Nov 212012

“Enter Sandman” came on when I was driving home tonight.  I think of the video when I hear it, and in particular the tractor trailer crashing into the child’s bed, because I always thought it was a powerful and effective metaphor for a nightmare.

Did you have a lot of bad dreams as a child?  Do you have them now?  I still have them once in a while—three or four times a year, say—but as often as not, I can’t describe what’s scary about them.  I’m feeling fear when I wake up, but when I go back through the narrative I can’t find what made me feel that way.

I think I had a lot more bad dreams as a child than our boys do.  Seems like they have them about as often as I do now, and when they do, it’s about even odds we’ll even hear about it before the morning.  Moreover, we only hear that a boy had one—not a blow by blow of what happened in it, as I delivered at their age.

You know, they’re not afraid of the dark either.  That’s good.  There is an entire class of parental comfort from which we’ve been largely exempted.

Maybe a factor is that we’ve never allowed the existence of ghosts in conversation with them.  They’re just not real, and that’s that.  There are normal explanations.  I grew up with 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey, and it seems like I had lots of friends with interests in hauntings and such.  So it was a good while before I had any finality about it.

I do remember one time Nathan asking me to look in his closet for him at bedtime.  He was four or so.  I said “why do you want me to look in there?”  He said “to make sure nothing’s in there.”  I said “I know nothing’s in there, buddy.  I don’t have to look in there to be sure.”  I kissed him good night and left.  And that might have been the only time we ever talked about it.  I want to say I read that in a book or an article.  It was definitely effective.

Sleep tight.

 Posted by at 6:19 pm
Nov 182012

Took my first trip to Walt Disney World last week since 1997, and I’m just now blogging about it.

Well, that’s not quite true.  I put a practical post up at Tennessee Valley Moms Network a couple of days ago.

In any case, I apologize.  I have envisioned for days a post at this blog that you’re not going to get.  Most of the reason is that tons and tons of Disney World information is out there already for you, and I have no interest in replicating it.  I’ll give you some bullets; how’s that?

  • From my house, it’s 687 miles going I-65 to Montgomery; 231 to I-10; and I-10 to I-75.  It’s 700 miles coming back I-75 to Atlanta; I-20 to Birmingham; and I-65 home.  We’ll use the former route going and coming next time, not so much because it’s shorter, but because it’s more interesting.  The 231 stint is restorative.
  • I highly recommend you follow the tips I outline in my post above.  You’ll have a better vacation and, by extension, a better life.
  • The most important tip, for your happiness, is to stay on the property and use the consistently excellent Disney transportation system.  There is something incredibly satisfying about parking your car when you get there and not touching it again until you leave.
  • In our experience, here are the things you should FASTPASS.  At Magic Kingdom:  Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  At Animal Kingdom:  Kiliminjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, and (possibly) Dinosaur.  At Hollywood Studios:  Toy Story Midway Mania!, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.  At Epcot:  Soarin’.
  • Of the previous, the two totally ridiculous attractions are Toy Story Midway Mania! and Soarin’.  These are the ones for which you should 1) be there when the gates open; 2) run to the FASTPASS kiosk and get them; and 3) get in line immediately after so you get to ride it twice.  The waits for these hover between an hour and two hours all day long.
  • The Tower of Terror has incredible production design, but head to head, the OH-Zone! at Lake Winnie is much scarier.  Seriously.
  • Narcoossee’s is a top-notch dinner experience and absolutely worth your dining plan points and/or dollars.
  • Disney’s control of your experience is near-legendary.  I had an interesting window into that.  A 15- or 16-year-old kid decided it’d be a good idea to duck under a rope to get in the Expedition Everest line.  The overseeing cast member politely admonished him and directed him to the end.  So—totally trivially—this kid walks to the end and ducks under the rope again.  The cast member blocked his way and raised his voice slightly, and as he did, some guy from the nearby crowd walked swiftly to the encounter and said “do we have a problem here?”  This was just some guy in a ball cap and sunglasses, dig?  Uh, no.  Disney employee watching you.  Heh.
  • Animal Kingdom is the biggest park, but I think Magic Kingdom is the most complex.  If you’re going to spend any time making a highly detailed plan, do it in Magic Kingdom.

It’s such a great time.  You’d think if I’d be cynical about anything as a consumer it’d be the Walt Disney World experience, but I won’t criticize it.  They do it well enough that I’m pleased to submit to it.

Boys had a blast.  Parents had a blast.  We’re thinking 2015 for the next trip down.

 Posted by at 11:06 pm
Nov 162012

Nathan got a puppy for his birthday!

We adopted her from the pound in Athens.  They’re guessing boxer/cocker spaniel mix, and about four months old.  I think I see some Rottweiler in her snout.  She’s still way more clumsy than graceful, which makes me think she’s going to be a big one.

Her pound name is Button, and that’s what we’re going with right now.  Nathan’s thinking on a name.

First time in my life there’s been a puppy in the house for which I haven’t had primary responsibility.  Heh.  Welcome, little (for now!) lady!

 Posted by at 7:47 pm