December 4th, my family graciously encouraged me to meet up with some friends at Disney.

It was so. FUN.


Brieanna and Ashley were two of the CP's (College Program) who worked with me at Space. This is the lighting that we're in the entire time unless the ride breaks down.

The first time I saw them, I came home and told Kelly how alive and vibrant and amazing they were! They just breathe life into any room. Some of you may remember Brieanna's gentle reminder to be careful how I portray people on this blog and I have never forgotten it.

(She thought I was calling her a mean girl. I meant that she knew her business and I needed to know my business, too!)

Anyway, they invited me out for a night at MK and I'm so, so glad I went! It was so out of character for me - meeting up with a group of people at 6 pm, playing all night, then driving home in the wee hours. I felt like I was 18 again, but they've always treated me like one of their peers at work. I love these girls!


Here's Brieanna without her curls. She's so gorgeous!


Disney really goes all out at Christmas and makes the park so beautiful. Here, the castle is covered in lights and it looks like ice has formed. The castle would turn different colors all night, each one so beautiful. The "ice" turned off during the fireworks show.

We were joined by Josh, Nick, and Tony, whom I also worked with. Oops, except I didn't work with Nick - he's a speedway cast member. We always feel so badly for the speedway guys out in the heat and gas fumes all day, but he says he just loves the speedway crew.

We went on so many rides that I've never ridden before, such as Winnie the Pooh and Philharmagic. We must have spent most of our time in Fantasyland.


The following blurry photo is what a very bad idea looks like:


When it's cold outside, don't go on Splash Mountain.
Top row: Ashley and Nick.
Middle Row: Josh and Tony (who lost their gentlemen cards that night!)
Front Row: Brie and Me, about to get VERY wet and thus saving the "gentlemen" who dived into the middle row, forcing us to take the front and the splash!

Yes, I'm holding onto Brie for dear life.

Here we are afterward:

Ashley was laughing so hard, I'm surprised she got the picture! Josh is the one in glasses. Tony has little cat ears on his beannie hat. The cute hat didn't save him from the lecture, believe me!

Why did I even bother with my hair?

After the splashdown, we headed for main street to watch the fireworks. Brie and Ashley have worked the greeter rotation so many times that they have every line and boom and swish memorized. Wishes! Here we are before the show with now wet and frizzy hair:


After the fireworks, Josh had to leave us because of his 6am shift the next morning.

When I was on my way from the cast parking lot to meet them, I ran into a friend on the cast bus. He told me he was working three "sets" at Pixie Hollow and that he would leave my name at the entrance so we could go around the line. After Josh left, we hurried to Pixie Hollow to meet Terrence, friend of Tinkerbell!

Anyone recognize him? ;-)

Terrence was SO much fun and had us all laughing. Ashley is always smiling like that, though!

He introduced himself to each of us and when he got to me, he asked, "What's your name?"

Blink.

"What's your name?"

I just stood there with a stupid grin on my face. I didn't know whether to say MrsJLW or J or WHAT, and there he was, this guy who was my former Jr. High student, and he had an acorn on his head. He broke character a little and laughed silently.

"Does she have a name?" he asked the group. "Should we give her a new one?"

After coating us with Pixie dust so we could fly, he quickly arranged a game of "fly and go seek" with us.

Brie, hiding in Pixie Hollow




Tinkerbell, "hiding"

Surprisingly, none of us cast members had ever been to Pixie Hollow before. We didn't even know where it was! When I asked "Terrence" how to get there when we were on the bus, even he didn't know for sure, saying, "You know, I've never gotten there from the park before."

Just so you all know, it's in Toon Town, in the Judges' Tent.


Group shot!

Nick, Me, Terrence, Brieanna, Ashley, Tony

Here we are with Tinkerbell:

See the ears on Tony's hat?

We had a group photo with another fairy, but I look fat in that picture so you KNOW it's not going up. Just so you know, I was wearing my jacket with all the amazing pockets and the pockets were full so I didn't have to carry anything.

[crickets]

Whatever.

After Pixie Hollow, we headed to Space Mountain to ride and so Brie and Ashely could get their things. It was SO great to see so many of my castmates! I really, really miss them! I can't wait to pick up some shifts at the end of December so I can see them again.

I also can't wait for February, when Brie comes back from Wisconsin, Ashely comes back from Tennessee, and hopefully my other castmates will join us for another magical night!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Yes!

Congratulations to Tyler, who has now passed seven out of seven ASE exams! This means that after the required job experience of two years (one of which was his year in school) he will be Master Certified in diesel!

That's a National certification, you guys.

Back flips encouraged.

=D

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Night Special

I haven't posted in so long.

I'm just dealin' with it all, friends. Wheelin' and dealin'.

Coping?

I hope to get some photos up soon, but my computer time is limited to when I actually have a computer.

Still gathering info for the insurance company. We're almost there.

AWANA was fun tonight! I loved the lesson and believe I could have spent the entire year talking about Hebrews 10:1-18. Our God is amazing!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

. . .and On. .

Insurance forms arrived today. I have to show proof that the items were mine and in my possession. They want receipts, repair bills, warranties, photos (HAHAHAHA) or other such proof.

Anyone who knows me knows that insurance companies send me through the roof.

THE ROOF.

They want the replacement cost value. Time to do some research!

Monday, November 29, 2010

On and On It Goes

When the Deputy took our report from the robbery, he left a form for us to use when we discovered more things missing.

When. Not If.

Today, I'm extremely thankful for this blog.

I had carefully downloaded all of my photos from my laptop onto an external hard drive, then deleted them from my computer. The hard drive was an old one that a friend gave me and was held together by rubber bands.

The thieves took it.

They did not take the snappy, sleek external hard drive that Himself had in his desk drawer.

Most of the pictures that were on that external drive have been posted on this blog. Most, but not all.

I had downloaded a program that will help me turn this blog into books. I wanted to do that especially with the story about Himself's family, but I'm even more motivated now. I'm so glad I posted those blogs about my step-dad. I'm so glad I posted so many things.

Of course, now I have to re-download it. The only working computer we have is Himself's, and that's because it was with him in Miami.

Just when I thought I was getting over the anger!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

And Away We Go!

We pinkie swore.

Himself and I will be celebrating our 25th Anniversary in February. Because I have such incredible discounts at the park (The Mouse is very generous at Christmas!), we will be staying in one of the resorts for three days and two nights. I can't wait, and I'm already drawing up an itinerary for our trip and putting aside all the extra dollars I can! ($275 massage for two? No. $18 for all day bike rentals? Yes.)

I've informed him that I want to do everything there is to do at Disney that's free or cheap, so he'd better start preparing for a lot of walking! I can't have him petering out and needing a mid-day nap; at least, not on the day I've scheduled for the parks. I mentioned a weight amount I'd like to lose and he mentioned a weight amount he'd like to lose, and we both discussed ways to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Then I held out my pinkie so we could swear on it.

And I held it out.

And I held it out.

And Kelly yelled from the back seat of the Escape "Don't withdraw your hand, Mom! Keep that pressure up!"

And I held it out.

Oh. It's so hard to die to self.

For him, this means goodbye Chik-Fil-A milkshakes! Goodbye nightly ice cream! Goodbye rich foods when eating out during travel!

For me, this means goodbye to flavored coffees and junk foods. It means getting off my behind and exercise.

My friend Lisa McP recently did a walk for breast cancer awareness. She walked 20 miles per day for three days. At the end her feet were ruined (horrible blisters, she needed to use crutches for a while!) but she ended up losing 10 pounds. Now, 10 pounds in three days is a bit drastic, but for me it's a worthy goal from now until February!

Finally,. . . finally. . . with a shout of anger. . . he grabbed my pinkie with his pinkie and sealed the deal. Today he had his coffee black, the way he used to drink it.

Neither of us have decent shoes to walk in. Just when I thought I'd have to finagle our budget around, I went to the mailbox and discovered a refund check from our deposit on Tyler's college housing!

Looks like God is in these plans, too!

"Come on everybody, here we gooooooo!"

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Angry Post

Yesterday, our house was robbed.

Mom, we're all fine. We weren't home.

I came home from work and picked up the girls to go to lunch and Target. We were gone maybe 2 hours. When we returned and opened the door (it was locked), we noticed a huge brick paver on the floor and broken glass everywhere.

Like an idiot incident #1; I immediately looked up at the ceiling. "What? Where did THAT come from?" Within seconds, Kelly and I realized what had happened.

Like an idiot incident #2; we ran INTO the house to see what happened. (Folks, don't ever do this. Shut the door, call the police, and wait. What if they were still here?)

The jerks knew what they were doing. They had gloves on because the police couldn't get a single print. They stole 5 laptops (one was Tyler's old, broken one, and one was a laptop Himself was turning in from work), ipods, ipod touch, and some cash Glenna had on her dresser. They completely ransacked every room and drawer. They destroyed my grandmother's jewelry box by smashing it on the ground. They soon discovered that the only valuable jewelry I have is on my left hand ring finger! I don't think they took any of the cosmetic stuff. (Mom, at first I thought they took grandma's class ring. They didn't.) I think they were looking for cash. They took Ty's Playstation, and cut the surround sound speakers and took them (all except for one over the piano).

They were in the process of taking a television from Ty's room when something scared them off. We think it was my neighbor coming home that did it.

I am so, so angry.

Our youth pastor came and stayed with me until Himself came home (he was driving home from Miami). Then our pastor and his wife came and helped with cleanup, and pastor helped Himself board the window with plywood. We called the bank and put a hold on our account. We called our insurance company.

I'm still so, so angry.

I have left Glenna home alone while I went to work in the mornings. I will no longer do this, but I don't know WHAT I'm going to do yet. The poor dogs were traumatized. Missy was in her kennel directly under the window that was smashed. She eliminated in the kennel.

A couple of humorous-in-a-weird-way incidents:

Glenna's room was so messy that they didn't notice her ipod that had fallen on her floor among the clothes, books, etc. She was spared!

Our next door neighbor has a security camera pointing to our mutual driveways. We called to ask him about it and he said it was a fake and not hooked up to anything.

When I entered my room, I noticed some Christmas gifts scattered on the floor. My immediate reaction was, "Hide those! Don't let the girls see them!" It's the only part of the crime scene I touched before the police arrived.

Jack also eliminated by the door. Ty suggested he was setting a trap for the burglars and was hoping they'd slip and fall, knock unconscious, and be there for the police to grab.

Some things that kept me sane:

Kelly took my hand and reminded me, "It's just stuff, Mom. We're all fine." Pastor's wife also reminded me of this.

My neighbors stayed with me as well and offered to let us stay with them until Himself came home. Since I was busy with the police, this wasn't necessary. Still, so sweet.

Both Tyler and Himself kept calling me as they sped toward the house. Then they both realized they were driving like angry madmen and forced themselves to slow down! I can't tell you what a relief it was when they both arrived home safely.

Folks, locks don't matter. If people want in they'll get in. I've always known this, but yesterday was my dose of reality.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's Me

I feel like I haven't blogged in a million years.

Life is CRAZY, guys.

I'm also trying to detox again from all the things that give me migraines. I just started yesterday by enduring day two of a migraine without taking any medication. Not fun.

I know the timing stinks because the holidays are coming up, and I've been warned by a co-worker that the office becomes flooded with junk. My friend, Nancy, and I decided that we'd hold each other accountable about eating the stuff.

It's going to be a long holiday season, but I look forward to shedding some pounds again!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Mine

All in one place.



Thankfully, this is happening more frequently!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Lunches

I am so enjoying this season God has given me with my son, before he's out on his own for good. I have even enjoyed preparing lunches for him each day.

As I shop for foods, I realize that he's not the cute little kid with the Spiderman Lunch Box anymore, and I have to be kind of careful with my choices. He does, after all, work with Diesel Technicians. Can you say "burly men"? Pudding cups and Fruit cups are probably out of the question.

My theory was proven when I made him two Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and stacked them in plastic containers so they wouldn't get smashed. One of his co-workers leaned over and remarked, "What you got there? A loaf of bread?" Since Ty never knows what he's getting until he opens his lunch box, he was thinking the exact same thing. He was very relieved to find there were actual sandwiches.

His lunch room is also divided by not classes, but by language. Those who speak Spanish naturally sit together. Everyone also has their "regular" seat, and there was only one seat left in the English section when Ty started working there.

One day, I packed him a lunch of leftovers. This is usually just fine since it would involve spaghetti, salad, and garlic bread. This day, however, it was literal leftovers. I had some black beans. I had some shredded chicken. I had some shredded cheese. I had some tortillas. He opened his box and stood in line for the microwave (there are 3 of them) and his Spanish speaking friends took note of his food.

"Hey, what you got there? Maybe you should be sitting with us, eh?"

"Yeah!" said an English speaker. "And if you do, don't come back!"

What is positively, unequivocally, and undoubtedly forbidden, I'm sure, would be a cute note from his Mom telling him how wonderful he is.

I do, after all, want him to come home alive.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

A Song

There was a song we used to sing in Sunday School when I was a young girl.

I have never understood it.

I wish I had a little black box
To put my Jesus in
I'd take Him out and
[kiss kiss kiss]
Then put Him back again!


As I'm typing this, Glenna is correcting me. She says Jesus goes in the white box and the devil goes in the black box. She also says that the last words are "and put Him right back in."

I still don't understand it.

White box or black box, I don't want my Savior in a box.

Now Glenna's telling me that the devil gets spankings instead of kisses and tossed back in the box, while Jesus gets kisses and then He's shared with a friend.

Why didn't my lame-o Sunday School teacher tell me THAT? (Yes, I said lame-o, and he was kind of a creeper. No Mom, he never did anything creepy, he just put Jesus in a box.)

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Small Gesture of Great Significance

Dear Family at that Restaurant in Bronson, Missouri;

You noticed my Dad and his friends, a group of six senior citizens, were ooohing and ahhhing over the honey cornbread muffins. You also noticed my Dad was wearing his veteran hat that showed he served in Korea. You then sent an order of honey cornbread muffins to their table with the following note:

Sir,

It's because of men like you that my family enjoys its freedom today. Thank you for serving our country and God bless.



You brought my Dad to tears that day, and he cried again when he read your note to me over the phone.

Thank YOU, and God bless YOU! And thank you for reminding me that a simple gesture means the world to our senior veterans. I hope I get the opportunity to do the same.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Way with Words

I am beginning to see why Tabitha, my co-worker, is someone whom Kelly loves so much from her years of working for Dr. D. I've decided to compile a list strictly from the words she chooses.

Words Tabitha uses:

This will be easy.

You'll get it.

You'll figure it out.

Keep trying.

That happened to me, too (or) I've done that mistake before.

That looks great!

Nice one!

You're so ready for this!

I can understand how you feel.




Words Tabitha does not use with me:

Forget it.

Never mind.

I'll take care of it.

Give me that!


I also love how she never rescues me from my failures. She's so patient and gives me room to try again, which always results in success, which in turn produces confidence. Instead of making me feel like I have just ruined everything and the world is going to end, she actually laughs out loud! I don't feel like she's laughing at me, rather she's laughing because her same struggles are now happening to me and she can so relate.

What a woman!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Why Don't She Write?

Kudos to anyone who can name that movie, though it's not an exact quote!

Things are crazy here. On one hand I have blessings galore with how well my children are doing. On the other hand, I have trials and I'm so busy. I'm afraid if I were to write what I was really thinking, I'd be carried off to the asylum!

Wait. . . a room to myself without interruption? Hmmm. . . .

Last weekend I was so angry at everyone and everything. It was probably best that Himself went out of town for a few days. I'm feeling much better now. How does the Jimmy Buffett song go? "The longer I'm gone, the closer I feel to you."

Ty and Jessie brought home all kinds of pumpkins last night! Two big ones are for carving on Monday with their Bible study group. The wee ones were for painting. I hope she posts pictures! =)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Workin' It

It's no lie; I am a sinner in need of a Savior.

Himself - even more so.

The last two days I have enjoyed washing dishes, by hand, with Glenna. We put music on and we have the best conversations! Or, sometimes, we just do the dishes in companionable silence. I never thought this would be a chore that I would actually look forward to doing, but it has been most pleasant.

When I first married Himself, as in our first few days in our first apartment, I struggled to figure out that whole cooking thing. My job as a child/teen was to set the table and make the salad. I still make a pretty mean salad! My mother knew I needed help in the kitchen and ordered recipe cards that came by mail every month. I started our married life learning to cook from those cards, which involved fresh ingredients and nothing processed. A few months into our marriage I discovered Hamburger Helper and brought it home - Himself made it clear that under no uncertain terms was I to ever bring it home again. Who could blame him after such fresh, real food?

The only meal I didn't make from the cards was steak cooked on the hibachi, with red potatoes cooked with fresh green beans and tossed in butter. Oh, and a salad. It's still a favorite.

After dinner, Himself would settle comfortably on the couch. I would look at him peering into our 13" TV, look at the kitchen full of dishes, look back at him, shrug my shoulders, and then settle onto the couch next to him.

If he thought I was going to wash those dishes myself, he had another think coming!

The dishes would sit on the counter for a day, or two, or three, until we didn't have any that were clean. Then one of us would grudgingly wash them or, rarely, we would wash them together.

Yes, our apartment had roaches. Why do you ask?

This pattern continued even after we bought our first house. Many times, too many times, I avoided the kitchen all together and we ate out. It also bled into other areas of our lives and home to laundry, cleaning, yard work, and maintenance.

When the children began to arrive and I realized, with great shock, that I had to cook every night, the battle over KP escalated. At this point, we had a dishwasher. Still, I would cook dinner and then Himself would settle on the couch and start a movie.

Yes. Start a movie.

We laugh when we talk about this now. He can't believe what a self-centered person he was then! I can't believe how determined I was to not be the only one doing house work. Stubborn and stiff-necked described me to a T.

If there's one piece of married advice I could offer to newlyweds, it would be this:

Wash the dishes together.

It's a great relationship builder, resentment destroyer, and conversation enjoyer.

Imagine if we had started our marriage as teammates, rather than combatants? We would have started a habit that would have benefited our marriage and family tremendously. Now, we have to struggle against our pre-made habits and plain ole sin natures to help each other out. We're getting better, but how amazing is it to see families who do this automatically? After supper, everyone clears the table. One washes, one dries, one wipes the counter tops and table, and before they know it they're finished and the entire evening is before them!

I cringe when I think of the resentment I've built into my children by making them do this without my help while I've watched television or surfed the internet.

In fact, I know exactly how they feel.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

One Hour

In one hour I received the following news . . .

*A dear friend's son was in an accident. His car was stopped on the side of the road, hit, and flipped completely over. Praising God the CAT scan showed all is well and he's already released from the hospital!

*Another dear friend and mentor heard the news today that she has breast cancer.

*Yet another dear friend is on her way to the hospital because her mother just broke her hip.


How fragile we are! Each of these have reminded me to be thankful for every breath and every day.


PS Please don't be afraid to be my dear friend.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Later, Dudes

Since our son is now home from the hills of Tennessee, we have decided to make a trip.

To Tennessee.

Ridiculous, right?

My dear friends ML and BA bought property there a couple of years ago, moved there a year ago, and now the house they're building is nearing completion. We wanna see! I've also been longing to see some genuine fall colors.

If you don't hear from me, that is why.


PS Ty has made it clear he has no desire to drive to TN with us. I wonder why? ;-) He'll be staying home and tending the d-o-g-s.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

From February, 1986, to March, 1989, I worked in a hair salon. I dealt closely with the personal appearances of customers. I listened to their joys and their woes. I loved some and avoided others.

Then one glorious day in April, 1989, a baby boy was placed into my arms.

I went home and stayed there!

Now, 21 years later, I once again find myself in a position where I am dealing closely with customers, although now they're called "patients." I don't yet deal directly with their personal appearances, but I may some day. At the office, we listen to their joys and their woes. We love some and try to avoid others. (NO! Not really! You're all our favorites. YES! We LOVE when you come in!)

There are so many similarities to my previous occupation that it's uncanny. Some of the chemicals and substances used on teeth, believe it or not, are the same ones I used when making acrylic nails. They definitely have the same smell!

One thing that absolutely has NOT changed in 21 years is something that can be a source of fun or pain for me, depending on the situation.

I am writing, of course, about the music that plays over the speakers in the office.

I am a musician. Music is never, ever, background music for me. If it's on I have trouble focusing on conversations. Instead, I'll be listening for the spot where the vocals turn to harmony, my favorite line of a song, or that cool bass line that I know is coming up. My friend Diral was the same way - so much so that he would purposely make sure music was OFF when guests were visiting. "If we're going to talk, let's talk. If we're going to listen to music, let's listen to music." I thought this was so strange back then, but I fully appreciate it now!

The music at the office is delivered regularly via the U.S. Postal service in the form of two CDs. We upload them into two different players; one is for the speakers that everyone hears, and one is for patients to select for their headphones while a procedure is done.

When I was working in a salon 21 years ago, the music we listened to was, of course, 80's pop. Sometimes there'd be some songs from the 60's and 70's, depending on the radio station or whether the boss was in the shop.

At the office, SURPRISE! The music is a blend from the 60's, 70's, 80's, and even some 90's. Every once in a while, there will be current pop as well. All of this tends to make me feel like I'm in a time warp or experiencing severe de'ja'vu.

"Wait. Are you here for a spiral perm or a dental cleaning?"

And have you noticed that leggings, scrunch socks, stripes, and sweater dresses are coming back?

The world is going through an awful lot of trouble to make me feel like I've never left the work force.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Don't Get Cocky!

It. Never. Fails.

As soon as I feel like I know what I'm doing, something happens to show that I need to be alert at all times.

On Space Mountain, I would have days where I finally felt comfortable with all the buttons, guests, and procedures. I was able to have instinct and anticipate needed actions - it was such a great feeling! I would even say to myself, "All right! I'm not a rookie anymore!"

Then I'd do something stupid like . . . oh. . . cascade the ride.

Monday at the office, I was finally feeling great about making a dental mold. I have to use two different materials; one sets rather quickly and needs to be shaped rapidly, while the other sets more slowly and I have a little more time. The mold I was working on was turning out to be the best one I had made!

I went to add the finishing touch of polishing with sand paper and SNAP! The whole thing broke right in the sink.

Tabitha, the one who had been training me, laughed and told me to crazy glue it.

Lesson learned? I thought I had done everything correctly, so what exactly is the lesson?

Umm. . . . don't trust a mold?

Expect the unexpected?

Teeth are gross?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Tuesday is Guest Star Day!

My friend Matt (Es-Snyder!) included this amazing and excellent quote on his blog.

What a timely reminder, and probably one of the biggest truths I learned while working at Disney!

God Loves. Period.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Pass the Grace, Please

I think the hardest part about spiritual growth or having to face a trial has got to be the fact that life doesn't stop during the process. Wounded, we walk through the routine of our days with smiles on our faces. We make conversations and jokes and perform menial tasks. We wash laundry and write thank you notes. We pay our bills and put petrol in our autos.

If we had a choice, however, we would do none of those things. Instead, we'd scream out to the heavens in our anger and pain. We'd run to our mothers for her embrace and comfort. We'd lock ourselves in our rooms so we could cry and cry and let healing begin. We would rage against those who have hurt us and get some justice. What we crave more than anything, really is just a little stinkin' privacy.

Those actions, however, don't put dinner on the table.

Those actions are more likely to make others into the walking wounded as well.

If there's one thing a trial teaches me, it's how to extend grace to others. The people I come across may have gaping wounds in their hearts that have absolutely nothing to do with me. They may snap in irritation over some delay. They may honk their horns with impatience the moment a light turns green, not even giving me opportunity to move my foot from brake to gas pedal. Or, reversely, they may be the ones sitting idle, not realizing the light has changed, completely miserable.

Because we are a selfish people, we cannot help but take the actions of others as a personal affront. Our instinct is to go on the defensive and lash back by reacting to the irritated, honking our horns in return, or shouting a loud, "GO already! Sheesh!" This, of course, compounds the misery of the hurting.

At Disney, there are buttons guests can wear to announce a celebration such as a birthday, anniversary, or engagement. Cast members watch for these buttons to call out special messages to the guests. Happy birthday! Congratulations! We're glad you're here! The guests can't help but smile and brighten with each greeting.

What if the walking wounded were allowed to wear buttons?

I'm hurting.

I just lost a loved one.

My world is crashing around me.

My marriage is suffering.

I'm struggling financially and overwhelmed.

I have a horrible illness.


What if others could really see their pain and call out special messages to them? Or what if, simply, we could see their button just long enough to extend a little compassion and a lot of grace?

Go ahead and honk, Lady. I see you're hurting and I don't mind.

Hope you feel better soon!

I'm praying for you.


The truth is, everyone has a button of some kind, but they're invisible. I know this because God's Word says the one thing we're guaranteed is trials.

"Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:2-4

This week, I hope to become less aware of my own trials and more aware of those around me. I wonder how many opportunities God will give me to extend grace?



PS Mom, wish I could be with you today. I'm thinking of you and I love you.

Friday, October 01, 2010

A Message

Dear Girl on the Yellow Vespa,

There are two things that will not encourage longevity in this world:

1. Tailgating

2. Not wearing a helmet

Weaving in and out of traffic isn't such a good idea either. Was there really such a hurry that you couldn't plan ahead before darting across three lanes to turn into the college parking lot?

That is all.


PS - Nice shades.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An Observation

At my new job, I've been learning a million and forty new things at once. It's exciting and challenging and I'm completely unqualified! I'm so thankful for my last 12 years of home schooling or I would feel like a complete idiot.

Dentistry is so interesting when I really get down to the nitty-gritty. I've had so many proceedures done on my own teeth that I almost know the steps and can follow along.

Oh. So that's what that was that made my head buzz like I just put it on a belt sander!

The team at the office do everything they can to make a patient feel welcomed and relaxed. Let's face it - there are those who are pretty nervous when it comes to dentistry. There's even people in my own house who feel this way.

Sometimes, patients will be given nitrous oxide to help calm their nerves before a shot or a proceedure. In fact, there's someone in my own house who requests this each time, though I won't give out any names.

The observation I've made on the nitrous oxide is pretty astute. The only people I've seen request it, so far,


are grown men.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Great Day

Ok, I can't say that I'm standing in a hole this time because we're on pavement.


Darcy really is that tall! I've always been the short one.

I've had such a great time reconnecting with her! We've scored an invitation to her home in CO and I hope to go there some day. Her husband, Mike, would like some ski partners and I feel up to the task!

Ty and I met them at Epcot, went on Soarin'and Test Track with them, then left them to their Epcot adventure. We then headed to Hollywood because I wanted him to experience Rockin' rollercoaster and he convinced me to ride Tower of Terror. I'm so glad he did!

When we were approaching Tower of Terror, I was saying that I didn't trust the ride to be safe.

"Ok, Mom. We're both going to practice trust here. You're going to trust that theme parks make safe rides, and I'm going to trust that I'll get a phone call with a job offer today."

I didn't die on the ride.

He got a phone call on the way home with the job offer.

Then Himself brought Kelly and a girl from her unit, Abby, home for the weekend.

What a great birthday!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hey Mom! Look!

It's Darcy!


I think I may be standing in a hole here. I also have an iced tea stain on my shirt because she made me laugh so hard I spewed the tea!

We had a great visit, and I talked her and her husband Mike into going to Epcot tomorrow.

Then I talked Tyler into coming with us. I had to pull the "It's My Birthday" card to do it.

He won't let me get a birthday button.

And we have to leave by 1:00 to make it back for my 2:30 American Literature class. But it will be fun!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Beachward Bound!

Himself may be glad to know he's probably not the one who wakes me at 4:00 am.

Can't blame a guy who's stuck in Miami.

Tonight, I'll be heading off to an interesting adventure. I'm driving to Daytona to meet an old friend and her husband!

For protection, I'm bringing Glenna.

Darcy was the first girl I met when we moved to San Marcos, back when I was entering the 3rd grade. I was exploring my new neighborhood and she came out of her house and invited me to roller skate with her on the sidewalk (she had a sidewalk, I didn't). When her family moved onto the property of her grandparents, which was connected to our property, we were practically inseparable for the next 6 years. I even joined her family on vacations to Mexico!

Anyway, because we were friends for so long at such a young age, she is naturally part of several childhood hangups I have such as not liking it when people put their feet on me.

Darcy and I never wore shoes. This means that our feet were always very, very dirty. We would sit and watch TV and Darcy would start pushing on my leg (white pants!) with her dirty feet. I was constantly trying to brush the dirt off my leg and she would laugh and laugh! I couldn't stand for people to have their feet near me until I had children, because baby feet are just precious. (Still, I would make sure they were very, very clean first!)

Root beer. It took me years to be able to drink the stuff again. Whenever we went anywhere with Darcy's mother, she would ask her if we could share a soda. Darcy always insisted on root beer, so I had to go through this rebellious stage where I would refuse anything rootbeerish. Did I mention how young I was when I met her?

Anyway, as I said, I'm driving to Daytona to meet her and her husband. It will be interesting to see what has changed and what remains the same, like her voice. She left a message on my voice mail and I about flipped! Darcy was on the phone! It was the exact same voice from my childhood. It made me want to change out of white pants and order a 7-up.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

From Ordinary to Extraordinary

Friday night, Himself had gone to the movie store while Glenna and I finished the dinner dishes. Our agenda that evening was to wash the dogs. Tyler had driven to visit Kelly and we weren't sure what time he was going to be back.

Chatting and singing during this chore, we suddenly realized we were hearing Ty at the door. We had to replace the knob and lock a few months ago and I still needed to make him a key. Glenna went over to let him in.

"You're back!" I heard her say.

"Yep!"

Glenna came back into the kitchen and said, "Your son is home." (Perhaps she got her conversational skills from me; Obvious Mom.)I heard him come in but looking around, I didn't see him yet.

"Oh is he? Well, I don't see my son."

I looked to my right and suddenly, my world exploded. Peering around the corner was not the face of my son, but the beautiful face of my Kelly!

I screamed and ran to her and couldn't stop crying and hugging her. They decided to surprise me! I don't know why I didn't think of her just coming home for the weekend, but you could have knocked me over with a feather.

Hugs went to Glenna and then I opened my arms as wide as I could. My children came to me and I was holding all three at once, laughing and crying and thanking God. OH, did anything ever feel so good?

We had to wait for Himself to get home and then the surprise happened all over again. The five of us sat in the living room and talked and talked until Himself turned into a pumpkinhead and went to bed.

I went upstairs to make sure Kelly had everything she needed. The sight was so beautiful - Glenna sitting on her sister's bed and the two of them chatting together while listening to music. Tyler was in his room playing with one of the balloons we had used to decorate his room (he was trying to keep it off the floor by bouncing it with his head). All three turned to me and smiled at my happiness.

How does one adequately thank God for a moment like that?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Eggs and the Devil

I know we're not supposed to compare ourselves to others. I know that each of us are in a different place in our spiritual walk.

I know this.

There's one woman at church who has my complete envy.

I'm not even sure, exactly, what her name is. I have my suspicions, but it's still kind of a mystery. Whoever she is, there's a skill she possesses that I simply cannot duplicate.

She makes absolutely perfect deviled eggs.

Everything about them is symmetry exemplified. They're perfectly shaped, perfectly filled, perfectly clean, and perfectly sprinkled with paprika. The yolk mixture is a lovely, bright yellow without a hint of grayishness that I've seen in my own eggs.

Most church covered dish suppers will have a plate of them and I always take more than one. Himself will only eat eggs scrambled (or hidden in foods, like cake) so it's a rare treat for me to get deviled eggs.

It's especially rare to eat deviled eggs so beautiful.

Today, since I had a plethora of eggs from my friend Mr. G, I decided to make both deviled eggs and egg salad. Himself has been traveling quite a bit and I wasn't worried about him in the house and having to watch the process.

I tried.

I really, really tried.

Deviled eggs are so labor intesive that it really hurts when they come out wrong. I tried to do everything I remembered from my Mom's deviled eggs and thought I was doing pretty well. I peeled and washed the eggs. I put the yolks in a bowl and rinsed the whites. I added mayo and dill pickle relish. I took a taste.

What I had was egg flavored mayo.

Way too much mayo.

I mean, YUCK.

I determined to keep going with the egg salad.

No celery.

I had a productive day regardless. After all, I am in a different place than Perfect Deviled Egg Woman.

That's just where I'm supposed to be right now.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Home!

The Countdown Ticker is completed and my son is indeed home.

Oh, Happiness!

His stuff is everywhere and that's so beautiful. It's everywhere because it's no longer in Tennessee. He's been busy with job interviews, helping his sister with her school work, visiting his Brown-eyed Girl, and trying to figure out why his new phone is so horrible, so we've extended him grace on the clutter.

I don't care. It means he's HOME!

He's shared with me many things, like the fact that his last instructor charged a quarter for every time someone would say the granddaddy of all swear words. At the end of the 20 day class, the person with the highest grade point average would win the money.

Ty won with his 93.7 (the .7 earned it for him).

He went up to collect his prize and his instructor said, "Wait a minute! You've never had to pay anything!"

"I know. Pure profit."

=)


But he neglected to share with me other things and I discovered them for myself, like the fact that he was given the Honors Award for Academic Excellence because of his GPA. Humble man (and not so humble mom)! That one's for his grandma to read.

On his last blog post, he mentioned that he won't miss eating out of a box anymore. That one hurt my mama-heart! He won't have to.

Not if I can help it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tips from the Mouse

I've been realizing that there are things I've learned at Disney that will serve me for the rest of my life. Here are just a few:

* A smile really is the best defense. A smile that is genuine (and not condescending), will instantly put people at ease. This applies to all ages.

*Children are great to talk to and appreciate when others show interest in them. (I've always know this, but it was reinforced.) A child is much more willing to wait patiently for adults to finish a conversation if they have already been acknowledged with their own conversation.

*Talking to complete strangers doesn't have to be scary. There are rules of safety that apply here, of course. At my new job, I have no qualms with talking to patients or anyone else. This came in handy when calling for appointment confirmations.

*Showing true interest in someone can make their day magical.

* Always look eye. (Said in Karate Kid accent.)

*Don't interrupt. (What am I, seven? Why do I still struggle with this? Arrrgggh!) Even if you could finish their sentence for them, just let them finish.

* Sometimes your silence is much more important and golden than your clever/intelligent remarks. (See above.)

* Don't take someone's anger or impatience personally. You don't know the full story of their life, so you have no idea what they have been through or where they're coming from today. Extend grace for the unknown elements. (This may or may not apply to road rage. You decide!)

* Be playful. Again, make sure your timing is appropriate! (At Disney, it was almost always appropriate, especially with guests!)

* Safety first.

* Sometimes people don't want their problems solved. Sometimes, they just want to know someone is listening and understands.

And, straight from the Bible (but I personally learned so much about this through my Disney experience) . . .

*Love conquers all. When in doubt, choose to love.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Night in Infamy

The day was planned for months and months!

Glenna stubbornly stood by her plan to attend Night of Joy when most of her friends decided to attend Rock the Universe, held on the same night. The reason was one group only - Family Force Five. She loves them!

Her friend Rachel, recently relocated to Tennessee, made plans to fly in for the concert. They planned outfits and accessories and considered it a double birthday celebration; Glenna's in July, Rachel's in August. At last, the big day arrived and we picked Rachel up from the airport! Himself and I were all set to get our groove on; from the back in the parent parking, of course. Glenna and Rachel joined their friends who decided at the last minute to come anyway.

Just before the concert started, the stage crew began to cover up the equipment. Clouds were definitely approaching, but we were hopeful that they would bypass us or miss us all together. The Park has an excellent weather system, so when they began to cover up the equipment, we dug out our ponchos.

It rained.

There was lightning.

We stood in a downpour for over an hour.

We kept getting reassuring messages (spiel!) that the concert was merely delayed. Eventually, however, we were disappointed by a force much stronger than the weather.

The Schedule.

Family Force Five came out on stage, covered in rain ponchos, and apologized for not being able to perform for us.

Glenna was crushed!

She enjoyed the rest of the evening with all of her friends, but it was still a pretty hard blow.

By the way, did you know that Night of Joy is the most hated theme night among cast members? Here are some facebook quotes from them:

"Night of Joy? You mean Night of Doom!"

"I'd rather work Grad Nite for 6 weeks straight than Night of Joy."

"I hate them. I'm ready to kill all of them."

"They're obnoxious as hell."

Yes, these are descriptions of a Christian event, and we were able to witness some of this while we were there. It's so heartbreaking that it has that reputation, but there it is.



I have glimmers of hope that I will not be behind in everything forever. Glenna and Rachel helped me attack the dishes that had been on the counter for days. Laundry is mostly done. I'm just trying to figure out my new "normal." I'm thankful to be home at night, but between work and Glenna's classes, I haven't seen a lot of home time yet. Still, last week was more unusual because of the holiday, our Rachel, and Night of Joy.

What will be the reasons next week?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Another Thank You Note

I hope I'm remembering things correctly. If not, maybe Mom will help me out and I'll edit.

Yesterday, I tried on this lab coat that I purchased.

Have I mentioned how thankful I am to be wearing scrubs? I'm especially thankful first thing in the morning, before coffee.

I put on this lab coat and I had a flashback to my childhood, maybe even my preschool days, and realized that I have become my mother.

If you've ever met my mother, you'll know that's a very, very good thing.

My mom used to rise early in the morning and go to work. She would prepare her lunch and ours, and then leave while it was still dark outside. She did this for 21 years with the same company, though the prepared lunches eventually were replaced by a few dollars.

In my preschool memory, I remember this blue lab coat that she would wear at work. It was either light blue or light green, or maybe it was tanish yellow? At any rate it had these deep pockets. I remember searching through the pockets because I would always find a treasure or two:

A paperclip

An opened roll of Lifesavers

A half-stick of Juicyfruit gum

Pennies

A rubberband

A bobby pin

I think I also remember her name badge, clipped either on the lapel or pocket. She couldn't get into the building without it (shhh. . . .super hush hush workplace where . . . shhhh. . . CASH REGISTERS were made).

I looked at myself in the mirror wearing my lab coat, and I repeated the phrase I have stated whenever I look in the mirror, ever since I turned 30.

Hello, Mom.

Everything at that moment was my mom.

Up before sunrise, the lab coat, a sleeping child left at home, a bit of breakfast, trying to remember a thousand details; Mom did all of that every day that I can recall of my childhood and teen years until I married Himself. While I know this is a different season of my life, this was her reality. This is the reality of so many single moms today, many of whom I've met at The Park, my church, or my new job.

I'm not a single mom. I do have help, and yet I find it difficult to balance the duality of this life.

Thanks, Mom.

Thank you for everything.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Leave a Tender Moment Alone

As I stated previously, saying goodbye to Kelly was difficult. I smiled as I saw her hug Glenna and speak with her.


On the way home, Glenna told us what Kelly said:



"I love you. Don't wear my clothes."

Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day

I check my blog, not because I forget what my life is like, but because I want to see the countdown ticker.

I love that the number is in single digits.

So, I have roughly 185 pounds of motivation to get my house clean, and this morning I only had one hour of energy.

Misery, thy name is migraine. Himself worked today.

I have been eating all the wrong foods and need to detox again. Now is not the time! I start a new job tomorrow! Ty's coming home!

I guess I'll have to schedule it.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

A Saturday Evening Post

I worked my last shift at The Park last night, at least for a while. I ended up closing Grouper, which isn't my favorite position to close. For some reason, at that hour no one stands where they're placed or WANTS to stand where they're placed.

Forty minutes before closing the ride cascaded and the lights went on. I reassured the guests that it probably wouldn't take too long. One young boy was sadly staring at the ground (he was only one group away from boarding, after all!) so I began to play with him and my laser pointer. I'd direct the beam around his feet and he'd stare at it, then look up at the adult next to him and try to get their attention. The beam would of course be gone and the adult would be distracted. He'd look carefully around to see if anyone else had seen it, then we'd repeat the whole thing. Sometimes, he'd try to step on it. Other times, he'd try to grab it with his hands. He was so cute!

While we were down, everyone I had grouped (including the little boy's party) was grumbling and complaining. I tried talking to them and distracting them. The man waiting next in line was especially irate and loud about his dissatisfaction, but I soon had him laughing. He said to me, "This must be a great job!"

"It really is a GREAT job."

"I mean, you get to meet all these people and they're all so happy to be here."

At this point I stared him right in the eye (because he had really been a royal pain not ten seconds earlier) and said, "YES. Everyone is so HAPPY."

He stared back at me for a second, then he burst out laughing.

Touché.


The one fun thing about closing grouper is that after the last guest has boarded, we're allowed to hop on the ride with them if there's a seat available. My friend Adam was on his break and we hopped on together! What a fun way to head to the break room.

The new audio does enhance the ride, but it sounds too much like disco music to me and disco is my least favorite genre. There are parts where it sounds like something is whizzing past and that's really cool. All in all, I like it!

Busy week ahead, then Saturday is Night of Joy!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Sleepy Saturday

I had such a wonderful day with Glenna yesterday! She finished her school work early and we headed for Epcot. I'll have photos later (as soon as we use up the disposable camera and I get the pictures on disc).

Last night at 3 am, I heard her calling me. She had been throwing up.

Drat. Rotten ending to a beautiful day.

Today is laundry, then probably my last Saturday at Space for a while!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Is It True?

Can it honestly be only TWO WEEKS until my son walks back through our door?

Friday was his official commencement, though he's finishing his last module now. I encouraged him to go because I didn't want crickets to be the only answer when his name was called, but he chose to sleep in, for the first time in months, instead.

"Tyler! I would be there if I could! You have to go!"

"It's because you can't be here that I'm not going."

How could I argue with that?

Just so you know, Tyler, your acheivement was celebrated here throughout the day!

I'll be starting a new job on Tuesday so I know time will fly by. At least, I PRAY time will fly by!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday is Guest Star Day!

This is the reason I started reading her blog in the first place.

Oh, how I love cowboys! I love everything about them. I love their grit and nerve and fists of iron.

I love the looks on the faces of the cowboys in the background of the photos, each of them completely focused on the event. This is NOT the time to ask for 25 cents for a candybar.

Ask me how I know. ;-)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Martha and Mary: A Familiar Story

Alpha has been a very unhappy lady lately.

When I went to work on Thursday and got to Tower, I noticed that the computer monitor was displaying all sorts of unpleasant messages for Side A. Not only that, but there was a long, handwritten note about what was happening and what to watch out for.

Friday, I arrived at work to hear the entire ride was down and had been down for over three hours.

Saturday, Alpha ran for maybe an hour out of the entire day.

My theory is that Alpha was worn out and overworked and needed a night on the town. In protest, she shut down.

It will be interesting to see if Omega (Side B) decides that Alpha has had MORE than enough attention and decides she wants some attention of her own! I can see her protesting in a Martha kind of way that SHE has been doing all the work while Mary just sits around (or, like in the biblical story, was Mary simply choosing to do what was most important at the moment?).

Hopefully, Martha will rise above such pettiness and shoulder the burden for the both of them, gladly serving despite circumstances.

Either way, I hear there's NEW AUDIO on Space Mountain! Now guests hear different effects when riding. I can't wait to give it a try! I'm going into work early on Thursday just so I can check it out!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Tale of Two Duties

Imagine having a job with the following pros:

*Amazing co-workers

*Amazing and understanding managers

*Operating one of the most recognized rollercoasters

*A rollercoaster

*Literally meeting thousands of people every hour

*Encouraged to interact with said people to make them laugh, smile, and thoroughly enjoy themselves

*Princesses

*Pirates

*Fireworks

*Park perks

*Happiest Place on Earth

*Learned a ton about life and self

*Everyone thinks I'm younger than I am ;-)

*Beginning to feel younger than I am!

*Member of an elite cast



But said job also had the following cons:

*Must leave 1.5 hours before clock in to arrive in a timely manner

*Approx 40 miles from home

*Sometimes must work until 3:30 a.m.

*Hours may vary, hard to plan consistent week

*Only see Himself on days off - so Sunday, or Monday or Wednesday if he's not out of town

*Mostly work nights, holidays, and weekends

*Have to leave Glenna alone at night, less available for her

*Polyester pants



Now imagine being offered a job with the following pros:

*Higher wages

*2 miles from home

*Consistent hours, usually done before 1 pm

*New skills to learn

*Get to deal with people on a much more personal level

*Four days per week

*No nights or weekends

*Incredible co-workers and employer!

*Much more available for Glenna; she'll probably be just getting up when I get home from work. ;-)

*Perks of a different sort

*Family atmosphere among team members

*I get to wear scrubs and look all professional like that



But the same job offer has the following cons:

*No clue what I'm doing

*Halitosis potential (not mine! Of others)

*One patient pegged my age pretty easily (Drat you, Palmolive commercial!)

*No park perks

*Must follow in Kelly's extremely competent footsteps

*Must deal with insurance companies (aka Spawn of Satan)


To many, this would seem like a no-brainer. I actually agonized over this decision! I was so reluctant to let go of the Park and everything that it has represented to me, especially my castmates. I asked if I could become a Seasonal Cast Member, which means I could pick up shifts when I wanted to. I was granted Seasonal status and I'm so thankful to still be part of the company!

So, of course I jumped at the job with the Dentist. I'm Kelly's replacement as Office Assistant, but I'll also be trained as a Chairside Assistant! I'm so excited about that! I got to watch a proceedure and followed the Dental Assistant around. She showed me SO many things that I began to wonder if I'd ever remember it all.

However, there's one thing working at the Park has taught me - I can learn anything, and the unfamiliar will soon become an extremely familiar routine. I can do this! I'm not expected to know everything the first day. Questions are welcome - they want me to get it right as much as I do.

I'm feeling so incredibly blessed!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Another College Kid




I couldn't help it. I cried.

I stood with the other parents and family members encircling our college students at the orientation. We held hands as the principle prayed for us and for them. He has done this many, many times before, but he knew that we all needed to know that God was and is involved in all of this.

We can trust Him, and we do!

Still, I was embarrassed to feel the tears leave my eyes and leaned out, hoping it would miss leaving a water stain on my blouse, but felt guilty for putting water, even a teardrop, on the beautiful gym floor. I tried to rub it out with my foot and realized I was disturbing the young man standing next to me, so I stopped.

What price, vanity? ;-)

Kelly is moved and settled into her first dorm room! None of her parents have ever experienced this. The college campus, atmosphere, and people all seem taylor-made for our girl!



I know that soon these bare walls will be made her own as she settles in and figures out what the rules are. She felt more comfortable as soon as she was able to arrange her desk, spread her grandma's quilt on the bed, and put her things away. It was sweet to see her roommate, a senior, had the same color scheme in bedding! They are also the two most fortunate girls on campus - they scored the only room with just two beds and NO bunkbeds. It will make next year a little tough to get used to!

We attended our meetings and activities, met a bunch of local churches at the "meet and greet" arranged by the college, and then we attended a church service with her the next morning. Lunch at Olive Garden, one last trip to Target, and then it was time to say goodbye.

That was hard. My girl hugged me and reminded me that this is God's plan for ME right now, too.

Sweetheart, how did you ever get to be so wise? Just so you know, Daddy cried a little on the way home. I may or may not have cried, but I have no witnesses because my head was under my shawl.

That's all I'm going to say about that.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Solution

Our attempts to find fashionable, modest clothing for Kelly has been SO frustrating. Shorts below the knees? Dresses below the knees? No one is making them.

This is what we've decided she can wear to school:





(Photo Credit to Jessica Scarborough)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's . . .

. . . your birthday!



I had this whole photo thing planned, but my computer is not currently working and that's where the photos are. However, I can still wish you a Happy 18th Birthday!

I love you, SO much!

And I don't want Saturday to come, because the Sunshine will be leaving this house and there "Ain't no sunshine when she's gone. . . " and it feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest.

I'm SO excited for you, going where your mother has never gone! It's going to be SO amazing!

You're so amazing . ..

Go with Jesus, Sweetheart. Remember, He doesn't just give you strength - He IS your strength.

Your sheild.

Your refuge.

Your very present Helper in time of need.

He has paved the way for you and He won't suddenly abandon you! He's always with you. . . as is our love!

Oh, Kelly . . . . my heart . . .

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Question

What would it take for this to be a great evening for you?

Saturday, I was working the Grouper position. I have to admit, I was pretty tired and my mind felt foggy. I had worked the Extra Magic Hours the night before and didn't get home until 3:30 a.m., slept fitfully until noon, got some things done around the house, and then went back to work at six. The Grouper position was taking my full concentration! Sometimes it's easy (like when groups come in 6's or 3's), but sometimes no one listens or stays where I've placed them.

Since I was at Grouper 2 on B side, I was responsible for attending to guests who may come up to the gate. Usually, they're at the gate because they're doing a Rider Switch - one parent waits with a child too small to go on the ride, then switches with the parent who has just ridden - and I fit them into a group as quickly as possible. Since a Rider Switch is only for up to three people, I was kind of surprised to see a party of 4, two adult men and two children, waiting at the gate.

I approached the group and asked how I could help them. One of the adults showed me his Guest Assistance Card (used for guests who may have a wheelchair or other special needs). I noticed immediately that the stamp on this particular card was a stoplight in green. This means that this party was most likely with the Make a Wish Foundation and someone WAS either very sick, IS very sick, or is possibly terminal in their condition. The Park gave them this Green Light to try to get them through the queues as quickly and smoothly as possible, and some thoughtful person at Merge directed them past the line and to the gate.

As soon as I could, I grouped the party into position for the ride. As I did this, the adult who showed me the card asked me how my evening was going.

"Oh, it's going pretty good," I replied, trying not to sound or look exhausted.

"Well, what would it take for this to be a great evening for you, J?"

I laughed and made some feeble remark about having more sleep the night before. He smiled and gave his attention to the children who were with him.

I haven't stopped thinking about that man and his question. The minute he stepped into the rocket, I knew exactly what he was asking me to consider, and I've been considering it ever since. My eyes followed him all the way through restraint until he disappeared on his journey of 2.5 minutes in space.

He's walking around with a green-light stamp on a Guest Assistance Card and he's having a great evening, but obviously, things have not been great for him lately. His life has been touched by something very, very difficult.

My life has been touched by lost sleep and a few financial worries.

WHY was I not having a great evening?

Because I was choosing not to. That's it - that't the plain and simple truth.

The previous evening I had such a great attitude and enjoyed my work and the guests so much! Saturday evening, I was letting exhaustion rule my attitude and interractions unfavorably. I was letting exhaustion rob me of a great evening.

Moment by moment, I have a choice to make. God sent me such a timely reminder in the form of one man with a baseball cap, two children, and a Guest Assistance Card. For the rest of the evening I chose to throw off my exaustion and turn to each guest with a smile.

It's not hard to figure out that I had a great evening!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday is Guest Start day!

This post is a timely reminder, especially now that school is about to start!

Enjoy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

That's What I Said!

On Saturday, Himself and I realized we hadn't really communicated with each other for a while (since Wednesday!). I'm able to check text messages when I'm on break, so we've learned to speak in code. Here's what a typical text conversation may look like:

Himself: "I don't know nuthin' 'bout birthin' no babies!"

Translation I read: I'm home and settled in for the evening. The girls rented Gone With the Wind and now I'm watching it.

What he probably meant: "This movie line is funny."



Me: "How were the tostadas?"

Translation I meant: I told Glenna to make dinner. Did she do it? Please don't spend extra money when I have a menu planned.

What he probably understood: "How were the tostadas?"

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Final Countdown

One month.

That's all he has left in Tennessee, and then he'll be pointing that white Blazer home for the last time.

One month!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Worst Part

No one warned me about this particular part of the job. It's pretty unfair.

Step One: I meet all these incredible people. My first opinions quickly dissolve into reality, and they're still incredible people.

Step Two: They start to become important to me. I look forward to seeing them and sharing with them and working alongside them.

Step Three: They leave. They go back to their homes and colleges across the nation.

Last night was the first night I really missed Brieanna. My first days after she left were busy days in positions where I continually walked alll over the mountain. Last night, however, I was at Load 1 a couple of times.

She wasn't at Restraint.

She wasn't at Grouper.

She wasn't coming for lost and found items as Mountain 3.

She's gone.

Ashley's gone, too. I could always turn to wherever she was and be greeted with a big, beautiful smile!

So many have gone home. Last night was Emily's last night and she summed it up so perfectly when she said, "I thought I was just coming to work here a few months. I had no idea you would all be so kind!"

Today, I'm extremely thankful for Face Book.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's in the Jeans

All we wanted was a pair of jeans for each girl.

There was a sale at Old Navy, so we set out to get some much needed jeans. It honestly shouldn't have been that difficult.

But it was.

Oh, but it was.

Back in the day when I needed jeans, Mom and I would head to Miller's Outpost and stand before the wall of Levis. We'd read the instructions on the Button Up 501's, select the ones we needed, then head home.

At home, we'd take the jeans that were 3 sizes too large and wash them several times in hot water. They'd shrink down and feel like heaven for the next two years, gradually fading with time and wearings.

Simple!

With the girls yesterday, they had to try on sizes ranging from 1 to 8.

1 to 8!

Let's see if I can re-cap:

The styles come in Diva, Flirt, or Sweetheart. Under each of these categories we also have Skinny, Super Skinny, Regular, Flare, Lowcut, Lowestcut, and Bootcut.

Me to the sales clerk: Could we just have a SLIM-fit, straightleg?

Sales Clerk: We don't have that. You could try Sweetheart Regular for that, but we're out.

Of course you are.

Glenna was able to find one pair of jeans. Kelly walked out with a sweater and unmentionables (so I won't mention them). No jeans.

Speaking of Kelly:

I told her that we needed to make a list of items that she'll need at college. Here's what I had in mind:

Nail clippers
Tweezers
Cold Medicine
Sewing Kit
Stamps

Here's what she wrote on her list:

Rain boots
Earrings
Hat I liked
Sweater

I love that kid.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Call of Duty

Today, I was supposed to take Vincent to the airport. I was going to hug him fiercely and wave until I couldn't see him anymore, praying that God would let him return for a visit someday.

As hostess, this was my duty!

Instead, he was kicked to the American Airlines curb by Kelly in a drive-by departure while I sat in a courthouse lobby, waiting for my number to be called.

Jury duty - my civic duty. Vincent would have to navigate the airport on his own because of Uncle Sam.

As much as I regretted my abrupt goodbye, it really is the safest way for me to serve my country! I honestly don't mind; it's just, is there ever really a good time for jury duty? It seems to come at the worst of times.

Observations:

People show up to court wearing t-shirts, flip-flops, short-shorts, and other hyphenated attire.

Seriously? Did their mamas not teach them better?

Never mind that my pants, hemmed with scotch-tape and embarrassingly unraveled during the security check, were not as sophisticated a look as I was going for.

Just never mind.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Making Friends

On Saturday, the unexpected happened.

Most of you know about my turbulent relationship with the Atlantic Ocean. I wrote about some of it here. A trip home one summer with a visit to my beautiful Pacific confirmed this.

Vincent hasn't had a great trip to the beach yet - all last summer it was rainy or stormy and he only got into the water once. He couldn't believe the lack of waves - the Atlantic on HIS side of the world was always ready for action.

All of this changed, for both of us, on Saturday. A group of teens was determined to have a beach day and to my surprise, they invited me along.

We headed east and immediately noticed we were heading into a storm. We didn't have much optimisim and weren't really surprised. Vincent, summer, and beach trip all add up to a rainy day in the history books. Why would today be any different?

We arrived to light showers and spent some time shopping for souveniers. We laughed at a post card depicting a very large woman in a bikini with the words, "Come on over, the Food's Great!" on it. It perfectly summed up what Vincent had observed about the good ole USA - lots of fast food, and lots of fat people (his host family excepted, of course). After a trip back to the car for some snacks and to gather equipment, we finally headed to the shore. Glenna, Vincent, Stephen, Kelso, and I couldn't wait to get into the water, even if it was still rainy.

As soon as my toes dipped into the surf, I received my first surprise. The water was cold. I had never felt the Atlantic like this, probably because most of my beach trips were in September with the Women's Retreat. Glenna and I were thrilled and debating whether we would go all the way in - it was that cold. So refreshing!

I don't know what happened to Kelso, but soon we were joined by Kelly and noticed my second surprise; waves. There were surfers, and they were carving it up on the playground! I couldn't believe it! Vincent couldn't believe it! I immediately gave up all thoughts of not going in and dove under. Suddenly, I was back in very familiar territory and instincts took over. Time to play!

While chatting with the teens, I had one eye on the sets coming in. I spotted my wave and kept track as it drew closer. Like I've done a hundred times before, I suddenly turned toward shore, without explaination, and started swimming as hard as I could.

Success!

I caught the wave and body surfed most of the way in. I cannot even describe how exhilarating this is! I stood up and gave a holler and noticed a tall French kid had caught the wave with me. We were both grinning ear to ear, and we both immediately headed back for more.

Each of us had eyes that were stinging from the salt, but we didn't care. With each wave we caught, we knew it was worth it. Glenna had her first taste of what it was like to enjoy a real ocean. She learned how to dive under the waves, and she learned what to do when she didn't dive far enough and the wave pinned her under (go limp, wait for it to release you, stand up).

It was glorious.

So, Atlantic, I think I am finally able to call you friend. I thank the Lord for giving me a much-needed day like Saturday in a week full of stress.

God is good.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

What's in a Name?

A hilarious conversation with Johnathon (the one who did the scientific hand experiment with lap bars with me) at Restraint today:

J: We need to come up with a nickname for you. I'm thinking Bullet.

Mrs: Bullet?!? What the hiccup?

J: I know. I'm sorry. All my nicknames come from action films.

Mrs: Bullet? Is it because I'm direct and to the point?

J: Exactly! Or how about somethinig mysterious, like Dragon?

Mrs: I think I'm getting attached to Bullet.

J: Just think! The day you hit the E-Stop we could have such great dialog, like, "Bullet finally pulled the trigger!"

For the rest of the evening, he kept trying to find ways to address me as Bullet.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Happy . . . .

. . . Birthday, Mom!

Wish I were celebrating with you.

Wish I had a photo to put on here!

Hope you know how much I love and treasure you.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Unload!

Saturday was a most pleasant day at work. The secret?

Air freshener.

When guests come into the Unload area, there's a few things we don't mind them leaving behind when they exit the rocket:

Loose change.
Pixie dust.
Echoes of laughter.
Smiles.


There's a few things they might want to reconsider when they leave them behind, though we understand it comes with the job:

Trash.
Spilled water.
Guide maps.
Hair accessories.


Each of these can be quickly deposited into our trash bin, cleverly hidden in the wall, and we don't think much of it. There are, however, items that we sincerely wish guests would take with them:

Cell phones.
Cameras.
Sunglasses.
Spilled sugar straws (whose bright idea was THAT, Disney?)
Gaseous odors.
Urine.
Vomit.


The first three items are easy enough to deal with, but the last ones require either a quick cleanup, a call to custodial, or a nose plug.

This is why I armed myself with air freshener. The night before, I had grown adults laughing over the fact that they passed gas as they came into Unload. I had been left in a cloud of vapor for the last time! I have a small container of air freshener that fits easily into my pocket and boy, did I use it!

Some cast members said it smelled like bubble gum. It was supposed to smell like nectarine/mint. Either way, at least it didn't smell like death-in-a-cloud.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Sleepless on the Sandbar

How is it possible to feel so blessed and so stressed at the same time?

I hate waking at 4 am and not being able to go back to sleep. If there are spelling errors and grammatical errors, blame it on that, please!

We are in the final countdown to Kelly's college orientation and oh, hello! there's a problem with one of her scholarships.

This is not funny.

Kelly and Vincent (our visiting French student) come home yesterday and oh, hello! they reported smoke coming out of the hood of the car.

Also not funny.

My pastor walked into my Sunday school class yesterday, took one look at my face, and then started to chuckle. It wasn't a "ha ha, you look horrible" chuckle, it was a "you poor thing, go back to bed" chuckle. I was so exhausted yesterday! Hate to gross my friends out but I literally got dressed, brushed teeth, and headed to church. I can't remember whether I combed my hair or not.

There are many other things happening at the same time that I can't share yet. God is definitely doing something, but I don't know what! I'm excited and worried, wanting to get to the other side of this as soon as possible. I know He is asking me to trust Him with all things (even scholarships!) and I DO - how do I trust without obsessing about it? How do I trust without losing sleep?

At work, one of my castmates has started calling me Mama. I smile every time she does! She calls me "Space Mama" and laughs when she hears me spiel over the PA after a breakdown, using my Mama voice. (In all fairness, I had given the "get back to your work positions" spiel twice already, and people were still not back in place so we could reopen the ride!)

Did I mention I've been called for jury duty? Yeah, I needed that.

Oh, hello!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Still Havin' Fun

When I first started this job, I decided that Restraint was my favorite position. While it's not my absolute favorite at this point, it's still the most fun for messin' with people.

When I'm at Restraint 1 and send my Train, I like to play with the people waiting to go at Restraint 2. Since the Restraint 2 cast member is walking along the train to check lap bars, the person in the front seat is usually just sitting there, looking at the empty track stretched before them and waiting to go. If the Restraint 2 person stops to talk to anyone or help anyone, I'll step out toward the track and make a wordless gesture to the person in seat one.

Come forward! Come on, please!

They stare at me.

Come on! Move this way, please!

They start to search their seat area for a way to make the train move.

Come on! Hurry up!

At this point, I love to see which reaction will follow. Some will look confused and look around at their friends sitting behind them, wondering what to do. Some simply smile. Others, however, get into the spirit of the game. They'll start scooting and straining forward, trying to move the train. They'll pump their arms in a running motion to try and reach me. They'll pick up invisible oars and start rowing, or they'll reach both arms toward me with a playful plea on their faces, "I can't reach you!"

I've also discovered that even if words and gestures are used together, people will still misunderstand what I'm trying to say. I'll walk along the train and with my palms up, make a lifting motion, and say the words, "Please lift UP on your lap bar." For some reason, this particular motion makes them all lift their hands straight up in the air.

If the first person lifts their hands in the air, everyone behind them will do the same. It's fun to see if I can get a wave going.

The palm-up-lifting-motion-gesture causes several reactions.

Please lift up on your lap bar. (Palm up gesture.)

They raise their hands.

They push DOWN on their lap bars.

They say, "What? Do WHAT?"

They stare blankly.

People, you may be sitting on a rocket, but it's NOT rocket science.

Thursday night, I decided to try turning my palms downward and THEN making the lifting gesture.

It worked! Every single person understood and tested their lap bar as requested. I tested the theory with several different trains (the things we do to stay awake and alert). I tried some trains with palms up, then some with palms down. The palms down trains followed my instructions to a T, even if they didn't speak English. Success!

That night, I shared this with some fellow cast members on the bus back to the parking lot. My friend, Michael, came up to me last night and said, "It worked! It really works!"

Hey, anything to make the job easier.

Ticker

DaisypathAnniversary Years Ticker