Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Story Time or Storyteller: Your worst vacation

Illustration photo by P. Lynne
Designs.  (c) 2017
Hello and welcome to Storytime. In this segment, to be determined when is the next time this will appear and depending on the response I get, I want to talk about my worst vacation.
Actually, it was not all bad, there were some pretty good and funny moments (read to the end), but the beginning and the end were bad.
I want to take you back to 2004, April, and my trip to Disney with my family.  I mentioned in the last post that at that time, I was a Disney Vacation Club member.  This was, and still is Disney’s way of owning a timeshare, based on in the point system.  I had gotten my first 150 points, and 2002’s points (150), and 2003’s (150) points as a way to say thank you for becoming a member.  For a family of 5 (me, my parents, my sister (age 15 at the time), and my nephew (age 8 at the time)), that was a very generous vacation week.  I had set the vacation for Easter week, which for Columbus, Ohio, USA Public Schools, this was the time when the children (and some college students) took a spring break (I still like the European system of vacation and hope one day we would adopt that system). The dates were for April 9-14, 2004.
After I book the stay at Disney’s Boardwalk Villas, I got dizzy one day after choir rehearsal, and I scheduled a doctor’s appointment.  My doctor sent me straight to the hospital, and I found out I had high blood pressure.  Not good for me, and I wondered if I had to cancel this vacation.  They put me on some medication, and it is under control today.  On with the trip.
They scheduled a follow-up for April 8, one day before the trip, which I was not happy about, but, OK.  That was not the only thing that was about to happen.
I was at my home, packing for our trip, and my sister called me.  She wanted me to pick her up from the church that was around the corner from my parents.  I refused, telling her that she can walk herself home.  My mother was packing, my nephew was playing with some friends, and dad was at work.  I also told her that I needed to get some sleep for my appointment the next day, so she got mad at me and hung up.
She got home, got into an argument with mom about staying out late, and stormed into her room.   She lit a candle for a minute.  Apparently, it was longer than a minute because she fell asleep and had knocked the candle, which was still burning.  She smelt the comforter burning and ran out the room to get something to put the fire out.  That woke up mom and my nephew, who tried to open the door to the room, but the door was stuck.  The alarm sounded, and the people from the alarm place called to see if everything was alright.  This company does a double calling.  They also called my aunt who lived on the next street over, and he called my dad to come home from work. 
In the meantime, no one called me.  I was still up, trying to pack some of the clothes I had washed for the trip. I was told later that had they called my house, I would have panicked, which I would have.  Thank God no one was hurt.
The next day, as I prepared to go to the doctor’s appointment, something told me that something was wrong, but I did not know what.  So, I got dressed, got in the car and started driving towards my parent’s house, which was on the way to my doctor’s appointment.  As I drove down the street, I noticed something strange about the house, but I could not put my finger on it.  I was pretty early for the appointment, so, I decided to stop in to see if everything was alright.
As I got closer, I noticed a big black hole where the windows of my sister and nephew’s rooms used to be, and on the side of the house on the right side was a burnt mattress.  I sped around the corner on in the driveway, got out, and ran to the front door.  There were people taking clothes out the front door and dad talking to an insurance person.  I went to the kitchen and asked mom what happened and she told me.  I am trying to make sense of everything and mom told me not to worry about it and go to my appointment. 
I got a clean bill of health to go on the trip and stopped by the house after the appointment.  Me and my parents were talking, and I had to address the elephant in the room, “were we still going on this trip?”  It would be a waste if we did not. 
So, that night, I packed my luggage in my car, locked up my house, and headed towards my parent’s house.  The plan was to pack up my car, stay the night at a hotel, which was the plan before the fire, then the next day, we drove down to the airport, parked my car, and got on the plane to go towards Disney World.
Getting lost and bad food…
We got off the plane and dad had rented a Jeep Grand Cherokee (do they make those anymore?).  Nice car for 5 people.  Roomy, I had the whole back seat to myself.  Score.  Now it is time for us to find Disney.  One of the things I like about Disney now is if you fly into Orlando Metropolitan airport and you are staying at a Disney Resort, they do have the magic Express Bus.  Not the case if you are flying from Rickenbacker Airport to Tampa International airport.  If that was the case, then three adults, a child, and a teen would not have been seen wondering through the streets of Tampa and Orlando, before reaching their destination.  The kids fell asleep, I fell asleep, and mom and dad were talking.  Nothing like a quick stop to Burger King to put us all in the mood of La-La Land. 
When I woke up, dad was trying to find the entrance.  There are 50 ways to get into Disney, and we had to pick the one that was the less noticeable.  Well, we turned around in a parking lot of a church and went back in the other direction.  Soon, my nephew, who was the only one that was alert asked, “are we looking for the entrance back there?”  We had passed it again, so we turned around once more, this time in a parking lot for all things Disney souvenir.
We pulled in and started looking for the resort.  At Disney, there are plenty of signs, and it took a minute, but we found it.  Since the reservations were in my name, I had to check us in.  Once in the suite of three bedrooms, a kitchen, two bathrooms, and our own private viewing of the pool with a clown for a waterslide, we began to rest for a moment, then prepared for our first dinner reservation of the trip, Boma.
Boma, which is located in the Animal Kingdom, is an African Buffet Restaurant.  I liked the food, the parents and kids did not.  I am the only one who is adventurous in my family, except now I can add my nephew to the mix (at least he will eat sushi with me).  When he was 8, he only ate hamburgers and French fries (now I see where my other nephew, his brother gets it from).  When that happens, I consider that a bad meal.  I cannot enjoy a meal when your family is sitting there complaining about it.  So, for future trips, we will not be going to this place.
The Rest of the Trip…
I realized this is a long story so I will tell you later.   I thought I had a copy of the posts from my Traveling to The Mouse’s House, which was a trip report (also another form of storytelling) of this trip, but when my computer had to be decluttered by Geek Squad last October), the blog file was not part of the files restored.
A couple of things to note about this trip of mine:
The last day at Disney (we had two more days before catching the flight home, which you can read about in the last post), we went to a restaurant called Ohana, which means “family” Polynesian, and if you have watched Lilo and Stitch, it also means “everyone is family and no one gets left behind”.  I do want to warn you, if you are vegan or vegetarian, this is not the place for you, although I think they have since added those options to the menu.
Anyway, we ran late (which was no surprise when you have a stubborn teen in the mix.  Our reservations were for 7 pm, and we got there at 7:15.  So we waited.  While waiting, the child and teen got into it, and dad had to issue a “no talking zone”, and to sit away from each other.  Mom got restless and started looking at the drink menu.  (Insert comic moment- things you don’t do when bored and not a drinker): Ask about the drinks.  She wanted to know what was a Backscratcher.  We told her that it would put her under the table.  Then she asked about what was in the other drinks.  Thank God, the hostess rescued us before we got into THAT conversation, LOL.
Next dad started calling everyone “cousin”, which is the proper way to greet family.  So, we had a cousin waiter, a cousin hostess, and so on.  My family is really humorous.
The other thing was once you leave Disney, it is best to go home.  We did not leave for the flight home until Friday.  Between the Wednesday, we checked out of Boardwalk Villas to our new home, a dilapidated hotel (or should I say motel, because you enter the rooms from the outside, not a lobby), and it was "Boring City" after that.  Me and my sister did not want to go visit one of Dad’s friends with them (nephew had to go because his friend was there), and I spent most of the day trying to find a place within walking distance to file my taxes, and she was in the pool. We had Domino’s pizza, and my parents came back after that.  We sleep a couple of hours before headed towards the airport. That was Thursday.  
We dealt with a string of plane issues.  One pilot was sick so another one had to be called in.  Then, he forgot that he was called, so we had to wait on him to arrive.  Once we got up in the air, we were 5 mins from home, and the plane turned around.  Something fell off the plane while in the air, and then we had to get a replacement, so, back to Tampa, we go.   We sat a couple more hours in the terminal, then we switched planes.   Finally, we got home for my parents to deal with a home with two burnt rooms.

So, it is finally your turn:  What was your worst vacation, and write about it?  It does not have to be as long as mine, but it sometimes it may help.