Report Card

Mom #2 asked me to give the Disneyland trip a grade…

A through F.

I have been thinking about that all weekend.

In no particular order, here are some components of the grading:

Marital Strife = B

Average level of miscommunication and failure to recognize the other’s value and contribution to the pre-travel readiness process.

Extended period of uncomfortable silence lasting through first half of drive up.

Extra credit for letting it all go and having goofy fun with camera on balcony Thursday night.

Packing & General Preparation = C+

Remembered wet wipes & bandaids (lucky for random dad on Tom Sawyer’s Island with skinned knee kid & no mom along).

Neglected to bring or draw a suitable calendar for the little boy.  Major points off for this since little boy lost track of days and after all the challenges he faced with queasiness, control issues, difficult transitions, ride disappointment, etc., he actually didn’t want to go home on Friday.

Forgot the clips I use to keep my bath towel wrapped around myself when I’m blow drying my hair.  Annoying.

Neglected to put ice in cooler with drinks and snacks.

Extra credit for remembering to bring stuffed animal and travel playdoh kit.

Points lost for leaving both of them in the car until the third night.

Car Ride for Little Boy – B+

Minor expected agitation over red lights in beginning of trip & again at end of trip.

No car sickness.

No objects chucked at mom’s or dad’s heads.

Minor wiggling and some kicking of front passenger seat.

Generally sunny disposition and willingness to go wherever necessary.  Even Target.  Because what’s a vacation without a trip to Target?  I had a craving for Riesen candies.

Extra credit for waiting through most of the CD before telling Dad to turn the music off.  Good CD for Dad and a little bit for Mom, just not for boy.

Disneyland Hotel Choice = B+

Excellent location in heart of Disney Resort.

Extra credit for immediate Goofy & Pluto sightings, extra towels, exceptionally pleasant gift shop employees and really fast elevators.

Bonus points for lovely view, but points lost for being there on a day without fireworks.

Special credit for a pool space that encourages all body types to relax and enjoy swimming with kids.

Points lost for failure to send promised text message when room was ready for check-in.

Points lost for failure to offer the creme brule through room service.  Flourless chocolate cake selected as alternative not worth $16.50 in cost, hidden delivery charges, tax & tip.  And I make better raspberry coulis in my own kitchen. 😐

Number of rides & overall amusement park experience = D

No crowds.  Best week ever to go.

Remembered to get letter from psychologist for special pass to front of lines.

Good foundation built by riding Small World first.

Excellent follow-up choices in Peter Pan and Dumbo rides.

Some points lost for failure to remember herky-jerky characteristics of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

Three full letter grades lost for thinking even momentarily that taking child on Matterhorn was a good idea.  Oy.  Three hours into day one and little boy was done with the rides.  Sigh.

Thank goodness for Tom Sawyer’s Island on Day 2 – perfect for mom who needed to sit in the shade a minute, little boy with too much energy and dad who never got to go to the hotel gym to continue training for upcoming century ride.

Food – B

Worst Boca burger ever at Red Robin in Tustin on drive up, but empathetic vegetarian waitress took it off the bill.

Extra credit for planning most of meals away from expensive Disney.  Who knew that Denny’s had such tasty granola?

White Water Cafe at Grand Californian has a good veggie burger, but big, bad, super dry brownies.

Coco’s is really close to the hotel.  Seriously, I like that brown bread and the Asian salad.  Without chicken.

Never got my vacation requisite Mexican food.  Sigh.

Points lost for turning in the seedier direction for supermarket search.  Why doesn’t this Albertson’s have any good cheese?!

Points lost by husband for giving all of leftover snacks to Pidgee.

Bonus points to Pidgee for keeping the location to himself.

Miscellaneous Extra Credit for…

Remembering to use our camera during the Mickey Photo Op so that we didn’t have to buy the expensive Disney version.

Going to Burger King at least once so the little boy could finally enjoy a meal and have some real fun.

Letting the little boy crawl under the big star…

And hug the row of rainbow towels when we were shopping to replace Mommy’s broken sunglasses…

Going to the Lego store and just letting the little boy hug whomever he pleased – including Woody & Darth Vader…

Remembering to get chocolate milk at seedy Albertson’s…

And that’s pretty much it…

so what do you all think?


Yeah, B.

A few sordid details to follow in the next couple of days…

Happy Sunday!


4:00 a.m.

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. a few days ago and thought I was going to die.

I have this issue with my left arm.   When I sleep in the wrong position, it goes numb.

I’ve already talked to my doctor about it and there are things that I can do to avoid pinching the nerve – lose some weight, wear a better bra during the day, use a different pillow at night, etc.

I did the easy ones and I’m working on the others.

The problem is, when I wake from this at 4 o’clock, I always think I’m having a heart attack.

Eventually, I do convince my head that I’m not actually dying, but my heart isn’t always as sure.

In those wee quiet hours, when my family is asleep and the house is dark, I always imagine the worst.

I hate it.  I hate that my a.m. brain goes to the darkest corners of my life to borrow bad fuel for my panic attack fire.

I think of the deaths of my friend and my father.  I remember my failures as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, even as a student.

I remember errors I made in my high school and college classes, stupid things I did to thwart my own education, and stuff I didn’t figure out until it was way too humiliatingly late.

I was late to the game a lot.  Late.  To the game.  A lot.

And at 4:00 a.m., I cry because of it.

Occasionally, my husband stirs and distracts me for a brief moment with some night terror of his own.  I guess that’s the hour when bad dreams hit our house.

Last night, I recalled (and was humiliated anew) by an incident from my 12th grade drama class.

It’s too ridiculous to explain in detail.  The short version is that the teacher asked me to summarize a play she had assigned a few days before.

She wanted me to start the discussion in class that day.

Unfortunately, I never read the play, so needless to say, I didn’t do very well with the summary.

To mask my stuidity, I even foolishly dared to tell of a scene from the book to enliven my description, only the scene I recalled was from the movie and wasn’t even in the book.

Epic fail.

There was such disappointment in my drama teacher’s face.  I think she really liked me until that moment.

Twenty-five years have passed, and it still embarrasses me to think of it.

At 4:00 a.m., it makes me panic.

And in college – oh brother – what an idiot I was.

I took Astronomy at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.  Bad move.  Not my favorite subject.  Not my favorite time of the day.  Lethal combo.

I fell asleep almost every time I went.

My friends took the class with me and helped me to stay awake now and then, but mostly I missed everything.

When it came time to take the final, I was totally stumped.

Rather than kill myself trying to come up with answers I knew weren’t in my head, I wrote a note to the teacher on my exam paper.

I apologized for failing the test, mentioned that I was a theater major and said I hoped he would come to a play sometime.

I strolled to the front of the class, got behind a few other students and added my unfinished test to the pile.

Since there were other kids behind me, I assumed my test would sink below some others so I could skulk out of the room without incident.


The instructor read my note before I’d gotten ten feet from him.  Then he said my name.  I turned to see a look of totally exasperated disappointment.  He shook his head at me.

Humiliation.  Red hot cheeks.  Couldn’t get away fast enough.  What was I thinking?!

At 4:00 a.m., that teacher’s face appears right in front of mine and makes me panic.  PANIC.

It sucks.

I hate for people to know how dumb I am.

And by “people,” I mean me.

I hate to know how dumb I am.

I hate to know it at 4:00 a.m. because it makes me feel like I’m having a heart attack.


Don’t know what else to say.

Happy Thursday.

P.S.  Oh, and by the way, if you absolutely MUST know, the play was Anna and the King of Siam.

P.P.S. Today, I look like my mom.  (Ignore the red eyes.)

And my dad.

And myself too.


More Awkward Self Portraits

I’ve been trying to write all day, but I can’t concentrate.

The school called about fifteen minutes after I left the little boy this morning.

The nurse said he was “retching” and had a fever.  Oy.

I canceled my plans for the day and picked him up.

We stopped at the store to get Motrin just in case there was none in the cupboard.

We went to my friend’s house to let her dog out for a moment.  (Normally I would take him for a full walk, but not today.)

We stopped at Target to get the little boy a snack and then we went home.

I took his temperature when we got in.  It was NORMAL.

And he hasn’t retched or acted sick all day.  Hmm.  😐

I suspect the noise the nurse heard was standard issue autism vocals, but who knows?

I’m relieved that he’s okay, but somehow I feel kind of duped.

I had to cancel lunch with a friend and I needed the exercise from the dog walking.  😦  Sigh.  Oh well.

I was hoping to write something spectacular today, but I have this busy little four-foot distraction following me around now.

I took more awkward photos instead.  😀

I’d say that I’m shocked by how bloodshot my eyes are in these pix, but I would be lying…


My Queendom for Some Lip Gloss and a Smile

Yeah, now that you’ve all seen my awkward self portrait, I’ve looked at it a lot more too.

I wish I had worn some lip gloss and smiled wider when I snapped the picture.  😐

The good thing is, when I look a little longer, I see my dad’s face.

My dad was always amused.  🙂

(Well, unless he wasn’t, but that had more to do with feeling crappy than his ceasing to find the world funny.)

Anyhoo, despite the flat mouth, I was in a good mood when I took the picture.

So…critique away.

Think what you will.

I look like my dad and that’s okay with me.  😀