Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It Surprised Me Too.

I have had some surprisingly flirting encounters lately.
Surprising, as in, I didn't really realize it was flirting until after the encounter(s).
Flirting, as in, I didn't really expect to be using that word at my age. But it's not my fault. I promise I didn't initiate it.

A good friend asked me what I first thought of when I saw someone I found interesting, or noticing me (or realized - too late? - that he was flirting).
'Huh?' - was my first response....'You mean people are like...flirting with me??'
(turns out, yes)

Anyway, the question the first priority thought:
Does he have a job?
Why is he hitting on me?
How good looking is he?
How old?
Why is he hitting on me?

I responded, without really thinking about it,
"Well...I guess I look at every dude now and wonder if he would hurt someone if he got mad. I just wonder if he would hurt someone. Actually, I wonder that about the women who overtly flirt with me too."

That is what I worry about the most now. Violence. Unpredictability. Crossing that limit.
Being physically threatened.

I worry that my daughter our daughter will expect nothing less for herself.

My friend said "Well I remember provoking Dude to be angry many times early in our relationship. I wanted to see how he would react."
What I know about this friend is that she was abused by her father and she never went back. What I know about this friend is that she is one of the strongest and most objective friends I have and one of the best mothers I know. The mother who can change things when she fux it all up, and the friend who can say 'you need to change what you are doing because you might be fuxing it all up' because she isn't afraid of change.
She reminds me that I am not afraid of change.
I watched to see her husband's reaction to her description of challenging his temper. He shook his head, remembering it with clarity and an obvious shred of residual terror, then saying, "I get it now. I understand that. Men can be pigs. She had to test me. But we communicate."
And he does. And they do. And he gets her. And respects who she is and has accommodated his life changes - as has she - to pursue their life as a couple.
They communicate.
They adore each other.

I have a village, and I am grateful that they are part of it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Verizon Disney App Adventure; Part 1

Remember that secret I may have leaked a teeny tiny bit once or twice?

Yeah, that one.

Well...I was actually working while I was there so don't tell anyone how much fun I really had. I didn't think I would personally enjoy going to Disneyland as much as I would enjoy watching my kids have fun in Disneyland, but well....okay. I liked the mouseland, ALRIGHT??? Can we just keep this between us? Okay, you, me and Verizon.

Yes, Verizon. I was offered the opportunity by my friend, David Hoffman to try out a new Verizon application for Disneyland, and put it to the Gwendomama challenge. I had no idea what I was doing with either the app or Disneyland, because I (shhhhh) am was a Disneyland virgin, and if you saw how many keys were missing from my laptop you would easily and correctly assume my lack of technical snobbery or expertise. But I do love to have fun, and so not only did I accept the challenge...I agreed to be filmed while trying it. (As long as I could say whatever I wanted, whenever.)

I may or may not have been drunk crazed when I agreed to the filming part, but my friends hid the evidence and held me to my agreement.
Okay, I totally made that last part up because I hate the sound of my own voice and can't believe I agreed to be filmed. Why on earth would I talk about getting drunk in the same paragraph I mention Disneyland? This is a family blog. And Disneyland is ALL about the family fun and NOT AT ALL about endorsing drinking heavily. Unless you count Goofy.

First I was all, "Why do I need a special application on my phone to navigate Disneyland?" But nobody could hear me because they were all chatting away on their bluetooth devices. So I shouted, "WHY CAN'T I JUST USE THE PARK PROVIDED MAP?" and looked down to find my instantly discarded to the stroller map being mutilated by my small child. That was easy. Now I knew why, and also made a mental note to not allow the phone near said small child.

Turning on the phone, I found the 'Disney Mobile Magic' app and as soon as it loaded, it found me too! "Look!! It found us!!" I told Heidi, excitedly, "Look! That circle is us!!"
So yes, it knew where we were instantly. Which I find both awesome and creepy. I kept looking over my shoulder to see if someone was shining the circle on us and following us around with a laser dot. I told you, I am not very technical.
Despite my admonitions to 'go before we leave the hotel room', Heidi immediately needed a bathroom. We had just walked onto Main Street, USA, and the kids were overwhelmed with the dazzling Disney eye candy, so we could hardly see signs for a bathroom.
OH! The APP!!

'Mobile Magic' opened, I selected 'Guest Services' from the main menu and the first sub-option to pop up was 'restrooms'...which? Was awesome. Without moving from that spot, we located the subtly labeled and previously invisible bathroom directly behind us within about 40 seconds. Which means that Disney and Verizon are totally fine with you being too lazy to do it the old fashioned way by walking around and looking. And that? Again, awesome.

Right away, Bubbles wanted to meet Mickey. Since he is not a kid likely to be shy of giant masked friendly rodents (as his sister would have been) I was sort of excited to get him to Mickey ASAP. I went to the 'Characters' selection on the app, and just as I was telling Heidi that 'it says he should be right here in Main Street Plaza at 8:40' I looked up from my teeny tiny alluring screen to see a line forming directly in front of me. For Mickey. Right there, at Main Street Plaza.
Correct again, Mobile Magic!

Okay, with the bathroom stop and the meeting of Mickey under our mommy belts, we were ready to attack the meatier subjects at hand: Rides.
Oh cool, now I was feeling useful! I whipped out the phone again, clicked on 'Attractions', looked for Finding Nemo's Submarine Voyage, and located it on the map to find how to get there from where we were.
Ready for the best part of all?
What's everyone's least favorite part of Disneyland?

.............(' -----take a moment--------')...............

Yes, we all agree.
Waiting in lines.
(That link, by the way has some great tips.)

This app updates every few minutes to tell you what the wait time is on any given ride.
There are other ways of finding out the wait times for rides; you can, alternatively walk to the kiosk in Main Street Plaza at any time and receive the updated wait times for any ride. And I encourage you to search ahead of time, which attractions you want to see and what you want to prioritize
But if you are roaming in the park nowhere near Main Street, and want to check the wait time of any ride at all in any area of the park, the app is going to save you some time.

While we were trying to find Nemo, we saw some rockets.
We were at Disneyland. Where world famous pirates and animatronic adorable small singing children abound, but our kids wanted wockets.
Wockets won.
And off to the wockets rockets we went.
And we were ready for more action.

We found Nemo just where the app said we would, but after our long and tiring submarine voyage, it was time for food.
Out came the phone, and since I was becoming pretty adept at using it, I bragged that I could find anything anyone wanted to eat. Which, with small children, translated into 'quick service and near- instant gratification'. Within a moment we had located a place to eat just yards away from us. My only complaint about this feature is that it showed me every kind of cuisine available from African to Thai food, but not one category was labeled 'coffee' or 'cafe'. If Disney wants me to chase my kids around in their park all day long, the coffee would help.

Something I didn't get to try out but found highly appealing was the 'set alerts' option for the 'Events' option. I tend to get distracted with my kids' involvement and may forget something in which they had earlier expressed interest. For instance, the parade. I could go to the 'Parade' label in 'Events' and set an alert on the phone so that, ten minutes before the parade (or whatever 'Event' I chose) the phone would ring and remind me.

Verizon certainly has a cutting edge product for Disney fans and park goers, and, with any brand new product, there are many suggestions for how to improve it. Droid users will be disappointed to find out that the Mobile Magic Application is not yet available to them.

Personally, I was pretty happy with the features of the app, but the Chocolate phone I was using would shut the app down every time I closed the phone and put it in my pocket. Sadly, this is just the nature of flip phones or phones which close.
I suggested a 'kid tracking application' to Verizon - useful in any situation in the prevention of lost children. If I can have all the benefits of GPS, I want a tiny receiver which I can clip on to my four year old's shirt or pants, activate with my phone, and keep track of him should he stray from my side. I am sure they will get right on that. (HELLO? Really nice guy from Verizon- are you listening?)

All in all?
I had more fun than I thought I would at Disneyland, I am now far more technically savvy than I was before using this app (and phone, for that matter) - so savvy, in fact, that you should hire me to teach you really important technical colored things . My only complaint is that Disney did not control the weather, and we spent one full day of our 2-day pass, drying our soaked shoes and socks over the heater and huddled in the motel room watching cable Disney channel.

My very last tip to you? Choose a motel with a hot tub. Because then, even if you get caught in the only freezing, pouring rainstorm of the year, you can get warm and keep children who are entertained by warmth and water happy.

This post was created voluntarily to record the events which were filmed by David Hoffman. I was not paid to write this post, nor was any other party able to edit the final publication.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Things recently uttered in court during which I had to maintain composure and not puke in my mouth:

"I'm not going to pay child support because she keeps threatening to take our kids and move out of this jurisdiction."
(Because that makes sense. And because our children can certainly afford to live here without any child support. And jurisdiction? Because there is no jurisdiction on me...I'm not the convicted one here. And because you told our daughter you could practically SEE OUR HOUSE from yours? And ....ummmm.....)

"I'll be paying almost as much in health care as in child support."
(Last I checked, the county health insurance cards they received because I am at the poverty level were not costing you anything. And if you are paying their health care, it would be the first time, and you should probably look for coverage for their play therapy. Not speech therapy, which is covered by the school district. Which you might have known had you ever attended an IEP.)

"I have a letter from the only witness present which will shed new light on the incident!!"
(#1. Not the only witness; our preschooler was present also. #2. From the witness your sister, who sent me an email admitting that she asked you to hold me down so I would 'stop yelling and listen'. #3.Nobody will stop yelling if you grab and hurt and choke them. #4. New light. On YOUR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONVICTION. Not mine.)
(By the way, you are way more scary and intimidating now than when you were sorry and you thought what you did was wrong. Was that your intention? Because it seems like you only were sorry until I reported it.)

(Because the statement you yourself gave to the police was a lie? They got it wrong? You didn't actually run into the house to attack me and grab me and put me in a full nelson...twice?) (Shut up about the defensiveness. You look ugly when you blame your victim.)

"My client can no longer afford to pay the child support ordered because he suddenly lost his job."
(Spoken by his attorney. Who is NOT pro-bono.)

"This information is all one-sided!! It's all HER side of the story!!"
(Because the police report which includes both of our statements was provided to the childrens' therapist as impartial evidence so it did not become a 'he-said-she-said' situation? Because the 15 hours of observation, during which you couldn't even pretend to be sorry, led her to write her recommendation that you need therapy and the children need honesty?)

"I put her in a full nelson. Because a half nelson wasn't effective."*

*Legally speaking, this last one was not 'uttered' but it was 'admitted' into court as his direct quote.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Colossal Disney Swear Fail

Okay, I still can't really tell you why I am here, but, after a day of dogs-and-cats type freezing rain, chilled-to-the-bone and whining kids (the OLDER ONES!), absolutely zero photo opportunities, and all day hotel TV, I must at least tell the funniest part so far.

Last night, after a long and tiring hot tub swim with the kiddos, Heidi put herself and early bird kids straight to bed, while I put mine straight into an anti-chlorine bath and slipped into a glass of wine. As my kiddos were toweling off, we heard some large booms, and almost instantly - and very excitedly - realized that we could see the spectacular show from our second floor hotel balcony/walkway.
"Ooooooo, Ahhhhhh..." they exclaimed once before the door bolted open next to us and Heidi and her boys emerged....
"OH MY JESUS CHRIST SWEET BABY JESUS I thought someone was getting shot out here! SHIT! I am SO GLAD it is fireworks, but FUCK that scared me!! I was just falling asleep, and BAM! BAM! BAM! Holy fucking A."

Note to self: Create new hashtag - #colossaldisneyswearfail

There's a Waterfall On My Head

I tried to stop swearing because of the Disneyland trip - bad form and the thousands of kids and all.
But I have to say something.

This is a fucking lie:

Sunday, December 06, 2009

It's Where the Magic Happens

This post is coming to you from the most magical place on earth.

How do I know this?

The six hour car ride, the all expense-paid trip, the fireworks from my hotel room at 9:30pm, and my son Bubbles, the one who eats a grand total of eight nine foods, ate calamari rings tonight.
(I may or may not have told him they were chicken.)

Now if that isn't magic, you tell me what is.

Tune in tomorrow for more magic with pictures.