This is not a sad story.
It is not a story of loss and renewal. If it was, then this would be the Battle for my Wallet: Been There, Done That.
Which we have.
This will not make you numb. Still, the story of our trip began with the loss of our dog, our friend. I felt a lot of guilt after Stafford died. I just had not spent as much time playing with him in the last few years as I wished I had. Had not taken him on enough big boy rides. It was the consequence of being too busy. And by saying yes to some things, I necessarily said no to others. Like playing with Stafford.
In the days right after he left us, I wrestled with a lot of things. But mainly I felt bad I hadn’t played with him enough. I realized I could never have that back. And I had not spent enough time making him happy. Not lately. I'd been too busy making money, building my practice, chasing other things. How many times did he want me to throw a stick? Roughhouse with him? Put him in the Jeep and take off to the store. To anywhere. I didn't give him enough time because I didn’t have enough time and anyway I thought there'd be more time. And then one day there wasn't anymore. Time. And on one ironically sunny day, he left me. Missing him terribly.
In the week after he died, I filled in the holes in the backyard, put bark dust over where he used to play, but I can still see him there. I don’t know why I thought changing the landscape would change the movie in my mind. The memories of a dog I loved so much.
I look at my back yard and I see him there and I vow not to make that mistake again. It's too late to give him my time. But it's not too late with my wife and the girls. There will be time enough for other things but there will never be another day like today and I want this day with my family.
We need fun time, and because a Disney vacation is six months before and six months after, and because we all have fun there, it IS worth the money. For us. Maybe one day I'll be poor again and we won't be able to take an annual vacation. If that happens, we’ll find other ways to have fun. But I'm not going to worry about what ifs. I'm going to enjoy this day with my wife and daughters. If one of them leaves me first, I am not going to feel guilty that I hadn't been there enough.
And because my mom and dad are getting on in years and because they live in Florida, we'll go to WDW and see them. I want to make sure I get to love them and love on them. It's cliché, but nevertheless true: we can't change yesterday; we can't undo lost time. But we CAN in the power of the Holy Spirit, change how we walk out today. I want to be a man who blesses my wife and daughters. And because my family LOVES us some fun times in Disney World, I'll work hard and save my money for that.
I’ve come back to this again and again. I’d get annoyed by how much money we spend on vacation. Think we should find something else to do. Something better. But the plain and simple fact is, we like Disney World. We like it because we KNOW it. We know how to plan for it, what to do there, when to go, where to eat. And even though we yearn to add some new wrinkle, maybe stay at a different resort, it's still the same basic package. There are a host of other reasons too. But it's the familiar thing. And there’s a lot to be said for the familiar.
I've stopped fighting it. I've been at war with it in my head for several years now. I may have even written about it a time or six. Feeling like I spend WAY too much money on a week's vacation. And the experience is always a mixed bag. Great rides, great food, great shows v. unclean rooms, smelly tourists, slow Monorails, broken rides, refurb walls, etc. But. We love it. The six months before. The entire trip. The six months after. It's who we are. The point here? I stopped raging against what I couldn't change. And with Disney World, I'm no longer trying to find another way or another place. We like it. I don't know how long we will, but as long as we do, as long as my family has fun in the planning, the partying and the post-game, I'm not changing our destination. Could that money be better spent? No. Yes, it could be appropriated elsewhere. I could find places to spend that money, or put it in the bank even. But it wouldn't be better spent. We don't NEED anything as much as we NEED a fun vacation to look forward to and enjoy. Turns out, we need to make time to go play. And I'm not apologizing for it anymore.
But like I said, this is not a sad story. Not an introspective one either. This is just why we headed to Walt Disney World again instead of Disneyland where we vacationed last summer. Context is key.
So is having an emergency bathroom staked out at your hotel in the event two of you “need” the facilities at the same time. But I’m really getting ahead of myself.
Foreshadowing a poop cramp? Oh yes I did. This is, after all a ZZUB trip report.
Our August trip to Disney World was filled with the kinds of things that makes the ZZUBs the ZZUBs. So if you don’t have the stomach for another one of these, then take your Prilosec, because the Battle for my Wallet VII is on. Some highlights you can expect to read about:
A room so filthy, you’ll vomit just reading about it. The room credit and VIP cleaning (whatever the heck that is) we received because of it;
The surprise which came at the outset of our trip and how that has affected all trips which will come later;
What the Contemporary Resort looks like at 5:00 in the am;
Bird poop or cigarette butts; does it really matter?
ZZUBY losing a croc to the escalator in the CR (and darn near losing a toe);
My morning long search for our bag of ponchos and sitting on hold with lost and found for 23 minutes;
ZZUBY losing her camera then finding it again, deleting her pictures and then getting them restored!
Me leaving my camera behind but not even fretting none about it;
The moment Mrs. Z said, "Disney ZZUB has arrived;”
The moment Mrs. Z said, "It's time to go, ZZUB’s getting raged up," and what prompted her to say that;
That it took MUCH longer than usual for the rage to show up;
What “MaLouba” is and where you can find it;
To whom I said, "Do you really want to argue with me over whether that's a bar?!"
The Monorail Incident that caused us to miss most of the morning extra magic hour at MK and why it didn’t provoke a rage in me;
My first altercation with people from a southern continent which caused me to exclaim, "You go ahead of us, that way you can't bump into us again;"
My second altercation with people from a southern continent, "Excuse me! You've rammed into us for the last time. Now all of you either get in front of us or behind us, but you are NOT going to keep pushing into us. You got THAT?!"
What caused me to say to a cast member at Pirates, "I can't take a picture here? Right here?! I really can't take a picture HERE?"
The reason I asked the front desk manager, Joey, to "do me a solid;"
What the solid was I asked for and received;
Why I channeled Mr. LaLa on Mainstreet, USA;
Why we still LOVE Electric Umbrella;
What our first, second and third favorite meals were;
Why I NEVER ate a funnel cake, despite the fact, they now sell funnel cakes EVERYWHERE;
Why a CM told me I had "good energy," and why I thought it was a compliment;
Who told me I had “good form;”
Where we spent our decompress day, what a decompress day is and why the place we stayed was perfect for what it was;
Disney food bingo;
Who "Mike" was and what he was doing in the fridge;
And what provoked me to tell a CM on the phone, "well then, this has been a colossal waste of time for everyone involved. You have a magical day!" And why we've created the Disney exception to the golden rule, "Treat others they way you want to be treated. Unless they've really pissed you off."