Hat on Top, Coat Below


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To All Who Come to This Happy Place

October 26, 2005

In the last ten days or so I have: had a motel reservation go missing, walked along the Pacific Ocean, been rained on in Southern California more than once, spent several days at Disneyland (DL) and Disney’s California Adventure (DCA), gotten sick with a chest cold, been to JournalCon, worried about Mr. Karen’s parents and friends in the path of Wilma, and discovered our house was vandalized while we were away. That’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started.

Most recent things first–Wilma news. As of last night, Dale and Joan are back at home after a short evacuation north and inland; they were not completely out of Wilma’s way but were not nearly as exposed as if they’d tried to ride it out in place. Fortunately, the storm was kind to them; their lanai is not so much screened-in anymore and some trees no longer stand where they once did, but it doesn’t look like any water got into the house. They already have their power back, too, which means that they can boil their water without making a campfire. That’s all good news. I’m hoping to get more soon from a couple of online friends in the Miami area that I haven’t yet been able to get in touch with.

Regarding the vandalism–it was dark when we got home Sunday night, and we were tired, and Mr. Karen backed the car into the driveway as the garage door went up, so it wasn’t until Monday morning when I was leaving for work that I saw the words “hoe” and “bitch” had been spray painted on the garage door in letters several feet high. What the hell? When I went back into the house to share this news with Mr. Karen, he asked if I had any idea who might have done it, and if I’d had any interactions recently that had gone badly. Um, no and no. He himself is the person I’m usually bitchiest to, and I sure didn’t think defacing the house was his style. I haven’t had any fights with friends or family members or coworkers or even casual acquaintances lately. Could I have inadvertently pissed off someone online? I couldn’t think of anyone, and wouldn’t a person smart enough to find out where I live know that it’s spelled “ho”? Later, Mr. Karen saw that the numbers on the front of our mailbox had also been painted over, and then he talked to a couple of the neighbors as well as the police and found out that over a dozen houses in the neighborhood had been similarly affected, so I wasn’t being specifically targeted. It was still a hassle to deal with, but I feel better knowing it wasn’t anything personal.

Continuing to work back in time, that brings us to JournalCon. I’m going to put that recap in a separate entry to follow this one just as soon as I can manage. Then people who only want to read about JournalCon can do that, and those of you who don’t care for the type of linkfest all my con entries seem to turn into can easily skip past it. The short take: I enjoyed it, though I would have had more fun if I hadn’t arrived both tired and sick and if I’d been able to stay for the whole thing.

Before JournalCon, there was vacation. I know, I just went on vacation, but that’s what happens when the fates conspire to schedule all the things I want to do in the same month. (And why did the Kirov Ballet have to pick JournalCon weekend to visit Detroit? Why? I would have loved to see them.) After Mr. decided to come with me to JournalCon, we decided that since were going all the way out to California, it just made sense to extend the trip so we could join in Disneyland’s 50th anniversary celebration. Thus our fall driving trip through the south (Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi) turned into a week in Southern California instead.

We flew out a week ago last Saturday around noon. I was finally able to get a picture of the decorated rocks by one of the security checkpoints at Detroit Metro; I’d noticed them before but there always seemed to be too many official eyes around for me to feel comfortable pulling out the camera. Usually I’m not in favor of graffiti (such as on my garage door), but these rocks really appeal to me, I think because they’re a rare personal touch in the impersonal airport space. The flight went fine; we were even able to see the Grand Canyon out of the window.

When we got to our hotel in Venice, I found that the hotel didn’t know we were coming. Curious. Fortunately I had my copy of the reservation showing I’d prepaid for the room, and eventually it got sorted out after the manager on duty called Travelocity and got them to fax over whatever document it was that was missing. We even got upgraded to a better view than I’d paid for to make up for the trouble (though not without a gentle scolding about how it’s always better to make one’s reservation directly with the hotel). We spent the rest of the day having a very tasty dinner (meatloaf made with chorizo–yum) and checking out the vendors and shops along Venice Beach (one had a roof dog) before watching the sun set into the ocean. We were up bright and early Sunday morning (thank you, three-hour time difference) to walk on the sand and watch the surfers before heading to Anaheim.

Yes, Anaheim, thus continuing our month of Disney. This trip, we chose to stay at the one Disneyland Resort hotel we hadn’t already tried: the Paradise Pier. Our room had a nice view of DCA across the street, though the weather was definitely not nice, what with the grey and the cold and the rainy. But that’s what ponchos are for, so we suited up and headed off the parks. Unlike our last visit, none of the attractions were down for rehab, not even California Screamin’, the big roller coaster at DCA that was listed as being down on the internet. The live events were a little sketchier due to the bad weather, though. Fantasmic was cancelled on Sunday, the only night during our trip it was scheduled to be performed. At least we hadn’t spent $47 a piece for the dessert buffet reserved seating.

It rained some more on Monday, but fortunately stopped before the fireworks–that show was excellent, one of the best we’ve seen. Tuesday, which was our 19th wedding anniversary, it was cold and cloudy but did not actually rain on us. The fancy dinner at Napa Rose I’d been looking forward to for weeks wasn’t all I’d hoped it would be, starting with having to wait for a table for a half hour even though we had a reservation and they didn’t seem particularly busy. Maybe that was just the universe’s way of telling me not to get too fancy for my britches or something.

The weather shaped up nicely on Wednesday and we finally got the sunny and pleasant California we’d been hoping for. Not so pleasant was losing my ticket–we’d left DL for DCA and as we approached the turnstiles I realized my Park Hopper was not where it should be. It also wasn’t several other places I checked. Since I’d last been in that part of my purse when I got my credit card out to pay for lunch, I decided I’d lost my ticket there–the Blue Bayou is very dark, after all. We went to guest services, where we were told to go to lost and found and the nice person there took a report and gave me a replacement ticket for the rest of the day. Later we went back to Blue Bayou, but they hadn’t found a ticket and didn’t find one when I asked them to check around the table we’d been at. Bummer; that meant I’d have to buy another ticket for our last day and I wasn’t sure they did one-day Park Hoppers. After we got back to our room that night I went through my purse and lo and behold, there was my ticket, stuck between the pages of the little notebook I’d been using all day to write down things we might want to go back and buy. Boy, did I feel stupid–and relieved.

Thursday we set an alarm so we could take advantage of early entry at DL. I woke up feeling sick, all stuffed up with a sore throat, but figured I’d feel better once I had breakfast and ridden Peter Pan after only a short wait. Hah! There was a long line for the monorail, so we walked to the main gate, which was even more mobbed. By the time we finally got into the park, over half of our early entry hour was gone and there were already long lines for some attractions, including the aforementioned Peter Pan. Evidently the local schools decided to give all the kids the day off, too, just to screw with me or something, because the park was way too crowded for mid-October. They even extended the operating schedule by an hour due to high attendance. Still, we were able to get to most of the things we wanted to on our last day in the parks.

Friday morning we had to pack and check out of the hotel and I was sick and cranky, but we managed to load the car and do our last bits of shopping in Downtown Disney and drive down to San Diego without any major incident, thanks in part to the kind people at Marceline’s Confectionary, who supplied the orange swirl fudge that I ate on I-5. And now we’re back to JournalCon, so I’d best get to writing that entry. In the meantime, you can look at all the pictures from the trip here.

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