Category Archives: vacation

Random Crap


I’m sick. But I won’t say much about that because I hate whiny sick blogging. Also – I refuse to accept sickness because I have too many things going on, like the girl’s birthday and Halloween madness fun drunkosity. And dammit, I refuse to be sick.

I will, however, say this about being sick: My mother will drive me crazy one of these days. I know she loves me and cares about me. And I know she worries. I do it myself – one kid sniffles once and I’m running through all the horrible diseases on earth (and perhaps the universe) in my head, while remaining calm on the outside. So I get it. I really do. But, I swear, if I hear one more accusation & demand that “You better start taking care of yourself!” I will punch someone.

Despite what she seems to believe I do take care of myself. I’m not diving into biohazard bins at the hospital in my free time. I take vitamins. I try to eat (somewhat) healthy. I get a flu shot. But a few years back, I had H1N1 and it did a serious number on my immune system – I still get sick more easily, and illnesses seem to hit me a little harder than they did before. And I have these two things in my house. These germ-filled pastries known as “kids”. So, Mom? When I am sick, if what is coming out of your mouth is anything other than the following:

“Poor baby!”
“Let me make you some soup!”
“Can I take the kids for you?”
“Here is some Nyquil/Advil/wine.”

Then, please – I’m begging you: SHUT UP ABOUT IT ALREADY!


In other news, I have the only golden retriever in the entire world that is not a love pig. Which is what makes the slobber & hair worth it. What the fuck?


And I just got back from my annual work retreat at a lovely resort on the bay, where I had great food, lots of (free) booze, a massage, bike-riding, shopping and a sunset cruise. Only to return to a house that looks like pigs live in it. Not figurative pigs – actual farm pigs. And lots and lots of bullshit drama. So I am just going to think about this instead:

The Vacation That Almost Wasn’t


The days leading up to vacation were stressful. In fact, the minutes leading up to vacation were stressful. I am a bit OCD when I have stuff to do (not with cleaning the house or anything – just when I have to prepare for something) – I tend to run through the list of things to do in my head over and over and over until I can’t concentrate on anything – including said list. It’s like this every vacation, every Christmas, before every party. I work myself into a complete stressed out frenzy until either a) the event happens, or b) my head explodes. The only cure for this is actually getting everything done, so I usually have all my vacation shopping done at least a week in advanced, and have suitcases sitting out, packed with anything we don’t need a few days ahead of time.

But this year, that didn’t happen. I was busy with work and the kids were busy with their activities – so I didn’t have any free time to get these things done. And mr b works for himself, so he had about one million billion loose ends to tie up before we left, so he had no time to help, either (and let’s be honest, he wouldn’t be much help anyway). This meant that the last few days before we left Saturday morning were insane. I found myself using any free moments to try and get things done. I was running to hellmart & sporting goods stores late at night, doing laundry in between , dragging suitcases out while I cooked dinner. All this made me stressed and crazy. But finally, Friday came and I thought I’d have everything done by early evening, so we could leave at the planned 4:00 am.


Nope – instead, mr b worked late, I had to run the kids around, and I ended up packing until 1:30 when I finally had to collapse on the couch for a a teeny bit of sleep. 4:00 quickly turned into 5:00, because after I slept until 3:30, we still had to load up the van. And then 5:00 became 5:30, then 6:00, then 6:30, then 7:00. It was a tense morning, because I HATE being late. It doesn’t matter is the planned time is set by someone else or by me – if I plan on leaving or arriving somewhere at a certain time, any deviation (that isn’t early) makes me crazy. But finally, at 7:00, both vehicles were packed and ready (we had to take two because my car is suckishly small – too small for just our family and luggage, much less our family, The Boy’s friend, the beast dog, our luggage, bikes, outdoor gear, and other various random crap. And the minute we pulled out of the driveway, I started to calm down.

It wasn’t a long drive (less than seven hours – I know that is long to some, but I happen to like road trips) – but with stops to eat, gas up, pee, sightsee at the New River Gorge, and let the beast dog get out and burn off some of that puppy energy, it ended up being about 8 hours. Still not a bad drive, but being cooped up in the car with three kids, no lumbar support, and a raging case of “driver’s knee” (my previously injured from skiing/gymnastics/diving right knee doesn’t do so well when it’s pretty much in the same position for that long and hurts terribly), I was good and ready to get there.

Needless to say, we were all pretty happy when we pulled onto the road where our cabin was located. In fact, we were downright giddy at the prospect of claiming our rooms, unpacking our stuff and jumping in the river out back on our tubes.

But that all went to shit when we pulled up to the cabin and saw four cars parked in the driveway.

We knocked on the door and the people told us they were renting from Friday to Friday (our reservation was from Saturday to Saturday). My first thought was that we were the victims of the growing vacation scam industry. But I called the real estate after hours line and got a call back pretty quickly. The woman told me it was impossible to have a double booking because of their computer system (and we all know that computers are infallible, right?). She asked us to meet her at the office about 15 minutes away, so we could figure things out.

So off we went, much less giddy and with stress levels rising and headed to the office. On the way there, I got a call from the realty office owner and she said the words that nearly gave me a heart attack on the spot:

“Your reservation is for next week.”



Yes – we had been sent a confirmation email and after checking it once we got home, it did say that the reservation was for the 15th. And somehow we never noticed (because we already KNEW when our reservation was). But regardless of what the papers said, I know what I booked. And I booked the 8th. In fact, after I booked, I checked the website to make sure our dates were blocked off on the calendar – and they were. The realtor told us that the people in the cabin had made their reservation the week after we did, so that week should not have shown up as booked when I checked. But it did.

Of course, we had no proof of anything, so we were up shit creek. I sat in the parking lot of the office feeling absolutely sick. In fact, I was sick. I puked right there in their lot (and nearly passed out), agonizing over what we were going to do. We couldn’t just turn around and go home only to come back again the following week. But what were we going to do?

Luckily, the realtor was extremely nice and found us another place. Unluckily, we had to pay for it. On top of the already paid-for original reservation. Because she was the owner, she was able to help us out with a large discount and she promised to try and rent out our original cabin for the following week so we could get our money back. We were relieved, not to mention thanking our lucky stars that we just so happened to have a little extra money to take care of it – there are times that we wouldn’t have.

Once we got it all settled, we headed to our new place, which turned out to be much bigger and in a far better location for our needs. We ended up having one of the best vacations ever, and our magic realtor managed to rent the first place to someone else, so it all worked out in the end.

But I am still bothered by what happened. I am not saying that I couldn’t have made a mistake – I certainly could have. A couple of things bother me, though. 1) the booking showing up on the website, even though the people who had it that week supposedly booked the week after us. Also – the week after we booked – the original employee who was helping us suddenly became scarce. I got things taken care of by other agents, but she personally didn’t return my calls or emails. It was irritation, but like I said – things got done anyway, so I didn’t worry too much about it. And the clincher – the employee who seemed to disappear around the same time that the other folks booked “our” cabin? She was related to those folks. So, yeah.

Regardless, we all had a great time and the owner was so sweet and helpful that I would actually rent the second place again. Only if I do, I’ll be sure to talk to the owner directly and go over every single document with a fine tooth comb. Oh – and I’ll get my packing done ahead of time, too.

Sometimes you get one


I post a lot more photos of The Girl than The Boy. It’s not because of any bias or favoritism, but because it;s harder to get photos of The Boy. Unlike The Girl, who has a spidey sense about a camera in a 50-foot radius and starts posing, he’s either off running, or hiding from the camera (because god forbid his hair is messed up – and seriously? He’s killing me with the hair.)

So while it’s nothing for me to get this from The Girl:

With The Boy, I often have to chase him around, only to get this:

But every once in a while, I get lucky:

It’s worth all the chasing.



The drive down > the drive home. In fact, the square root of the drive down > the drive home times infinity squared. This is for one reason – going down, we drove overnight and we came home in the day. Night driving is essential to my sanity because people sleep at night – the kids & mr b all go to sleep and I have the whole night to drive and listen to whatever I want and no one is fighting or whining or asking me how much longer or being a general jackass or needing to pee or driving like a complete asshole who thinks everyone else is an asshole. Plus on the way home, we got stuck in hellacious traffic due to a motor home fire. It was insane.

The cabin was amazing. Since we drove overnight, we got there well before our check-in time. We decided to do a drive-by to check the cabin out and then head out to sightsee for the day. Only there was no such thing as “drive-by” for this place. It was on an unpaved, private road that wound up into the mountain. From the outside, it looked like a tiny place, but in actuality, it was 3 floors and slept 10 easily. The hot tub was my favorite early morning thing to do, and sitting on the deck looking at the view was so relaxing.

The view from the main deck:

One of the cool things about the place was the wildlife – we saw deer and flying squirrels and bald eagles (no bears, surprisingly, given my aforementioned deliciousness). There were the strangest looking moths I have ever seen – some that looked exactly like a fallen leaf, some that were beautiful, and some that were just plain weird. And they were all HUGE:

Not cool at all? The spiders. And by “spiders,” I mean SPIDERS! I seriously wanted to take some photos to freak out Twitter (like someone who shall remain nameless coughburghbabycough) but I was too terrified to get anywhere near them. And I think I felt like there would be some bad horror movie juju involved in photographing them. They were that evil. I am not kidding when I say that they were giant, man-eating, horrible monsters who had obviously heard about my deliciousness from the bears.

It seems we picked a good week to get out of the burgh since apparently it was a million degrees here. It was hot down there, but being in the mountains meant it was much cooler, especially in the mornings and evenings.

We were only a few minutes from Nantahala Gorge and the Nantahala Outdoor Center, which was a fantastic place – places to eat, good beer, shop, trails and hot hippie guys – perfect! We spent a lot of time there during the week. The only bad experience I had there was…are you ready for this?

I got CARDED. No, really – carded. Now, I know you are thinking, but Gina, that’s a compliment, no?

No – it’s not. And I’ll tell you why: 1) I haven’t even been in my late twenties for more than a decade, so please spare me. It might have been a compliment if I didn’t know that I looked every bit of my 41 years, but since I do, it was just WTF?? 2) Someone told me later that they have to card everyone, regardless of how old they look (because they have a very precarious license in an otherwise dry county), and that would make me feel better about things, except that the girl doing the carding didn‘t card anyone else in the group (all male…hmmm), and 3) If it were at all possible that she really believed I was under 21, it would have made me feel good a little while, but I’ll take a beer buzz any day.

Nantahala Outdoor Center:

There were so many things to do in the area– rafting, canoeing, kayaking, tubing. Surprisingly, of all those activities, the one I managed to injure myself on was the calm, serene tube-float down the Little Tennessee River. That would be because instead of sitting in the tube like I should have been, I got into the tube and let my lags dangle in the water. And when we suddenly went from a depth of I-Can’t-Touch to Holy-Crap-Rocks-Hurt!, my knees, shins and ankles suffered for it. I actually have a tiny little bone chip moving around in my knee now. That’s not fatal, is it?

Just as surprising as the DangerTubing is the fact that I went whitewater rafting and stayed in the raft the entire time. I thought for sure I would end up going in. And what was worrying me the most about that? Not the danger of drowning, or busting open my head on the racks. No, I was worried that of I went in, I would be mortified that my raft-mates would have to haul my fat ass back in the raft. I really think if I had gone in, I would have been all, “Oh, don’t worry about me – just go one ahead, I’ll hang out here.” This is the same reason I didn’t jump in the water and swim with the boy during one of the calm areas.

The boy was the only one not afraid to swim there (other than me), because everyone was crying the while time about how cold the water was. Now don’t get me wrong, it WAS cold – about 50 – 55 degrees. But somehow it felt good to me. Maybe because it was so hot that day. Or because it wasn’t too much colder than swimming in the Yough, which is pretty damned cold, too. But I decided to tell myself that doing the Polar Bear Plunge has turned me into a badass cold water rock star. Now that is cold water.

When we were getting suited up for our rafting trip, I put on a PFT (life vest, but I like saying PFT like I’m down with the lingo), and I could barely breathe what with the boob-squeezing. Four male guides checked me and said it fit perfectly, until a similarly-boobed female guide came over, rolled her eyes at the men and helped me adjust. Then we got our training and I did my very best not to strangle the kid behind me who made the training take 10 minutes longer with his inane questions (Um…what…um…about that…um…water position if …you know…um…you…uh…go over the falls? Do you have to do a back flip?), and finally we were off. We all got on the bus and the guides got on last. One guide sat next to me on the bus wearing nothing but a speedo. I was hoping we didn’t get him as our guide, because all I could think about was that if we flipped over, I was probably going to get balls on me in the process. Luckily we didn’t – we got an awesome guide who was informative and fun and kindly kept his genitals hidden from view.


We also went gem-mining, which the kids loved. And The Girl made me proud by sharing her big gems with the other kids. And the boy made me proud by using his own money to buy another bucket for them all to share:

One day we went to Dollywod. Dollywood is a great park – small, pretty, but still fun. But despite the fun, it was slightly less pleasant than the last few times we’ve been there. For one thing, it was HOT. I mean – while the mountains stay cooler, somehow it’s not really the case at Dollywood. And then we went in a large group and I really, really hate going to amusement parks with a group (too much waiting and whining and dicking around). And The Girl got crabby a few times about some imaginary crap. And we were with folks who kept failing to wait for the group before getting in line and then expecting us to cut and catch up, which I will absolutely NEVER do (it’s a HUGE pet peeve of mine when people do that).

They have some good rides there, though. The Girl loved the Raging Rapids-type ride. The first time we rode it, I got splashed. The second time we rode it – just before leaving the park – I got SOAKED:

But she hated the Mountain Slidewinder (which is an AWESOME waterslide where you sit in a foam “log” and slide down the mountain), although she was ready to go on it again a short time later:

Also, mr b spent 50 cents on a game and won the girl a guitar (not a little toy piece of crap, either, but a real, working guitar. And then this happened:

And there’s nothing else to say after that.




Things I learned on vacation:

1. There are few places that highlight the fact that Kids Are Evil as effectively as a cramped hotel room.

2. Car trips will henceforth require the wearing of compression stockings. Every time I drive on a long trip, my right knee hurts and my lower leg gets a little tight and swell-y. The other option would be to let mr b drive more but here’s the thing about that – mr b is Captain Sleepy. I’d have 16 nervous breakdowns per hour if I let him drive. So compression stockings it is. This saddens me, because it makes me feel old and broken and maybe I should just go out and get myself a babushka and some depends to go with my support hose.

3. My kids will fight about ANYTHING. Dear God, the stupid fights. I swear to you, the biggest fight of the week was over a turkey sandwich. Followed closely by a fight about cheese fry sharing etiquette. I was also lucky enough to witness fights over sand, beds, sand IN beds, whose hacky sack was whose, which beach ball was better, which beach ball Mr. Pants (our 16 month old cousin who stayed with us along with his mom – my cousin Lala) liked better, whose faceplant was funnier, ice cream, who messed up the Snoopy tattoo, television, Don’t Touch Me, who farted, who moved my shoes, and HE’S TOUCHING ME! Good times.

4. Diabetics should not walk on hot sand without shoes. Ten minutes after my dad arrived, he walked on the hot sand in his bare feet and ended up with 2nd degree burns on the bottoms of his feet. It was awful – all the skin came off the bottom of his feet and sand got in them. Several trips to a doctor, a couple prescriptions, six days, a whole lot of not walking, and a shit-ton of bandages later and he’s still hurting. It sucks.

5. I really need to replace my broken camera lens before we head to the mountains next month.

6. Finney of the beach photo patrol really, REALLY needs to find another career. Of the 10 or so photos he took, exactly ALL OF THEM were blurry. And I don’t mean slightly out of focus, I mean, so blurry that you can’t tell who is in them. Normally I wouldn’t care but due to my lack of photo-taking, I was hoping for something cute.

7. I need to start way ahead of time on Halloween, since the girl – upon getting Old-Time photos taken – has decided she wants to be a fancy flapper.

8. Old-Time Photo props will be used like every other item that reaches the hands of a child – as a weapon against their sibling. Fake drinks will be “dumped” on each other’s heads. Fake guns will be used to pretend to shoot each other. And everything else will be used to generally maim.

9. On one hand, the beach can make you feel really bad about yourself. On the other hand, the beach can make you feel way better about yourself. It all depends who is on the next blanket.

Despite the hectic and sometimes stressful days and the fact that I never got to meet up with the lovely Amy (because of all the hectic), I still had a wonderful time. And I am so very happy to that we are going away again next month.

I’m planning on the next trip being more relaxing. I’m not sure why, since the kids will once again be there. Plus mr b. Plus a gang of in-laws. So I imagine it will be more of the same – lots of fun, peppered with lots of potential stabification (that’s in the ICD-9, by the way). And since I know it’s coming, I decided to make a list of things that I plan to accomplish while in NC. If I can manage these, I will consider the trip a success, despite the stress:

1. Not killing anyone. No really – did you not hear the part about the kids and the husband and the in-laws?

2. Not dying. Because we have a cabin on a mountain. Which has a deck out into the mountainous abyss. And I will be drinking heavily. And most likely being driven slowly insane by the kids. Not a good combination.

3. Mountain geocaching! I’m very excited to try out our new hobby in an incredibly beautiful setting. I need to stock up on some burgh-related items for trading.

4. Not getting killed/eaten/mauled by a bear. Why on earth would I be worried about this? Well, see my previous item : 1) Geocaching takes place in the woods, 2) Bears live in the woods, 3) I am delicious. To combat the chances of getting killed/eaten/mauled, I’ll be wearing my bells, an anti-bear helmet (which doesn’t exist in reality but in my imagination involves tin foil, hot glue and pebbles. And sometimes – disturbingly – raw meat) and a t-shirt says “I taste like shit.”

5. I also plan on making mr b build a shelter to prove his manly worth. And because of the aforementioned bears, I’ve decided that the shelter must have a security system, indoor plumbing and a chik-fil-a (I know – they aren’t open on Sunday, but he can hunt/gather me something once a week, I think). Aw, who am I kidding? I’d be dead. He’s city boy. Years ago, we rented a cabin out in the woods for a weekend, and on a walk, I picked and ate some wild blueberries. His reaction was to nearly rush me to the hospital because “OMG, those berries might be poison!” I explained that they weren’t poison berries, but delicious blueberries and I was then subjected to 45 minutes of “But how do you know?? So maybe we’ll forget about the wilderness thing and I’ll just take him along as a bear diversionary tactic.



Ahhh…vacation. Even though it was short, it was awesome. Because it was relaxing and beautiful and best of all…free (mostly). Winning stuff is awesome, ya’ll!

Even though I stayed up watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia getting stuff packed, I still managed to get up at 3:00 AM to get to the airport in time. We got in early, and the flight was uneventful – though I could have done without the 5 hours (OK, minutes, but it felt like hours.) of spiraling around the airport before we landed.

We were at the report before 10:00 am, and had the whole day ahead of us, which was why I didn’t mind getting up so damned early. Here’s a news flash: It’s HOT in Arizona. We were ready to head to the pool, but we needed to eat first. We didn’t want breakfast (something about 100 degrees that makes eggs blech), so we had to wait until they started serving lunch. The pool café was the earliest – at 11:00 – so we headed there. And since it was 2:00 our time and we were on vacation, we decided to have a drink, too. Which pretty much set the tone for the while weekend.

The resort was beautiful. I would go there again in a minute. The food and drinks were delicious, though expensive. When we checked in, the people sponsoring the contest gave us gift bags, drink coupons and $200 in cash to cover some expenses, which was awesome.

After lunch, we headed to the pool, which was amazing. “Pool” didn’t do it justice – it was a whole bunch of smaller, sort-of connecting pools that formed a giant water playground. The way it was set up was nice because you never felt crowded. There were waterfalls everywhere, misters, bars, strolling waiters, comfy lounge chairs, beautiful landscaping and flowers, private cabanas, a sand beach and sand-bottomed pool area, and a kickass 3-story spiral waterslide, which shot you out like a cannon.

After lounging (and drinking) all day, we headed back to the room to get ready. I – of course – was ready way before mr b, so I headed to the open-air lobby to watch the Native American dancing and have a drink (OK, actually, several delicious pomegranate mojitos). After that, we headed to a group dinner for the contest winners. It was outside, on the edge of the water, surrounded by palm trees and mountains. And the food was fantastic. I was expecting mediocre banquet food, but I was pleasantly surprised with fresh, delicious southwestern cuisine, including a spicy fruit salad that I could have eaten 6 pounds of.

Also – the sweet, hilarious southern lady sitting at our table came back from the buffet with a steak covered in cumin sauce and said, “I thought this was gravy, but after I put it on, I saw the sign and it said it’s cummin’ sauce. I don’t know if I like cummin’ sauce on my meat. Hot damn – it’s good!

Of course, after dinner we headed back to the bar area – the lobby was all open to the outdoors, so you could sit on the huge terrace outside (they had a bunch of little seating areas with comfy couches and chairs) and still get table service, and enjoy the live entertainment they had every night. This night, it was a contemporary Latin band – they played some original stuff, plus some Santana, Los Lobos, etc. They were great.

We slept in a little on Saturday, had a delicious breakfast in the room, and then headed back down to the pool. It was even hotter than the day before – at one point, I heard 103, and later I heard 105. And I know – dry heat and all – it’s true – it’s much more bearable than humid heat, but still – 105! Being in the pool, it was very comfortable, but out of the pool, you just baked.

Mr b ended up getting a bad headache, so he headed back to the room, and I stayed in the pool area, floating on a raft, drinking rum punch and eyeing the beautiful, distinguished, downright chocolicious man alone the hot tub. If it hadn’t been 7000 degrees, I might have joined him.

That evening, we got a car into Old Town Scottsdale and did a little shopping and sightseeing. Then we headed to dinner at a place that had great food and a shmillion beer choices. Yay beer! After we went back to the resort, we sat on the terrace again and listened to the traditional Spanish band and watched the Flamenco dancers. And tried more delicious drinks. Mr b liked the prickly pear margarita a lot, and I teased him relentlessly since it was pink and girly. But it was delicious. I stuck to the rum drinks, though, since college pretty much ruined me on tequila.

The next morning, I got up before sunrise, so I could take some photos. Mr b, needless to say, stayed in bed. After he got up, we had a nice, leisurely breakfast, checked out, and headed out to the airport. We stopped to do a little shopping, and got the kids some more souvenirs, then hit the bar to watch as much of the game as we could before our flight.

When we got to the gate, I saw some people were whispering and throwing uncomfortable glances in the direction of the two Middle Eastern guys waiting for the flight, but honestly – I was more worried about being locked up in an airless tube for 4 hours with The Sneezer. Plus one of them was pretty hot. Not that has anything to do with anything. Just saying. Hot.

The flight was pretty good, but again with the spiraling (this time on takeoff) and lots of turbulence. The plane was full of Steelers fans, so the captain was giving us updates, the last of which resulted in a planeful of unhappy campers. On the bright side, we did have Aunt Bunny sitting in front of us. She was hilarious. As she was getting up from her seat, she was moaning and groaning and giving a running commentary: “Oh, I’m getting up now. Ohhh. Here I go. Ooooo. My leg. I’m almost up now. Wooo. Damn. I got one leg. I need my other leg. It’s numb. Oooooweeee. Oh Lordy! My leg ain’t movin’. I gotta grab onto this. I’m getting there. Oh no, I’m not. I’m goin’ back down. Lord Jesus. Ok, I’m trying again. Oooooo. I’m up now.” She was awesome.

The only bad thing was last night when mr b called and said there was an almost $700 charge from the resort on our debit card. The room was paid for by the contest sponsor, and we paid our incidentals when we checked out, so we weren’t sure what it was. I called an found out that it was a “hold” charge. I understand why they have those, but I don’t understand why mine is almost $700. They told us at check-in that it would be $200, so where did the additional $500 come in? The woman on the phone told me that when you have incidentals, the hold charge would go up. Well, our incidentals came to $300 (paid for in cash), so why the hell was the hold charge for approximately $400 more than that? I’m pissed. They told me it would revert by Wednesday or Thursday, which is unacceptable. Also? We can fly a man to the moon, but we can’t figure out how to drop a hold charge as soon as the bill is paid? I call bullshit. Big, stinky, steaming, funky, fucking bullshit. Fuckers.

And finally – yes – we went there. And moments afterward the Gods of Good taste punished me with cactus retribution:

Back to Reality SUCKS


So. I’m back from vacation. Being back from vacation would suck regardless, but making it even better, I came home to:

1) A house I didn’t have time to clean before we left

2) Oppressive heat and humidity without the benefits of the pool and beach (with no A/C, of course)

3) My laptop completely infected with some malicious shit that I can’t seem to get rid of without professional help

4) Mr b showing up at work this morning to find his shit all packed up in boxes – his job eliminated.

So happy fucking day to me.

I did actually clean the house – it was the one thing I could actually do something about. Of course hours later, mr b dragged in all the bags from the car and dumped them all over the living room.

The heat, obviously, I can’t do a damned thing about except bitch and moan and that doesn’t seem to be helping a bit, dammit.

The computer? Fucked. I have some ideas about what to do, but the computer is too fucked to do them – I can’t run anything or download anything. Fucked but good. I left it here for my aunt to use while I was on vacation, and she gets a little…um…click-happy.

The job loss? Sucks balls. Even though he worked for a sleazy, asshole-laden, stuffy, dickhead, fuckball of a company. It was still better than being a 50 year old, physically limited due to injury, family man competing with 20-something who can work late and long and for little.

But aside from all that, vacation was pretty good. Despite the family skirmishes, the dumbasses, the political nonsense, the LOUD TV, the door Nazi, the food Nazi, the sunburn, the cold sore, the peeling scalp which looks like major dandruff, the defective rocking chair that almost killed me, and the 2 days of rain.

Because there was also lots of drinks, games, 10,000 renditions of the Winky Winky song, a beautiful beach, a nice pool, lots of photos, and an all-you-can-eat meat restaurant. Who could ask for more?

Except maybe the Powerball.



We have big plastic pretzel jugs that we save change in. We were planning on cashing it in for our first Disney trip in 06, but never did (mainly because it’s a lot, it’s heavy and it’s a pain in the ass). Same thing with 08. So finally, since we have this Virginia Beach trip coming up and it’s falling on Broke 2009, I figured I’d finally take it and cash it in (although in the ensuing years it has become more, heavier and a bigger pain in the ass).

So on Saturday, I drive to the Giant Eagle where they have a coinstar machine, and grab a shopping cart so I can lug it into the store. As I am walking across the “street” from the parking lot, the heavy coins started pulling the cart a little because the road was sloped. So I am holding on to the cart and trying to keep it under control (it was so heavy, it was hard to steer), and I was so focused on not crashing into and killing anyone with my Changemobile of Destruction that I failed to notice the 1-inch curb. I slammed into it and one of the jugs fell over (THANK GOD it was only one). I should mention that I didn’t have the lids on them. Yeah. Change everywhere. So I spent the next 15 minutes crawling around in the street picking up change. I looked like a well-fed junkie.


Speaking of junkies, we cleaned out the van this weekend and let me tell you- it was no small task. I have a tendency to let garbage and toys and junk mail and jackets and lots of nonsense build up in the car until there isn’t an inch of space left. It’s a sickness.

Anyway, we emptied out the 200 pounds of crap, vacuumed and I got ready to start wiping down the inside. On all the doors, there are little built in “bins” where you can put maps, papers, books, etc. I cleaned out the front ones, but forgot about the back, because I never see them. Since the back doors slide, the only time I am in the back, I am getting the girl out and the door is open, so I can’t see them.

So anyway, I am sitting on the floor in the center row, and I hit the button to close the door, and in slow-motion, the nightmare comes sliding past me. Imagine you go into your older child’s room and find 250 crack vials? Well, the 5-year old version of this? 16 bajillion lollipop sticks. Oh. My. God. In addition to the lollipop paraphanalia, there were chewed chunks of gum, candy wrappers, half eaten cookies, chicken nuggets, a hash brown, crackers, some mystery sludge, a petrified string cheese, and an entire piece of cake.

Help! My daughter is a junkie.

I Hate It When Vacation Is Over


Dudes! I am having such a hard time writing anything after being away. I’m having a hard time doing anything, really. Especially if it involves cleaning, laundry, unpacking, cooking, working or eating healthy. I’m rocking the lay around and drink beer stuff, though. I am having a serious case of VacationCanNotPossiblyBeOverAlready.

So, you know how when you visit someone that just got back from vacation and they tell you all about it and show you photos and bore you to tears. Yeah, well. . .sorry.

I’m pleased to report that I am now on a huge streak of two vacation without punching anyone the face. That’s always good, right. Though, I guess it would have given me something interesting to talk about, no? If it helps, I wanted to punch people in the face.

Like the guy who tried to blatantly cut in line while the girl and I were waiting to ride the Haunted Mansion. He sort of wandered up and stood next to us. I thought he was looking at the line, or the building or the sign or something and then I heard one of the daughters say “Dad – I think the line is back there.” And jackass dad says, “No – we’re fine! We’re waiting, see?” Oh, Hell no. Of course I spoke up and said, “If you’re waiting for Haunted Mansion, you can wait back at the end of the line.” He got pissed and started to say something, but his embarrassed family pulled him away.

And speaking of line jumpers, it really pisses me off when one or two people wait in line and then when they get close, the other 12 people in their party come barging to catch up. That pisses me off. I can understand how an elderly person might have a hard time standing or that a young child might have to take a bathroom break in a long line, but 14 Brazilians in their 20’s? Not so much. For some reason, it always was the Brazilians. I can only assume that in Brazil, they have a far different definition of line etiquette.

And then there was the asshole in Epcot, who started mocking me for some reason. NO, seriously – he was mocking me! As in, repeating what I was saying in a weird, childish, mocking voice. He was the one I wanted to punch the most, but I really didn’t want my photos to include one of me being escorted out of the park, so I refrained.

All in all, it was a great time. Of course, I love Disney so I always have a great time there. But we had a lot of fun, the girl rode some “big” rides now that she’s a little taller, we ate some awesome food, walked eleventy bajillion miles, went to the Halloween party, did some swimming, got knocked down by a giant 6-foot wall of water at Typhoon Lagoon and just generally enjoyed ourselves. Yay.


After a week of vacation recovery, we had Scabs’ Annual Halloween Bash. This is my favorite party every year. This year, there was no one dressed as anyone else in attendance (we’ve all been too busy to plan it this year), but we still had fun. The girl and I wore our Disney costumes, the boy wore some goofy mask (he’s that age now) and mr b left his costume in the car because he’s a big loser. There were political costumes of course – aimed at driving my conservative SIL batty, because that’s always fun. But Weenie had the best costume – she was Lucy from the candy factory episode. She is all kids of awesome.

Oh, also – my head actually caught on fire at one point in the night. It was about 2:00 am and I was highly flammable. I put myself out while everyone else looked stupid.


Oh – and Thursday morning, we leave for Awesome Company’s Annual Long Weekend of Drunken Debauchery, Massages and One Long Boring Meeting. As always, I am looking forward to it, because the debauchery and massages more than make up for the meeting. This year, we’re headed back to my favorite of all our retreat locations. The only bad part is that I now have to find something to wear. I hate that part. If I could wear jammies the whole time, it would be the most awesome work week ever.

Anyway – some photos:

We are SO the Griswolds sometimes…

Her favorite princess:

Getting ready for her princess makeover – she loved every minute of it:

Her fairy godmother in training, getting her ready:

She told me she felt special – like a princess:

Contrary to how they act half the time, they love each other…

What a cute smile! The boy’s not bad, either!

Cutest. Jedi. Ever.

Dancing in the parade – the girl’s got moves:

The Whispering Canyon Cafe is a fun restaurant – the boy especially loved the Coke as big as his head:


Oh yes, I did. Just call me Ho White:

I Can’t Wait!


The whole month of September, Burgh Baby’s Mom has been generously donating all her ad revenue to the Flight 93 Memorial Fund. She decided to end the month on a (really) high note by having an awesome contest. Go check it out. Since ad revenue is determined by page views, all that she is asking in return is that you click around and help raise some money for a good cause. It’s the last day, so warm up your clicking finger and go crazy. Maybe you’ll win a cool prize in the meantime.


So, it’s four day until we leave for vacation and in typical pre-vacation fashion, I am freaking! out! I have a million things to do and no time to do them. Work has been crazy lately and between scouts, swimming lessons, drum lessons, karate and gymnastics I can’t quite seem to muster up enough energy in my “free time” to start packing. I have managed to go shopping for essentials like sunscreen and toothpaste, though. But strangely, I have a new shower curtain, rug, bathroom accessories, some cute shorts, a candle, clothes for the kids, clothes for mr b, four chocolate covered marshmallows (OK, I had those), a princess costume, beer, a picture frame, and 600 read pages of Brisingr. But no sunscreen or toothpaste. Vacation Planning: FAIL.

Although I did get a new lip balm and since it has SPF, I’m counting it as a huge vacation planning success.

I have a feeling I am going to be up to the wee hours these next few days getting ready. I have something going on every evening through Thursday, so the only time I will have to pack will be around eleven or so. OK – I could actually do it between 8:00 and 11:00, which would be more reasonable, but the new falls shows are on and I’m not insane. Well, yes I am. I’m insane and addicted to TV. And I’m not ashamed to admit it. Well, maybe a little ashamed. But we’re all friends here, right? RIGHT??

Of course when I am at work and can’t possibly do anything vacation-related, I can’t concentrate because my head is too full of anticipation and All! Disney! All! The Time!! I get all OCD-girl and start running through the lists of things I still have to do and then I get all stressed out and I’m like Work? What work? And then I drift off to daydreams of monorails and Mickey bars.

Friday, I will be going to bed at approximately 7:00, since I have to wake up at 2:30 am to get ready. Because my only options for a direct flight was either Dawn: Buttcrack of or sometime in the late afternoon which would be a huge waste of the day. And forget connecting flights. They’re a waste of precious Disney time and a terrifying spin on the roulette wheel of Will The Preschooler Lose Her Mind On The Plane. So no. Dark Thirty it is.