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




*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!


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.


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
Cold Medicine
Sewing Kit

Here's what she wrote on her list:

Rain boots
Hat I liked

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.


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.


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


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.

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

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.
Spilled sugar straws (whose bright idea was THAT, Disney?)
Gaseous odors.

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!


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