Friday, July 21, 2006

Adventures in vacationing

Since I have been neglecting this blog lately and have had a slight increase in interest in it I have decided to update it. Since I have nothing new to gripe about, well I am sure I could find something if I thought about it, I am going to recap a vacation the wife and I took a couple of years back. This was my first and so far only time to any of the Disney parks. After reading this I am sure you will think to yourself “I am never going on vacation with them!” but you really should, because we have a ton of fun. I apologize in advance since this is a little long, but there was oh so much happening around us.

The day the asylum forgot to lock the doors

A few years ago before I had children the wife and I decided to go to sunny Orlando for a vacation since I had never been to any of the Disney parks before and since Hilton called us up and offered one of those come stay with us for four days for $99 and we will only make you suffer through a half day of trying to sell you a timeshare deals. I knew what was coming but I can deal with that and I am really good at saying “No thanks, I am really not interested in buying at this time” so the timeshare deal was not a big deal at all. So after some research we set up the trip. Since the wife was working in one part of town and I in another we decided to just meet at the airport after work the night we were to fly out. Since we were going to meet there we decided that we would just have a bite to eat in the airport. Of course when we got to our terminal there was nothing that took credit/debit cards but some sick French food place that had nothing we were really interested in before going on a flight. And I have never been known to carry cash. So we ask one of the people working at one of the restaurants if they knew if there was an ATM in the area. They told us where one was and we were off to get some cash. I can see the sign in the distance and it is an ATM for my bank. Sweet! No ATM fees. Not only where there no ATM fees for me, there were no ATM fees for anyone because, as fate would have it, the ATM was out of order. Damn! Oh well, it’s not a very long flight and they usually have some kind of snack on the plane and when we land we will get a bite to eat either at the airport or one of the restaurants in the area. So, we head back to our gate and that’s when I noticed a plane at the end of the jet way. Cool, our plane is already here, we should be boarding soon. We take a seat and wait to board as all of the passengers depart the plane. Ten minutes goes by and we still are not boarding and I noticed that the desk agent is gone. Twenty minutes pass and still no desk agent and the plane is just sitting there. Then I notice they are loading baggage on to the plane, good sign. Then I see they are fueling up the plane, VERY good sign. Then … well it just sat there some more. I look around to make sure I am at the right gate, which I was and start to think this is damn strange. Thirty minutes have past since our departure time and I see the maintenance crew at the plane, this is when my ass started to pucker up a little bit. Now I see maintenance people coming and going via the jet way, ass puckered up good and tight now. After about fifty minutes I stopped one of the desk agents and asked what was going on. She tells me that they are having to do some maintenance on the plane and says she will be right back. Fuck vague answers, WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE GODDAMN PLANE?!?! A couple of minutes later I see her and ask her again, what is going on with the plane and I tell her that I think we have a right to know if something is wrong. She pulls me aside, I guess to keep me from making a scene and tells me that someone on the previous flight had clogged up the toilet and they didn’t want to have to bring “that” down the isle while people are sitting in the cabin. Damn lady, just tell us that up front, and don’t make me think that the engines are going to fall off or something. I can handle a clogged up crapper. So the Roto Rooter guy or whoever finally unclogs the crapper and we are free to board. Thank god. So we board the plane and everything seems to be cool, now that we are over an hour late taking off. We get in the air and the captain makes all of the usual announcements and shortly the flight attendant starts to make her way down the isle with the drink cart. By this time I am really getting a bit of an appetite on me. When she gets to us she ask if we would like a drink, we tell her what we would like and I asked her if she has anything to eat, she tells me they don’t have food on that flight. WTF?! Not even the peanuts or pretzels or anything? You got to be kidding me, it is around 9 local time which means it is going to be around 10 in Orlando. Grrr, I hope we can find something to eat when we land. And now that I am a bit miffed about it I am focusing on how hungry I am getting. About this time, and in my normal fashion, I decided to take a little nap for the rest of the flight. The next thing I know, I am waking up to the lovely sounds of the captain letting us know that we are on our final approach and that we would be landing soon. At this point, he is my favorite person in the world. We land with no problems and make our way to the baggage clam. Wait just a bit and get our bags, now we are off to see what if anything is still open in the airport. Of course it looked like a ghost town. No big deal, we can go get the rental car and get a bit to eat in the area. So we follow the signs to the rental car counter and start reading off the company names, there is Budget, Alamo, Hertz, and so on. But we do not see an Enterprise rental car counter. The reason this is important to the story is because we rented our car through Enterprise!! So we start to dig through our carry on, lets see, there is our map to the hotel ahh, there is our confirmation print out with the customer service number on it. We call customer service and they tell us that they don’t have a rental car counter at the airport and that we have to go and stand in a certain numbered parking spot or the shuttle bus will not stop, even if we are sitting on the near by bench. You got to be kidding me. So we trot our happy asses out to what ever numbered parking spot it is and wait for the shuttle bus. After several minutes the bus comes and we get on. As we are taking off I asked the bus driver if the Enterprise rental place is near the airport. Want to guess what he told us? He says nope, it is on the other side of town. At this point I don’t know why someone didn’t just come up and kick me right in the nuts. Silly us, we mapped how to get to the hotel from the airport, lot of good that is going to do us now. So after we finish the scenic tour of Orlando in the middle of the night we wind up at the Enterprise (very) remote lot. As we walk in there are a handful of other people there in line with only one … cashier or what ever they are called working, of course. As we are walking to the end of the line another lady comes out from some back room and tells us to come over to the VIP desk. I told her we are not VIP club members and she says it’s ok. Cool, things are looking up. Oh damn, I did it again, spoke to soon. We give her our information and she gives us a print out and says the car is around back behind the building in parking spot number 105. We thank her and head to our car. We get around back and there is not a car from parking space 90 to 120, I mean none. I see a guy sweeping up and ask him if the cars have been moved to clean up or what and he tells me no, they are just rented. Walk our happy selves back into the building and tell the lady there are no cars on that entire row. And the bitch chuckles. Had this been the only thing that had happened I might have thought it was cute or something but I am in no mood for fun and games at this point. About this time the guy who was sweeping up came in through the back door and tells the lady that we were not kidding and that there were no cars back there. At this time I spoke up and said that we would take the nice Caddy that was parked right by the door for the same price as the mid sized that we rented, you know, the one that is not there. She grins and says she can’t do that. But ask me if we would be ok with this PT Cruiser and points to a car that we can see through the glass doors. And I was proud of myself, I didn’t reply with a smart comment or anything, I simply told her that I thought that would be fine. So she starts typing, and she keeps typing and then she types a little more. And then you know what happened? She kept typing! What in the hell is she doing?!?! Writing a book? I am assuming she could pick up on the fact that we were becoming aggravated and walks out to the car, looks at something, walks back in and types some more. Then she goes out and writes down the VIN, comes back and types some more. At this point, she goes outside and gets the tag number, comes back in and you guessed it, types some more. Then she chuckles again and says “Oh, I can’t rent you that car…. It’s not ours to rent, it is some ones personal car” Oh Jesus H. Tap-dancing Christ!!! It is at this point that I turn to my wife and say “Honey, you better handle this, I am about to loose it”. Several minutes later as I am looking through all of the free souvenirs brochures she calls me and motions me over. As I walk up I asked her if she got it all handled and she says yes and hands me the keys. I asked her what car we got and if she thought it was actually there. She points to the Caddy. And we got it for the mid-sized price. I congratulate her for a job well done. She even got a map of how to get from where we were to our hotel. Score one for the good guys! So we hop in the car and start to head towards the hotel. Oh did I mention that by this time it is after 1 in the morning? Yeah, nice huh. So we drive around until we find an ATM that looks at least semi safe. It was in a Circle K convenience store. I should have known that this could be interesting when the ATM also sold pre-paid calling cards to Cuba and Mexico. Anyway, back to the story, as I am getting our cash out of the machine a guys walks up to the register and is trying to buy beer but the lady working the register won’t sell it to him because he doesn’t have an ID. He is getting way too pissed (because he is already drunk) and very loud with her. He even asked the guy standing behind him if he thought the guy was old enough to buy beer and when the second guy said he didn’t know the drunk replied with a very clear FUCK YOU!. It is at this time that I motion to my wife with my right elbow bent at 90 degrees, my right hand in a sort of fist shape while rotating my wrist and mouthing the words “start the car” (she was sitting in the car waiting for me to get the cash), she looks at me with a puzzled look on her face, throws her hands up and mouths “What?!”, I repeat the motions and she looks at me again and says “what?” again. At this time I did the same thing and yell “START THE FUCKING CAR!” opps, that was out loud. The machine finally spits out my cash and I hit the door without making eye contact at the belligerent drunk who is treating the cashier. I get in the car with our cash and we take off out of there. Just a little way down the road we finally spot an open eating establishment, and it has a drive-thru. All hail Taco Bell!! We stock up on crap, I mean food and are on our way to the hotel. The map and directions are spot on… so far. At this time we turn onto the street where our hotel is. Yeah!! And it’s only a little after two in the morning! So we see a Marriott, nope not our hotel, we see a Holiday Inn, nope we are looking for the Hilton, then we see a Double Tree, close but no cigar. Long story short, we drove until the road ended and didn’t see our hotel. We must have missed it. So we turn around and drive back down the road, cross the intersection from which we turned and kept going. Still no Hilton. It is at this point that I just wanted to go home. We decided that it must have been where all of the other hotels where on the other side of the intersection, just like the directions said. Maybe we drove by the entrance too fast or something and missed the sign. So this time we are going to go down the road slower. Well someone must have felt sorry for us and as we are going down the road at a snails crawl we see a car tuning and the head lights shine on a sign. And it was quite a sight; the sign said “Hilton”. I think I actually did the happy dance in the car. Oh you may ask, why didn’t I see the sign? Well that would be because the sign was not lit, as in turned on. And why didn’t we see the name of the hotel in 8 foot letters on the top of the hotel, oh because they were not turned on either. Hey, wait a minute, NONE of the hotel lights are turned on. Come to fine out the power was out in that building, and that building only, so that they could test their generators. And guess what, they failed the test. So we check in via a spiral notebook and get handed our keys and glow sticks so we can see how to get to our room. Ok, this has got to be some kind of joke or I am having an F’ed up dream or something. There is no way this is really happening. The desk clerk tells me that we are in room 618. So I ask, as in the sixth floor? The clerk tells me yeah, the sixth floor. At this point, I remembered to ask the clerk for an 8 am wake up call. So now I got to drag my bags up six flights of stairs with a glow stick in a stairwell of a hotel that has no power and is hot and humid. Guess who was a little glowing ray of sunshine? So we get about 20 feet from the desk and I think if the power is out, how in the hell are we going to be able to get into our room with the card keys, the clerk tells us that they are battery operated. Just incase you were curious, now you know. So we start on our way to our room and I open my glow stick and the damn thing doesn’t work. I swear I was about to loose my mind. I got back to the desk and get one that works and continue to drag my bags up to our room. Well we finally get there, and thank god we got food from Taco Bell since it’s all the same crap just put together differently. Because we could not see anything, so we do our best to eat dinner and feel around for the bed. It was at this point that it hit me; IT was the urge to go #2. Now I am sure you have all heard the joke, how do blind people know when they are done wiping? Well I wasn’t about to find out and after a couple of minutes of weighing the pros and cons of my dilemma I decided that I should just hold it and go to bed. Even at the risk of internal damage, it would be better than risking the unknown. Now mind you this is just the first day, actually this is just getting to the hotel.

So the next day, I wake up at the crack of 9:45. What?! Why didn’t I get that wake up call? Oh yeah, that’s right the power was out and that’s all set up electronically. So we miss part of a day at one of the parks but that’s cool. We get dressed go down to one of the restaurants in the hotel pick up something to eat and head out to the park. We get there, find a place to park and I start taking the whole thing in. It’s pretty cool from the parking lot. We get inside and are having a pretty good time, several hours pass and the sun starts to set, this is when the place gets interesting. I start to notice the sound of young children crying a bit more than I did earlier in the day. But this does not bother me at all, we are in a theme park designed around cartoons. But what I am noticing is why they are crying. I see one guy stop walking turn around and yell at his single digit aged child to and I quote “HURRY THE FUCK UP!!” all the little boy wanted was to be carried because he was tired. The child had probably been forced to walk all over the park since it was open that day. Now I am a grown man, used to being up for hours at a time and was once an athlete and I was getting tired of walking around. What made this (pardon the upcoming description) unworthy AIDS infested pile of monkey shit think that this wonderful little child was going to be able to march all over god knows how many acres all day without his normal nap and not get tired or maybe a move a little slower. Just because the, for the lack of a better word, dad would rather spend his money on that fine Budweiser hat and NASCAR t-shirt than to spend the couple of bucks it would have taken to, oh I don’t know, buy more than one days worth of tickets and not try to cram the entire park into 12 hours he might have a better time with his family. But this was getting to be a bit more common than I was happy to see. But that’s not even the highlight. Anyway, back to the story. So the misses and I are strolling along, buying souvenirs and what not and just trying to block out all of the trashy people there and enjoy our time, which was great. We got the last tram out of Disney to take us to our car and we head back to the hotel. And this time the hotel had power, cool! So we eat dinner and head up to our room to prepare for the next day. The next morning we go to another park, enjoy the rides and it was pretty much a wash as far as excitement except for the lady who freaked out on the haunted house ride (it stopped, she freaked and started screaming at the top of her lunges, it was classic)… that is until we went to leave. If I am not mistaken we took the monorail to the park and we decided it would be fun to head back on the boat. We were talking and just sort of following the crowd and boarded the boat found a place to stand and were still talking about some of the things we had done and seen that day and just other idle chit chat. When we realized that we were the last two people on the boat and we still were not where we parked. At this time the captain and … his Gilligan look at us like they just found refugees and said “last stop!” Oh no, your kidding right? So I told them that I thought this was the boat that would take us back to our car. Both he and the G man got a giggle out of it and said you know, this happens every night and that they were not that boat. I get the just a minute motion and they go back into the cab of the boat and I hear one guy say “We could take them back to the camp ground, they could walk up to the road and wait for the bus” when the other guy says “they will probably get murdered if we do that”. I vote no on that option fellas! So they say that they can take us to the parking lot but it would be about 40 minutes before they could get us there. I get out a couple of $20s and hand to them and thank them for their help and we set off to the parking lot. Since we were completely alone on the boat we starting talking to guys running the boat and just got to joking around, did the whole “I’m the King of the world” thing just being silly, this comes into play in the story later. We get back to our car and crack up the heat, funny how it gets a bit chilly on the water at night in the fall. We make our way back to the hotel again and joke and laugh about how funny it was that we got on the wrong boat and what not. Get back to our room, order some room service and take a couple of showers but I was still cold. The next morning we wake up to a really cool morning with a thick fog covering the area. Seems that a cold front had moved into the area during the night. And I feel like I have been hit by a truck, backed over and then hit again. I really don’t want to let my wife down on our vacation but I really didn’t want to go out the way I felt that day. Well it so happens that the wife is a news junkie like I am and we caught Saddam Hussein that day so we decided to stay in and catch up on the news. Since we were not going to go to the park that day we thought we would go downstairs and see if we could get in on the “character breakfast” that our hotel offered. Have you ever been to one of these damn things? If you have, tell the people who haven’t been so we know what to expect ok! They tell us that they have room for us if we can come now, so we get dressed and head down stairs right away. We get seated at this little two person table sort of near the front but we got it. Well I am seated with my back to the rest of the dining room. Now mind you, we have not even gotten our juice or anything, I damn sure have not had my first cup of coffee yet and I have not been awake very long at all. We are sitting down waiting for our waitress when all of the sudden there is this big ass paw on my shoulder. I mean all I see is fur and a lot of it. Hell for all I knew it was Big Foot. Well instinctively I yell “SHIT!” Did I mention that I was in ear shot of about forty little fuckers who all in unison say “Ohhh, you said a bad word!” Then this bear fucking laughed at me, can you believe that. (Apparently it was a character that I later found out was called the bear in the big blue house, like I ever heard of it.) So here I am sitting by the door trying to enjoy my Mickey Mouse waffle while every family that leaves has to stop and tell me how much they enjoyed the entertainment. I should send each of them my laundry bill. After breakfast we head back to our room and sleep for most of the day and watch the news on Saddam between naps. Around dinner time we call down and the hotel has a Benihanas in the lobby. Yes sir, some Kobe beef and sake would hit the spot. Shortly before the time of our reservation we go down and check in at the lobby of the restaurant and are shown the way to our table right away. Not to shabby. We were seated with five of the biggest hillbillies you could possibly ever imagine. I mean these people must have never eaten out before in their lives. But still nothing to memorable other than the complete asses they made out of themselves. So the next day is the last day at the park, we wake up pack our stuff back into our suitcases head down, check out and go to the park with the suitcases in the trunk of the car. Oh side note here, the car had no cup holders, they might want to look into that because I get tired of spilling my diet coke. So we are getting to the park right before the parade starts and we are near the end of the parade route. So we get a spot and stand to wait for the parade. Let me set the scene for you. There are tons of people along the sidewalk of this semi-circle area right near the train station. Adults and children are everywhere waiting for the parade to start. About 12 feet to my left is a handicap ramp with this woman sitting on it and her boy friend/husband/baby daddy standing behind her. Coming from my right is a man pushing a stroller with a very young child in it, a lady who I assume is wife and another child that I would assume is under the age of 10. As the man approaches the ramp I see another man pushing a special needs child in a wheel chair coming behind the woman and the baby daddy. If you are not settled stop reading here and go get your popcorn because this is where it gets good. The man pushing the stroller stops, I was assuming to let the man pushing the wheel chair by, and says to the woman and baby daddy “You got to move” to which the woman replies “I aint got to do shit!” This is when the crowd got strangely quite and all of their focus was on this particular conversation. The man pushing the stroller mumbles something like “bitch” under his breath and scrounges by. The woman and baby daddy say something to each other and the woman hits the baby daddy on the leg and says “You should kick his ass, he hit me with that stroller” oh boy, this is about to get good!!! About this time the man with the special needs child in the wheelchair pushes past them and they are starting to get some grief form other people in the crowd about sitting on the wheel chair ramp. As the man pushing the wheel chair passes he stops, turns around to the couple and says “Why don’t you do something for someone besides yourselves!” It was at this point they began to exchange “FUCK YOU!”s. So I look over at my wife and said, this is the place they call "The Happiest Place on Earth" right? And the coolest part is that I got the whole thing on video. The ride to the airport and the flight back were uneventful but we could not wait to call some friends over to watch the parade video.

Pearls of wisdom

Sometimes, life is hard. But that is because you are a looser.
If at first you don’t succeed it is because you’re too stupid to read the directions.
The road to hell is still going to hell.
I believe that a wise man once said “holy shit, are you ALL stupid?!”
Anyone who will pay $5 for a cup of coffee deserves to spend $5 for a cup of coffee.
When you’re feeling down and out, you really should considered suicide.
You’re either with me or you’re an idiot.
A bird in the hand had better be fried, grilled or baked.
A tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye only happens in trailer parks.
All of the sins of the world sound like one hell of a party to me.
Cats are good for one thing, field goals.
An apple a day keeps illeagles coming into the country for work.
If frogs had wings that would be one jacked up looking frog.
Happiness is only a 976 phone call away.
If you ever feel worthless, go to Wal-Mart and look around at those people. They are worthless personified.
All the world is a stage and we are putting on a comedy of errors.
Early to bed, early to rise means you miss all of the good parties.
Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil…. NERD!
Does anyone ever tell someone to have a bad day?
Judge not, unless you got a gavel and a robe.
A diamond is forever unless you leave it in your room in a Vegas hotel.
A friend in need is SOL if they call me.
A house divided against itself can not stand, oh man I didn’t know there was going to be math.
A rose by any other name would cost about half of what you would pay for a rose.
Good things come to those who have the best credit.
All things must pass, even faster if you put Tabasco on it.
Born with a silver spoon in your mouth, must have been one hell of a delivery.
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