Why Am I So Impatient? (Deep thoughts while waiting in line.)

 

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You would think with everyone having a phone to occupy their brains that we, as a society, would have gotten better about waiting in line. There are emails to answer and the universe of social media to peruse. But for some reason it seems like we’ve gotten even more impatient. And by we, I mean, me.

I have become so impatient that the other day at the Nordstrom Rack I had to do some soothing inhales and exhales. What has happened to me that I think I’m too good to wait in line? Correction: Too good to wait in some lines because I’m still processing why in July of 2014 in a Florida heat wave (Wait, it that an oxymoron?) with a humidity level that was so miserable I felt like I was swathed in wet towels that had been soaked in Dollar Tree mayonnaise I stood in a line at Disneyworld for 93 minutes to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (which ended up being the lamest ride in the history of theme parks).

So, why was I okay enduring the misery of standing in that line and yet I was having a mental health crisis at the Rack? Needing human interaction and because I love chatting up strangers, I asked a woman standing next to me in line that very question. To her credit she didn’t look scared about my sudden and unasked for true confession wrapped in an inquiry and gave it some serious thought.

Her three-word response was “self-checkout lanes.” Could that be it? Had the efficiency of checking ourselves out upped the irritable factor as we were forced to wait in line for a human to do what we’re totally capable of doing ourselves?

I will share that, at first, I wasn’t a fan of self-checkout. It seemed like another chipping away of customer service. But it didn’t take long for me to get on the self-checkout band wagon. It was so fast, and I got to bag my groceries just how I liked them. Even better no chit-chat with the checker.

It’s not like I don’t like chit-chat (see the former paragraph where I divulged my love of talking to strangers). It’s that I don’t like comments about my grocery purchases. Hello, Trader Joes and your super skinny cashier that made a sarcastic comment about me buying waffles and maple syrup at 7 pm and asking if “that’s what I’m calling dinner?” Because my answer is yes that was my dinner and it was delicious.

My new “friend” standing in line with me soon began to open up sharing that Sam’s had ruined her in regards to checkout experiences because at Sam’s you just use your phone to checkout. You don’t even stand in line. When she told me this, I got goose bumps. I was that excited.

But not so excited I wasn’t doing a mental overhaul of the Rack and it’s three open checkout stations. They used to have a separate stand for people just using credit cards but when I first walked over there the cashier told me his “devices weren’t working” which I think is code for they need to be charged. Also, why isn’t there a separate area for returns only? I was timing it and the average return was taking seven minutes or more and sadly most of the people in line were returning. Where was the love for the person buying?

That got me all riled up again requiring more deep breathing leading me to the conclusion that I was perhaps not even a self-checkout girl but worse – a dedicated on-line shopper. I’m afraid once you can buy 36 rolls of Charmin 3 ply on-line and get free next day delivery it changes you – forever.

 

 

Not So Magical – Part 2

6359369You know your day at the Magic Kingdom has changed course considerably when your main concern is seeking air-conditioned shelter. It’s no longer about the rides instead your focus is on which activities you can pursue that will result in AC blasting you in the face. This is why the Hall of Presidents became my refuge. It’s an attraction modeled after Independence Hall in Philadelphia that features all 43 presidents in “Audio-Animatronics form” which is Disney speak for robots.

Those Commander-In-Chief droids must require a muy refrigerated environment because the Hall of Presidents was the coolest place in the park. I could, at max, go on three rides before I had to get back to the Hall for a cool down. I found an AC vent in the rotunda, that if you stood at a 90-degree angle, you could get a rush of cold air up your shorts. It was like oxygen for someone climbing Mt. Everest.

The only problem was my daughter was getting crabby about my need for an AC refresh. She also complained about the time we were wasting having to constantly go back to the Hall of Presidents. This necessitated me finding another chill zone. It wasn’t quite as cold as the Hall of Presidents, but it got the job done. It also had much better people watching.

It was a Fantasy Land gift shop located right next to the Cinderella Castle where little girls could for the bargain price of $199 could go to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and get the full princess treatment. This means hair and make up done and the Disney character gown of their choice.

The mothers coming out of the Boutique, with their coiffured tots in tow, were their own cast of characters. The most tragic was the Sobbing MOP (Mom Of a Princess.) These are the teary eyed mothers dragging a crying princess out of the boutique. The child was usually having a melt down because her “hair hurt.” Otherwise known as bun head burn.

Each princess got a bun and a crown and let me tell you those buns were pulled back tight enough to withstand the G force of Space Mountain. I got why both the child and the mom were bawling. If I had just dropped $200 on a “Princess Experience” and it resulted in my daughter going full royal tantrum I’d need a Kleenex too.

Once the sun had set I was able to significantly limit my AC visits. It’s not that it was that much cooler. I still felt like I was wearing a Grizzly pelt lined with polar fleece and dunked in Icy Hot, but at least I wasn’t getting a solar bitch slapping. I had hoped that after the 10 p.m. fireworks families would start to clear out of the park. I mean, really who would stay till 1 a.m. if you had small children or even an infant? Everyone, is the answer to that question.

The state song of Florida has to be children crying to the tune of It’s a Small World After All because that melody followed me throughout Disney World and it got cranked up every night. You had parents, who had to know better, waking up babies and toddlers to put then on rides. I swear after 11 p.m. Fantasy Land was the Trail of Tears.

To escape the screaming my daughter and I fled to Adventure Land to set sail on the Jungle Cruise. We thought we were safe from unhappy children until a dad boarded our boat with a preschooler who was afraid of water. The poor kid howled. The dad announced that he was just going to let the kid “cry it out.” I gave my daughter the look that said make a run for it and we got off that boat faster than you can say “God Help Us All.”

After that our strategy was to stay in Frontier Land unitl the park closed at 1 a.m. That way we could ride the Splash Mountain log plume, get wet and then blow dry while riding the Thunder Mountain rollercoaster. This was a great plan and upping the fun factor was standing in line with people who didn’t want to get wet.

There are signs posted all along the line stating that you will get wet. When you step into the log it is wet and people getting off the ride are drenched. Yet, there are still people angry, confused and dumbfounded after the ride is over, that they were baptized in Lake Disney. To make matters worse these are the people who usually want to sit in the front log, known in theme park terminology as the super soaker. Who out there doesn’t know the front log takes the biggest direct hit? It’s simple physics – force x mass x person at the front of a log ride = 100% chance your clothes will be soppy wet. I think another Disney improvement would be IQ tests for certain rides. It would certainly thin the theme park herd.

But no matter the tears, the heat, the idiot quotient I did it. I crossed the finish line of 17 hours at the Magic Kingdom. Where’s that T-shirt at the gift shop?

**For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good. Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival. If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you.

To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

 

 

 

 

Vacation Quid Pro Quo

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Dear Snarky,

Last month my son went with his best friend’s family to Disney World. I paid for my son’s airfare and all his Disney expenses including food. I even gave the family $200 to cover any trip incidentals. Since they got back the mom of my son’s best friend has been hinting how much her son would L-O-V-E to go to the beach with our family in two weeks. She’s done everything but outright ask if her son can go with us on our vacation. My issue is I have three kids and I really don’t want a fourth one tagging along. Also, we only booked one hotel room for a family of 5. That’s already kind of tight. I’m I now obligated to bring her son? Help!

Signed, Vacation Mama

Dear Vacation Mama,

The simple answer is you are in no way required to practice any sort of vacation quid pro quo. You covered your reciprocal bases by paying all the expenses for your son’s Disney trip. The bad news is you’re going to have to now put on your big girl panties and tell the mom who keeps on dropping suitcase size hints about her son hitching a ride on your vacay that it’s not going to happen. Blame it on the one hotel room (I mean really you could be exceeding the fire code or at the very least hotel occupancy rules) or simply tell her the truth – your 3 kids is the max you can handle. Anything else might send you right over the edge into Crazy Town. You also might want to throw in that there is the very real possibility that her son could be so scarred from the experience of an extended stay with your family he may require prolonged mental health therapy. Any mom should be able to understand that. Oh and the next time that mom asks if your son can go anywhere with them outside the city limits say a big “No Thank You”.

 

Disney World Tips No One Else Will Tell You

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Let’s set some ground rules before I begin.  First, for all you Disney worshippers out there please do not send me e-mails telling me I’m depraved, not worthy of breathing and mentally unsound and soul less to write anything less than glowing about the Disney experience. Because I love Disney and all of it’s worlds.  Really, I do.

Whatever drug, hypnosis therapy or electro shock they’re giving their “cast members” bring it on Mickey. It needs to be shared because it must be exceptional stuff. All things Disney are great, including the Disney people. They’re like a combination of Stepford Wives and the robots in the movie Westworld before they got all freaky. The only thing not so great – the non cast members at the parks.

That’s the problem – Disney World would be perfect if it weren’t for the other huddled masses you have to share it with. Note I did not say Disney World was magical. If it were magical it would be free, uncrowded, blessed with a less humidity challenged climate and I would look, at the very least, 10 years younger and 20 pounds thinner as I climb aboard the Dumbo ride.

So, before I start let’s all agree Disney World – good, non Disney people – at best annoying and I know this is going to be hard for some of you, but take a deep breath – Disney parks not 100% magical.

I’m not a novice to the Disney Parks. I’ve enjoyed many a trip to Disney Land and Disney World.  Not even Hurricane Ivan could keep me from visiting the park in 2004.  Nothing says Disney fan like being hunkered down in the basement of a Orlando Marriott amid a sea of 3 legged ballroom chairs, scarred end tables and really, really, bad artwork to ride out the storm.

The good news  – it kept the crowds down. The bad news – worst humidity ever. So, based on my vast Disney knowledge here are some of my tips to making the most of your trip to Disney World.

Lower your expectations: To be fair, “Lower Your Expectations” is my family motto along with “Plan for the worst, hope for the best.” Both of these will come in handy as your Disney World mantra. Let’s begin with your park arrival.

I suggest staring with the classic Magic Kingdom. It’s here that you will see all that Walt Disney first envisioned.  Unfortunately it’s also where you’ll see the screaming armada of parents, grandparents and fussy children already hitting the wall. Yes, the park has just opened and already people are unhappy. It seems so unfair and so un-Disney. Just like there are no tears in baseball, you would think there would be no tears at a Disney Park (excluding tears of joy, of course).

The hard reality is that even at Disney World people still get cranky as hell.  My theories for this abound. My top two are: you are paying more than your first car cost to go to Disney World and that’s just for your Park Hopper passes and secondly too much pressure. You’ve planned for this, saved for it, used it as a parenting bribe (i.e.:  “If you three kids keep this up there goes your trip to Disney) and no vacation can live up to the hype. It’s like losing your virginity. You planned for it, you saved it, used it as a boyfriend bribe and then when the big day comes your like – really, that was it?

Pack extra underwear: Now, you might be thinking this is because the rides are so exciting you could wet yourself. This, my friend, is not the reason. You’ll need that extra underwear due to the Florida weather.  There I was standing in line for Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom and the unthinkable happened – my underwear was soaking wet. I’m talking I. P. Freely wet.

One of my worst fears had come true. I had peed myself in public. Urinary incontinence was now a part of my life.  Depends here I come and FYI adult diapers aren’t cheap. I excuse myself from the line and leave my kids and husband to scale Everest without me. I jog to the ladies room. My wet underwear is slapping against my backside as I run, making a mocking kind of whap-a-slap sound. It’s as if my underwear is singing, “ha, ha, you peed yourself, you peed yourself.”

By this time I’m also experiencing some serious chaffing. I hope Depends comes with a baby power lining or else I’m going to have to purchase adult diapers and diaper rash medication. Although, the smell of Desitin brings back good memories of adorable babies I don’t want to have to rub it on my own backside. Can you say mortifying?  I go into the stall to investigate and I’m relieved to learn that I haven’t wet myself. I’ve sweated myself. That’s right – sweated, perspired, and as my mom says “dewed” all over myself.

The debilitating Florida humidity had turned my body into a swampy mess. It looks like all my sweat rolled down my back, forming an Amazon river of perspiration that journeyed along my backbone, then used my butt crack as a conduit, a tributary, if you will, for conducting all the dampness to my crotch, which I guess in the whole river analogy thing, became an ocean of moisture. No matter how it happened I had to get, somewhat, dry fast. I could not spend the rest of the day and night in soaked underwear. Never mind how gross it felt it was deplorable hygiene.

Two words, ladies – yeast infection. So, I did what all of you would have done. I took off my capri’s, took off my underwear, put my capri’s back on, peered out of the stall until the coast was clear, then went to the sink, scrubbed those undies, stuck them under the hand dryer until they were good and dry, (yes, people did come into the restroom and saw my undies blowing under the dryer and yes, I felt shame and embarrassment) went back into the stall, took off my capri’s, put my dry underwear back on, put my capri’s back on, left the stall, washed my hands and went to catch back up my family. Now, think how much easier all that would have been if someone, somewhere in all the guidebooks out there had told me to bring extra underwear to the Disney Parks. You are all welcome.

People to watch out for: Being on the alert for these people will make your Disney World trip much more enjoyable.

Princess Stalkers: These are the parents (more moms than dads) that will run you over, trip you, shove your toddler to the curb, push your stroller off to the side and give you a hard elbow in the ribs or a karate chop to the neck to catch up with, get to or cut in line so their darling child can have the chance for a photo op and/or an autograph with a Disney Princess.

(WARNING – I have it on good authority that the princesses from the newest Disney movie Frozen are creating a blizzard of bad behavior from parents. Including a throw down between two dads about who was first in line to get their kid’s picture taken with Princess Anna.)

In my keen observations these parents aren’t here for the Disney experience they’re here to fill up their child’s Disney autograph book with faux princess signatures. These parents literally chase the princesses from one venue to the next.

Distinguishing characteristics of these parents are:  Ability to yell – Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White repeatedly and with gusto. Excellent at grabbing their child by the arm and towing them behind them at high rate of speed without dislocating said child’s arm from their socket while in hot pursuit of princesses. Stellar at exhibiting no shame as they “accidently” step on Ariel’s fin causing the princess to trip into their child and thus securing autograph.

Parade Parents:  If at all possible avoid the parade parents. They are easy to identify. They’re the ones camped out on the parade route, bonding their backside to hard, hot concrete three hours before the parade is set to begin. Do not go anywhere near their perch. Parade Parents protect their sacred little piece of parade watching Disney real estate like it’s their sovereign property.

Beware if you find yourself commingled with these people right before the parade starts. They will aggressively defend their turf. If your child accidentally sits on “their” part of sidewalk, scoop your kid up, keep your head down to avoid eye contact and quickly back away to safer, higher ground to steer clear of a very un-Disney like confrontation.

The Tears R Us Team:  Why, oh why do some parents make their children get on rides the kids have no interest in experiencing. I know that deep psychological damage is being done to children when their parents torture them – forcing them into a roller coaster seats as they kick, wail and flail in terror and then strapping them down and buckling them up all while the children sob. The screams reach migraine inducing frequency as the coaster revs and takes off. I’m pretty sure that kind of parenting sets off a complex series of serial killer brain cells in each kid’s head.

To avoid witnessing this scene and therefore avoid you opening your mouth to tell the parents what a colossal piece of crap they are (Yes, I’ve done that, but I did use better vocabulary) here is what you need to do.  Steer clear of any parent you hear using the phases: You’re being a big baby, don’t be a such baby, or any variation of. Immediately vacate your place in line if you hear a parent offering to a pay their fear-stricken child to ride the roller coaster. You know that will not end well.

Kodak Moments – Doubtful. If there ever was a place where you think you’ll walk away with wonderful happy family photos it’s Disney World. After all, as you walk through the parks they have clearly marked just where you should take those happy family pictures.

Here’s why you’ll get home without those one-of-kind photos. No one looks good at Disney World. Humidity cancels out any photogenic quality any of your family members possess. Even the Disney Princesses are having a bad hair day and they’re wearing synthetic wigs.

To exacerbate the problem no one wants to stop and have their pictures taken until after you’ve been at the park for a few hours. That means any photo you’ll take will feature sweat stained family members with their clothes and hair plaster to their bodies. Do I need to mention that humidity adds pounds? Yes, the moisture literally weighs you down.

So, you the mom, who has done all the heavy lifting planning the trip will look horrendous in any and all pictures. Totally unfair and dare I say, unmagical.

God forbid, that you want to take a photo at Disney World to use as your family’s Christmas Card. Talk about pressure. My sole advice is to take it first thing in the morning and you, mom, use plenty of hairspray.  The downside to using hairspray, in what once was Florida swamp land, is that it’s a mosquito aphrodisiac and they’ll be your constant, horny companion the whole day. To get good Disney pictures may I suggest going to Disney Land. The Southern California climate is much more conducive to snagging that all elusive Kodak moment.

I hope this few tips will make your trip to Disney World more enjoyable.  As you proudly enter the park armed with lower expectations and fresh underwear in your backpack, ready to quickly snap your family photo and on high alert (level orange) for people who could negatively impact your Disney adventure remember who you have to thank. Me.