Saturday, October 31, 2009

How Not to Be a Halloween Douche

After tonight's festivities, I have some rules to keep me from hitting you in the head with a brick:
  • Unless you are taking your OWN children trick-or-treating, no matter how good the costume, if you are 6'5", stay home.

  • Treat bags are $1 at WalMart, splurge on one instead of using that creepy pillowcase. If you are using it because you are worried about bag breakage, you are too involved in the quest for candy.

  • If you can grow facial hair, stay home.

  • If your idea of cadging for candy is loading up the van with everyone, and going to a different neighborhood, stay home. Or go to the mall, they give out candy. I want to give it to my neighbors kids, not huge quantities of random children from another town.

  • If I've dropped the piece of candy in your bag, no matter how small it is, DO NOT give me a look like you are expecting more. You get what you get, move on.

  • Once you've received your treat, GET OUT OF THE WAY, you are blocking my porch for the rest of the rabble. I want to get this distribution over with as fast as possible.

  • If you are under 25, and only have a child under 1, you don't need to trick-or-treat. No one cares about your costume, and your very uncomfortable-looking baby should only be shown to a handful of people who give a shit. Also, you don't need that candy.

  • I happen to be sick almost every Halloween (last one, this one, horrible coughing) so if you ring the bell and I don't show up right away. Give up. Don't bang on my door or continue to ring. I'm in the bathroom retching from the coughing. And if I reappear while you're still there, I will be mean.

  • No editorials on what I gave you, good or bad. I don't want to know, no one wants to know, it will either be perceived as pettiness or gloating.
  • If we have turned out the lights, we are OUT OF CANDY. DO NOT ring the bell or knock. Why are you walking up to a dark house anyway? Glutton for serial killers?

Oh, and have a nice Halloween.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Won't We Do for a Patch

Here's my Cub Scout. He enjoys being a Scout, though he is so far from religious he has to work on his facial expressions when God is brought up. We had a Den Meeting last night and we met at the city Police Station for a tour. I'm not sure my child has one thought or another about the police. He's not the sort to be in trouble and I'm afraid, overall, he views police with some suspicion.

The tour was uneventful except the Autistic scout who kept pestering Fletcher and finally spit in his face. I'm sure I should be more understanding, but our Den meetings would go so much better without Jacob-on-the-spectrum. He's really disruptive. I don't have the tools to deal with him, his mother is exhausted and sometimes fails to deal with him, and the other boys freak at the sight of him. My son keeps turning around and rolling his eyes at me about Jacob.

The police officer (Officer Foster, to you) who took us on the tour was a short man, who looked a bit like a proper police doll in his little uniform. He seemed nice enough, but fairly dull and I suspect, not that bright. Our police station is very modern and homogeneous. At 7 p.m., nothing much is happening there. It's not as if they let the boys tour the jail. We stared at the 911 operators, saw a training room that was indistinguishable from every seminar room I've ever been in (though Office Foster did show the boys some training batons and the training cuffs) and peeked in a small gym.
At least the boys got a patch. And I'm sure this completed some step in the Wolf Cub achievements. We still have to determine which church will be the least offensive to my little Atheist so he can complete the requirement of religious institution attendance.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Witch of the West

Every year since Fletcher turned 3 we have a birthday party for him. Every year it's on a Saturday at 2 p.m. and we host it in our backyard with open doors and guests wandering in and out to get food from the table. Every year, my mother drives 500 miles to show off her skills as amateur caterer. I do love my mother, in the way you love something that is both good and bad, supportive and judgmental, bittersweet. But, she couldn't be a better user of the back-handed compliment and the best practitioner of damning with faint praise.

I cleaned like a maniac (badly and with loads of sweat) in preparation for her arrival and the party. To be honest, more of it was focused on making her happy than worrying about parents of my son's friends noticing how piggishly I live. I could tell by the way she looked around that I didn't accomplish what I should have. She sneers at all my attempts to keep house and begins moving things around and constantly wiping everything with a damp paper towel.

She rolled in around 5:30 on Friday evening and immediately said several things. My husband needs to help me more, using the words "well you (meaning me) work full time." Implication being he doesn't. No, he doesn't, but he does make money for us. Also called my son, her only grandson, chunky. Yes, he's gained some weight. We are addressing it. She needs to back off about it. I'm chunky. My husband is chunky. We're all trying not to be chunky. Guess what, woman?! Insulting us never helps.

She took us out to eat at Red Robin as Fletcher (who had just turned 8) had restaurant choice. She always orders a petite burger and gives us all the evil eye if we order something larger. Claims that she really isn't glaring at us, but her vision is failing in her old age, but I remember her when she was my younger mother and she did it back then, too. I can't be fooled.

After dinner, Mom and I made a big trip to WalMart to get beverages and other sundries for the party. She was mostly tolerable on that trip but we had to spend too much time dithering over sun dried tomatoes in olive oil. And there was a long discussion about the olive oil I had in my cabinet, along with the admonition that I really should keep it in my refrigerator. Cause, you know, I love having to make it go from solid to liquid each time I use it.

Saturday morning was a fairly early start so I could send Fletcher and Joe off to Fletcher's soccer game and Mother and I could get the house ready fort he party. She cooked and fussed with things and I finished the cleaning the house so desperately needed. I got myself into a sweaty, cranky mess and already had a list of things I needed help with by the time Joe returned.

The day moved on with lots of sweaty running about for me, errands for Joe and nice cooking smells a product of what my mother was doing. I managed to be almost ready when the first child was dropped off early by his grandmother. Certainly by the time most of the guests showed, we were ready to entertain and feed them.

Two hours later after much decorating of superhero capes, greedy mad dashes for prizes and pinata droppings, it was over. Except for the brother and sister who were still there because Dad used that time to do some work. The sister had been invited, the impulse-control impaired older brother was like a prize we couldn't give back that came with. He managed, during the party, to hit my son twice in the head with a soccer ball, which prompted Fletcher to whack him in the head with a whiffle bat. Only fair. Much crying ensued on both sides at each injury. Ice packs were distributed.

The evening after the party included dinner made up of party food scraps and going to a showing of Where the Wild Things Are. Mom and I enjoyed the movie but I think Joe and Fletcher found it too melancholy. It might not really be a children's movie. But, visually, it was so stunning, I had to love it.

Mother left this morning with admonitions about picking up the living room each night and more worried comments about my son's health. I appreciated her help with the party but was not sad to see her close her Suburban door and drive away. I can only take so much Judy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More Time to Create

I love making art. But sometimes the creative portion of my brain can't fight its way out from the part busy filling spreadsheets with numbers, or designing pegboard units for Sears or picking up a mind-numbing number of toy parts from the living room floor.
Even with a degree in art, I have no delusions about making much, if any, money from it. I will never be a good marketer of my art, not good at making multiples of one thing, just not that sort of artist. I make things for friends, family, myself. I make things because the thing is in my head and I want to make it real.
But lately (and that covers a lot of ground) I've been so busy with work projects, house cleaning, party preparation and just general laziness in the in between bits that I haven't been creating. Now we have reached that point in the yearly cycle where my creations need to be aimed toward gifts. I'm good with this. I have pictures of past gift creations that still make me happy that I made them. So, it's time to start thinking of what is in my head that wants to be made real AND will be a great present for family or friend. Start my engines...the creative ones I mean.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Three colors, one flavor

I do like Halloween. And, though it's not popular to say so, I like candy corn. My husband hates it, my son won't try it like most things and it's not good for me, so there isn't any in the house. But trust me, late the night of October 31st, after my son has looked over his haul, I will pick through and find the candy corn and eat it.

My son's birthday is essentially a week before Halloween. So, though usually I have decorations out, this year, I'm so swamped with work and getting ready for his party (cleaning the house so my mother doesn't tsk tsk about the state of my mind) that I haven't decorated for the season. Also, most of my outdoor decorations go in my flowerbeds, which are filled with weeds. I was hoping someone would tell me, that for a small fee, they would dig up the weeds. No one has volunteered to be paid for the honor yet.

And then there are the 22 superhero capes I have to make. Still working on that. But really...I'm looking forward to Halloween...and candy corn.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Admissions of a Shrew

I'm a shrew. Really. But I don't mean in the eats ten times my own body weight to survive, I mean in the taming of way. I'm a yeller, at my child, at my husband. Sometimes I'm also a thrower during a particularly heated tantrum, usually in housekeeping and equitable division of chores arguments.

I don't like being this way. I'd love to be one of these measured Moms who speaks in gentle tones as I ask my child for the umpteenth time to stop putting his toys on the floor where I just cleaned, but since the minute I see said toy sitting in the area I just picked something up from I turn into a raging bull. Hmmm, I'm mixing my animal metaphors. So be it. Line up all the negative animal associations that convey anger, irritation, meanness and screeching and you will find me.

Every sound irritant, every mess (and the house really is a pigsty, part my fault, more theirs), every overwhelming new request for a work project sends me into a tizzy. I live a lot of my life in a tizzy. I don't like it. I'm just not sure how to change.

And, yet, here I sit, typing this blog instead of working on the chores that have an endgame. I should be completing tasks that have a completion. Helping myself feel accomplished. But in addition to being a shrew, I'm also a slug. A champion procrastinator of a slug. Again, another negative animal metaphor to add to me oeuvre.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Celebrities, Has-Beens, Wish-fors: Oh My

I'm constantly reminded that there are people who really want the attention, the camera, the crowd on them, looking AT them. On Twitter, the reminders are constant. Oh, there are the "nice" celebrities - like Virginia Madsen or Stephen Fry. They tweet some personal items, more likely links to things that interest them. They don't seem to be dancing around trying to get us to notice. Course I also don't find their politics offensive. Unlike someone like Scott Baio, a washed up has-been I hadn't given a thought unless I accidentally (and most unfortunately) have happened on a Happy Days rerun with Chachi in it.

Suddenly, he's all over Twitter spouting his, clearly, uninformed and uber-conservative "opinions." (One hateful opinion was actually the bimbo utterings of his wife that he agreed with.) He's telling all us "regulars" (you know, those of us not in the media spotlight for some reason or other, or at least not sucking at media's teat in a whore-ish fashion) how great it is to be him and a Conservative and how great his life is. So a follower of his made a silly joke relating to his brag of how rich he was. He completely overreacts, claims he's being extorted, blah blah. What a tool. And, really, it's not as if this upsets some good opinion I had of him, just reinforces what I suspected. He's a stupid, tiny man with no talent.

Yesterday, our TVs were entranced with the silver popover zooming through the Colorado skies, possibly carrying a six-year-old boy. As the story has unfolded, the boy wasn't in the popover, he didn't fall from it, he hid in the attic and perhaps the entire thing was yet another bid for this media whore-ish family (or at least the father) to get more attention. Dad Heene, first off, don't name your poor child Falcon. Do you want him to be ostracized for the rest of his life? Or, spend so much time saying "Yes, Falcon, like the bird." And, Dad Heene, a six-year-old, even a particularly clever or media savvy one, still can't keep a secret straight and will easily blow the deal when you want him to "pretend" the facts.

And, if you are an actual celebrity, not a has-been or a wishing-to-be, such as Miley Cyrus (yes, I'll concede by definition she is a celebrity, though I will not pretend I find her talented or fun to listen to) stop being such a princess thinking so many people care if you are or aren't on Twitter or anywhere else for that matter. I know you have all these bubbly tween girl fans who still want to think of you as Hannah or a bunch of skeevy older guys who have gross fantasies about you. But I'm guessing most people won't notice your absence. So stop making it into something.

As for the rest of you has-beens, come back to us with style. You want us to pay attention again, do some good and do it a bit selflessly (and for my money, do it on the left, not right: I won't pretend to care about you if you agree with Beck.) And the wish-fors, do something truly interesting or heroic, or at least kind. Stop trying to get our attention like a four-year-old with a frog.

And, real celebrities, those I see too much in the news, on my television, on Twitter, use your galaxies-revolve-around-me for extra good things. Donate some of that money, notoriety, time to a good cause. Pay attention to the regulars, speak to them occasionally because even without the spotlight some of our ideas and lives are interesting, too.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tale of the Trip, Part V: Last Day in the Parks

We had the opportunity with our Park Hopper passes to take advantage of a "magic hour" one of the days. We saved it for this last day where we could get in at 9 instead of 10. Apparently, we weren't the only ones as the line to get some magic was immense and our house turned into more like 39 minutes of magic.

All we had left was to spend time in Tomorrowland. First stop was Star Tours where we were loaded into our shuttle, vaguely amused by the robot pilot who shook us around on a wild ride. Fletcher loved it.

I can't remember the order in which we did everything else, but at some point we were getting lunch and Fletcher noticed the Jedi training going on nearby so we vowed to do that at a later point. We rode the Buzz Lightyear thing where you shoot at stuff with your laser gun. We took the Innoventions modern house tour. Now I want that dining table with the interactive ponds in it.

We sat through the Asimo presentation that was stunning. He runs, he climbs stairs, it still feels like a special effect but it's happening right in front of you.

We almost rode Space Mountain. I had sort of misjudged how much of a rollercoaster it was, made us stand in line, then when we caught sight of it, Fletcher (and me) happily took the exit before we got on it. Tower of Terror was already too much, never again do we want to drop that much. Instead we happily watched the slightly dated Honey I Shrunk the Audience, still fun for Fletcher and reminding us again how he needs to see some more movies.

When we went back at the afternoon time slot for the Jedi training we found Fletcher a place to squeeze in at the front of the group and he was picked. They put each child (about 25 of them) in a brown paduwan robe and give each a plastic light saber (the kind you press the button and flick the retracting plastic "light" out, various colors), then taught the children with lots of good patter and whipping of sabers about how to take down an enemy. Then, lo and behold, a bit of the stage rises to Darth Vader's theme and there he is and also Darth Maul. Each child gets to take a turn defeating one or the other. Fletcher fought Darth Maul. It was precious. He's a bit awkward. But you could tell he was having a blast.

The finish is a certificate and of course we had to promise to buy him his own light saber. Finally we rode Autopia where you drive cars around a track. Then we rode the claustrophobic but worth it Finding Nemo submarine ride. Fletcher doesn't really remember his toddler year of watching that movie in a loop. Joe and I do.

Last thing we did in that area was to purchase the double-ended super light saber that Fletcher helped create. Barely fit in the luggage on the way home. I found some lovely Alice in Wonderland tea for myself and some blue crystal Mickey head earrings. We had time to kill to we took the monorail to Downtown Disney as Joe wanted a chunk of time to really shop that big Disney store located there.

We found gifts for people, for ourselves, a bathroom for Fletcher to use. After lots of frittering, we walked out the other direction of the Downtown, then back to Disneyland so we could find a spot to see the parade. We kept finding spots that looked great but either were told to move along or found out they weren't actually on the route. Finally settled in behind some people who reluctantly allowed Fletcher to stake out a tiny bit of curb and watched the parade.

The parade was lots of music, colorful costumes, many of the classic and new Disney characters. Stitch was playful with Fletcher trying to put Fletch's hat on. Ending play with putting both his fuzzy little hands on Fletcher's head. Fletcher was handed one of the flat drums to beat on during the dancing. All in all, pretty cool, though we think the Pixar Parade at CA was probably better.

Our last hurrah at Disneyland would be the Halloween Screams light show and fireworks display at outside the castle. I left the boys to stake out a good bench while I walked back to the hotel to drop off the heavy purchase from earlier. I was tired of schlepping stuff, needed to take some medicine and use a better bathroom. I accomplished this (though the stupid room key card was again not working and had to go get a new one - the third time that happened) and found Joe and Fletcher back at Disney on a well-placed bench. I ate a churro. Disney seems to be powered by churros.

As the time neared for the show, the crowd swelled, got surly, calmed down and waited. The streetlights went out, powerful voices announced Halloween things over the loudspeaker. It began. Shapes in colored light were projected on the castle, while the darker of Disney characters narrated things about Halloween and songs were sung, then fireworks entered into the choreography. It was spectacular. Fletcher and I loved it. I think even Joe did, and he's not usually impressed with fireworks. Disney does these kinds of things well.

Once done, we trotted out of the park, back toward the hotel, skipping over it for a meal at Mimi's next door. Sure, it's a chain restaurant and we have one back home, but sometimes that's what you need. Except the host was super surly and slow. Could have done without that. Food was good. We went back to the hotel room to pack a little, goof off a lot. Next morning, I commandeered the packing so we could get everything in, we left a bit early for the airport so we could stop at what turned out to be a fairly disappointing Disney Outlet store, but made it to the flight just in time.

Two flights and two hours of dark, dark driving later, we were home. Our house smelled weird and alien, the cats acted odd and it was midnight.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tale of the Trip, Part IV: Day Two Means California Adventures

Day Two of the Park Hopper pass would go to California Adventures. It doesn't open until 10 so we could sleep in a bit and we convinced the child that we would eat the the hotel restaurant, Millie's instead of getting his daily does of McDonald's biscuits. He still had a biscuit, just from a new source. Millie's biscuits turned out to be gigantic, fluffy clouds. I regret we ordered him two. It was a lot of food. I had a pancake the size of a bicycle tire.

Then, off to California Adventures through the same bag-checking entrance and right across from our entry to Disneyland. The main circle features a giant candy corn with Heimlich from Bug's Life rising out of a big bite of it jabbering about eating more of it. It's cute. We pose Fletcher in front of everything candy corn-oriented and take many pictures.
We walk to the Hollywood Pictures Backlot to ride the Monsters, Inc ride making us realize that our son needs to see more Disney movies. It was fun. Then, since Joe loves Twilight Zone, we decide to ride the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride. Fletcher is tall enough now, but it turns out the ride is 5% Twilight Zone atmosphere and 95% falling. Even big people like us rise frighteningly off our seats, over and over. It was fairly terrifying. We will never ride it again. The culmination of the ride is the theme store. Things were bought.
Once it was open we saw the Muppets 3D movie. Loved it. Then wandered through the animation exhibit. Pretty cool spinning animation thing that shows the Toy Story people like a 3D flip book. Played with other animation exhibits.
Next up is going to the Bug's Land area to see more Bug's Life stuff. Starting with a 3D presentation about the trouble being a bug.

We rode bug-shaped bumper cars, Fletcher rode spinning ladybugs, we wandered about looking at everything made in a size to make us feel like tiny bugs. It's cute. We moved on to the bread factory tour where they hand you a sample, which just caused Fletcher to want more sourdough bread, so after the tour, I stood in the very long line at the attached cafe to purchase a loaf of bread and some water. After enjoying some bread and feeding crusts to the multitude of birds who have completely figured out the best place to be is outside the bread factory, we went to the Midway area to stand in line for Toy Story Mania ride. The line was long, but tolerable, the ride was really fun. You ride in little cards that spin you around to face targets you "fire" at with digital pop guns.

Fletcher loved it. Then we dropped too much cash on the excessively expensive midway games, but at least Fletcher came away with some stuffed prizes, his favorite being a Dumbo. We quickly walked through the Mission Tortilla factory tour so I could eat some tortillas. Fresh, hot tortillas.

It was nearing time for the daily Pixar Play Parade so we headed to find a snack near where we should sit to get the best view. We staked out a bench, one of us going for provisions, while the other kept our squatter's rights to, what would turn out to be, a perfect place for the parade.

After the parade, we considered going back to Disney, and then I don't remember what happened. Oh right, we were tired. Went back to the hotel.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tale of the Trip, Part III - Our First Full Disney Day

Husband had an idea that since we were in a completely different state, he could find a copy of Locus magazine in a local bookstore. We drove to the first Borders we could find, nothing. We drove to the second, Borders, still nothing and now we were hungry and forced to eat Johnny Rocket's mall food as we were in an Orange County mall and had to find a place with a grilled cheese sandwich to satisfy Fletcher. I think I waited too long to eat with low blood sugar and thus my patty melt struck me as absolutely nauseating. I survived by eating a few fries and figuring a snack could come later.

We found a Trader Joe's in the same area, bought snacks, went back to our mediocre hotel room and realized we were jet lagged, exhausted, and actually fell asleep at 10.

We were up early on Sunday morning because we could get into Disneyland at 8 a.m. and we were determined to do just that. We walked to the McDonald's next door to the hotel (seriously, this is probably a waking dream for my child), ate our usual McD's fare, then walked the two blocks to the Disney entrance. You feel like it's right there, but once you get through the carefully snipped bushes, you realized you must still walk at least a block of bus lanes and benches to get to where they search your bags. Then you still have half a block or so until the plaza where California Adventures on the left, Downtown Disney in the center and Disneyland on the right have their entrances.

We showed our printed tickets to the man at the Disneyland entrance, he turned them into cute little Disney ticket cards and off we went. We boarded the old-fashioned train to go round the park to Toontown, the place Fletcher (at least originally) wanted to see. As we rolled past Frontierland and New Orleans, we saw the backsides of several rides and then got off at Toontown station.

It looked just like Fletcher imagined a real version of the online Toontown game he plays. We stood in front of various buildings for pictures, we rode the Roger Rabbit ride, we bought water. Course this was all after Toontown opened. We got there a bit before 9 so we had to kill time on the It's a Small World ride. Fletcher liked the old-fashioned singing puppets and little boat. That was a win.

After exhausting what Toontown had to offer Fletcher and I rode the teacups (Joe isn't good for the spinning), then continued on through Frontierland. Didn't see too much to excite there but we found some lunch (if I recall) got a Fastpass for Indiana Jones, went on to New Orleans to see about a Fastpass for the Haunted Mansion and took the big steamboat for the 10 minute ride. By then it was time to take Haunted Mansion Holiday ride which has turned from whatever it was into something semi-scary completely featuring the cast of characters from Nightmare Before Christmas. I liked the look, husband wished he could have seen what it was upgraded from. I guess whatever went into that horrible Eddie Murphy movie.

After the Mansion we took the raft out to the Pirate's Lair and watched Fletcher climb on things. We rode the Jungle Cruise with its usual patter-y tour guide, ate some strange African BBQ on a stick (Joe and I did, not Mr. Grilled Cheese), and spent more time in a one of the stores.And then our time to ride Indiana Jones happened. It was great. Exciting, whiplash inducing, Fletcher's favorite ride up to that point. Thank goodness it had places to put your stuff (little net bags built in) cause everything we owned would have been lost in there.

By the time we finished we were exhausted, but decided to take the monorail to Downtown Disney (we didn't know at this point how close the Downtown entrance was, we are stupid) so we could pick up Fletcher's personalized Lego brick, maybe eat dinner, then take monorail back in time for fireworks. We made it to the Lego store, I wandered off to take advantage of a free consultation at Sephora and the boys, apparently, spent time waiting for them to redo Fletcher's brick as his name was spelled Fietcher on the first one.

By the time we found each other again, Fletcher was too tired for the fireworks, the monorail wasn't running because of the fireworks, so we took a cab back to the hotel. Even if we'd known about the other exit, Fletcher was in no mood to walk. We ordered pizza for us, got a Happy Meal for Fletch and the evening was done.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tale of the Trip, Part II - We Still Aren't at Disney

So after tooling around the Downtown Disney parking lot for 10 minutes looking for anywhere to shove our rental car, we finally did that stalking thing waiting for some family that did fake hurrying motions to get in their van. Thanks for pretending to go faster, family of three. We wandered into Downtown Disney looking to kill time and perhaps waste money. Immediately found the Lego store, much to Fletcher's delight. Spent many minutes in there wherein we ordered a personalized Lego brick for Fletcher and I hovered near the Lego head food scale I wish I had purchased (but couldn't justify at $25 and kind of big for luggage ride home.)

After Lego, we strolled around until 4-ish. Still hadn't received a call from the Fairfield, so I called them. "Yeah, your room is ready, we don't usually call people." Really? Then why did you ask me for my cell number you useless clerkbot. So we go back to the hotel, receive our dull (and soon to be realized useless) key cards, drive around to the far side of the hotel (which will turn out to have good view of the fireworks) and push our way into the mediocre room. It was a bargain, I'm not complaining.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tale of the Trip - Part I: Where all the dull bits happen

To give context to the whole vacation, we rolled in to our driveway last night at midnight. I might still be harboring some crankiness from that last two hours driving in the drizzly dark. From Tulsa. A place I like less each time I'm there.

Friday was our departure day to Tulsa to spend the night, then fly out the next morning. We were unwilling to get up at the crack of dark on Saturday, thus an extra night away from home. Then we had a tiny storm and not so tiny power surge that did something nasty to husband's computer. Turned out, it mostly (at the time, more on that later) just reordered what to boot up and was trying to primary boot from the photo printer. Almost a comical little computer problem. Look at the funny computer trying to boot from its photo printer, it should know better.

After much dialogue with the nice tech support from Cybertron, husband fixed computer so he would go with us instead of yelling, "You will just have to go without me. I'm ruined." We did go and he went with us a little later than originally planned, but we headed out before 5 p.m. to drive to Tulsa (about two hours away) to a Super 8 near the airport to spend one, cheap night before our flight at 9 in the morning.

We go to Tulsa, getting lost a bit as our GPS is a little bit of short bus, so we saw more of a seedy section of Tulsa before we found our slightly seedy Super 8. I checked us in, we trundled down the narrow parking lot to our slot in front of our beige room to find a king bed (what we wanted) with exactly two pillows on it. Two pillows? I tried not to stomp to the office to ask for more pillows to be told, "Sorry, only the first four rooms on this side have four pillows, the others just have two. We don't have extras." Who knew we'd lose the pillow lottery.

After we settled in for the night, it wasn't too miserable. We had eaten at Denny's, which was its usual post-modern pablum in the 70s setting. We knew we had an early morning to get re-packed and shuttled to the Southwest terminal for our flight. The uninformative East Indian guy took us to the airport, we dragged our big-ass luggage in, checked it and got our back of the group boarding passes. My walk through the beep hallway wasn't as miserable as usual cause Tulsa has a full body imager for those of us who set off the security alarms. Instead of being wanded, patted and foot-checked, I stood in a futuristic telephone booth thing with my hands out and some big magnet circled me a couple of times. Easy peezy.

Our first flight was a fairly uneventful one to Phoenix. Then we ate in Phoenix, but I can't remember what. Then on to flight from there to Orange County. That flight had absolutely no open seats, was really crowded and I was pushed to sit by myself next to a Middle Eastern guy I couldn't understand who hogged the arm rest. He might have said he was in gas futures or bass fishing. I have no clue. That flight couldn't have ended soon enough for me. I'm a big girl (and by that, I am not making a point about my grownup-ness, I'm fluffy, but not squishy and I don't fit well into the window seat with a shared arm rest) and this was uncomfortable for me.

When we landed, we were feeling excited about being near Disneyland. Then we had to endure the "renting of the car." I had already reserved it but the lines, me not realizing my damn license had expired, the car my husband picked that felt like it was digging into my hip. Husband drove, the GPS was pretty good, we found the Fairfield Inn. It looked a bit shabby but was located two blocks across the street from Disneyland, so hard to complain about it. Except the part where we got there just before 3, exhausted, ready to schlep our stuff into the room and were told it wouldn't be ready until four. Clerk asked if she could call me when it was ready and what was my number.

So, off we went to Downtown Disney to waste time. Etc.