Tag Archives: lisa

Epcot: the future of gas and wet willies

Andy, Mandy, Lisa and I caught a shuttle bus from Animal Kingdom to Epcot and if the day hadn’t already been fun, and funny, it was about to get funner and funnier. It all started with Andy’s comment, “Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.” Wait, let me back up, I’m telling this slightly out of order.

There we sat on the bus and sitting in front of us was a woman holding a sleepy little boy. So sleepy was he, in fact, that just before the bus left, the boy peed his pants, much to the surprise of his mother. Andy, in an effort to make light of anything at all, pointed this out to Mandy, at which point the mother looked up at Andy in sad, soaking desperation. And that’s when Andy said, “Don’t worry it happens to the best of us.”

It was Mandy who jumped in and said that it had happened to “Ands” last night.

The four of us arrived at Epcot (dry, thankfully) and proceeded directly onto the Spaceship Earth attraction, which allowed us to sit down and relax for a little while. From there we headed to “Soaring” but discovered that all of the fast-passes for that ride had been given out for the day, which meant we’d have to stand in line for it. So we went ahead and grabbed some food and then got into what ended up being a 55 minute line.

Two things happened in the line that had us in stitches.

Halfway through the line, Mandy was getting tired. It was a wide line with lots of people packed in pretty tightly. Mandy had been leaning her head against Andy’s back, half asleep, when all of a sudden, she said, “Oh, Ands, that’s terrible!” and walks away from him. Apparently, Andy had let one go much to the dismay of everyone around him, but to Andy’s great delight. He was laughing so hard he was shaking, which made me laugh so hard that I was shaking. We probably laughed for five minutes barely breathing. It was hysterical.

Flash-forward about ten minutes later, surrounded by kids (and their parents) who have been standing in line for 45 minutes. Andy was leaning up against the wall, asleep. Lisa, with a devilish look in her eye, licks her finger and promptly sticks it in Andy’s ear. Andy instantly wakes up, and shouts, “That’s fuh–” and then freezes because he realizes we are surrounded by kids. I went to pieces, though, and so did Lisa, and so did the two girls who’d been in line in front of us all this time. I was laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes.

Oh, we finally did get on the ride and it was awesome. You really felt as though you were hang-gliding over all of these places. The funniest thing about the ride, however, were the sounds Lisa made everytime we swooped over a ridge and suddenly appeared to be very high up in the air. I can’t quite describe the sound. It’s a sound that I wouldn’t think a human voice could produce, but clearly she made it.

After Soaring, we decided to stay grounded for a while and take a walk all the way around the International Plaza and lake. The weather was perfect. We walked around and I managed to have myself not one but two ice cream sandwiches. People thought this was funny for some reason. We got some good pictures here too, including one of Andy performing a rather un-Disney like act on a ice-pop. (For that matter, we got one of Mandy doing the same.)

We took a boat back to the hotel. Andy and Mandy had to get ready for the rehearsal dinner and Lisa and I headed up to the room to relax for a few hours. We planned to have a late dinner on the boardwalk and then head over to Jellyrolls that evening to meet up with everyone.

And I want, and I need, and I love, animal

Friday morning I woke up early feeling a bit dizzy and that’s because I drank quite a bit Thursday night. I lay in bed for about an hour and finally got up, showered and started to get ready for the day. I decided to skip the gym. Lisa and I met Andy and Mandy for breakfast and then caught the bus to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

We had perfect weather all day long: clear skies with temperatures reaching up into the 80s. It felt great. Lisa had a plan for what she wanted to see at the Animal Kingdom, and we more or less followed her plan. There were all sorts of cool things to take pictures of, and I couldn’t take pictures of any of them because my battery had died and all attempts at finding a charger or replacement battery had failed.

We took a train to the vet hospital to see how they take care of the animals. We visited the petting zoo in order to pet the sheep and goats, all of whom seemed strangely attracted to Andy. We got a Fast-Pass for the Safari, which was what all of us were really looking forward to. Andy and Lisa got some amazing pictures of the tigers, but you’ll have to wait for them to post their pictures.

Mandy couldn’t ride the safari because it wasn’t recommended for pregnant women. So it was just Lisa, Andy and I. We were in luck because all of the animals were out in force, even the cheetah and then lions. There were elephants. A giraffe walked right along side us, until it saw Lisa and then it took off the other way for some reason. We even managed to catch some poachers.

Given that we spent only about half a day at Animal Kingdom, I think we did pretty well, and Lisa and Andy have the pictures to prove it.

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

The b/b’ette parties turned out to be really fun, because most of the time we were all together. Things got started in the lobby of the Dolphin hotel, where everyone was meeting. There were 8 guys: me, Norm, Andy, Scott, Bob and Matt, Norm’s boss. There were also several girls: Lisa, Vicky and Mandy. After a drink, we all got into a stretch Hummer limo with a mission of picking up several other people. The Limo was stocked with all kinds of drinks and over the next hour and half or so, we picked up several other people: Steve, Ken, JJ (Vicky’s Maid of Honor), Julie and at least one other person, if I remember correctly. When all was said and done, there were 14 of us in the limo.

We then headed for a place called the Blue Martini, or something like that, a typical Floria-style club/martini bar. Inside, we watched the ladies dance for a while. Even Andy got out onto the dance floor (he might have been the only guy aside from Norm to do so) which was a sight to see. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of this because by this time, the battery in my new camera had died and I left my charger and spare battery at home. So from this point forward, I have to depend on everyone else’s pictures.

Norm’s boss, Matt, bought everyone a Kamikaze shot. We watched the dancing for a little while longer and then the gentlemen left the ladies at the club while we headed back to the limo for a 20 minute drive to a place, the name of which I can’t recall at the moment, but which I’m sure someone who reads this and was there will remember.

Andy and Scott had arranged for us to get a stage-side table, and indeed we did. We had a few rounds of drinks, watched the show, and in general, tried to make sure that Norm had a good time. It was fun (albeit, smokey), but it was not quite the same as Olympic Gardens in Las Vegas. Still, we had a good time, but after about an hour and a half, we had to leave in order to pick up the girls and start dropping people off at their respective hotels. (We only had the limo until 2 AM). We headed back to the martini bar and loaded the girls, all of whom were giddy and giggling, back into the limo, and then started making stops. Ours was the last stop and we were dropped off just before the clock struck 2 AM.

The plan for tomorrow is to spend half the day at Animal Kingdom and the other half at Epcot. Once again, we’re planning on an early start. We’ll see how that goes.

Orlando dinner Chicago-style

Andy and a pregnant Mandy came up to our hotel room and we hung out there for a little while before heading off to dinner. Lisa felt the need to show Andy (and everyone else) her favorite Justin Timberlake video, which I then had in my head for the rest of the evening.

We decided on Pizzeria Uno for dinner and Andy drove us out there, with me acting as navigator, and a good thing that! We did have a nice dinner, although my idea of ordering a steak in a pizza joint probably wasn’t one of my better ideas.

We had to be back before 8 PM because that’s when the festivities began for the bachelor/bachelorette parties, so we headed back after we finished our dinners and got ready for the parties.

Welcome to the Magic Kingdom

Today we took on the Magic Kingdom.

Lisa and I met Norm and Vicky for breakfast at the Picabu Buffeteria at about 7 AM. I had done a workout so I stuffed my plate with protein: scrambled eggs, bacon, and some fruit. The eggs were terrible, like something squeezed out of a tube or sprayed out of a can. But the bacon was good. We sat around eating breakfast and planning out our day.

Norm drove us to the transportation center and from there we caught a monorail to the Magic Kingdom. Our timing was perfect as they were just counting down to the opening of the gates. We got there right at 8 AM, and the this particular day, they were letting resort guests into the park one hour before everyone else.


Lisa and Vicky waiting for the Monorail.

Our first stop was Space Mountain. We got a fast-pass for a later ride on Space Mountain but we got into a relatively quick line for our first ride of the day. Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom is different than Space Mountain at Dinseyland, but it was still fun.


This was Norm’s pose for much of the day.

Norm and Vicky are experts with fast-pass use and because of that we were able to make good use of our time. We went on a bunch of other rides: Pirates, the Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and back onto Space Mountain once again. Half way through our day, we met up with Norm’s brother Scott and his girlfriend, Meredith, as well as Norm’s sister Julie and her fiance, Bob and we spent the rest of our time there with them.


Norm and Vicky pose for the camera.

Our first attempt at Splash Mountain resulted in a 40 minute delay because the ride was not working. Eventually, we bailed from the line, but not before being given return passes, which are essentially the same as “fast-passes”. That worked out well because it meant that when we used our fast-passes for Space Mountain, we had four extra passes to give to Scott, Meredith, Julie and Bob so that they could go with us.

Scott pointed out this amusing angle of the Walt Disney statue. If you look closely, you might notice something funny about Walt (although my picture isn’t as good as some).

What’s ‘up’ with Walt?

That’s what she said

Just a quick post to say that the trip is loads of fun so far. I haven’t had much time to post because we’ve been out and about, but I will get caught up, just perhaps a day or two later than usual. I have been taking pictures, which I will get posted soon too.

We spent the day today at the Magic Kingdom with Norm and Vicky, and later, with Norm’s brother Scott and his girlfriend, and Norm’s sister Julie and her fiance. I’m just done napping and about to get ready for dinner. We’re meeting Andy and Mandy at 6 PM. Then, at 8 PM, guys and girls split up for their respective celebrations.

Oh, and I hope you all enjoyed the guest blogger this morning. She may be back again before the trip is over.

And now for a brief Jamie’s blog interlude

Good Morning, Jamie fans! This is Lisa, alternately known here as kruppenheimer who says she doesn’t get mentioned enough in this blog (I wish I knew how to make my name do that linky thing Jamie always does to his friends, but I’m a livejournal novice … Sorry.). So, here we are at Disneyworld, and your boy Jamie is downstairs at the gym, so I’m guest-blogging.

It is ridiculously early for Jamie to be at the gym. It is ridiculously early for most anything, really… especially when your body is on west coast time like mine. The Heavenly beds here at the Dolphin by Starwood are indeed heavenly, and yet I didn’t sleep all that well, perhaps in anticipation of the day ahead. So I’m up. And slightly bitter about it.

Anyway, a brief summary of yesterday. Jamie will blog later to tell you all about his airport misadventures which, to make a long story short, got him in to Orlando 15 minutes before me instead of the planned 90 minutes. My trip from LA was uneventful, thanks for asking. Upon arriving at baggage claim and finding Jamie, we (read: he) quickly decided a drink was in order while we prayed upon his luggage arriving on the 7:20 flight. One tequila shot (him) and one Amstel Light (me) later, luggage successfully in hand, we hop in the towncar on the way to the lovely aforementioned Disney Dolphin. I’ll let Jamie tell you about my little accident in baggage claim.

Check in… quick freshening up… and we’re off to meet the soon to be newlyweds for dinner. I am, at this point, starving, having only eaten an airplane turkey wrap and a bag of mini-pretzels. Norm and Vicky are, I think, on some sort of wedding adrenaline rush (who can blame them?), as they seem to have boundless energy. They also have an insane amount of stories, many of which Jamie already seems to know. These are the things I miss out on by living 3000 miles away. Dinner was fantastic, at a buffet-style restaurant in the Animal Kingdom Lodge called Boma. Most of the food was “exotic,” african-inspired, and… surprising. (Tangent … I’m starting to see how blogging really encourages you to spill the minutae of your life. Weirdly self indulgent.) There was a lot of meat. A lot.

“That’s what SHE said…”

Jamie seems to be on a “That’s what she said” kick. I don’t know where gutter minded, tequila guzzling Jamie came from, but he’s pretty entertaining.

Fast forward to lots of nice conversation at dinner, and back into the room at about 11:30. Vicky wants to meet us at 6:55 for breakfast so that we can make it over to Magic Kingdom for the special resort-guest early entrance time of 8AM. Yeah, that’s how we roll…

This give me exactly 15 minutes until Jamie’s back from the gym, and 30 min or so til we have to go downstairs. I’m gonna have to wrap it up. For those of you who are wondering about the state of Jamie’s innocence, you’ll be pleased to know that there ARE indeed two beds in the room, and we have, of yet, kept to our own.

And also, Jamie doesn’t snore. Which is awesome.

Thanks for indulging me, maybe we’ll meet again soon.
-lisa

Disaster! Averted!

I left for the airport at about noon for my 2:45 PM flight to Orlando. I had to make a stop at the post office in order to mail away my tax papers to my new tax person. Once that was done I was on the road and it didn’t take me long to get to the airport, find a parking space and check in. Dulles was pretty empty on a Wednesday afternoon. I checked in at the counter (checking 2 bags) and found that my flight was departing 15 minutes late, at 3 PM. That was fine because I had to wait about 1-1/2 for Lisa in Orlando.

I made my way to the terminal, and decided to get a sandwich from Potbelly. On my way back to the gate, there was an enormous line at the customer service desk, and I immediately became concerned. The concern grew when I heard someone say that the flight to Orlando was canceled and that there were no other flights available for the rest of the weekend. I got into the customer service line and called from my cell phone. I was on hold. But I noticed there were customer service kiosks that no one was using. I went up to one of those, put in my Premier card and was told pick up the phone. I did and was immediately connected to an agent. He told me that the flight had been canceled due to mechanical problems. There were no more direct flights but he could get me on a 2:30 flight to Philly and from there, a 5:45 flight to Orlando. It would mean I wouldn’t get into Orlando until after 8 PM and I’d miss dinner with Norm and Vicky. Since it was mechanical problems and not weather that caused the cancellation, I asked what my options were under Rule 240. The agent checked but all other airlines direct flight were full. So I had him book me on the flight to Philly and he assured me my luggage would get there.

I got to Philly on time and was talking to Norm on the phone when I heard an announcement that US Airways flight so-and-so was making it’s last and final boarding call to Orlando. I hung up on Norm and ran to that gate and pleaded with the agent to get me on this flight. (United had rebooked me on US Airways for the Philly to Orlando leg of the flight.) Somehow, she was able to do this and I managed to get on a 4 PM flight to Orlando. It was a good flight to, as I sat between two interesting people and talked with them for the entire flight. I got into Orlando about 10 minutes before Lisa. The only worry now was my luggage. I checked with the luggage office and was told my bags would arrive on the next flight from Dulles which was in about half an hour. I let our driver know and then Lisa and I went to a bar for a drink. When we got back downstairs, the bags were just beginning to arrive.

Some pictures from the evening

Vacation!

I’m heading out the door in less than an hour for my one and only mini-vacation between now and July and I am so excited! I nearly screamed a big loud, “Whoo-hoo!” as I left the office this morning. At this point, I’m all packed up. The house is in order. The chores are done. I’m ready to go. I’m going to have some lunch, and pack something to bring with me on the plane. Then I make a quick stop at the post office and I’m outta here!

My flight is on time (so far). I’m scheduled to get into Orland just before 5 PM, at which point I was for kruppenheimer to arrive. She’s scheduled to get in at 6:20. I confirmed with the car service that the driver will meet us at baggage claim at 6:20, then it’s off to the hotel to check in, followed by a quick hop over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge to meet Norm and Vicky for dinner at Boma at 8:30 PM.

I’ll have my laptop with me and be blogging and posting pictures as often as I can. It won’t be “real-time”, but I’ll try and get some pictures up at least once a day so that strausmouse and rmstraus can live vicariously through the photos.

Vacation feels great!

The Cleveland Crew: Then and Now

I came across my high school year book while doing my spring cleaning. It’s one of the things that I decided not to get rid of and, in fact, I got side-tracked skimming through it, reading what people wrote and looking at pictures. Hilarious pictures. Riotous pictures. Keep in mind, this was nearly 17 years ago. The great thing is that I am still very good friends with most of the people that I was friends with back then. And because I fear you won’t believe just how funny some of the pictures are, I’ve arranged for you to see a Then and Now of the Cleveland crew. Keep in mind that I photographed these from my yearbook and some of the pictures are fuzzy. And to be fair, I’ll start with myself.

Then Now

See the rest of the crew

Lazy evening, busy day

I had a really lazy evening last night, sitting around catching up on various episodes of TV shows, when I could have been finishing up a final draft or working on one of the 4 other stories I’ve got going. The kitchen could use some cleaning too, but I chose to be lazy instead.

I did spend some time IM’ing with kruppenheimer, who has complained that she doesn’t get enough mention on my blog. But other than that, I was as lazy as can be.

One nice thing about last night: it rained for the first time in a while and at times, it rained pretty hard. It was nice to hear the sound of the rain on the roof as I was drifting off last night. It reminded me that spring is only a month away.

I have to get in touch with my new tax preparer this week. I got her name through a coworker. The guy that I used for years retired two years ago and last year I used H&R Block and really didn’t like their service. I’m estimating that I will owe about $3,000 for Federal taxes. I usually get a few hundred back from the state. Next year my taxes may be slightly more complicated, especially if I sell any more stories (optimist that I am) and hopefully this new tax person can answer questions about that.

These next three days at work are going to be busy. I have two projects that are rapidly heading to conclusion and one project on which a prototype is required by Friday. I am really looking forward to the 4-day break I will have for Norm and Vicky’s wedding beginning one month from today.

Good mail day

I left the office half an hour later than usual and had to stop at the grocery store on the way home to pick up a few things. I was trying to figure out what to do tonight (Wednesday evening is the one week night evening where there is nothing good on TV). I arrived home to find that today was a good mail day.

First, my autographed copy of Visions arrived, personally signed by strausmouse right beneath the article he wrote on his recent skydiving experience. Believe it or not, I have a small collection on my bookshelves, of items signed by my friends. I have a Master’s thesis signed by Tawnya. I have a signed copy of Healthy Pet magazine, which Lisa edits. I have a signed copy of an article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune featuring Dan. I have a signed copy from an Oxnard newspaper mentioned Grandpa. I have a signed copy of an article from the UCLA Law Review, “On Regulating the Internet: Usenet, A Case Study” by Paul. I have a guest editorial in the Rockland County Journal written by none other than Doug many years ago. (That one, alas, is not signed. I’ll have to bring it to Seattle with me next time I go.) And now, I can add Eric’s article to my collection. I swear, the day I finally publish something, I’m going to sign 50 copies of it, personalize each one of them (“To Jamie, a really swell guy!”) and stuff my shelves with them!

Second, I received a letter from Trevor and Andrea (aka, thepopeswife). Actually, it was two-and-a-half letters, as Trevor wrote one letter, Andrea wrote another letter, and then she included an addendum to tell me that she agrees with my spelling thoughts! And so our mutual snail-mail, letter-writing pen-palism continues.

I now know what I am going to do tonight. I am going to compose a letter back to Trevor and Andrea. I may even autograph it for them so that they can start a collection on their bookshelf (if Trevor clears away some of the Lord of the Rings DVDs to make some room). Those autographs will be worth something, someday!