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Brighid and Anna First Annual Mother/Daughter Trip to Disney World Part Five

Okay, so we got a note in our room telling us the Magical Express shuttle that would get us to the airport in time for our flight was leaving at 5:15, and in order to be on it, we had to be at the pick up location at 5 AM.  There is not much help available for your luggage, and I am greatly disappointed in that.  The note implies that you just place a phone call to bell services the night before your shuttle, and someone will come to collect your things.  Not so.  We placed our phone call, only to have a cast member tell us how short handed they are at that time of the morning, and they only have one guy that can do the luggage runs, and they have already booked him beyond what he can do.  We are a good, long walk from the main building where we will be picked up, so Brighid and I make sure we are up and out the door all the earlier so we have ample time to haul our luggage across the resort.

We check in at bell services at just about 10 minutes to 5.  There is already another family there, and a single woman, and quite a few pieces of luggage are there.  That lone CM must have been very busy!   By 5:15, I am freezing my butt off, despite wearing jeans, a long sleeved t-shirt, and a sweatshirt (my winter coat is packed).  The 5:15 time comes and goes, and no ME shuttle arrives.  The family that has been there since before we got there begins to get a bit agitated, and the dad is now pacing like a madman.  I start to think there must have been an error, and maybe we should have checked in by 5:15 for a 5:30 shuttle, but 5:30 comes and goes, a crowd has gathered, and there is still no shuttle. 

FINALLY, with a crowd of popsicles standing by impatiently waiting, a bus shows up at 6:10 –   yes, nearly an hour after we were supposed to have left.  The bus driver checks in with guest services, and luggage starts to be loaded.  The bus is already carrying quite a few people, and with all the people sitting around here at SSR waiting, I figure the bus is going to be full.  I push Brighid over towards the line waiting to get on the bus while I attend to our luggage.  She is still standing, waiting to get on the bus by the time the bus driver loads our bags on, but I pull her aside and let a woman with three small ice cubes (who were children just 40 minutes ago) go on first, jeopardizing what may be the last few seats on the bus, but feeling it is something I’d want someone to do for me if I was here with my two small girls.

The driver gets on the bus, and decides to stand in front of the bus and make apologies.  They had a couple of buses break down, they had to arrange other transportation, and he was a fill in driver.  The family that was getting impatient waiting for the shuttle to show up is visibly irritated while listening to the driver talk, and I find out that they were supposed to be on the 4:30 shuttle, which also never showed up, and their flight is leaving in about 30 minutes.  We barely have enough time to get to the airport before their flight leaves, and they have been up since 3 AM with their kidlets.  I feel awful for them.

The driver finally sits down and starts driving, getting on the speaker to let us all know how sorry he is again about making us wait, and people begin to fall back asleep.  SSR was the last stop, so we head right to the airport, and he makes an announcement that he is going straight to the terminal where this poor family has to go to get their flight, and that actually irritates some of the other folks.  PUH LEEZE.  I know, we’re all tired and inconvenienced, but these poor people are at risk of not getting on their flight if we don’t drop them off first – cut them some slack. 

And speaking of how rude people are, can I just complain about the number of people on the bus who got on the bus, chose not to utilize the overhead compartments, put their bag on the window seat, and sat on the outside seat?   And there were people who didn’t even have bags, who just planted themselves in the aisle seat and spread themselves out so no one could sit with them.  I’m sure the bus driver would have made them move if the bus had truly been full, but come on.  Have a little respect for your fellow human being.  If you want isolation, Disney World is not your locale.

So, without much more incident, we get to where we are going and check in at Southwest.  We still have about an hour to wait for our flight, so we go get coffee and some breakfast and watch some poor grandfather and his grandson.  They are on our flight, and they   have been to Disney World.  The grandfather has made the decision only a grandparent would make – to purchase 7 billion pieces of Lego toys for his grandson to play with on the flight home.  And of course, the kid wants to play with them on the floor of the terminal.  And of course, after being asked 17,000 times if he wanted anything to eat, little Kyle waits until 10 minutes before our flight is boarding to tell his grandfather he will die without food.  After just putting away all 7 billion Lego pieces, Grandpop goes and waits in line for a hot dog, while Kyle, one by one, opens the packages containing the 7 billion pieces and spills them out all over the floor again, then begins to wander away.  Fortunately, Grandpa gets his hands on that hotdog just in time, and he rushes over to let Kyle know that he has to stay with him and help him pick up the Legos.  I hope they made the flight – I don’t remember seeing them after that.

The flight home is EXTREMELY entertaining, despite two people in our vicinity vomitting for at least part of the flight.  We have a flight attendant – Brandon – who must do standup in his spare time.  He is hysterical, and Brighid and I can’t wait for him to pick up the microphone for any little thing.  He makes jokes about everything, and is so funny, he ends up garnering an invitation from the couple seated behind us to visit with them at their home in Green Bay, Wisonsin when he is in the area. 

We are at the airport about 10 minutes ahead of schedule, and it is so nice to be home and to see my other girls.  I am so glad Brighid and I had this time together, and I really would like to be able to do it again in the future, but I am so glad to see Eilis and Granuaile.

I don’t know if this will be an annual tradition – especially with college coming up in the not too distant future – but it certainly is something I would recommend to every mom and daughter.  We laughed, we tried new things, we had girly time at the spa.  This definitely was a great way to reconnect, and I think as the other girls get older, a special weekend should be planned with each of them, individually.  It’s great re-connecting time.

Brighid and Anna First Annual Mother/Daughter Trip to Disney World Part Four

Saturday, February 10th, and our last day here.  We leave EARLY tomorrow morning.  This has thrown a monkey wrench into our plans, but we’ll work through it.  The plan for today is to go to Islands of Adventure for the first half of the day, then leave to go to Universal Studios to spend the late afternoon and evening, specifically to see the Mardi Gras parade.

The Mardi Gras parade begins at 8 PM, is supposed to last about 15 minutes, and then Donna Summer performs.  The French Quarter food court opens at 5, so after talking to Brighid, our goal is to at least stay until then to get a bite to eat, and play it by ear.

We head in to Islands of Adventure EARLY – we arrive about 10 minutes before the park opens.  Our first stop is at a little gift shop that has a lot of tropical type clothing.  Since Eilis has a luau coming up in just two weeks, we stop here.  Well, an hour and a half later, I have a shirt for Jim, an outfit for me, a skirt for Brighid (that took an hour and 25 minutes of that hour and a half), and a blouse for Eilis.  I also picked up a few pieces of jewelry.  We had such a great time shopping, we didn’t realize we had not seen one inch of the park yet, and we would have to lug this bag of stuff all over with us.  We decided to check the bag into a locker, and off we went into IOA. 

With Eilis in tow, we spend quite a bit of time in the Dr. Seuss themed island.  How different it is with just Brighid.  We ride the Cat in the Hat ride, and I am thrilled to find t-shirts that say not only Thing 1 and Thing 2, but also Thing 3!   I think about buying them for the girls, but decide against it when I realize I will have to either carry them or lug them back to the locker.  Obviously, not having the baby coach to throw things in is putting a damper on the whole theme park shopping experience!

Next we head over to the Poseidon show – I have never seen it, and it is very cool.  We have also always wanted to try Mythos restaurant, but have not done that on previous visits.  What the heck?   We’ll do it today.  We walk over to check out the menu, and I find at least one or two things I can at least try, so we agree to come back to the restaurant and eat.  First, though, we go to the Sinbad stunt show, another thing I’ve never done.  It was funny and pretty entertaining, along the lines of the Indiana Jones stunt show at MGM. 

Following Sinbad, we had lunch at Mythos.  I can do a little bit of a very flat pizza, and their pizza that day was steak and mushroom.  We ordered it as an appetizer to share, and it was a nice sized personal pizza, loaded with steak and mushrooms.  I ate a small piece of the steak, but had to spit it out without swallowing.  I ate the pizza so fast that it made me a little nauseous, so I sipped a little water while Brighid enjoyed her meal of cedar plank salmon.  The restaurant was nice, the food was good, and the portions were very large.

After lunch, we wandered the rest of the way around IOA, but since Brighid and I don’t love roller coasters and it was too cold for water rides, we decided not to ride anything else and head over to Universal.  Here’s the thing.  We planned to stay at Universal until the park closed, but IOA closed at 6 PM.  That meant we had to move the stuff out of the locker at IOA and pay for a new locker at Universal.  At this point, we really should have just gone and put the stuff in the car, but neither of us felt like walking it out there.  It was a little inconvenient to have to do this.  I cannot remember if there are lockers in the parking garage area, or in the area of City Walk before you choose a theme park, but if there is, I encourage you to use them.  Although, if you have to walk all the way back to the garage to put stuff in a locker, you might as well put the stuff in your car and save the money.

We had no lines at all at Universal, so we did everything we wanted to do, and it wasn’t even quite 5 PM yet.  We still had to drive out to Poinciana to return the in-law’s truck, so we decided to just grab a quick bite to eat, a t-shirt, and head out.  We still had some things to pack and I wanted to run our dirty clothes through the laundry.  Our shuttle to the airport was picking us up at 5 AM – or O Dark Thirty, as I like to refer to it – and we needed to get some sleep.

The seafood jambalaya was good, authentic tasting food.  And for just about $5, you got a heaping bowl of it, a huge helping of rice (which I declined), and a nice (for Florida) roll to go with it.  I couldn’t even eat half of the bowl, Brighid only had one bite, and the rest of it got tossed because it was just too much to eat.  We saw some of the street performers on the way out, and thought again about staying for the parade, but it was just too much to get back to the hotel as late as we would have gotten there.

We had a great day, got back to my in-law’s at about 6:30, and we were in the hotel by about 8:30, packing, washing, and trying to spend our last few hours of our first mother/daughter trip relaxing.  We were going to need it with the fiasco that would occur the next morning!

Protecting Your Babies

Even when they are 15 years old.

I have a daughter that age, who has a crush on a boy.  We’ve been there, ladies.  You so desperately want the boy you like to like you back, there is almost physical pain involved in not knowing if he likes you or he doesn’t like you.

But as a mom, what do you do to protect your daughter from that feeling?   And should you?   What do you tell them?

This boy my oldest daughter is crushing on doesn’t go to her school, so the only time they would be able to get together is if her mom drives her to meet him somewhere where he has gotten a ride to.  We have made arrangements twice in the past month to do this.  The first time, I dropped my daughter off at basically a teen dance party, by herself, because this boy was going to be there with a group of his friends, and none of Brighid’s friends could go.  I watched as she walked into the club, and drove away.  It wasn’t until nearly 2 weeks later that I found out the boy never showed up, she didn’t know anyone there, so she hung out with the band (a group of high school boys) for the 3 hours I had left her there.  She didn’t want to call me to come and get her because she thought I wouldn’t let her go again.  She was probably right.  I won’t let her go again, unless I am bringing her and at least a friend or two.

Then she makes plans to meet this boy at the mall.  It starts out early in the day as Brighid, Captain Fantastic (the boy she’s crushing on), a couple of his friends and his brother, and three of Brighid’s friends.  By the time we arrive at the mall at the appointed time, it’s down to Brighid, Captain F, and whomever he has been able to get to drive him.  She wants to hop right out of the car, but I make her call to find out where they are meeting and what time I am picking up and where.  He is on the other line with his friends, still trying to get a ride, and he’ll call her back.

We wait.  A. Long. Time.  20 minutes later, I tell her to call him back or I’m leaving.  She begs for a few more minutes, and remembering how hard it was to be 15, I agree.  It is now 2 minutes to 8, and I tell her I am heading out.  Then the phone rings.  He tells her to just hang in a few more minutes, and he will call her back, he has to call someone else. 

I’m already suspicious of this kid.  He blogs about a bad track record with girls.  I have already warned my daughter this may be an obstacle to any potential “relationship” with this kid.  He has already stood her up once.  She took responsibility for that one, saying that originally, she was not going to be able to go (true), but I reminded her that there was always a possibility she would be going, and he knew that, so if he was not going to show up, he had an obligation to let her know.  And now, 30 minutes after he’s already supposed to be here, he’s not and doesn’t have a ride yet, which means he is at least another 30 minutes from getting here.

I am just about to tell her we’re leaving, because there is no point in meeting now, as the mall closes at 9:30, and even if he gets here in record time, I don’t have enough time to drive all the way home and all the way back, which puts me stuck in the car in the parking lot with Granuaile for an hour.  Then he calls.  CF tells her he can’t get a ride after all, that his friends made the decision to spend the day in the mall without him and they do not want to drive back out to the mall to spend another hour. 

My kid is so disappointed.  I am disappointed for her.  I don’t want to see her hurt, but she is.  She is still making excuses for him, and I worry that this will one day lead her into an abusive relationship, where she can’t see the guy for the things he is doing wrong or the things he is lacking.  I think part of her making excuses is so that I won’t deny her the ability to ever get together with this kid again, but it may be too late for that.  While I want to understand that they are 15, don’t drive, and need to rely on other people for rides places, I want there to be some kind of respectfulness that at least the kid acknowledges that Brighid went to the effort to get a ride, showed up, and was waiting, but there doesn’t seem to be any.  I also told her the next time they make plans, he has to come to our house.  This morning, she tells me how hard that will be for him because he lives so far away (30 minutes – Big Deal).

Oh, and when she got home last night and he called, he told her that an old girlfriend told his friends that she must have been on drugs to ever want to go out with him, so he’s swearing off of having a girlfriend.  I want this to be a big flashing red light in my daughter’s eyes, but instead, she asks for help in translating it.  Does it mean he likes her but just doesn’t want a girlfriend?   Does it mean he likes her, but is angry that the other girl would say something like that?   Does it, GULP, mean he doesn’t like her?

How far do we go to protect our kids?   Do I step in and forbid her from seeing this kid, because in the eye of experience, it doesn’t look like this is going to go anywhere?   Do I keep my mouth shut and try to be here to pick up whatever pieces are left?  

Don’t you hate that Motherhood doesn’t come with an instruction manual?

And The Weight Loss Winner Is…

While I technically have lost more weight than Jim, he has lost his the old fashioned way.  He made a very deliberate decision last July, just before my gastric bypass surgery, that he wanted to lose weight as well.  Weighing in at about 325 pounds, he didn’t feel he was a good candidate for the weight loss surgery, and attending my gastric bypass support group meetings convinced him of that.  Most of the people in my group have used surgery as a tool to get down to about 300 pounds, so he felt fairly svelte sitting among us all.

Anyway, the first thing he did was cut out soda.  Entirely.  No diet soda, no regular soda, no baking soda (okay, there maybe a line somewhere).  I honestly didn’t think he could do it, because a 2 litre bottle of soda in this house shook for it’s very life, knowing that in just two large Texas tea buckets, it would be gone.  A case of 24 cans had a life span of less than 48 hours once it crossed our threshold. 

Never a big sweet eater, he started to cut back on things like nachos and salsa.  You know the super big, have a party, invite Brazil sized bags of nachos – so big even Sam’s Club doesn’t carry them because they take up too much room in the warehouse?   If they were lucky, they lasted an evening and the crushed, broken remnants were stored in Jim’s desk drawer for those nacho emergencies at 2 AM. 

He really watches what he eats now, and snacks more on nuts, occasionally pretzels dipped in cream cheese, and pieces of cheese.  Lunch for him now is usually a turkey – no cheese – sandwich on whole wheat bread; mustard instead of mayo; and a bowl of soup.  He watches his dinners, leaning on lean proteins and small portions of starches.  Even on our Thursday night trip to the diner at midnight when I pick him up at the airport, he orders the sauteed crabcakes, skips the melted butter, and then eats the veggie sides, takes home at least half of the crabcakes, and has lunch of the leftovers the next day.

Then, when he got the gig in Milwaukee, the first thing he did was join the YMCA and hire a personal trainer.  He works out three nights a week, has joined the volleyball team at the customer’s site, and goes to bed at a decent hour each night instead of sitting up until the wee hours of the morning, binging. 

All this brings him down to 265 pounds as of this morning.  He has lost about half the amount of weight I have in the same amount of time, but he has worked harder at it – changing so many of his habits and so much of his lifestyle.  Add to that the fact that he goes to a tanning salon and bought cute man style underpants, and he’s just a dollar bill away from being  a Chippendale dancer 🙂  

I’m really proud of him.  Not that I’m not proud of myself – and anyone who has had WLS will tell you this is no walk in the park – but he really has worked hard and I feel so glad for him that he is seeing such great results.  It’s certainly motivation to keep him going, keep him losing, and keep him working out.  There’s a new spring in his step, and I’m so happy for him.