Category Archives: stress

Disneyland + The Mother = Long Shot

You ever get asked to participate in something and think to yourself, “Sure. Sounds fun. I’ll do it.”  Knowing all along it isn’t going to work?

Obviously, it’s a sign, the second you hang up the phone the Vegas bookies start running the numbers and setting the odds on the various outcomes of said adventure.  You and the bookies are fairly certain the event will have a dubious ending.  You proceed, caution flag raised proudly, you’re already wearing  hip waders.  No stopping now.  What the hell.

Yep, that about covers the trip to Disneyland with The Mother.

A few weeks ago, I had a business trip that took me from east to west coast and I worked in a quick visit to see The Mother in between meetings.  I was looking forward to exchanging cold weather for hot sunshine.  Little did I realize, I was trading snow for the “storm of the century” listening to the weather forecasters of LA.  Although, having the opportunity to drive in torrential downpours was something I haven’t had the chance to experience since I left Miami.  It was a pleasant reminder of Mother Nature’s many talents.

During my visit to southern California, The Mother  had one thing on her mind.  In the past, usually she wanted to go to a particular restaurant or a local venue of some sort.  Nope.  Not this time.  Determination was set on a new target.

Disneyland.

Apparently, unbeknownst to her, having lived in the desert for over three years, Disneyland is basically  a stone’s throw away from her door step.  Relatively speaking.

To verify, this accuracy, The Mother checked with MapQuest, AAA, the neighbors Tim & Susie across the street who frequently drive the highways and as well as with the local grocery checker at Albertson’s supermarket.

So.

If you’re a rolling stone.

In good weather.

With a decent tail wind.

Jump on the I-10 and head west out to the wild west…to the land of the Great Mouse.

Throughout my trip, The Mother had a mantra… “don’t do anything that would hamper missing the day’s adventure to Disney.”  Roger that….going to see The Mouse….got it.

Our plan was to depart first thing Sunday morning.  Day trip only.

My only request was we MUST depart early, because The Mother would definitely need an electric scooter due to all the walking.  On a previous visit we went to the local zoo.  Unfortunately, they don’t have motorized scooters thus we rented their version of a standard wheelchair.

Not quite a normal wheelchair.

Not quite a a wheelbarrow.

It was more like an adult bucket seat push cart.

I nearly killed myself trying to push that plastic contraption in the desert heat.  There’s a reason wheelchairs are made from fabric, not plastic! Mind you, I am all of 5 foot 1 an a sip of water on a good day.  I was sweating like a sumo wrestling champion sitting in a sauna.   I probably left a sweat trail like a slug leaves a slime trail.

Gazelles? Missed those.  I was laying under the tree over here, panting like a cheetah trying not to let the sweat sting my eyeballs and turn my mascara into a ghoulish creep fest. But hey, let me in to see those dwarf goats.  I’m just going to sit with them for a while and communicate with them baaaaccccck to the mothership.  I digress…..

We needed a motorized scooter for Disneyland.  If I had to elbow my way through the crowd to get a scooter, by God we were getting a scooter.

Before bed, The Mother looks up the weather for Anaheim and it’s to be cool with an 11% chance of rain.  I figure that’s a high percentage of rain for California.  I say if she doesn’t want to go, I’m okay with that.  Best not to be miserable and we can go next time.

The Mother hesitates for a moment.  Nope.  We’re going.

I go to bed, knowing….you know how you just know?  You just know in the pit of your stomach.  This isn’t going to go well.  Trust the gut.

You know you can’t talk someone out of something.

No matter what you say.

You could tell them they’re going to throw up on their shoes.

They want to go.

You could tell them they’re going to be miserable.

They want to go.

You could say 400,000 people will be there.

They want to go.

You could say it isn’t really what they will want to do.

They want to go.

You could say, this is going to make my /your eyes bleed.

They want to go.

You could say, this is going to be a disaster.

They want to go.

Why fight the process.  It’s easier in the long run.

To just go.

The day of our big adventure arrives and our plan was to depart at 7:00AM.  I am awake early due to stupid jet lag and do not hear The Mother stirring.  Silently, I think, maybe we aren’t going…..

At 5:50AM I hear The Mother yelling through the door, “Donna, are you getting up?”

 

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.

I get into the shower and proceed with the morning routine.  When I get myself pulled together, I go out to the living room….there’s heavy fog outside the window and grey skies.

As I am putting my shoes on, I say to The Mother “You know, this is your last chance to back out. The weather doesn’t look so good with the fog today.”

She is surprised I suggested we not go.  What do you mean?  Of course we’re going!  After all, there’s only an 11% chance of rain.

Alright then.  Coats, sunglasses, jackets, lip balm, purses etc…..let’s go.

Two hours on the road in and out of rain showers and sun spots, we arrive to Disneyland.  The mecca of fun, happiness, laughter and of dreams that come true with the sprinkle of magical fairy dust with Mickey Mouse leading the way.

It’s starting to drizzle again.  But over that way, the skies look clearer and certainly it will clear up.  We agree, the shower will pass.  It just isn’t supposed to rain at Disney right.

Of course.

The first parking lot’s ADA area is filled, so we  traverse the lot like a drunken snake towards the exit with a neon pink exit sign flapping like a flamingo under our wiper.  This indicates to the Disney parking attendants we’re aiming to exit like mice in a maze looking for cheese….so they don’t continue to point us into a parking spot.

As we’re making our way through parking area,  a family is literally walking down the middle of the aisle.  Not a care in the world.  Why should they – it’s Disneyland!  Their minds are filled with memories from the last time they were here, where they threw up,  where they lost Billy, how Mary got ejected from the water ride because she thought it was a wet t-shirt contest and how they can’t wait to see their favorite characters.  They’re excited.  It’s Disney.

Did I mention?

Patience is a virtue.

Three.

Two.

One.

“You think these people would get a clue and move over.”  Advises The Mother.

 

Yep….as I continue to creep along behind the family.  “Well, this is how it’s going to be today.  Lots of people.  Lots of lines.  This is Disney.  You know, it’s not too late to head home.  Now’s the time. Last chance.”

Nope.  Not changing our mind.  We’re going to the other parking lot.  We’re going to Disneyland.

About 15 minutes later, we make our way to the Toy Story lot, park and make our way aboard the shuttle bus to the entrance.

NOTE: For those that have experienced any Disney park, you know what it’s like….the shuttle buses, security screening, ticket purchase and entrance lines…..all within the main entry area.  This is where we’re located.

By 10:00AM we’re through security and head over to the far side of the entrance gate to get in line for the electric scooter.

It continues to drizzle.

We get The Mother signed off on an electric scooter for $70 and head back to the ticket line, where she decided to wait off to the side while I venture into the serpentine line for our day passes.  Not long after being in line I start to hear, “DONNA!” (Can’t be for me,   right?  Ignore.  Ignore.) More people begin shouting, “DONNA!”  I look up and at the front of the line….there’s an arm flailing above the crowd with a flapping hand attached.

The Mother.

The Mother waving at me.

…..along with the crowd shouting my name, “DONNA!”

Good lord.

I start to duck under the rope barrier.  Excusing myself  along the way…

“Sorry, that’s me….I’m Donna.”

I get up front to The Mother….” What’s going on?”  I’m thinking maybe she played the ADA card and got our day passes some magical easy way without waiting. I mean this is Disney, anything is possible.  Right? The Mother says, “Let’s go.  I’m not waiting in line for this.  There’s too many people.  It’s raining and I’m not paying this price. It’s so disorganized.  Do you want to stay for this?”

Nope. I nodded my head.  Looked at my watch 10:37AM.  Knew it. Okay, let’s go…..

On the way back to the car in the shuttle, The Mother asked if I was mad….as she pinched my cheek, no less. I told her sometimes you can’t talk people out of things they want to do, but I knew we’d end up going home.   It’s kinda like going to the dentist and getting a shot of Novocain, which you don’t want to do in the first place.  But you take the shot and as an added bonus….you get to talk funny afterwards!

 

Alright then. Who placed the bet for: 37 minutes at Disneyland’s entrance?

 

And yes,  I was able to get a full refund on the electric scooter.

 

 

 

 

 

Moving…There’s Not Enough Vodka for This. Vol. 1

It all started with what I thought was a dog’s bellowing.
You know that sound.
Something between a howl and a growl.
Or it was a terrible bagpipe performance….performed by a ostrich.

In reality, it was our cat….. Monkey.
In her carrier.
Being taken out to the car.

By the time we got everyone into the backseat, the cats were carrying on a conversation that clearly they thought life, as they knew it was over. Well, buy those felines a king size bag of nip….they were correct!

We were on the way to get kitty health certificates because in two short days….they were  flying with Momma from Miami to Boston!  Are we excited? Oh yeah.

They were about as excited as cats going to the vet’s office, in cat carriers, in the back seat of the car….screaming the whole way.  We’re going to need some drugs.  Either the cats are going to need drugs for the flight or I’m going to need drugs for the flight.

Someone WILL be medicated.

Fast forward and let the chaos unfold.

Day of the flight…I am packed and ready to go.  The house is fairly boxed up and sorted out.

Eric will be driving up in the Honda, so I have a pile of “must go in the car” and a pile of “would be nice to go in the car” and a “can wait for the movers” pile.  Knowing how the day is going to progress, I begin the day with a hearty breakfast – a Whipped Cream Vodka shot.  Perfect.

I download a movie.  Get dressed.  Throw things in my two giant suitcases,  one under the seat suitcase, which will be checked as luggage and one carry on.

One cat, will be a carry on.  Two cats will be checked as luggage.

There is a word for this traveling style:  Circus.

The only saving grace for today is it’s a non-stop flight.

Time to get dressed.  Boston.  It’s freezing, literally.

Attire: jeans, long sleeve shirt, jacket, Xtra Tuff boots.

UGH.  Time for another shot….Rootbeer Vodka Shot.

Alright, we are close to leaving, time to pack up the small pets.  I calmly say to Eric.  I’m getting a cat.  I pick up Taku, the youngest and stuff her into a pink, hard sided carrier.

He grabs Liggy, the eldest at 15 years, and we back her into her soft sided case.  She is the one traveling under the seat.

Next up is Monkey.

It becomes a three ring circus.  Monkey is under the couch, over the chair, up the stairs.  Her tail is as fat as my arm.  She is NOT happy.  She is hissing.  Growling.  Under the couch.  Over the chair.  Under the couch.  Through the kitchen.  Behind the boxes.

We are now 10 minutes into trying to catch Monkey.

What.

Is.

That.

Stench?

Great.  She has released her anal glands.  Think musky, dirty, poopy, dank, odor from the swampy depths of cat butt.  Awesome.

Scratches on Eric’s legs as we try and grab her as she dashes past on her way round boxes, under the couch, under the coffee table, over the chair….knocking over trash cans, empty suitcases and other roadblocks.

Finally, we catch her and she is literally sweating.  Her fur is wet.

The Monkey.  Is.  Pissed.

A blood curling yowl escapes from her little furry black body.

Into the pink carrier she goes.

I need another shot…..

Now, we’re late, of course.  Damn it Monkey!  We get into the car and the felines are silent.  I think someone said two words and that was about the end of it.  They knew.

We race up to Ft. Lauderdale airport and decide to drop me, the luggage and the circus at the sidewalk.  There are hundreds of people in line for curbside check in.  You have got to be kidding me.  We don’t have time for this.  I can’t lug three suitcases and three cats by myself while Eric parks the car.  So I decide to crouch next to the felines and talk calmly to them.  There isn’t a porter in sight.

I’m sweating through my Xtra Tuffs and jeans.

Is that a whiff of Monkey ass?

Christ, please.  I don’t want to smell like cat butt.

Next thing I know I hear this man say, “Mommy, you need help?”

I look up and low and behold….A PORTER!  A PORTER ALL FOR ME!  Yes, I will be anyone’s mommy if you can help me!

Yes, yes, yes! I need help!  Checking in…with three cats!  Please!  (Get me into the air conditioning before my crotch soaks through these jeans in this heat…that would be a fantastic feat!)

Within minutes, he had me in the line and we were zipping to the check in counter.

Next thing I know we get to the counter.  My little agent guy has a helper.  The helper lady seems to be doing a lot of the work.  Uh-oh.  My little agent guy….is new.  Buddy, I don’t have time for new.  Not today.

Look, you fill out the form, you slap it on the kennel. It already has a Live Animals sticker on there.  You put the label with the arrow going UP.  You want the kennel to stay in the UPRIGHT position.  Are you kidding me?

I don’t want to tell you how to do you job – but damn – I don’t have time for this.

Then they tell me we have to take the two kennels going under the plane over to TSA and they need to inspect the kennels and we have to take the cats out.  I look at Eric.  One word comes to mind.

M O N K E Y

We tell the TSA guy, “well, let’s do the easy one first.”  Taku, who never says a word, comes out…blinks at us while I hold her…. and goes back in.  Time for the stinky, pain in the ass, but really she’s just scared to death,  one.  I open the door, reach in and grab her by the neck ruff.

WE will not be playing any games in this airport missy.  You may think you’re all that and a bag of cat nip…but I AM the momma cat and YOU WILL not be fucking around.

Fine, back in she goes.

Next, time for me to go through the security gate and I look at Eric.   What time is it? Plane boards in 10 minutes.  GREAT.  I have to give Liggy her medicine 30 – 60 minutes before the flight.

Wait!  Where is my iPad?  Momentarily I panic.  It’s in the car.  I debate, leave it or should Eric go and get it?  I downloaded a movie to watch just for this flight!  I have my book, but I really wanted to watch the movie.  He runs and gets the iPad….in the meanwhile….

I throw everything on the floor.  I grab the pill and try to shove it down Liggy’s throat while she is sitting in her little bag.

Once, twice, three times.  Not happening.

I open the bag.  Jerk her out and hold her in my lap.

You.  Will. Eat.  This.  Pill.

Liggy, however, has other ideas.

Such as…..there will be no pill going down her throat today.

EAT THE PILL!

By this time, sweat, is pouring down my face.  I am literally, a hot mess.

Eric is back and he’s telling me, “you have to go.”

Okay, well.  Here’s hoping she ate the pill.

Pack up the 15 pound cat, roller suitcase and my handbag.  Off we go through security.

I get to the X-ray machine and tell them I have a cat.  “Please take her out of the bag.”  Okay.  Liggy and I then stand there for 5 minutes while they discuss with the persons in front of me which machine they should use.  The walk through X-ray or the stand there with your hands above your head machine.

Okay, I’m standing here with a 15 pound feline, who isn’t really happy with her situation.  Could we move this along?  Is she doesn’t start hissing, I might.  We both might.

We get through the machine and don’t you know her carrier bag get stopped on the conveyor belt…..just short of arm’s reach.  There’s that sign that says, “don’t reach in to grab your bag.”  Come on.

COME ON!!!!

I get all the stuff…cat in the bag.  Luckily, for once, I was the FIRST GATE!  Eureka.  They were already boarding First Class when I arrived, so I dashed to the restroom.  Why?

Well, yes, to use the restroom, but also, because unlike most people.  My quart size bag….is filled with airplane bottles of…vodka.  Yep.  So I had a shot of chocolate vodka before jumping on my flight.

(No.  Contrary to popular belief, the only thing TSA has ever said to me was, “Finally someone actually gets the idea of what they should be using the quart size bags for on these flights!”  I can get about 8 little bottles in there.)

Liggy and I get to the gate and I hop in line.  I look around and smile.

Finally.

This is the first time in two years.

I have found my people.

Carhartts.

Flannel.

Boots.

North Face.

Fleece.

English is the first language.

It’s good.

As I get on the plane I advise the crew I had two other felines joining me below, they were like, “YOU’RE the CAT LADY!!!!”  Yes.  Yes.  I am.  They were delighted.  They had the slips showing Taku and Monkey were already boarded.

Liggy and I get on board and the middle seat remains empty.  I’m thrilled.  I’m thinking, this is great!  I will enjoy my movie “Chef” and order a seltzer water for my Vodka….after the last four hours, I need another Vodka.  Liggy, I’m pretty sure, hasn’t taken her pill as she keeps changing positions and mewing.

Then it happens.

I get a middle seat person.

Which under normal circumstances, would be fine.  But this, of course, isn’t normal circumstances.

Guess who sits next to me?

Nope.  A pilot.  Of course!  There goes my Vodka.  (Plan B:  have to use the restroom and take my purse, which had my quart size bag anyway after security.)

So, definitely, Liggy had not taken her pill.  Luckily the noise of the aircraft mostly drowned out her meows but she definitely could not sit still.  Well sister we have three hours to go, suck it up.

We finally land Boston and we hop off the plane.  Liggy and I meet our pick up party in baggage claim.  All the luggage arrives and we wait patiently for the two pink cat carriers to come through “special baggage”.  Apparently, animals are last off the plane.

As soon as I saw those two carriers I said, “There’s my little girls.”

Then SHE LET ME HAVE IT.

It was one big yyyyyeeeeeeeoooooooowwwwwwwlllllll….followed by…..

A where in the hell are we?

And a who the hell do you think you are?

And a what the hell was that?

And never again!

And a fuck you lady and the horse you flew in on!

Monkey.  Was.  Pissed.

By the time we got out to the car, she was exhausted and had no further words.

Now, if we could just get her to come out from under the bed….we’d be doing good!  She does laps, to make sure we’re still here.  Then back she goes.

 

This Way to the Pink Flamingos Please.

One night my better half says, “Oh yeah, next week I have a dinner engagement.”

Oh, okay….whatcha doin?

“My company is a sponsor for the Pink Flamingo Awards, so I”m going to go.”

My response….blink blink. Blink blink.

Pink flamingos?

You didn’t think I’d want to go?

A. It’s an award show

B. There’s pink flamingos

I say, “Okay so can you bring a date?”

He says, “Well yeah.

Okay then…I’m coming.

He then advises me its to support the local LGBT Visitors Center and they’ll have Drag Queens.

My jaw hits the floor.

AND YOU DIDN’T THINK TO TELL ME ABOUT THIS SOONER? Hello? How long have we been together? This is right up my alley. These woman are fabulous!

To double check, I ask if this is a dress up event. Yes. Wear a dress.

Perfect. Got the perfect black dress.

He then says, because up until now, I’ve had a shit day…..you could wear one of your wigs.

Stop the train! REALLY!

GET

OUT!

I immediately ran to the box where I keep my wigs.

I knew exactly the one I wanted. Got it out. Got my comb. Brushed it out. Tried it on. Was delighted.

So excited.

The Wednesday arrived and the plan was hatched….meet at the Miami Convention Center at 7:00PM and enjoy the night. Silent auction, dinner, cocktails, award show – oh my! Whoop, whoop!

5:30PM I call the Mister and tell him I’m heading over to our company gym to shower and get my wig on. He says, “oh that’s too early, might as well wait.”

Okay, well you know what? Don’t listen to a man, when you know how long it’s going to take you to get ready. What the hell do they know anyway?

They know bubkiss.

They’re a PIMA. (Pain. In. My. Ass.)

I thought he might be right. So I waited until 6:10PM.

Went over to the gym.

Jumped into the shower.

Did my make up.

Put almond oil all over my arms and legs so I have not only a nice scent but subtle glow to my skin. Perfect!

Add the perfume and then take my black dress out of the cotton garment bag.

I pulled my grey and black shoes out and my satin handbag…finally, it was time to get dressed.

Please note: At this point in the evening’s program, we have a problem Houston…

It all went to hell in a hand basket and we were in the express lane. And the express lane was free of charge tonight. Of course.

Knew it. Should have went with my gut. Why? Why, listen to a man when it comes to getting ready?

Unless he is a Drag Queen or a prima donna – they’re clueless. PIMA!

I am so unimpressed at this point.

There I am, half dressed in my cute black dress with not a soul to be found in the ladies locker room and the
fucking zipper on the back of my dress is stuck. I don’t just mean stuck as in I’ve gained a lot of weight and it won’t zip. I mean like it’s frozen and not going to move an inch.

There’s a good five inches to go before it’s zipped up to the top – which would be mid back.

My hands were previously oiled, so I wash them yet again.

Nothing.

I pull the dress down as far as I can.

Nothing.

I try and turn the dress around to the front to shimmy the zipper.

Nothing.

I pull the dress up higher and try to pull the zipper up.

Nothing.

I try squeezing the zipper together.

Nothing.

I contemplate going as is.

Not happening.

I ponder wearing my sheer black and white polka dot shirt that I wore to work over the dress.

(only if I’m desperate) And that’s not really an option.

I contort my arms to try again to pull the zipper up.

First, left arm over. UGH!!!

Then the right arm over the top…..

Maybe if I turn just a little.

Are you fucking kidding me?

I wait and hope a female walks in.

Tick tock.

Nothing.

I think about going out into the gym. It’s a guy at the desk and think…..He could zip it. What if he can’t? Okay that would be embarrassing.

On the way to the awards I could stop somewhere and buy something, which is a good idea.

But then I’d have to get OUT of this dress and I can’t do that either.

Well what the hell?

I stop and look at myself in the mirror. Sweat, is pouring down my face. I’m a total mess. Is the air conditioning on? TURN ON THE AIR CONDITIONING!!! THE ALASKAN IS DYING IN HERE!

You have got to be kidding me.

Maybe the sewn in slip is bunched up and I start patting down all the layers.

NOW! How about NOW!!! Arms go up and over to work the zipper.

I try and pull the dress up as far up to my arm pits again.

Nothing.

I rest my sweaty forehead against the mirror.

Fuck it.

I pack up my bag.

My plan is to go as is and my better half is going to have to figure it out in the parking lot. Mental note, pack black duct tape in the car next time.

I am pissed…..I don’t have time to brush my teeth and what is even worse…..

I
don’t
have
time
to
put
on
my
wig.

I have to go. I wash my hands and do a final makeup touch up. By makeup – touch up I really mean mop my face with paper towels. I return to get my bag and try one last fricking time with this damn zipper.

Just kidding! Zip! Tah-dah! No problem.

Are you kidding me?

For the love of Pete.

I get to the car and it’s 6:50PM. Zip over the Causeway to Miami Beach. The air conditioning is on FULL ARCTIC BLAST and I arrive at the Convention Center just in time for cocktails. I throw on the fascinator I made for a Titanic dinner in Juneau….and while it wasn’t my wig I got enough compliments, so I was happy enough.

We arrive and head immediately to the bar. I’m busy texting a friend about an item I bidder on him from the Floppy Rooster….I stop suddenly and when I look up we’re behind not one but TWO Drag Queens. Lady one, later advised the crowd she was NOT a Drag Queen but a transgender, which was fine. She was lovely. Reminded me of someone I know. The other one. Well, I admit…………startled the hell out of me. One of those, I couldn’t help but stare, but not stare for fear she’d call me out on it. Nope, no picture needed. Thanks!