Sandie Simply Says

June 30, 2009

RTT: The Disney Version

Filed under: General — by Sandie @ 5:00 am


Yesterday sucked. Not because of any one thing in particular, it just sucked. Mostly because it was my first day back at work after a week off of work. It’s probably a good thing I have 3 years left until I can retire because I soooo would have dropped my retirement papers yesterday if I could. Thank goodness this is a short week!

We had a blast last week at Disney. Thanks, in part, to Jen’s Disney Survival Guide. The part about the snacks was the best tip! Though on day 3 we went a bit further and packed our whole lunch! The logistics of getting our brood back to the hotel for lunch was too daunting and the kids napped better in the stroller than they would have in the room.

Some things I would add to the survival guide:

  • If you can swing it, go during the non peak season. It’s not as crowded (so I’m told) and it’s not as hot (this I know for a fact). Florida summers can be brutal.
  • If you go to Wal-Mart the day before and see the cute Disney-themed ponchos hanging nicely at the end of the aisle. Buy them. Especially if you go in the summer because you will almost be guaranteed at least one downpour during your trip and the ponchos at Wal-Mart are about half the price of the ones in the park (which I can almost guarantee you’ll buy if you don’t have them already…the rides don’t shut down unless there is lightening and you’ll get tired of cowering in the crowded gift shops waiting for the rain to stop).
  • While you’re at said Wal-Mart, buy the mister fan. Sure, $6 seems like a lot of money, but it beats the $15 they charge for nearly the same thing in the park. Just make sure you fill them with ice water before you leave your hotel.
  • Speaking of Walmarts…stay away from the one on Vineland Rd. They were crowded (even at midnight!) and their shelves were woefully understocked (they didn’t even have mustard one night…not one single variety of regular yellow mustard was to be found on their shelves!). There’s another one just a few miles away. We didn’t go there, but I’m assuming it HAS to be better there!
  • Try to figure out the bus schedule early on. And make sure you know what busses you can catch to where from which park. We spent a good deal of time waiting on busses or sitting on a bus because it took us awhile to figure out the best way to go about getting from one place to another (things were futher complicated for us: We stayed at the Treehouse Villas and there is no direct transportation from the Treehouses to the parks…we had to first catch a bus to Saratoga Springs and THEN get on a bus to the parks).
  • If you plan to do any Character Dining, make sure you call as soon as they’ll let you to make the reservations. Our dining experiences turned out to be great, but I could have done without the 0730 show time for Chef Mickeys!”
  • While it doesn’t seem like it, there is a HUGE difference between 99* and 92* in Florida. We were practically melting on day 1 because of the 99* temps, but were only moderately uncomfortable on day 4 in the 92* temps.

    The Photopass is quite possibly the best invention ever! We had about 600 pictures of our group when all was said and done. And since I was the one weilding the camera, the ONLY pictures I was in are the ones on our Photopass (taken graciously by Disney photographers…they did take pictures with my camera, but the best shots were with their own camera).

    Thankfully, the weather cooperated for most of our trip. It only rained on day 1 (Tuesday) and day 4 (Friday). Yahoo!

    And this thought isn’t necessarily Disney related, but it happened on our trip, so I’m going to include it. 🙂 People can be strange sometimes. On our second trip to Walmart (it’s amazing the amount of bread 10 people can go through in 2 days!), we got in line behind a couple just getting a few things. We *thought* we were getting in the quicker line (yeah, right!). Everything was moving smoothly until the girl rang up the Triscuits and we hear “Those Triscuits should be $2.” And since Walmart has taken away virtually every “power” a cashier once had, she has to call over the Customer Service Manager (or CSM). The CSM looks at the receipt (as if the couple is lying about the box ringing up at a different price) and instead of just saying, “OK, we’ll give it to you at that price,” she says, “Let me go see how much it is.” So we wait. And while we wait, the man’s wife/girlfriend/whatever starts railing at the cashier about how she can’t believe they are holding up the line over a $1 (yes folks, this whole 5 minute debacle was over ONE STINKING DOLLAR). The lady just went on and on about how it’s only a dollar and they should just fix the price and this happens to them every time and I’m thinking, “You know, lady, this works both ways! You could easily just pay $2.98 for your box of Triscuits OR just leave the stinking Triscuits at the store, but NO. You need to make a scene because the damn box of Triscuits rings up at $2.98 instead of $2. And if this happens ‘every time’ as you claim, maybe you should seek out one of those price scanner thingies to see what it scans as and you can warn the cashier at the BEGINNING of your transaction instead of at the end.” And did I mention this happened at midnight? After a long day at the parks?

    After that last tirade I leave you with this:


    Want more randomness? Visit Keely over at The Unmom. She’s the queen of all things random!


    June 29, 2009

    Wow? Has it really been that long??

    Filed under: General — by Sandie @ 5:47 pm

    It’s been a little over two weeks since I’ve blogged. It doesn’t seem like that long…actually it feels longer. I’ve basically been without internet service since Jun 12th! Well, I had it at work, however I can’t blog from work. 😦

    In the last two weeks, we’ve managed to move out of our lovely 3 bedroom house and into a not-so-lovely-but-it’ll-do 3 bedroom townhouse. We close on the house tomorrow morning…yikes! So, in the process of moving, I had to turn off the cable at the house and turn it on at the apartment. I called the guy on the 12th and said he could turn it off that day…that was before he told me they couldn’t turn it on at the house until the following Friday!!!!!

    The following Friday, we get our cable (and internet!) connected and working, BUT that also happens to be the same day that my mom and friend flew in for our vow renewal/vacation. On the 20th, we renewed our vows (I’ll post about that some other day). On the 21st, I made everyone go over to the old house so we could remove some more of the crap we had there (we made no less than 5 trips to Goodwill just cleaning out the attic!). On the 21st, we headed to Disney (more on that later). They had internet access there…however I was not spending $10 a day on it. Besides, I was having much too fun to even think about my computer that week!

    So, now I’m back! The next six weeks promise to be just as busy, so I’m sure my posts will be spotty, at best.

    June 6, 2009

    Spin Cycle: Summer’s Here!

    Filed under: General — by Sandie @ 7:00 am

    This week’s Spin Cycle (brought to you by Jen at assignment is all about Summer Vacation.

    For some reason, the minute I read the topic for this week’s spin, this song popped into my head (and since I can’t get it out of my head, I thought I’d share it with you so it can be stuck in yours too! You’re welcome!):

    “They” say with the economy being in the crapper lately, more people are not taking vacations. This is good news for me. I’m in a pretty recession proof job. Actually, I’m not sure a recession has EVER affected the military…at least not in the form of layoffs. And everyone is offering smoking deals on travel to entice everyone to do it.

    This year, for the first time in a very long time, Disney is offering free tickets to military members. And not just any tickets: these are 5-day Park Hoppers with the Water Parks ‘n More add on. AND they gave us the opportunity to buy up to five additional tickets for $150 each (just for giggles, I looked these tickets up and they’re normally around $400). AND they were offering discounts of up to 40% off on-park hotels.

    This deal was just way too good to pass up! So, we started making our plans. Originally, we planned on just taking our family (all 7 of us!), but then I thought it would be neat to invite my parents (they’re both retired military, so they were also eligible for free tickets). So, I called my mom and they decided to go with us. Then I was talking with an old friend of mine (and I don’t mean she’s old as in age old, old as in I’ve known her longer than I’ve known anyone I’m not related to…and that’s saying a lot for a military brat!) and the subject of Disney came up, so I invited her along too.

    Just in case math is not your forte, I’ll do the math for you: 7 (my family) + 2 (my parents) +1 (my friend) = 10!! Yikes! That’s a freaking tribe!

    We originally booked a couple rooms at one of the Disney All Star resorts. Then the logistics just became too much (two of the kids would have had to share a room with my parents. My dad *said* it was OK, but I know they would have driven him batty by the end of the week!). So Tony called Disney to find out what other options we had. While he was on the phone with the agent, one of the Treehouse Villas opened up (literally, it was while they were talking). These villas JUST opened on 1 Jun, so we’ll be the 2d or 3d family EVER to stay in our villa.

    And the pictures of the place look fabulous (you can see them here).

    I’m getting so excited! A little over two weeks to go!!!

    June 5, 2009

    Spin Cyle: I love you!

    Filed under: Spin,Step Life — by Sandie @ 9:31 pm
    Tags: ,

    I’m late with this week’s Spin Cycle, which really doesn’t matter since I haven’t participated in weeks! I keep telling myself, THIS is the week I’ll get back on track with my blogging. And then Facebook life gets in the way and my blog falls to the wayside. I’d already made up my mind that I wasn’t going to participate in this week’s spin and would just jump in next week. Then I read Jen’s spin (scroll down to the second story in her post) and I decided I wanted to share MY “I love you” story.

    My older two daughters (Ashley and Amanda) are not “my” daughters. That is, I didn’t give birth to them. They don’t even live in my house, unless you count the 6-8 weeks they visit in the summer and the week at Christmas as “live.” They are Tony’s daughters from his first marriage, but I still consider them “mine.” My friend Tina actually sums it up best: they are the daughters of my heart.

    I met “the girls” (as we’ve always called them. Even when we say “the girls” now, we know we’re referring to Ashley and Amanda, even though we’ve added three more girls to our family (and for those counting, yes, we really have FIVE girls and no, we’re NOT paying for any weddings!)) when they were 5 and 6. Tony talked about them so much, I felt like I knew them before we ever met. It was pretty much love at first sight for me. I’m sure they were just wondering who this strange chick that didn’t even speak Spanish was (true story: I was pretty much the first person they remember meeting who did not speak Spanish fluently).

    The girls and I got along well from the beginning. That’s not saying we haven’t had our problems. I think ALL families go through various growing pains, but everything seems to be heightened when you have a blended family (especially when third parties (bio mothers and maternal grandmothers in our case) have issues with the new blended family…or more specifically, me. To this day I have no idea what she had against me back then, other than I shattered her dream of the two of them getting back together). While the girls liked me, and probably even loved me, their loyalty was with their mom. For the longest time, I wouldn’t even talk with them on the phone for fear of upsetting their mother.

    As the years have gone by, their mother has become more accepting of me in her daughters’ lives (she even created one of those “Mother of the Year” videos for me that went around last Mother’s Day). As she’s become more accepting the girls have become more open with me. And I was finally able to chat on the phone with them without fear of their mother flipping out.

    When I did talk with the girls on the phone, I always ended with “I love you” which was met with a hurried “Good bye” from which ever girl was on the phone. Until one day about three years ago. I was chatting with Ashley about something teenager-ish and was getting ready to hand the phone back to her dad. I said my customary “I love you” and this time was greeted with “I love you, too!”

    What? I had to play the words over again in my head. Yep, she really DID say “I love you!” Strange as it may be, I was more elated by this “I love you” than I have been by any other before or since (it took Amanda a little longer before she said it to me, but now she regularly does too). It was like all the heart ache and tears I’d felt all those years melted away with those three simple words. Suddenly, everything was worth it.

    I was walking on air for a good week after that phone call (the next time Ashley made me that happy was when she wished me Happy Mother’s Day out of the blue one year. Up until that point, I had not ever been acknowledged by either girl for Mother’s Day (not that I was looking for it, I mean, they HAVE a mother, so it never really bothered me. Didn’t stop me from turning cartwheels when she DID though)).

    June 2, 2009

    Thank Goodness It’s Tuesday!

    Filed under: General — by Sandie @ 5:00 am

    Or what would I do with all these random thoughts running around my head?  Not enough random here?  Visit Keely and she’ll hook you up with more! (Just tell her I sent you so I can get my referral bonus! (What? There’s no referral bonus?  Damn! I’ve been duped again!  (Just kidding…Keely never promised me a referral bonus. (I just love parenthesis, don’t you?))))

    I watched “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here” last night.  After scratching my head wondering who the heck some of the contestants are, I think the show should be “I THINK I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here.”  Is Sanjaya really considered a celebrity?  How about Rod Blagojevich’s wife?  I was saddened to see that Lou Diamond Phillips has sunk to doing reality TV.  La Bamba has always been one of my favorite movies. 

    The funniest part of the show had to be Mrs. Blago proclaiming her husband’s innocence to everyone in the camp.  Well, that and Spencer Pratt telling her he would have voted for Blago for president and then Heidi Montag saying a prayer for her (don’t know who they are?  Obviously, you haven’t been keeping up with your MTV! Sadly, I knew who they were, but not because I’ve ever watched their show…I used to listen to a show on XM Radio & they talked pretty much nonstop about Speidi (and yes, I’m embarrassed to say I even know the “cutesy” nickname they’ve been given by the entertainment stalkers reporters.))

    I think 2 weeks of keeping our house in pristine condition took it’s toll on us. Our house has been under contract for a week and we’ve completely let it go to hell. OK, not completely, but it’s definitely not ready to be shown! At least our living room looks semi-presentable. Our kitchen is a wreck and we won’t even talk about Angelina & Amber’s room! (That room is a never ending battle though…they tear it up quicker than we can clean it!).

    Speaking of our house…the termite and home inspector come today. I’m 99.9% certain they won’t find termites (and if they do, our pest control company will take care of that). I am nervous about what else they might find. We stupidly didn’t get inspections when we moved into the house (based on the advice of our Realtor that we probably should not have taken) and I’ve worried ever since that there’s something wrong with the house. It was new construction, but there has been evidence of shoddy work in some areas of our house and I’m worried about what we can’t see. If you can, think good “perfect home inspection” thoughts for us between 8 and 11 am EDT.

    One of my WW co-workers pissed me off yesterday. It wasn’t so much what she did (find a replacement for me in one of her meetings…the actual replacement won’t happen until I’m ready to leave the meeting though), but the way she went about it. There were two potential candidates to take my place and she e-mailed our manager asking if the one with less seniority could have it. I don’t mind that she did that as I think a leader should have some input as to who is on her team. BUT she also deliberately misled our manager into thinking there was another meeting the other girl could go into (granted our manager should know who is in what meeting, but I don’t blame her for getting confused. She manages 150+ employees over a huge area (her territory covers the SE portion of Georgia…from Atlanta to the GA/FL border!) and a TON of meetings…I think I can cut her some slack if she doesn’t remember every receptionist for every meeting in her territory!). I’m also ticked that words were put into my mouth and that she did everything behind my back (it was something she normally would have cc’d me on, so I have no doubt it was a deliberate slight).

    Over the weekend I was trying to think about the things I won’t miss from here. I didn’t come up with anything then, but was reminded of one yesterday when I came home from work: the neighbor kid! I came home from work yesterday, walked across the house and into my room to take off my uniform when he rings the doorbell. I’m half naked at this point, so I figure he can wait a bit. He waited about 30 seconds and then starts ringing the bell again. Repeatedly. Over and over and over again. By the time I got around to seeing who was at the front door, he was gone. Such a shame.

    My younger two children have become adept at using the words “dammit” and “shit.” It wouldn’t be so bad, except the pick the most inopportune times to show us just how well they can use these words. It’s never at home. It’s ALWAYS when we’re out in public. And almost exclusively in a busy area where there are plenty of people to judge us for being bad parents witnesses.

    We took Angelina out to lunch the other day (we figured it was the least we could do since we were also taking her to the dentist to be tortured get two cavities filled).

    Out of the blue, she says, “Daddy, Mommy hit your truck!” (This is a true statement, I did hit his truck, but it was MONTHS ago)

    Me: When did I hit Dad’s truck?
    Her: When you were a bad driver!
    Me: I was a bad driver?
    Her: Yep! I’m not going to be as a bad a driver as you!

    Tony then dared me to post this conversation for y’all to read. (If you’re reading, honey, there you go!)

    June 1, 2009

    Shh!! Don’t tell anyone I’m here!

    Filed under: General — by Sandie @ 10:03 pm

    It’s been awhile since I’ve been an active participant in HASAY.

    I started out strong. Lot’s of energy. Plenty of motiviation. I had some initial successes. Then I started to relax a bit, but I wasn’t worried because I was at least maintaining.

    Then came March. What happened in March? Well, first it was this and then this. Somewhere along the way, I threw HASAY completely out the window and ate my emotions for an entire month.

    And then I went on vacation in April. To Texas. Or as I like to call it “The Land of the Real Tortillas!”

    And then I just said to hell with everything and ate like there was no tomorrow. I think I half heartedly triied to get back on the wagon during that time, but it didn’t work.

    So, today I post. About 10 pounds heavier than my last HASAY post. I’m also a mere 5 pounds away from the weight I was when I first walked into a Weight Watchers meeting.


    I started couting points again over the weekend. I’m staying determined. Even passed up the cake my co-worker generously brought to me.

    I have about 15 pounds to lose now. And I’m quietly sneaking back into HASAY.

    Shh! Don’t tell anyone! They may not have noticed I was gone!

    Want to learn more about HASAY? Click on that adorable, chubby baby over there —>
    Casey will hook you right up!

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