They say one of the happiest places on earth is at Disney, right? I will have to agree it is very happy, & lots of fun. I enjoy it so much. So a few months ago, I began planning a trip to Disney World for Ava, Zoey (a friend of Ava’s), Judy (a family friend), & myself. We left for a four night/five day stay…quietly. Quietly because taking Jack was not an option. Lee nor Coleman were able to go, someone had to stay behind with Jack, Coleman couldn’t miss school. Lee & I both felt it only fair to Ava to allow her some fun, plus we haven’t vacationed anywhere in years, it was deserved for her if nothing else. It is really sad though that we couldn’t all be together. Planning for a vacation can be difficult. Planning for a vacation while hiding what you’re doing is downright complicated. Jack didn’t know our whereabouts & can never know our whereabouts during that time. There would be a huge price to pay! The first night I was gone, I told him I was at Ava’s volleyball tournament. He was sounding like he wasn’t buying my story, this was the story I was planning on going with the whole time. Jack being the suspicious natured person he is, didn’t seem to buy into it. I had to makeup another fib & told him the next day that Coleman was sick & I had to go see about him. I hate lying, especially about someone being sick-really hoping that one doesn’t come back to bite me in the tail. The calls, the voicemails, the calls, texts, all day, all night Jack pursued me demanding to know when I would return-did I mention the calls? He is persistent to say the least.
Our journey to Disney World began last Sunday. Ava & I have been several times before, since it was time to do something fun a Florida trip it was. If you keep up with my blogs, you’ll know flying is not for me. The first time I ever flew was from Minnesota to North Carolina this past summer. No traffic is great, flying not so much. I prefer to travel spinning in on two wheels at a speed of 75 mph where I’m in control (mostly). The reason we flew was in the event something happened with Jack, I could get home quicker (ha, so not true after airport waiting). Most people can plan, go, & do without preparing for an actual emergency. I would loved to of traveled via my newly refurbished Yukon stopping at interstate Cracker Barrel’s for a bowl of turnip greens, hashbrown casserole, & chicken & dumplings & fueling up at the fancy gas stations & running in for a Pepsi, a pack of Nabs, & bag of sunflower seeds. But no, we traveled in an airbus which I am still mystified by. It’s so amazing that an object the size of several Greyhound buses can fly at speeds of 500 mph carrying 200 plus people & their luggage. This appears to an ordinary person like myself an impossible task. We flew out of Charlotte to get to Orlando. I’ve heard enough horror stories from my favorite podcast, Bob & Sheri (they are Charlotte based) to know what can go wrong when flying. I’ve heard Sheri reference how TSA always screams at her or searches her. Bob is always worried about the plane crashing (same as myself). The Minnesota airport back this summer was wonderful. Those people know how to do. Charlotte however, do not know how to do-well they might, it’s just not done in a nice manner. Everyone told me how they hate flying out of Charlotte, I now know why. Flying is so confusing for newbies. There should be charts posted on the walls like teachers have in elementary classrooms on exactly what to do upon arrival. Going through TSA at Charlotte was terrible. I am thankful for such a high level of security, but not for the attitude. Realizing the volume of people seen daily by TSA & the craziness they encounter, is certainly appreciated, I just did not like the attitudes of those agents there. If they want to be so hateful, they need to go work at a fast food restaurant where hatefulness is expected (sometimes). Judy & I were pulled to the side for further screening due to me having money in my back pocket & she had sequins on her shirt. I didn’t want to send my cash down the belt without me, so I stuffed it in my back pocket. TSA pulls me to the side, treats me like a criminal, giving me the full pat down, testing my hands & money for drug residue. I kept thinking,”Lord Jesus, there’s no telling where this money has been. Please don’t let it of been in the hands of a drug lord”! Finally, Judy & I were in the clear, but all I could think about was the hatefulness of that TSA employee. We finally made it out of hell & our journey to the happiest place on earth would soon begin.
Since we had two first-timers with us experiencing Disney, Ava & I wanted to make sure they received the “full Disney experience” as we called it, leaving nothing out! We visited Hollywood Studios, Epcot, & Magic Kingdom. Normally, we go around Veteran’s Day which is the least busy time to attend the parks FYI, I couldn’t make a Veteran’s Day trip work this time. Boy, I will never make that mistake again. There were people everywhere, I’ve never seen it that crowded. Someone told Ava (because she snap chatted her journey as most teens do), all we did was wait in line & eat. His observation was spot-on! In previous years, we could walk up on most rides & hop right on. This time, all had 60 minute waits, many well over 60 a minute wait. We spent more time waiting in dungeons than the cast of Shawshank Redemption. We rode nearly every ride at the parks, ensuring that the two newbies got it all in, I nearly killed our crew with all the walking that was involved. The weather was perfect, not too hot or too cold, beautiful skies the whole time. The most dreaded ride that Disney has to offer in my opinion is the Tower of Terror. To me, it reminds me of flying, but I rode it begrudgingly. Even Judy who never rides rides, rode it all. Space Mountain, Seven Dwarfs, even Aerosmith’s Rockin’ Rollercoaster all of it. This picture describes Judy’s expressions on most rides lol.
There were some great memories made on our trip, most involved eating, laughing, & people watching.
Our vacation whizzed by & it was time to board on what I consider the real Tower of Terror! Thankfully, Judy & I learned our lesson prior to going through TSA in Orlando-no back pocket money & no sequins (we sound like strippers). While boarding there were tons of babies, we were all wondering if we would have to sit next to them & of course due to the Berry magnetism, we did! We were surround by babies all mostly crying their eyes out. One Mama out of desperation to keep her two year old happy since she couldn’t have her tray down due to landing preparation, gave her daughter a tube of NARS lipgloss to cease her tears. Immediately, the crying halted. If that would of been Ava at that age, it would of been a tube of Vaseline! As the old saying goes, money talks or in her case, money stops crying lol. I didn’t blame any of the kids for crying, most were coming back from Disney, tired, sore, tired, sore, if I weren’t so ashamed, I would be crying with them. Of course after landing, we had to wait due to the unloading dock not being available & all hell broke loose with those babies. Every single one of them started hollering & crying at the same time, the Mama in me wanted to pinch them all. The whole flying ordeal is very challenging for new people. We were all so worried we would pack something we were not supposed to, not know where to go to first, there is just so much going on at an airport. Too much! As we were leaving the airport, we got on the wrong bus to take us to the right long term parking lot where my car sat, we had to ride back to airport & get on the right bus. The bus driver asked us where were we parked, I said lot “W”. This trip would not of been complete unless it ended in full-on “Amy fashion”, the fella dropped us off at “VV”. That is “V” “V” as in Victor, Victor not “W”. It wasn’t until he pulled off that we noticed it, lucky for us, “W” is not too far from “VV”. That bus driver needs to relearn his alphabet (but they do sort of favor).
During our whole trip, poor ole Jack worried me to death, calling me all the time, asking Lee when I would return. Lee, Jack’s helpers, & Mama were a huge help trying to keep his mind preoccupied from wondering when I would be home. He was relentless & actually told me he missed me which was super sweet & heartbreaking at the same time because Jack never shows emotion like that. Coming home was a whirlwind, I had so much to do, mainly with Jack, household stuff, & I was so tired (still am), I can’t get my brain right at all. That trip took a toll on me, mentally. I guess I was so worried Jack might find out, worried about him getting out of routine (which he has), & worried about flying, plus, trying to coordinate everything & make sure we did it all, that my mind was overtaxed. The night of our homecoming, Jack couldn’t get enough of me. The next day, it was business as usual, that night however, Jack wanted to see Frozen 2. I enjoy taking Jack to the movies & he always does really well there. The movie premiere happened to be on Friday night, the night we went. I made a mistake in going there opening weekend. The whole lobby theatre was a frenzy of Frozen baby fans, toddler fans, children fans. There was an animal balloon making station & Anna & Elsa, the two princesses from the movie dressed in costume for photos. It was chaos but only because Jack doesn’t do chaos well with his seizure disorder. The 6:30 movie the one we tried to go to was sold out, 7:00 sold out, 7:30 had three seats left, so we got those even though they were not seated next to each other. Jack wanted to be a part of it all while we waited for 7:30 to roll around, but after spending a few dollars at the movie’s arcade, I was able to talk him into leaving only by agreeing to buy him a movie from Redbox. The movie was The Banana Splits. The Banana Splits used to be on when I was young, so I thought it was appropriate. Not! Jack started watching it after we got home that night-it’s a horror movie with killing & such. I tried to sabotage the DVD by scratching it with scissors & wouldn’t you know it, it didn’t work. Any other time a DVD in mint condition handled with the upmost care skips without any known cause & no amount of buffing fixes it. After we made it back to the theatre for the movie, I could not find our tickets anywhere. My purse is literally the size of my hand & I knew I put them in there-I tore that thing up, tickets were nowhere to be found. I explained to the manger my dilemma & she graciously offered to escort us inside & instructed us to move if someone says we are in their seats since I didn’t know where our seats were assigned. Nervously munching on my popcorn, I waited for someone to come & claim their seats. Before they could do that, the “movie” started, it was a strange start. There was a blonde woman that was a human-not the animated characters we were familiar with in the first Frozen movie. I wondered if the movie was starting out with humans & then morphing into animated characters??? The movie that was playing was we obviously realized, was not Frozen& it quickly turned south. The woman wore a skimpy dress, she took off her shoes, the focus was on her legs, her foot travels up a mans leg, she begins talking about inappropriate things, it was headed in the risqué direction. Families are flocking out of the movie & Jack, our 18 year old mentally & physically disabled child is entranced by what he’s watching. He has forgotten all about Anna & Elsa, he’s digging this flick. After much begging, Jack gets up & the staff soon corrects their mistake. Settled in & enjoying the correct movie, 30 minutes later here comes the owners of our seats. It’s a mama, daddy, a toddler, & her baby sister. These people were so annoying. Now you know somebody is plum annoying if they come busting up in a movie 30 minutes late. I mean you’ve already missed part of the plot. Their children cried, climbed, screamed, mama & daddy carried them out about 6 times. People don’t have good sense. Any way, after the movie ended, as I was getting my keys out of my tiny baby purse, what did I find? Our tickets! I thought our vacation at Disney ended Thursday, but Jack made it full circle with the Frozen gals on Friday. The funniest part of all of this “never ending story” is while I was talking with the manager about our lost tickets, Jack was off taking selfies with Anna & Elsa on his phone!
I have wondered if all the craziness I’ve encountered since being home is my punishment for going on vacation? I honestly felt terrible for going leaving Lee behind, Coleman unable to go, & of course not taking Jack. The last time we all went to Disney a few years ago, it didn’t end well. The whole vacation got him out of sorts. All the walking & not being able to ride everything due to his epilepsy was hard. He refused to ride in a wheelchair & thought he could ride it all. Plus, he likes to sleep late so it was hard to get an early start to fit it all in without having him out so late. Just too many factors to have an enjoyable vacation. On our last day of our last family vacation back in 2015, Lee was left with a sleeping Jack while the rest of us went to have breakfast. Lee’s goal was to wake Jack so we could get on the road. Ava ran back to the room because she forgot something & found Jack attacking Lee. After things calmed, we loaded up & headed home. The whole ride back was miserable. He rolled around in our Yukon, stuck his feet up on the ceiling of the SUV, didn’t talk the whole time, pretend slept all because he was pouting over what happened between he & Lee & he didn’t know how to act afterwards. I was scared to death for well over 9 hours. I was never so thankful to be home & out of that vehicle in my life. So now y’all know why taking Jack anywhere is almost always a no. It’s too risky.
My blogs aren’t usually this long, hence the name never ending story. I was telling my aunt Dot about our tales, she said, “it’s just like a Seinfeld episode”. I swear there is some Larry David lineage somewhere down the line. I don’t think there will be another vacation for a long while, I don’t know that Jack could handle my absence again. It’s so odd to me that he can be so explosive with me & down right ugly a lot of the time, but miss me so much. The brain is one complex organ. Before walking into our house, I was sure to hide every single trace of Disney World. There were no receipts, souvenirs, bags, no Disney bands, nothing. I enjoyed our time so much at the happiest place on earth, but you if see Jack around town, do not ask me about Disney, I pray he never finds out!
We are in the throes of a collard frenzy at The Berry Patch with people preparing for Thanksgiving. We sell them by the bunch or precut & triple washed. One of the reasons my brain has been blowing up, are the collards. I’ve got people messaging me day & night wanting collards, but it’s a good thing. I even have a collard notebook lol. Collards at Thanksgiving & at New Years are like Dixie Lee peas in the summer. Everyone in the world wants them, we always say in the summer at the Berry Patch you’d think Dixie Lee peas are the only thing left to eat on earth, we say that about collards in the fall, we love it though. If not, we wouldn’t do it. So if you’re needing collards for Thanksgiving, come see us. Thank you all for reading my never ending story, I’m sure there is more to come. If anyone has any ideas on how to deflect craziness, please pass the ideas along to me! Happy Thanksgiving to each of you & remember, come see us for the freshest collards around. You can even message me in the middle of night, I won’t mind!