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Old 12-10-2009, 05:56 AM   #1
hucifer
The tag that was here was staler than 3 yr old bread crumbs
The Van Halen song "Running with the Devil" was about my parakeet!
Smell anything? It's just my sauerkraut
 
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Post Hucifer does the solo thing…sort of. Alone and going home, 9/21

Here I am in the Park Formerly Known As MGM Studios, standing on Sunset Boulevard and feeling the burn of the July Florida sun on my head. I’m alone, save the thousands of tourists buzzing around, and a balding overweight actor to my left, practicing his pickup skills on me. Not a single family member or friend for hundreds of miles. Completely isolated in the biggest tourist destination in the world.

How did this happen?


The Pre-trip backstory stuff you need to know

Let’s go back in time…back before grinning at the stranger next to me on the Rock and Roll Roller Coaster, before text messaging my husband on the Walt Disney World Railroad as it circled around Space Mountain…back when Disney World magic wasn’t on my mind at all and it was Life As Usual. I’m at the office, working away and minding my own business, when a coworker shows me a logistics class notice which happens to be held at the Boardwalk Inn in Orlando, Florida. Knowing my love of all things Disney, my coworker mused how wonderful it would be to take that class. Especially on work’s dime.

And then the seed gets planted.

I think. And I think. And I think about it.

And the seed sprouts a little.

And I start to wonder…is it SO unreasonable for me to think that this is a possibility? If work advertises this class, is it possible they will send little ol’ me to Florida? What would it take for this trip to happen?

Imagine the scenario, if you will. We discover this class on trucks or transportation or something and I’m all, How can I deceive –er, convince my boss to send me to this transport-something class so I can scam –er, earn a free trip to the World? How can I somehow connect the dots from my job to this silly pointless class? Since the big boss is female, unbuttoning the first two buttons on my blouse and batting my eyes won’t cut it this time. No, I’m going to have to resort to different tactics.

The Disney gods were smiling upon me that day, my friends. Somehow I found a way to connect the dots… (“Transportation, or whatever this class is, definitely will help me advance in my career because, let’s face it, I don’t know squat about Transportation, or whatever this class is, so surely taking this class will further develop my background in logistics, or whatever other job this class relates to.”) …and whatever I said, well it worked. She bought it. I didn’t even have to beg. Or show a little leg.

So, I was in. And so was my coworker, Jakie. The only drawback at this point was that work wouldn’t pay for us to stay at the Boardwalk Inn since it was over the $109 hotel allowance. A setback, yes, but a minor one at that. But I, being the Disney authority that I am, could easily find satisfactory sleeping arrangements that put us squarely in the middle of the action at $109 a night...sort of.

I’m tinkering around the internet one Sunday and going off into LaLa Land, dreaming of my upcoming trip, and collecting all sorts of information about the place I had left so many years ago (three, to be exact). I stumbled into Mousesavers.com just to see what kind of discounts are to be had. The Boardwalk Inn code only cut down the price to $275, which was a far cry from the blocked room rates ($210/night). But the codes for moderates was $119/night. Okay, so it was slightly over the allowance, but surely I could cough up $10 a night on my own for the privilege of staying on property. Surely.

So we were all booked for a week-long stay at WDW at the Port Orleans French Quarter, which was new for both of us. Now, before I go much further let me say that my partner-in-crime and co-conspirator Jakie had never been to WDW. Did you hear me? NEVER BEEN. And not only had she never stepped foot into the place, she didn’t know anything about it. Yes, she lives in a bubble. And yes, there really are people out there who know nothing about the place we know and love so well. It’s true, they really do exist. I have proof.

I stuck out my chest, saluted her, and told her that her own personal tour guide to the World was ready to serve. I told her to leave all the planning to me; I would conjure up an itinerary during our stay, complete with dining arrangements, park days, and suggested touring plans. After all, it was my Disney duty. Walt would have wanted it this way.

So what DO you get when you trick your boss into sending you to a pointless class which happens to be at Disney World? You get a free solo vacation.

…sort of.

Sort of, meaning it was half free, and it was half solo. Does that count? Plus, you’ve got that annoying mandatory class stuff to attend, and that can hamper park time – big time.

Class runs Tuesday to Friday, and Jakie planned to leave Friday evening. That left me four days of serious solo time. So I rolled up my sleeves and started to plan like the wind.


Up next:
Day 1. Getting lost is the best way to get to know a place, I hear


Table of Contents

Day 1. Getting lost is the best way to get to know a place, I hear
Part 1. The evil insect...how vicious do you grow them down here, anyway?
Part 2. How many tourists does it take to find property?
Part 3. Jakie and The Best Tour Guide Ever
Part 4. Well, that’s one way to revoke a dinner invitation.
Part 5. Masters of our domain. Not.

Day 2. That really important class on trucks or something (AKA: the reason I’m here)
Part 1. How many clues does it take to get the center of a truck class?
Part 2. When Hell freezeth over
Part 3. Being a Know-It-All has its social disadvantages
Part 4. The weirdest dinner order ever
Part 5. If you want to eat paradise, simply walk around and take it.

Day 3. How to keep everyone awake in a transportation class, even if that’s the reason they came to Disney World.
Part 1. Trapped in a room with a bunch of Disney heretics
Part 2. The Brady Bunch sat here
Part 3. Why you should never order fish at the Flying Fish

Day 4. When Disney and Transportation collide
Part 1. Better off unsaid
Part 2. Offending dinner hosts, part II
Part 3. In memory of Dan. A mini report.

Day 5. Mommy, Look at the Freaky Lady By Herself
Part 1. My last day in Hell
Part 2. Marvin K Mooney’s grand exit
Part 3. What you get when you cross a Brit with grape jelly.
Part 4. Bathroom treasures
Part 5. Crossing the line between man and bum
Part 6. Offending the dinner host, part III. Or: Attack of the Mexican bugs

Day 6. The Return of Cast Member Hucifer
Part 1. When FastPass lines are longer than standby
Part 2. Conversations with myself
Part 3. When the Streetmosphere harass.
Part 4. Tower of Terror doesn't go upside down. Who knew?
Part 5. Hucifer the drunk.
Part 6. Why you should never leave me in a pool alone with your children

Day 7. The Expedition Everest Singles line: How I developed a love for all things single
Part 1. If it weren't for the millions of tour groups, this park would be empty
Part 2. Lone Ride Nazi Slays Entire Crowd Single-Handedly. Story at 11.
Part 2. What could be better than a plate of vegetarian lasagna?
Part 3. You met the worst of them, now here’s one of the best
Part 4. Looking the fool – taking pictures of yourself and your food

Day 8: Too much of a good thing
Part 1. Never berate a bear
Part 2. How to work Will Smith into your trip report
Part 3. Blue shorts and a blue funk
Part 4. Talker Tim vs. the very cantankerous caterpillar

Day 9: The Good-bye girl

Last edited by hucifer; 09-21-2010 at 06:44 AM. Reason: Yer mamma
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:42 AM   #2
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You so totally rock! Convincing the boss to let you take that class so that you could visit the House of Mouse. Cool!

Please continue. (Where's the kneeling/begging smiley when you need one?)

It will be fun to walk through a solo trip with you. I went to Disneyland in 2008 by myself on a "business" trip.
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:35 AM   #3
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Whooo-Hoooty Whooo!

Can't wait!

Jaime
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:40 AM   #4
hucifer
The tag that was here was staler than 3 yr old bread crumbs
The Van Halen song "Running with the Devil" was about my parakeet!
Smell anything? It's just my sauerkraut
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmeb144 View Post
You so totally rock! Convincing the boss to let you take that class so that you could visit the House of Mouse. Cool!

Please continue. (Where's the kneeling/begging smiley when you need one?)

It will be fun to walk through a solo trip with you. I went to Disneyland in 2008 by myself on a "business" trip.
Can you believe my luck on this one? Did you have fun on your "business" trip? How many days did you hit the parks? I've never been to Disneyland.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsSpratt View Post
Whooo-Hoooty Whooo!

Can't wait!

Jaime
Are you in it for the long haul? This will actually be a pretty long trip report. Although I didn't have my Danny with me, I did have plenty to write about.
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:41 AM   #5
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Why yes, yes I am!
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:18 PM   #6
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Your totally-awesome twin is here, reporting for duty!

And yes, I finished your old TR last night, with time to spare (it was really great!). Meaning, unfortunately, I still have ample time for all the chores and stuff.

Or...I could spend the afternoon writing Part I of my Animal Kingdom day. You made a good point, after all, when you said the vacuuming would still be there tomorrow...
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:24 PM   #7
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I'm in!!
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:42 PM   #8
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Woohoo! I loved your last TR so I am totally in for this one!
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Old 12-10-2009, 05:45 PM   #9
J.C.&ALI'SMOM
I really had to bite my tongue on that one
Wondering how we could get our moonshine on the plane
 
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Hey great to read you again! I'm signed up
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Old 12-10-2009, 05:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hucifer View Post
Can you believe my luck on this one? Did you have fun on your "business" trip? How many days did you hit the parks? I've never been to Disneyland.
I went to Disneyland MK 1 day and Disney's California Adventure 1 day. Since the ticket is a park hopper, I got to ride Space Mountain both days. Whoot! Very fun, but I didn't worry about hitting all the attractions. All the more reason to go back!
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:15 PM   #11
hucifer
The tag that was here was staler than 3 yr old bread crumbs
The Van Halen song "Running with the Devil" was about my parakeet!
Smell anything? It's just my sauerkraut
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsSpratt View Post
Why yes, yes I am!
Sweet!
Quote:
Originally Posted by norybell View Post
Your totally-awesome twin is here, reporting for duty!

And yes, I finished your old TR last night, with time to spare (it was really great!). Meaning, unfortunately, I still have ample time for all the chores and stuff.

Or...I could spend the afternoon writing Part I of my Animal Kingdom day. You made a good point, after all, when you said the vacuuming would still be there tomorrow...
Hey...you made it! From one solo twin to the other...welcome. I'm glad you liked the other TR...that was a labor of love (took me a year to write!).

Looking forward to hearing the rest of your current TR, as well as reading your next one. I hope there's plenty more songs coming, too, if you've got the creative energy for it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lynn71092 View Post
I'm in!!
Hello Lynn!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Disneymoon09 View Post
Woohoo! I loved your last TR so I am totally in for this one!
Thanks! You got in right at the beginning, too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by J.C.&ALI'SMOM View Post
Hey great to read you again! I'm signed up
Welcome back! There is a lot more to go...
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmeb144 View Post
I went to Disneyland MK 1 day and Disney's California Adventure 1 day. Since the ticket is a park hopper, I got to ride Space Mountain both days. Whoot! Very fun, but I didn't worry about hitting all the attractions. All the more reason to go back!
I've been wanting to do Disneyland for a long time. Maybe I can find a class in Anaheim too. Hmm....
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:24 PM   #12
LaLa
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I actually (temporarily) forgot how to quote...

..that's how long it's been since I've read anything over here. Seriously. So imagine my surprise when I decide to meander over to the Trip Report Board and happen upon a new Hucifer report. I grinned through the entire first post and I can't wait to read all about your latest trip to the World. With or Without Gelman.

I'm in need of a Disney fix so bring it on, sista!

Quote:
...and a balding overweight actor to my left, practicing his pickup skills on me.
Was Danny DeVito drunk again?

Last edited by LaLa; 12-10-2009 at 11:25 PM. Reason: Or did you run into Jon Gosselin?
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:15 AM   #13
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Sounds like fun, I'm in

Kudos on getting the boss to finance the trip, wish I could get mine to do that.
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Old 12-11-2009, 06:09 AM   #14
hucifer
The tag that was here was staler than 3 yr old bread crumbs
The Van Halen song "Running with the Devil" was about my parakeet!
Smell anything? It's just my sauerkraut
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaLa View Post
..that's how long it's been since I've read anything over here. Seriously. So imagine my surprise when I decide to meander over to the Trip Report Board and happen upon a new Hucifer report. I grinned through the entire first post and I can't wait to read all about your latest trip to the World. With or Without Gelman.

I'm in need of a Disney fix so bring it on, sista!

Was Danny DeVito drunk again?
LaLa, I am sooooooooo happy to see you here! I missed you, girl. Dan and I recently saw Gelman as a guest on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, but neither of us see Dan in Gelman. Hmm...odd how others saw him that way but not us.

When is YOUR next TR? Hmmmmmmm???
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Sounds like fun, I'm in

Kudos on getting the boss to finance the trip, wish I could get mine to do that.
Welcome, Stefy! Thanks for dropping in.
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Old 12-11-2009, 06:20 AM   #15
hucifer
The tag that was here was staler than 3 yr old bread crumbs
The Van Halen song "Running with the Devil" was about my parakeet!
Smell anything? It's just my sauerkraut
 
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Day 1: Getting lost is the best way to get to know a place, I hear

Part 1. The evil insect…how vicious do you grow them down here, anyway?

Before I go any further, let me introduce the people that I’m leaving behind.



Crazy hubby today


Crazy hubby, the early years

Dan, my slightly-over-forty husband. Loves to create havoc wherever he goes, which makes vacations unexpected and enjoyable. Loves Disney, but in smaller doses than me. Cannot wait to introduce his son Patrick to the Magic, but can wait until he’s a little older.


Patrick the Peanut

Patrick, our We-Thought-We-Were-Never-Going-To-Have only child. Took six years to finally join our family. Has a giant heart, and huge appetite, and a fierce sense of humor. Is two-and-a-half years old and can out-eat a nine-year-old, although he’s skinny as a rail. We are seriously considering getting second jobs to pay for his food during his teenage years. Still learning to talk. It can be fun trying to figure out what he’s saying. What? You like Michael Bolton? Oh…that’s a microphone. What? Peaches and cream? Oh…you see a red crane. You aired kitty claws? Oh, you’re scared of Santa Claus.


My boys. They are going to miss the crap out of me.

If you haven’t read my other two trip reports (and shame on you if you haven’t), you would know that my husband Dan and I have had two amazing vacations at Disney World since we’ve been married, back in 2003 and 2005. The last time we were there, a beautiful little girl on the monorail really caught my attention and my heart, and I suddenly got lost in a flood of tears as I mourned the children that we couldn’t have. A year later, the best surprise of our lives happened and I got pregnant with Patrick. We celebrated the new life inside of me and dreamed of the day we would bring our little peanut into WDW. We plan on bringing Patrick when he’s about five. So I really wasn’t expecting to return to Disney World for quite some time, and this unexpected “work” trip was a wonderful surprise that fell in my lap. I’ve been dreaming about taking a solo trip for several years now, ever since I read that first solo trip report. My initial reaction was like most…how could you possibly have fun in Disney World by yourself? But the more I read about people who did it, the more it intrigued me. And then after awhile I developed a real yearning to experience this. I started thinking of ways to make this possible, although none of them seemed reasonable. And then this work thing fell squarely into my lap. Like a pretty present.

I wondered…well…without all of Dan’s antics, could I possibly have anything interesting enough to talk about in a trip report?

Airport shuttle service picks me up at my home. That’s right, I don’t even have to pay for airport parking. Work is picking up the tab! Did I mention they picked me up at 4:30 in the morning? That’s what I get for picking the 7:15am flight. But Disney World is not for the weary. Or sleepy. You know it. I know it.

So this was going to be the longest time I was away from Patrick, and I simply couldn’t leave without saying good-bye personally, even if he was dead asleep. I just had to touch and smell his head one last time. I tiptoed into his room and heard his relaxed, deep breathing. Fumbling around in the dark, I reached into his crib and felt a lump (a butt, probably), and started to stroke it. “Good-bye, sweetie,” I whispered to his butt. “I’ll miss you.”

The butt stirs, makes a cute little sound – no wait, Patrick makes a cute little sound – and rolls over. I find his head, stroke it, and tell him that I love him, thinking that he just rolled over in his sleep. Well, despite the fact that it’s 4:30 in the morning and pitch-black, he bolts up and starts begging for Mama to pick him up. Honestly, I thought he would sleep through all this. I kissed his head, sniffed it, told him I loved him again, and left the room. Now he started to cry. Great. Now I have guilt.

Oh well, I guess it’s Dan’s problem now.

I could hear him crying until the moment I shut the garage door. How long he cried is beyond me, but I felt horrible about leaving him like this. Still…how could I leave for 9 days and not say good-bye to my baby before leaving? So I hugged and kissed Dan in the driveway (yes, that fellow of mine actually got up that early just to see me off!), and I got into the shuttle van.

I tell Dennis the Shuttle Menace that my luggage is probably overweight and Dennis (who put the suitcase in the van while I tortured my son upstairs) tells me that my bag weighs about 46 or 47 pounds and that I should be okay. He’s a pro at this, he tells me. Wink wink.

The trip to the airport goes smoothly, so I know something will go funky. That’s just the way Murphy hangs. But my luggage checks in at – get this – 47 pounds (that Dennis is a genius!), the security line is dead, and I’m early for my flight. I stopped at a store to buy gum. Now, as an official Overpackers Anonymous card-carrying member, you would think that I would remember gum for the flight. Redundancy is the name of the game when we Overpackers prepare for a trip: I’ll have five pairs of shoes, three purses, a rain poncho and an umbrella, and maybe two Pal Mickeys in case one dies or gets kidnapped in the parks…but I’ll inevitably forget something each time. You know, like my paycheck when checking into Shades of Green. Sunscreen. A jacket. Or gum.

Now, keep in mind that I just went through security and I still have my license and boarding pass in my hand. And I’m holding them absent-mindedly. So when I need to hold something of great importance, like a pack of gum for instance, subconsciously my mind is making sure I don’t let go of that. So when I started walking away from the store my eyes happens to wander to the counter, where I had inevitably left something behind. And what invaluable object had I exchanged for my beloved gum? Oh, just my boarding pass. I may be an overpacker, but I’m definitely underprepared. I’m an underprepared overpacker. If there is such a thing.

So, boarding pass and gum safely in hand, I head to the gate. A few minutes before boarding I decide to hit the restroom for good measure. There, next to the bathroom entrance, is a coffee spill on the floor with a Caution – Wet Floor sign next to it. It’s like Kramer was here. You know, when he broke the egg on Jerry’s floor and instead of cleaning it up he put police tape around it. (This is a Seinfeld reference, people…keep up. There will be more scattered throughout this report, so be warned.) I chuckled to myself because it would have taken far less time to clean it up than to announce the mess with a sign.

So we’re waiting at the gate and a flight attendant gets on the speaker and announces that Jakie needs to come to the desk. So we’re thinking that she’s been bumped off the flight and my carefully sculpted itinerary is ruined. But alas no, they just informed her that in order to keep a family of three together, they’re moving her to another seat. Huge sigh of relief. We board, bladders empty and boarding passes and gum in hand.

We land, incident-free. Our luggage is ready and riding around the carousal. Things are going so smoothly. Which means Murphy is peeking from around a corner somewhere and getting ready to start zinging us. I just know it.

We follow directions as well as we can, but a couple of chicks on their own can only mean one thing: we’re bound to get lost. Okay, maybe not lost, because it’s really hard to get lost in an airport …but leave it to us females to go in the opposite direction on our way to the rental agency. Not sure how we did it. Even so, yes, we do find the rental agency (because unlike men, we’re not too proud to ask for directions).

Okay Murphy, you got us. Ha ha, good one. Surely you have more work to do on the others, so you can leave us alone now.

Jakie and I roll our luggage to our silver rental car. That’s when I noticed a little bug flying around Jakie. Looking back, we were so naive. I guess we were just used to our Michigan bugs. We thought it was a silly little Michigan-like gnat bothering her. She swats at it, but this silly little bug is pretty relentless in all its aggravating glory, and it keeps flying around her. Thinking that it was like Seinfeld’s neighbor, Newman, annoying but fairly harmless, we load the luggage into the trunk. Or rather, we load my luggage into the trunk, because mine was so huge (Overpackers Anonymous card-carrying member, remember?), that Jakie had to put hers in the backseat.

Anyway, back to the bug…okay, this thing was no ordinary bug. We see that now. We accept that. It may have been the size of a Michigan gnat, but these Florida bugs are bred a little more fiercely. That persistent little bugger followed one unsuspecting Jakie into the car. And once we were on the road, it started its attack. Jakie squeaks out an “ouch!” and slaps her legs. Then she slaps them again. And again. She must smell like chocolate or dog crap or something, because this bug isn’t leaving her alone. A few minutes of leg-slapping and she looks down at her legs and says, “Oh great, I left my prescription cortisol at home.” That’s when I notice that she has these bumps – no…welts – forming on her leg. Seriously, folks. Welts. That’s a pleasant way to say, “Welcome to Orlando, newbie.”

Well, she’s my navigator. And I can’t have her slacking off on the job because of some evil little gnat that is – millimeter by millimeter – devouring her flesh. Fortunately we were headed to Publix anyway. Map in her non-slapping hand, Jakie leads us to the supermarket. I park and mentally photograph the car and parking spot. Click. I mean, let’s face it: in Florida EVERYONE has a silver or white car. An unfamiliar rental car could very easily get lost in this parking lot sea of monochrome cars. And I really don’t want to have to resort to hitting the Panic button just to find it. That’s SUCH a tourist (and perhaps chick) thing to do.

So Jakie and I split up, her running toward the medicine aisle, and me toward the cereal aisle. Since I was going to spend the next week or so here, I wanted to eat breakfast in my room to save a few bucks. I had already packed bowls and spoons. All I needed was the cereal. And maybe a case of water. Because, after all, it’s July in Florida. And it doesn’t get much hotter than that.

Jakie and I finish shopping about the same time and we go into separate lanes. In my lane, a sweet old woman is buying a few groceries and the store manager dude is bagging her things and putting them into her cart. When the woman pays for her groceries, he wishes her a good day and smiles as she takes her little old lady self toward the exit. Then it was my turn. The cashier rings up my order and the conveyor belt rolls it down to the store manager dude, who bags my food. Now let’s keep in mind that I’m 38 years old and I probably look a good ten years younger that that (work with me, people). I pay for my order as the manager finished bagging my stuff and puts it into the cart. I start to walk away and he asks if I need help putting the food into my car. So either I look more helpless than that sweet old woman ahead of me, or you have something else is on your mind. Hmm…is he blind or perverted?

In any case, I waved bye to Jakie in the next lane over…who had to push her own cart to the car…and led the nice man to my shiny new silver rental car…

…which was parked somewhere in this vast sea of silver cars.

So here I am: I’ve got a cart full of groceries, a patiently waiting cart man-boy, and I’m standing around in 90-degree heat, looking for a car that looks exactly like all the others. Okay, no problem. Let’s check my mental photograph I took 15 minutes ago…ah crap. My analog brain still works on film and apparently it was still in the processing lab and won’t be developed for another 45 minutes. So I hit the Door Lock button. Beep! Beep! So sorry for annoying your locals, Mr. Store Manager. I’m just a stupid tourist. Look away, natives! Cover your ears while I hit this button. Beep! Beep! Oh, there is our car, Publix supermarket man-boy. And thanks for your help you big perv. Look, here comes Jakie. She’s even better looking and younger than me. Now, are you bummed you weren’t bagging HER groceries?

Okay, so I’ll move on from our Publix adventure. We were back on the road in no time and heading toward the World. Destination: Disney World! Woo hoo, we’re on our way!


Up next: Part 2. How many tourists does it take to find property?
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