Sunday, August 26, 2007

What We Did On Our Summer Vacation..

Steve and I are back from vacation. My brother recently remarried, so we turned the trip into a full-fledged vacation and road trip. We had a wonderful time and met some great people. The drive (other than several weather situations) was uneventful. To summarize the trip, we spent time with family, at Walt Disney World, and at Key West.

  • Our itinerary:
    - Drive to Disney on Thursday the 9th
    - Spend the night in Warner Robins, GA and arrive to Disney World on Friday the 10th.
    - Check in to Disney's Coronado Springs (for a free night due to screwed up reservations) and then attend the rehearsal dinner.
    - The next day, check in to Disney's All Star Sports and then attend Art and Celeste's wedding
    - Spend time with family Sunday and Monday
    - Spend time at Disney Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
    - Drive to Key West Thursday and check in to the Island House.
    - Return to Disney on Monday. Check in to Disney's All Star Sports resort with hopes of staying in one of the renovated rooms.
    - Spend time at Disney for the remainder of the trip and plan a dinner with Art and Celeste.
    - Drive home on Friday the 24th and stay overnight in Nashville. Meet up with cousin Becky in Atlanta and drop off Evan's Game Boy on the way.

  • Art and Celeste had a beautiful wedding ceremony. Other than the usual drama where family is involved, it was great to have some of Mom's family, including my 89 year old Abuelita (gramma), present from Mexico.

  • Some of my Mom's family finally got to meet Steve. Up until now, they've only known him through pictures.

  • We had our share of good and not-so-good dinners. Our very last dinner, in Nashville, more than made up for our final dinner at Disney.

  • About that final dinner at Disney: Our experience at Disney's Portobello Yacht Club was seriously underwhelming. The restaurant comes across as upscale, with expensive dishes, that would discourage bringing children into it. So, this experience merits its own section. Given that we got great service otherwise, and the manager was extremely gracious in only charging us for Steve's entree, perhaps we'll consider giving the venue another chance.

  • For starters, an obnoxious kid prevented Steve from sitting at the table.

  • Appetizers consisted of a cheese fondue and a margarita pizza. Our cheese fondue resembled a burned, half-melted cheese brick. The pizza was good - but burned. This is putting it rather mildly.

  • When Steve pointed out the cheese fondue to the manager, the manager's jaw dropped. I guess the reaction was priceless. I was preoccupied by dealing with the noisy, obnoxious kids while enjoying the burned Margarita pizza. Don't get me wrong, I love kids.. especially well-behaved ones!

  • Steve's first drink, apparently a frozen rasberry lemonade, resembled colored Florida water complete with the taste of bleach. My drink, a coconut cream drink of some sort was good but did have that Florida water aftertaste.. Anyway, Steve's replacement drink, apparently a non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiri, turned out to be daiquiri syrup on the rocks. At least Steve's entree was excellent.

  • I ordered a lobster filled ravioli with (overcooked) shrimp. Can't forget the other kid that bent over towards his table at some point during dinner, putting his ass in my face. This one finished off dinner with an outstretched arm, nearly poking my eye out.

  • Below are moments from our vacation. Some of the more embarrasing moments have been omitted to protect the innocent.

    Some of the really wonderful moments:

  • Steve holding our nephew, Adan, in his arms during the wedding reception. Too cute.

  • Gramma meeting Steve, and looked up and smiled: "he's handsome and TALL.."

  • Observing the cutest interaction between two Brits at the pool at Disney's All Star Sports resort: A tiny little girl with the neatest accent asks a lifeguard while sounding like a much older, proper child, "excuse me, but could you tell me where the life jackets are?"

  • A Key West local remembers Steve and me, and asks Steve: "did you get a new partner?"

  • Watching a Key West sunset for a second time.

  • Finally riding in the front car of the Walt Disney World monorail for the first time.

  • Spending time with Mr. and Mrs. Art and Celeste Marchán. They had just gotten back from their honeymoon. We had just returned from Key West. Couldn't have had a better time recounting our trips and talking family.

  • Of course, the trip had its share of hilarious moments:

  • While checking in at the Coronado Springs in Walt Disney World Resort, we came up with a new Disney character. The person behind the check-in counter took care of us in a dorky and goofy manner. Voila: Doofy is born. We had moments like this the entire trip so we nicknamed each person Doofy in honor of the first encounter. (We probably had hundreds if not thousands of Doofy sightings the entire trip.)

  • Breakfast at the Coronado. A little older lady argues with Steve thinking he is on Disney's meal plan. She insisted that Steve could not have this delicious looking pastry. This went on for a good minute: "You can't have that! That costs $4.25" "Why not?" "That's for people who want to pay $4.25 for it. You can't have that!" "Yes I can! I'll pay $4.25 for it!" Steve, much taller, younger, faster, and persistent, grabbed the pastry and ran.

  • While shopping for a Steve Fillmer home cooked meal at mom's: The snotty young Latina cashier says, "I understand Spanish, I just don't want to," to a customer asking for cigarettes in Spanish. My reaction, jaw-dropping shock at actually witnessing anything like that.

  • Ever watch a cop car pursue a pedal biker? So we're driving down to Key West. Just outside of Miami, Javier, Steve, and I take note of two squad cars crawling along the shoulder of Florida's Turnpike. We pass the cops, and further note in awe that they are in hot pursuit of what appears to be a vagabond on a PEDAL BIKE. Way too many questions came to mind beginning with, "how in the hell did a person on a PEDAL BIKE get past the BOOTHS required to get on the TOLL ROAD?"

  • A lady at a Key West club falling on her ass on this virtually invisible platform by the bar. As our new friend Jeremy put it: "although it really is too bad, it really is kinda funny!" Jeremy's partner Billy said, "GIRL DOWN!" Then there's Steve's reaction: "9.9!"

  • People-watching while eating breakfast: "He eats like a gopher.."

  • Dinner with Jeremy and Billy. We're all sharing stories, when Steve brings up the aforementioned breakfast. He follows up with something like,"it reminds me of that Dennis The Menace movie," and Billy quickly chimes in: "you mean that scene where Walter Mathau has Chiclets for teeth?"

  • Winner of the most number of Doofy's working in an eatery: Pizzafari at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The lines of people waiting for food was about as large as the lines of people waiting to order food. The workers were that S-L-O-W.

  • Actually being stuck on a roller coaster. Got to the end of Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom, when we're less than one-hundred feet from the end. The car stops, and I suddenly hear: "Due to unexpected technical difficulties, the cars on Expedition Everest are temporarily stopped." While its not funny that cars all over the ride are stuck, at least the riders on the car I was on were able to walk off the ride, as I look in wonder at the engineer examining the car in front of mine. Meanwhile Steve, who's not into roller coasters, did not ride with me and is therefore waiting at the exit..

  • Pineapple ice cream floats. Yummy!! Really!! Which, by the way, could only be improved by using refridgerated juice. Doofy at the counter, after being told TWO floats, rings up and prepares one. So we scowl at him and ask for a second.

  • What kind of a moronic Walt Disney World employee a.k.a. "Cast Member" tells people walking by the temporarily stopped Pirates Of The Carribbean ride that pirates have staged a mutiny so the ride is not running?

  • The Midwest floods are most definitely unfortunate and not hilarious. But when a freeway shutdown occurs due to a flood, you'd think that freeway travelers would take notice of news reports, large electronic traffic signs, online traffic information, AM/FM radio traffic reports, and pursue a different route. (Did anyone catch any newspaper headlines, btw?) Oh, hell no. So we're heading westbound on I80/94 in Chicago. What is hilarious and shocking is that there were probably hundreds (if not thousands) of cars backed up as far as the eye could see, for MILES, on the eastbound side right around mile marker 3.4. Even better: some were complaining about the shutdown on their CB radios. You think they should've known better.. we knew about this for a couple hours before we arrived in the Chicago area - and we were going the other way!

    And thus ends another vacation and road trip: life is good!

  • Sunday, August 19, 2007

    See? Separate (Civil Union) Is Not Equal (To Marriage)

    Awesome. A definitive report explaining that civil unions are not equal to marriage. The only regrettable thing about this article is the choice of headline.

    Its pretty clear that the opponents to gay marriage will take the headline, "Six Months Of Civil Unions In NJ 'Failure' Group Says," and twist to their advantage. Failure is not a good word choice. It conjures thoughts of "social experiments" that is apparent in the opposition's ignorant rhetoric.

    Perhaps the more obvious "Civil Unions And Marriage Rights Unequal" should cover it.

    Tornado Rainbow Triangle