Three months ago we were planning a trip to Florida for spring break. We were deciding which Disney parks we wanted to visit. We decided just Epcot and Magic Kingdom, maybe a stopover at Legoland, since Universal is still out. (Jackson hasn’t finished the Harry Potter series yet. We are on the last book as a family, but that’s the deal, we have to finish it before we go to Universal. We read at a pace he sets, so honestly this is on him.) But none of that matters because Florida is closed. Well, unless we want to go to church. Or to a gun store. Or to Publix. But I think we will skip all that nonsense. So what are we doing now? We are deciding where to camp in the backyard. For real. Things are a little smaller and slower now.
Traditionally we have spent time with loved ones during spring break or gone to a really cool place, like NYC. Last year we had just moved to Georgia during spring break, so we spent the week unpacking our house and getting pumped up for a new school. This year we thought would be totally different and fun. We were wrong. I mean different? Sure! A worldwide pandemic is different, but fun… Well, we are working on it.
It’s been three weeks now of hanging at home together, and although virtual learning is a real thing that has been happening, our days have been a mixture of games, and walking the neighborhood, and doing nice things for our community, and cleaning. Ah the dreaded cleaning. Jerimiah is still working, which means (even though he sets up shop most days at our dining room table) he still has stuff to do most hours of the day between 8am and 5pm. Jackson, on the other hand, has been finishing his school work in record time on account of the whole “he doesn’t have classmates causing distractions” thing. It’s amazing what he can get done in a short amount of time when his friends aren’t sitting next to him chatting about Minecraft.
Which means he’s been FaceTiming friends and playing Roblox with them. Or Minecraft, or dutifully taking part in whatever “fun project” I have come up with that day. Then there’s been the deep cleaning of his room. The yard work we’ve been doing (for real, I’m sunburned from it. It looks like I actually just came back from the beach, but alas no. I’ve just been pruning and what not.) The most fun has indeed been sitting in the hot tub at night listening to music while we relax our tired muscles and talk about what we will do and where we will go when we can in fact, go again. Current favorite plan: Southern California with friends in the fall!
Until then, we think we have a solid spring break plan. Backyard campout. Maybe in the tent, maybe just pulling the blowup mattress into the sunporch (which we spent an entire afternoon cleaning, so much damn pollen). S’mores on the table top fire pit? Sure! Ghost stories? Absolutely! Card games and a cookout? You betcha! All in the comforts of our own home. Uh huh! This might be a new tradition. Who knows! If nothing else, it’s the best we can come up with and it’s fairly exciting, so let’s do this!
As recently as two weeks ago we were planning a trip to Florida for Spring Break. It seems crazy now, but we had already booked our hotel in Tampa. We had already asked Jackson which park he would visit if he could visit any, and he yelled, “Epcot!” In fact he passed up Legoland and Magic Kingdom for it. (Universal was not on the table because we haven’t finished Harry Potter yet.) Now all our plans are cancelled, but for a little while we were excited to go to Disney again. We haven’t been in years. Which got me to thinking that I wasn’t blogging back when we first took Jackson to Disney World, so I thought I’d share now. So this is a three-part series of pics and stories from our first trip to Disney in 2016, when Jackson was a first grader. It’s part posterity, part “Look people used to have happy days!” I hope you enjoy. And if Disney is not your thing, just come back in four days.
Now before I dive in here, which is mainly just pics with our favorite character, let’s get real first. I know there are people who do not like Disney, and I get the reasons. You hate people. You don’t like crowds. You can’t get over the cost. You’ve heard horror stories. You’ve been once, and then swore it off ever again because you saw a kid vomit, or a piece of trash on the ground, or the pool was too warm. Whatever the reason, leave that shit at the door with me because I LOVE Disney! Still, to this day, it was one of our best vacations. And sure, it was because we were all allowed to be kids all day, every day, and live out our fantasy of meeting these beloved characters, but so what? We should all be kids sometimes.
We decided to surprise Jackson with Disney, which was of course, a blast. We told him we were going to the beach in Florida. Of which we did. We woke up one snowy January morning (the slowest week at Disney, cause I ain’t no fool) and we headed down to Florida. We drove nonstop from Charlotte to Daytona Beach. We made the drive in about seven hours, and set to exploring. That day we were able to jump in the ocean and visit the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, which really is a sight to behold. We walked to the top of it, how many stairs, I don’t know, a million? And we were rewarded with marvelous views.
When we got back to our hotel we started asking Jackson what he wanted to do the next day. He said play on the beach, and we were like cool, cool, but here, open this surprise we got for you. We gave him a bag filled with Disney toys and apparel for the next three days. He was opening his gifts, getting more and more excited, then we asked him if he saw a theme. He yelled, “Disney!” And we were like what do you think that means? And he was all, “You know I love Disney!” Ha. He wasn’t getting it. So we said, “We’re going to Disney tomorrow!” And then he threw himself back on the bed in exasperation.
The next day we left Daytona bright and early and were in Orlando in no time. We checked into our hotel, one of the less expensive ones on the Disney property. We chose to go this route because you get extended hours to all the parks, and other perks, like a shuttle ride to the park. Plus, the package deals save you the most money and well, we are savvy shoppers. We ended up in a “Little Mermaid” room, which was ready and waiting for us super early that morning.
I will say this like 800 more times, but Disney has their shit together, y’all. We got to the hotel, checked in, threw out bags in our room, loaded up our backpacks with food (you can bring outside snacks into the park to save on food) and headed to Animal Kingdom. This first picture was of the second morning. Right as we were about to head out for the day, Jackson noticed this dragonfly by our room door. It was the most chill dragon fly. It never moved while we were standing there watching it. I even thought for a split second it was fake. Like Disney had planted it there to make us go “Ohhhh” and “Ahhh” which at this point was something I could see them doing. But it was gone when we got back, so probably not.
I had read all the reviews of all the parks leading up to this trip, and I knew that Animal Kingdom would be the least exciting for our family. We aren’t too fond of zoos. Mainly the whole animals in cages thing, but I knew we had to experience it once, so we decided to knock it out the first day. We had also bought the park hopper tickets, which means that we could visit multiple parks in one day. So we knew we would start our day at Animal Kingdom and end it at somewhere else. Where we hadn’t decided yet. But we were ready for some excitement.
Animal Kingdom, though our least favorite park, did not disappoint! Even a giant zoo was magical at Disney, but Jackson’s favorite part was the roller coaster, Expedition Everest, and meeting Chip and Dale, who brought our attention to the fact that like Dale, Jackson was also missing teeth.
We also got to meet the cast of The Jungle Book at Animal Kingdom and others, while we followed a scouting adventure around all the islands of the park:
By the time the park was ready to close (it closes early on account of taking care of the animals) we knew where we were headed, the park Jackson was the most pumped about, EPCOT! Epcot did not disappoint. It was awesome! Futuristic and technologically driven, just the sort of place our kid likes. Plus, we got there just in time to meet some very cool people. The coolest in fact.
Epcot was epic! There is Mission to Mars, which actually scared the actual shit out of me and I refuse to ever ride again. There is Test Track, where you can design your own car then drive it on “the track.” Coolest thing ever to our gear head.
Then there was the Coca-cola tasting room. The chance (as you can see) to meet Baymax, and fireworks, great food (from all over the world), and a Finding Nemo encounter where Jackson got to meet and talk with the sea turtles. Epcot was also the place that we first caught a glimpse of the Monorail and it had a giant theater that played all the old school Mickey Mouse cartoons like Steamboat Willie. It was a 4-D theater, and we had an awesome time watching the characters come to life right before our eyes. It was by far Jackson’s best, most favorite park, and when we discuss going back to Disney he only talks about Epcot. It is also where Jackson got his Mickey ears and his Test Track “Driver’s License” that he was so proud of. In short, Epcot=Epic. Most epic.
When we got back that night to our hotel room we were actually, 100% beat. We all passed out pretty quickly after walking more than 15 miles that day. But we were up and at ’em the next morning at 7 am, because we heard that if you are one of the first inside Magic Kingdom you can hop a ride in an old car to Cinderella’s Castle. I wasn’t super sure if it was true or not, but we decided to take the chance and it just so happened that it was an “early morning” for those staying at a Disney property. Which means one of those perks I mentioned earlier came in handy and we were one of the first in the doors and check this out:
Yep! We got to ride an old-time car to Cinderella’s Castle. I guess this is a lesser-known secret. As we passed down Main Street, the driver was giving us a tour and honking at people. We were like royalty. People thought we were VIPs. Nope. Just savvy shoppers.
I think this might be a good spot to end in for today. I’m tired just writing about all that we accomplished. Tomorrow, Magic Kingdom!
We’ve been dealing with a little scare the last few months. Jerimiah was told back in September that they were moving him from the place he has been supporting, Baton Rouge, to a different location. First we were told we would most likely have to actually move again, which meant we would have been in Georgia for less than a year. A couple options were thrown at us, and neither of them were good. In fact, they were sorta crappy. One was New Orleans and one was Tampa, Florida. Yeah. Sure, there are worst places to live than New Orleans, like anywhere in the state of Florida. And if we have to move again we would really rather it be a move OUT of the South. But you know us, we looked at each other, took a big sigh, and braced for impact.
Part of bracing for impact meant that we decided that wherever we ended up, we were not all moving together at once. Because Jackson HAS to finish fifth grade in one school. Quite specifically this school, the coolest, most awesome school we have been in, with the coolest, most awesome teacher he has ever had. Which meant chances were good that Jackson and I would be living alone for several months in our house, and Jerimiah would be living in a roach-infested, cheap apartment in a bad part of either New Orleans or Tampa. Cause two house payments is not a thing we can do. But, here comes the happy ending: We got word last week that we don’t have to move! He is still supporting Tampa rather than Baton Rouge, but they want him to stay in the ATL because he has growth here (and if I may, he scored the highest score on this totally obscure, weirdo test they give people that his boss has ever seen #SmartestGuyEver) and for that we are thankful.
But when I was deep down in the shit last month, thinking we might have to move, and kinda sad about it, I started finding ways to make myself happy. When I thought of New Orleans, I pushed the idea of swampy, pathetic, poor-economic, low test scores, rampant racism, and flooding out of my mind and tried to focus on the good. Which boiled down to three things: Living in a historically-rich area, cheap housing prices, and visitors. Right now we have about two friends and our moms who visit us with regularity. I’m not mad, y’all, just disappointed. I thought since a lot of people consider New Orleans a “cool vacation spot” maybe we would get more traffic.
Florida was a little tougher. Sure there are the beaches (Tampa is on the Gulf side though, so it doesn’t count), and discounted Disney tickets, but it’s still fucking Florida. It’s like saying we were moving to Texas, but at least in Florida there’s diversity. In order to humor myself I started thinking up headlines that I may find myself in one day. You know the whole Florida Man thing. Well these are Florida Woman headlines, more specifically ones that I might be involved with like “Florida Woman Fends off Would-be Attacker with a Wine Bottle and a Matted-up Poodle” or “Florida Woman Loses $20 at the Roulette Table, Attacks Row of Penny Slots Convinced they were Betting Against Her”. You know, stuff like that. So without further ado, I present to you (in a very happy way because I don’t have to move any further South than I am right now):
Florida Woman Headlines, Missy Edition
Florida Woman Robs Convenient Store, Stealing Only Over-priced Lunchables
Florida Woman Hires Exorcist for Tampa-area Home, Attempting to Rid Ghost of WWF Wrestler Bam Bam Bigelow
Florida Woman Exchanges Humorous Texts with 65-year-old Retiree, She Believed was a Dolphin
Florida Woman Covers Hers Dog in Bologna, Attempts to Lure Baby Alligators to Backyard
Florida Woman Places Order for 157 Pounds of Chicken Wings and One Diet Coke
Florida Woman Attaches 10 Baby Alligators to Her Fingertips, Tells Everyone “Got my nails did!” is Escorted from Walmart
Florida Woman Claims she Found an “Endangered Owl” in her Backyard, Refuses to Give Live Owl to Authorities
Florida Woman Loses Bingo Jackpot, Flips Tables at Senior Center
Florida Woman Outside Piggly Wiggly with Llama, is “Unpaid, Unsolicited Endorsement” says Grocery Chain, When Reached for Comment, Florida Woman Mounted Llama and Rode Away
Florida Woman Makes Children Uncomfortable at Bus Stop, After Approaching with Phone Demanding they Tell her What “Flakka” is
Florida Woman Drunk at PTO Meeting, Demands Repayment for “Check she sent in Last Week”, PTO President says “She doesn’t even go here”
Okay, okay, you know I kid, y’all. I would never harm any animals. Not even a baby alligator. But I thought I might leave you with a bit of knowledge about this state that we despise so much. This is a true story, so true in fact, I am adding the link to the bottom of the page.
In 1845, the State of Florida decided on their flag and motto. The flag passed, but the motto: “Let Us Alone” did not, and because of the way it all went down, it would seem that nothing was actually, lawfully passed. Which is why years later Florida got a different flag. But this was what they originally wanted to be their flag. Sans the motto, but if you ask me, they should have just let them have it. And we should all heed their warnings…
Here’s the thing: I hate laundry. Hate. It. But somedays I am in the laundry room, folding clothes, sorting socks, and hanging up dresses, and I am all, Wow, you rock, Momma! You do all this for your family. You take care of your people. You show love with acts of service to others. They might not realize all you do, but you know, in your heart, that you will always care for them in this way. Laundry is but a window into your loving soul, and you are the best one to do this all. Then the next day when I am in the laundry room, folding clothes, sorting socks, and hanging up dresses, I am all, Fuck this shit, I’m moving to a nudest colony! You sons-a-bitches don’t deserve me! Yeah, I said it. A nudest colony. And you might think that I don’t have the courage to do that, but I do. I have already looked them up. And yeah, they are all mainly in Florida. And yeah, that means small, wrinkly, old man penis in my face all the time, but look at me! LOOK AT ME! I am a Goddess and they would LOVE to have me there, and you know what (laughs crazily), you know what, they would WORSHIP me! Worship me, you pile of dirty-sock, poop-stained underwear-wearing assholes! Those old, wrinkly men would WORSHIP me!
And then I apologize to my dog for yelling at him and I finish up the laundry.