Saturday, January 29, 2011

Partied Out

This was this morning:

This was yesterday:
I need to get back to work so I can get some rest!

I'm exhausted. More later.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lethargy Sets In

Tyler is tired and doesn't really want to do his homework. Here's his vocabulary lesson:

• Marginal revenue product of labor
This is a thing that happens to people who care

• Equilibrium wage
That’s what I did!

• Laffer curve
This is a funny waist line

• Business cycle
Waste management

• Nominal GDP
The middle gross dog poop

• Real GDP
The real thing

• Full employment
Half days, 12 hours a day.

• Inflation rate
How big your belly gets pre pound of spaghetti you eat

I can't argue. I don't want to do dishes, so I'm blogging and watching BBC videos.

Friday, January 21, 2011

She . . .

. . . Is always up for a rockin' good time.

. . . will still cuddle with her Mom.

. . . can finally do what she's watched her siblings do for years, like go to Winter Retreat.
(Bonus: Her brother played with the band that year, so she got to hang out with him. Double Bonus: he was on her team at game time.)

She . . . has grown up way too fast.

She also has a horrible cold right now and could use some healing prayers!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Out in the Open, but Behind the Scenes

Continuing the collection of photos from my phone comes this series taken very late at night. VERY late.

At the Park, each of the rides are tested, adjusted, and maintained during the wee morning hours when the park is closed. Many a night I had dragged my weary behind to the cast member bus stop and watched as the bus unloaded the maintenance engineers as they were starting their days.

God love them!

All of the following photos are perfectly legal as they were taken in the public areas of the ride, so any Joe Shmoe with a camera could have taken these.

This one is the wallpaper on my phone right now.
I thought it looked so cool and it reflects the season I was in at the park. This was taken with all the house lights ON, by the way, but it still comes out pretty dark. It's the console at Load 1, taken from a pretty interesting angle!

Same angle, peering beneath the console at a rocket train, waiting at load. What on earth are we doing here? Where are the guests?
After the park closes and all the guests have left, every once in a while we must assist the maintenance crew with what's called, "Test and Adjust." This is where they make tweaks and adjustments to the ride, then they must send the rocket trains through repeatedly to make sure everything is in proper working order.

So, if the park closes at midnight, T&A happens well into the wee hours of the morning. The thing is, maintenance is qualified to adjust the speed and track of a screamin' roller coaster, but they are NOT qualified to push the button that makes it go.

That's where the cast members come in.

We sit at our stations for as long as they need us to, sending one rocket train after another. In these photos, I am at Load 1. My friend Erica is at Restraint 1 (or I'd have to walk back and forth to send the rockets. Thanks, Erica!). Other cast members (can't remember which ones) were in the Tower and at Unload 1.

Rocket Train in motion, Side A!

In this photo, I drew an arrow to and a circle around the Red Button of Happiness. This is the E-Stop button and would instantly stop the entire ride, requiring an evacuation.
Happiness for the cast, who all get to do something different for an hour. Not so happy for the guests who were waiting in line and now must leave the ride!

The other buttons send the rocket trains, but the button in the middle is the Station Stop button. This stops the rockets only in our station (not the entire ride). We do this because no matter what we say to the guests, some of you insist on giving "high fives" to the people waiting to load onto the rockets as you pass by. Disney safety says this is simply unsafe and not allowed, so we must STOP the train and ask you to keep your cotton-pickin' hands inside the rocket at all times.

We also hit this button if a guest is suddenly in a position of danger, past the yellow line of safety. Or if they dropped something. Or if a little kid freaks out and tries to stand up in the rocket.

Safe-D begins with me!

The following photos are ones that you will NOT see on a regular park day, so keep it to yourselves, you guys.

You hear?

Mum's the word!

What you will not see, and I defy you to try and find, is this:
A cast member sitting down.

Remember that by this time, it's 2:00 in the morning and we've put in 8 hours. T&A is something we volunteer for after work and we're so tired!
I'm also on the phone, chatting to everyone on Side A who is working with Test and Adjust. Our lovely manager, Kim, asked us what we'd like to drink and she went and bought us sodas (or powerade, in my choice). We're talking probably about guests or cast members or singing our favorite Disney songs - things can get pretty loopy at 2 am! I'm sitting on the ground with my back against the console, reaching up to press the button, and chatting on the phone.

Unheard of!

Oh; and my shirt is untucked. That's right - untucked.

This is a shot of what I'm looking at as I sit there.
I'm looking all the way down past Restraint 2 to Restraint 1, where Erica is sitting on the floor with her back against the space wall, phone to her ear.

I know it's hard to see her, so in the next photo, I drew a circle around her.

I distinctly remember her side of the conversation at this point:

"J, what the heck are you doing? Taking pictures of yourself?"

Well, and pictures of YOU.

Rocket Train in motion, Side A!

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's not Tuesday, but here's a Guest Star!

This post was simply too well said not to share. I know I will take many of her tips to heart!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

More Phone Photos

The first time I used the team bathroom at the dentist office, I closed the door and saw this:
George! What are you doing in here?

It actually startled me! This isn't a small photo - it's almost life-sized. I had forgotten about it since Kelly mentioned it two years ago.

I have no idea who put it there, and no one us fessin' up!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Phuzzy Phone Photos

At The Park, there are several rides that take your picture - usually at the most crucial part of the ride. Rather than pay $14 per photo, many guests (and cast members) simply walk up to the screen and snap a photo of the photo with their phones or cameras.

The Park has gotten smarter. Now, the words, "Pick up your photo in the gift shop!" or something similar is displayed across the photo. The following photos were taken before this recent development. Click on the photos to see them up close.

In each of the photos, I'm noticing a recurring theme:

I. Am. Loving it!

Glenna had to talk me into riding Rockin' Roller Coaster. From the photo above, you could see that Glenna was screaming all the tension out that she had gathered while waiting in line. I'm just diggin' it!

Even the not-so-fast rides are fun with Himself along:

It's up to us to defeat the evil Emperor Zurg and save the batteries for the toys!

Silly man was ready for the camera that time.

Below, I went to Animal Kingdom and rode with some friends on the Dinosaur ride. I had been on it recently so I knew what to expect. Of course, I didn't tell Kim or her friend!

In this one, the girl with me in the front row asked, "Is this ride scary?"
"Oh yes!" I replied. "We're chased by a dinosaur that wants to eat us!"
"WHAT????" she freaked.


This is how I brace myself to ride Side B at Space. I absolutely hate Side B. It's so rough and bumpy! Side A is a smooth journey, comparatively. Remember Tony's hat? =)

Hey, look! It's our French Guy!

Evidently, I traumatized Glenna at the tender age of 9 and she hated Space Mountain, refusing to ride with her eyes open. As you can see below, she quickly got over it when her friends Grace and Bekah made her ride it 40 million times.

Believe it or not, the following photos were taken in the summer time. Remember, summer is our rainy season.
Good to have rain ponchos, especially for this ride! (Awww, a smooch.)

Glenna and I wanted to ride one more time before the park closed. We were literally the only ones on the ride!

Oh, Test Track; how I love Thee.
(Gotta have the hands up!) Glenna is sitting behind me.

That French Guy again. The rest of us are a mess of humidity and heat stroke and he still looks good.

Hands UP, I say!

I don't care if I'm riding with strangers. If I'm on a roller coaster, I'm having a ball! The guy behind me is missing out!
It was a first time for the guy next to me. He was a little nervous about the fact that the restraint came over our shoulders.

As he should be.

Photos Coming!

Tyler was kind enough to finally figure out how to get photos from my phone to the computer. At last, I'll have some photos to share! For now, here's a sampling:

Me, Ty, Jess, Kelly, Paul, and Glenna

This was us on a recent trip to New York City!

Ok, actually, it's at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

And actually again, it's from Himself's phone - but you get the idea.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Go Figure

How is it possible that we are paying off our debt, and we still have money?

The only answer I can come up with is that God rewards obedience. He doesn't want us to be in debt, and He's helping us.

Before we started to attack our debt, we were continually out of money within days of receiving our paychecks. I would take out cash for food (helps me to stay on budget - no more cash means no more food), then I would find ways to justify spending every last cent in the bank. I would sweat bullets until the next payday or have to transfer from our meager savings to cover everything.

Stress, anyone?

Since we've purposely begun to pay our debts, I've noticed that we are living so much more comfortably. By this I mean that I am no longer scrambling to cover our bank account and except for Christmas, which was planned, I have left our savings account alone.

I have a list of our debts posted on the fridge. I should have put the first three debts on there because the left-brained side of me loves to mark things off a list, even if they're already finished, so I would see that Glenna's English classes, the doctor, and the dentist have all been paid in full. Our list now shows:

IRS (paid!)

Auto Loan (paid!)

Dentist (again; Himself needs two crowns)

One Credit Card

Student Loans

Personal Loan #1

Personal Loan #2

Granted, this isn't a horribly long list and our debt is so mild compared to many, but debt was ruining our lives. Debt is misery! Dave Ramsey suggests that everyone sit down and list their debts, all of them, and take an honest look at their financial situations. We did this and were so discouraged to see how much money was going to debt that could be going to many, many other things.

For example - the money we spend each month on debt could have easily paid for college expenses without needing student loans.

If I think of all the expenses I have coming up (like Glenna's college, braces for two children) it's easy to become overwhelmed. Instead, it has helped to focus on each debt before us on this list. Himself and I have actually become so excited about knocking down this debt!

The strangest part is that now that we're committed to this, we're no longer completely broke. We could knock this out even sooner if we wanted by living on rice and beans with no AC or heat in the house and no extras whatsoever, and it may come to that, but for now we're content with the pace we're at. I love that we can pay off our debt AND get Himself a new pair of pants if he needs it. I love that "Mom, we're out of shampoo" doesn't send me into a panic. I know that this is a small glimpse into the financial freedom we're striving towards.

I can't help but be amazed by all of this. I mailed off the final check to the IRS and within days received a mortgage surplus check in the mail that fully paid for the auto loan! Now, the old me would have run to the nearest shopping center with that check and had a ball. The NEW me recognized it for what it was, a gift from God to pay off the car, and wrote the check immediately. The BONUS is that I had money for a new skillet that I've been needing as well!

We still have much to learn and a way to go, but we are so thankful.

Thank You, Lord.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

For the Record

All day, I retrieve and file records. This has given me such an interesting glimpse into humanity.

I just have to say this; some of you have funny names. Butts. Hiney. (I'm not making this up.)

Some of you have names that sound almost like a famous person: Robert Ledford.

I love opening a chart to record some information, and then I find that my Kelly was the last person to write in the chart. I read her words and I hear her voice inside my head - it makes me smile, every time. I also love where she might make a mistake and laughs at herself, right there on the chart. I love that girl!

Dental records, I'm discovering, are extremely important. We have all heard of horrible accidents where the victims were identified strictly from their dental records. It all makes so much sense to me now, especially after working in the charts and on the study models. Our teeth and mouths are as unique as we are!

One job I had was to go through the inactive files, record their last visit, then put the files in a box for storage (they must be kept for seven years after the last visit). So many of these charts record not just the dental history, but the actual history of the patient.

Engaged, wants cleaning before wedding.

Expecting baby.


Patient not feeling well, will call when better.

Patient Deceased.

The last two are almost always from our elderly patients, and it's so sad at the office when that happens. One dear man lost his wife in a horrible accident and arrived, months later, still wearing a halo brace. Our staff mourned with him and embraced him. It's so easy to become involved in the lives of those who come through our door because we deal with them so personally. It's so easy to care.

I was warned that at Christmas, our care would be returned. They weren't joking! Cookies, fudge, cakes, Bavarian Chocolates; all arrived on a daily basis. I picked the wrong month for a pinkie-swear, but I managed to do pretty well. I just could not get over how thoughtful so many were to us. It made me want to tip those who care for my family as well! (I managed to tip our lawn guy. He's my favorite.) =) We see many patients every 3 to 6 months. I often marveled at how the staff would remember details about my life and ask me about them, and now I know.

Your names are ever before us. We can't help but remember.

If you don't have a dentist who remembers your name and your family, it may be time to look for a new one!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Monday Blues

I am sick. I cannot breathe.

I'm glad there was a flood of mail at the dentist office from our week off! I was able to isolate myself in the back office all morning.

Tyler came home from work today, also sick.

We've had so much company lately and I love it! I love, especially, that my house hasn't been perfect and it didn't matter one bit. I love when Kelly is home from college since the traffic in our home greatly increases. She's home for one more week!

Space Mountain was such a welcome break. I was re-certified and back on rotation While I was sad that so many people have returned to college, I forgot how much fun it was to make new friends! Everyone has an interesting background. By the time I return around June, there will be another rotation of college kids to get to know. Many of my favorite managers were still there, so that was good.

That's all for now. Hard to type and breathe at the same time.


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