Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Quotes from Quarantine

Being forced to spend all day every day with my two favorite people has been a really lucky thing. I think about people who struggle with people they live with (whoever they are) or are forced to quarantine with loved ones but in a tiny space which would drive anyone crazy.  Or in general, with all of their family members all of the time which could be exhausting and cause some stress-pressure merely by obtaining the same general space for days on end.  Really, I have it good. Our situation is doable, and let's not even mention those who are struggling with illness or on the front lines in some way or dealing with employment problems--ugh, ugh, ugh.

That said, we all have our limits before tension rises and the steam forms and threatens in what has become a bit of a pressure cooker, you might say. 
Julian is doing alright with it. He misses school and his friends and just being around other kids.  He told me he feels like he's losing his sense of humor because he knows that kind of audience really well--the kid audience, i guess.  I told him maybe he could get a Youtube channel or something.  And we really might need to because taking the place of basically all other humans in his life, I am the sole recipient to all of the chatter/ brain noise that is expelled from within. He talks nonstop, telling me THE weirdest crap and I am either laughing, shaking my head, vehemently rejecting what I'm unfortunately on the receiving end of, or am just left stunned and speechless by the things that come out of this child's mouth.  I cannot run to my stash of post-it notes nor scribble with fumbled pen-in-hand fast enough.  But I have tried. So, in the spirit of record-keeping in this crazy time, here are the latest post-it quotes coming at you from recent days and weeks:

1. Julian and Sean are in the middle of an epic Star Wars marathon. They watch a bit every night before bed. Right now they are smack dab in the middle, which is the middle of Empire Strikes Back, I believe.  A week or so ago they were slogging through episodes 1-3 and I overheard Julian say something really excellent to Sean as they were watching Attack of the Clones or whichever one has Anakin being older and annoying:

March 18, 2020 
"I really hate Anakin Skywalker in this episode.  He's like a super sexy jerk."   
 Hi-larious.  And it's true.  He seems to spend the entire film trying to be sexy which is disturbing and annoying the crap out of everyone.  Nailed it, Julian.

2. These are out of order and I didn't date them all. Here's another one from before then:

March 13, 2020

"I usually build a whole world inside of my head with books."

This is adorable and I believe was during the calm, innocent days, pre-quarantine.  It's cute because that's exactly what reading does but he said it like he had just invented the concept, and I got to see watch him stumble on this idea for the first time.   He went on to tell me how he knows a book isn't good-- when he can't visualize it very well and I thought it was very wise. I struggle with books like that too. 

3.        JEN: You're funny.

JULIAN: Aw, thanks. I love being told I'm funny, even more than being told I'm loved."

ha ha.  I recently heard a statement saying something people love to hear perhaps even more than "i love you" is "I understand you."  Perhaps "you're funny" ranks right up there as well. 

4. These next three were in quick succession, like everything he says.  I congratulate myself enormously for a) listening in the first place because a large percentage of the stuff he says is weird or disturbing or gross. Also for b) getting the stuff done that I was working on at the time amidst his verbal torrent and c) getting to a post-it to write them down.

4a. We were discussing natural rock formations for some reason and Devil's Tower came up (again) and as I was heading upstairs he said,

"Another name for that could be Earth's Wart."  
And I was like, "ew." 
 And he said, "why not? It's formed the same way warts are formed."     


At this point I had successfully made it to my bedroom. Once again scenes of Calvin and Hobbes flash through my head.  I used to think Calvin's mom was kind of lame and boring but I think I understand her better now. 

4b. He was eating scrambled eggs at breakfast and apparently had some trouble chewing/swallowing and said,

"aagh, I half-swallowed that scrambled egg but I was able to bring it back and swallow it again! It's like I got to eat it twice!"  
*Jen making grossed-out face at the sink or wherever.*
He rolls right on through with a contemplative, "I don't know why we can't chew our cud..."

4c. 4c isn't a quote but a point to say that this time also included him telling me all the horrible and graphic details of the book he was reading about Hiroshima that someone wrote when visiting soon after the bombs were dropped. It's some rare book Sean had in the bookcase, probably next to the parenting books Julian always grabs at the free little library book drop.  Note to self: Make Amelia Bedelia books more readily available. ALso +5 points to me for using "readily" in a book context. 

5. He asked me out of the blue the other day (of course),

"What would your bounty hunter hairstyle be?

Me:  Meet Smudge, The Confused Cat From The "Woman Yelling At Cat" Meme ...  
"uhh..don't they all wear masks? or helmets?"
(why am i even attempting to answer this??
He replied, "That's a bounty hunter stereotype because of Boba Fett."  

Like I was admonished. Like all of a sudden I find myself in this surreal situation where I feel ashamed because I was stereotyping bounty hunters?? What is happening? What world do I live in?  Who am I? Is this real life?  I was dying at this. This kid is the weirdest.    I then pathetically tried to give him an honest answer but now, upon reflection, it feels like the weirdest word-trap or weirdo mind game or something and I feel foolish to try to participate. 

6.   "What if we all had to share one sheet of paper? That thing would be so thick and weighed down with white-out, it would be unrecognizable."  

 Fortunately he often doesn't really require a response. He's just like a short, loud, kind of scatterbrained philosopher with poor short-term memory, because sometimes i will give a delayed response and he'll have forgotten he even said anything, making me look like the crazy one.

"That would be gross and sad..."

"Huh? What would?" 

7. "I wish I could buy a valley."  

     "What would you do with your valley?"

     "I'd build all of my ideas and have them in one place, like my cup car."

Oh, the cup car. He has told me at length, on multiple occasions, about his invention of a cup car. It's essentially a teacup vehicle--like the teacup ride at Disneyland.  It's powered by up to four people pedaling and can go up to 60mph.  Being no engineer, I pointed out what seemed to be a problem in his person-propelled engine and that kind of speed.  Also, how do brakes work? Does only one person have access to brakes? How do they brake and let the others know to stop pedaling? Does he/she signal in some way? Does he/she shout, "BRAKE!"?  Does using the brake automatically lock the pedals? Actually, that last one is a pretty good idea. I should suggest it to him.  He heard all of this and after considering my questions, declared he might need to rethink this invention.  But here's his drawing because I happen to have it right here next to me: 

Also that looks NOTHING like a cup car, Julian.  By his description, I told him it sounded more like this:

Our Handcars

but he was like, noooo it's totally different. 


But hey, he's not an artist, he's an idea guy.   Also, the steering wheel in the center (like it is in the teacups ride) is making me el-oh-el right now. 

8.  "I can put a bookmark in my memory."   Sometimes he says things weirdly profound and lovely. See, this is why i have to keep listening.  

9. "Have you ever juggled in Oregon?"  

He asked me this twenty times because it took me that long to even register this and get on board with the question.

I think I said, "what? No." 

"Really? Never?"

"No! What??"

Finally he got to his point-- "because it's illegal. You have to have a license."   So I guess I'm glad there was a point. 

10. Speaking of profound/poignant, I said the other day,  

"I just want to lose myself in a good book."

He replied, "I think I've been lost in a book my whole life and have never been found. I don't think anyone knows the real me. I'm not sure I even know myself."  

Me:  We Finally Know What Cats' Facial Expressions Mean | IFLScience

After which he grabs a fistful of Werther's Originals and casually strolls away. 

11. "Everybody has a beat that they're born with, and it stays with them for the rest of their skipping lives."

This was while we were high-skipping down the road (which is really fun if you haven't done it in a while) and I loved it so much but didn't have my phone or anything with which to record, so i made him help me remember it. I had to recite it again and again and thankfully, it worked. 

12. "If I have four or five cats when i grow up I'm going to name them big long German names." 

I approve of this.

13. "I've been doing a lot of scrapbooking." 

Sometimes, when we ignore him, he does really funny things-- like he got this catalog (since when was the "catalogue" spelling not ok?) of weird office/packaging supplies and cut out pictures of stuff and wrote his own captions in a binder of loose paper.  The quote alone made me laugh, but his actual scrapbooking is hi-larious.  I told him we should probably get him his own Instagram account.  

i love him so much.

"Maybe in the afterlife I could come back and be a crash test dummy.  I could ride roller coasters and not feel the tension and stuff because I'm just a crash test dummy."  

Double-you, tee, eff.   It's funny, but also disturbing and just plain weird.

I need to figure out way to relieve the apparently pent-up and frustrated brain energy.  I keep telling him to write down all of this but he won't listen to me.  Tell it to the paper, Julian!  That i can read later when I choose to, like Stephen King's mom I would imagine, and not necessarily be a forced party to the play-by-play.   I'll keep trying.  In the meantime, I guess he can refer to my post-its notes that I am, for some unknown reason, so dutifully and carefully keeping for him.   


Wednesday, April 01, 2020

April Fool Revisited

A few years ago, we played a few April Fool's Day pranks on Julian who was about five years old at the time.  He loved them but was a little bit flummoxed as to why. Don't worry about it, Julian.  Well since then he has really come to appreciate a solid prank and each year, Sean and I don't really do anything because I never remember and I want it to be good and my last-minute ideas are lame so we don't do much and it's really quite sad.

This year, however, was different.  First, the Sunday before, Julian was sure we were well into April already (how could March have possibly been as long as it was. Like, really, how)  and he sadly exclaimed that we had missed April Fool's Day.  This gave us a peek into the desires of his heart and the good fortunate of having NOT missed it, so there was still time.   I expressed my desperate wishes to Sean to really make it good this year and he and I, in spite of our collective stress and exhaustion and general bummed-outedness, collaborated and threw together a bunch of ideas the night before:

1. Fake cat vomit.  This was awesome. I had looked it up online and was like, MOD PODGE--ehhhh nevermind.  I get craft-exhaustion before even doing anything. But Sean soldiered on and actually dug some up and made it happen.  I guess all you need to do is mix some mod podge with acrylic paint and then throw in some dried cat food and then bake it.  This one was awesome and totally disgusting.  Our cats vomit from time to time and there's always horrible excitement when we discover it.  When the barfer (usually the big one--probably only the big one) starts making his noises, I start guiding him away and onto hard floor or outside if we can get there. Every time I do this, memories of my mom swiftly walking us kids as the stomach threatens to expel, hurriedly to the bathroom.  I laugh every time because my cat has been trained by now and, I swear, almost expects it.  That was a tangent.  Here's the barf:

This was probably the most successful prank.  I put it on his bed and he didn't notice it until well into the afternoon, when the cat was lying innocently next to it.  *gasp*  "EW!!!"  *running in terror from room.*  I tried so hard not to smile through this to make it last, but it was too good.  Well done, Sean.

2. Spider drawn on the outside and bottom of cup. Julian has serious arachnophobia so this was a good one.

How did it go? Well. Very well.  Sadly, Sean could not be present for most of the moments, per usual.  But I gave Julian some water and a while later got a good, rewarding yelp.

3. Mr. Bones reclining in Julian's usual morning reading spot.

I kind of feel like we should bring him out at random times of the year and pose him just for fun. Last Halloween we had him sitting on an old rocking chair on the porch. We brought it in and forgot about it and when I went downstairs and saw the shape of a sitting someone in the darkness I about LOST IT.  Way too easy to prank oneself with that thing.

4. My ugly mug Sean found from the doorbell spy cam and printed it up--ha ha ha.  Put it on the window above the piano.   "Julian, could you open the blinds and let in some more light?"

5.  Crepe paper'ed the bathroom.  Not pictured is a printout of his face under the toilet seat, as well as a toilet full of green water.

6. Not pictured is a web of string just outside his bedroom door.  He noticed it before he got caught but he was delighted nonetheless.  

7.  Lastly, I woke up that morning and in a sleepy haze, tried to look at my phone and noticed something was very wrong.  There was a huge inexplicable crack on it and I couldn't push the "home" button for NOTHIN'.   In my stupor and morning dumbness,  i immediately began to freak out and somehow was able to text Sean and frantically question what in the hey happened to my poor, surely busted up phone.  I usually set it in a drawer on my nightstand where I keep all kinds of things (aaaall kinds of things--curious now?) and thought I'd somehow bashed it in my sleep-fumbling during the night?? Anyway, here you go: 

First of all, it was expertly done. Second, again, i was out of it and in a daze. But third, Sean isn't much of a prankster. He rarely plays jokes on us even though we are constantly teasing and playing jokes on him.  And even more bewildering is that apparently he's a prank WIZARD.  He came up with so many things so quickly, I was a bit astonished and declared him gifted at this. Who knew?  Who knew.  He got me good here. It was kind of embarrassing, but I applaud.

 Julian loved it all.  A friend of mine said on the Facebook, "turns out april fool's day jokes are my kids' love language" and I have to agree.  Making people believe believable and false things isn't super fun to me.  But stupid crap like this IS, and it made for a nice break from whatever this is we're all living right now.  I especially loved giving the kid who is rolling with all of this way too well, a nice reason to laugh and have some silly fun. 

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Best Disney Song Ever

Well, it's Sunday today.  And on this day of rest, I'd like to share a project I've been vigorously working on this week.  A few years ago, Sean and I were on a plane and came across a Disney song bracket thing that helps you whittle down all the Disney sounds to the very best one, according to you. It was in an Entertainment Weekly and it engrossed our attention for much of the time.  I admit I think I knew before which one I would pick but I tried to be neutral in all my decisions and it was a very interesting and at times difficult bracket to fill out. I mean, as brackets go. I've thought a lot about it since then and recently, I found it again online. I hope I've found an image that is high enough resolution to see it ok but I encourage you to print this, fill it out with loved ones and see what conclusion you come to.

If it's not, see if you can search for it and find a good one. It's definitely worth your time and attention.  And, here is my answer, in case you were curious:

Special thanks to Julian for being AMAZING.

I have shared this with several friends and challenged them to a lip sync battle and do the same to you. But at the very least, filling out the chart is super fun and just the right kind of brain power required during this weird and wacky time.  

Good luck! Report back with your answer. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


Since the total and complete upheaval of the human race (privileged exaggeration), some things have changed.  The structure of lives has changed, routines, schedules, plans. Work, school, travel.  Everything at what feels like a complete standstill.  But other things too-- previously held concepts of time have changed, our views of the world, of humanity, has changed.  Our perception of our own existence, perhaps. How we find a sense of purpose, our identities, perhaps, have changed.  The passing of time.  How we anticipate things. Our sense of being able to predict is all skewampus, to put it in technical terms. So many huge changes with closures and cancellations and constantly changing statistics and news were taking place at such a crazy rapid rate, it behooved us to stop being so surprised, to try to roll with whatever madness befell us, so that after a bit, nothing felt normal, or stable, or predictable.  Going through my phone and deleting things off my calendar felt equal parts weird and also awesome.  But lately I'm finding I need to have something to plan for.  Things to schedule so that one day looks different from the next.  So I've started scheduling silly things in my calendar.  For example, tonight is "nerf battle."  Been looking forward to it all day.

All of it is so disorienting, it feels like an enormous, extremely weird re-start.  Someone hit the re-start button and instead of being as it was, we're living a strange alternative existence.  How many times did I say or hear the phrase, "It's so weird" through the course of these past couple of weeks, or during one week, one day??  And are we really only one week two of this quarantine?  Feels like a million years ago. It's so weird.

For a while there, I was pretty stressed. Anxious. Trying to grapple.  Losing my gee dee mind, you might say.  And then with the earthquake where I read WAY too may things, was involved in way too many group texts with all the panic, it really sent me into quite a tailspin which sent me right over to the frigging gas station to fill up our car "just in case"(??) and there were LINES of other crazy, panicky people doing the same.   It can feel like too much. So mentally, we have to take breaks. Check out, stop reading things, stop thinking about it, watch silly movies, read fluffy books.  Every time it's a nice day and I can go out and even chat with people, it all feels so much weirder because I forget for a minute that it's real.  But I cannot shake the looming feeling that something is coming and all I can do is sit home and wait for it.  Being that Lord of the Rings applies to every aspect of my life, this scene has popped into my head on more than one occasion, feeling particularly apropos:

But we are adapting and are extremely fortunate in our situation. Sean continues to work from home as he's been doing, so that was a non-thing.  We have access to supplies and medicine and basically everything.  Julian still has an ugly cough so we're being extra cautious for his compromised lungs.  But this new way of being is very doable for us.  Doing school at home is going well and once again I am grateful for my one child.  We are figuring out the new system and I'm already seeing some real benefits to it.  We've got a schedule and though I've never really been a big scheduler, I'm seeing Julian take to it extremely well.  He's a good little self-starter and having some structure is a good thing, turns out. It's a good distraction from that pesky fear of the unknown always loitering on the doorstep of my psyche.

One of my favorite things to think about in all of this is what people "stress-do."   The things we do to cope with high amounts of stress.  That first little while was pretty stressful and though it's waned a bit, it's not totally gone, of course.  I stress about things but then I have to decide not to because stress = bad. But it'll show up again, as is normal, of course, in life pre-virus and now.  So, one might stress-eat to cope.  Or stress-clean.  I do both of those things.  Food has taken on a whole new identity/hit a new level in my life, even more than before I mean, which I didn't think possible.  Often I will say, "I just want to eat food."  And Sean will agree.  It's got a big presence.  For Pi Day, I stress-baked a pie and we all stress-ate it.  I really stress-ate it though, days later, when I finished it right out of the pan because who even cares anymore.  I don't regret it. 

As mentioned, I also stress-bake.  During those first few days of ultimate panic and meltdown, I stress-baked some cookies and then basically flung them at my neighbors and shouted, "Hey! I stress-baked some cookies! Don't worry, I have no symptoms..YET..  enjoy! Blahh!! BYE!" 

I also stress-clean.  I'm not a deep-cleaner. Like I'm not cleaning things I normally wouldn't (yet) but I definitely start cleaning something when I'm feeling the stress. It gives me a sense of control which, isn't that what it's all about?

I also stress-write.  I knew this already, always having fled to my journal whenever something big or difficult or emotional or really, anything was happening in my life.  But I was struck this time around, how helpful it was for me.  Nothing was helping me feel better except writing.  It was a way for me to process, cope, deal, and get out ALL the stuff so I didn't have to carry so much of it anymore. Plus I just feel this constant compulsion to document.  I stress-journal and I also stress-write letters.  I have pulled out my non-electric typewriter so I have to pound those keys and it's strangely therapeutic.  I love it.  I'm sending out the weirdest letters to people.  Thanks for being part of my therapy, everyone.

My friend says she stress-talks.  On the Marco Polo, an app saving all our lives right now,  she mentioned this and I laughed.  She also mentioned stress-organizing or stress-project-planning.  This is Sean.  He stress-builds.  He and I ran to IKEA and bought tons of stuff for Julian's room, which needed a makeover.  And then in one night he literally hack-sawed the metal legs off Julian's loft bed so it was shorter because he wasn't using the space below for anything other than storing his junk. He also removed an old shelf, built the new one, put books in it, then we moved up a big desk that wasn't being used, and we set Julian up for school with laptop, desk lamp, jar of pencils, a pencil sharpener, aaaall the good desk things.  Organizing and building, taking care of projects, is Sean's coping mechanism and I concede it felt good to do that.   One day though, I had to declare, "I'm NOT a busy body! I do not need to be busy all the time!!"  because it was one thing right after another and I needed to jump off that crazy train.  That was last Saturday, when the blessed sun was shining, and I made Sean stop doing five million things at once and come out and sit in the sun with me.

So what do you stress-do?  Please share, and good luck to you, whoever you are, wherever you are. To be continued, of course, because obviously I also stress-blog.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Sit on Flower Corner

I found this photo in my email and the subject was "sit on flower corner."  I don't know why because nobody's sitting.  But I liked the sound of it. I feel like it sounds real nice right now were I to find a flower corner somewhere and rest a bit there.

This is a photo of my mom and her three oldest children  (I am number 7 out of 8 and therefore nonexistent in this scene).  I just love the whole look of it.  I feel like if I tried really hard, I could get my hair to look like that, but  no matter how hard I tried, I could never find an outfit as amazing as that.  Also my mom was like 29 in this pic which makes me feel super old right now, like we've weirdly switched places.

Fake Words

About 2.5 years ago I gave Julian the Banangrams banana pouch to play with.  He started organizing all the tiles and when he was done I had to snap some pics of all the fake words he'd strung together because I love made up words and wanted to know what their definitions might be.  I am posting this now because I am currently cleaning out my inbox in my email and guess how many unread emails I had? GUESS.  LIKE 600.  I am now down to 62 emails I absolutely cannot delete, most of them being articles or pics I sent to myself.  One of them was a picture of these tiles and i was like, ehh, how hard is it to slap them on the blog.  Everything's a memory, even the dumb things you'd totally have forgotten about had you not sent an email to yourself. 

And now I'm down to 61 emails in my inbox.  *cheer*

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Disney 2020

Nothing says happy birthday to Sean like getting the he-- out of town to celebrate.  So we did at the end of Feb.  We planned a little Disney trip and told Julian a couple weeks beforehand so we could all have something to look forward to. He was beyyyyyond excited and it was going to be really, really good.  We went when Julian was three and also four so he had visions of confusing magic (as is that special Disneyland kind) from when he was small. Fun+ magic+ warmth = yes. I'll tell you all about it using some pictures, in a minute.

First, some pics of his little party, particularly the amazing cake I made that actually turned out. I know. *angel choir*  He sent me the link because he's a foodie and follows food people on IG and I was like, I'M GONNA DO IT.  I was kind of proud, if you can't tell.  But really, it was so flipping good, and I don't use that word lightly.  Blood orange almond ricotta cake, you make me sing:

Hello! Come to me now.  

We found that Jeff Koons-like balloon dog sculpture at Home Goods just in time. It makes Sean super happy. 
We spent his actual birthday at the DMV, per his request.  Yeah, that sounds about right.  He and I went to renew our licenses but it wasn't until I was standing at the counter after having hastily scribbled out all the paperwork whilst standing in line that I had forgotten we hadn't renewed our licenses together at the same time before, so my turn wouldn't be up for another year--YAY.  Look at your license, Jen.  So that was fun.  Julian was there too, reading a book and observing that DMV world. While we were waiting to be called, I turned to Sean and said, "happy bday, Sean" with a 😑 expression on my face and he said, 

"Thanks!  I love this. It just feels really birthday appropriate.  My birthday was the first day I interacted with the US government.  And now here I am, on the anniversary. It's my processing date! Just for me."  

I kind of wish I could say I was joking? But I'm not.  I guess there are perks to being with a person who has zero expectations for his birthday.  At least he doesn't reject any efforts made, like a person who's a bad gift-receiver because they hate attention, etc, which is super annoying. So literally anything we do on his birthday is special and appreciated.  Let's just remember that time I LEGIT-surprised him with a trip to Bermuda, because that was awesome. Also, he kind of hated the intensity of that surprise, which I get. If I were to do something like that again, I probably wouldn't wait until we were in a cab, a secret suitcase packed and placed in the trunk, babysitter lined up for the weekend and responsibilities taken care of, all unbeknownst to him. It was a bit much. I see that now. 

The day after Sean's bday, Julian woke up sick.  Fever + aches + a little bit of puking, etc.  HOT DANG I said in my heart, and canceled everything for the day.  This kid rarely gets sick and it's never for very long. Once or twice he's had a cold that had a lingering cough for a week or two but nothing more.  So we assumed he'd get better just in time for our trip.  He was the same the next day and since we were leaving for our 10-hr drive to CA the day after that, I wanted to get a leg up on some meds, if needed, so we went to the doctor, something I've never had to do with him, thank the heavens.  He got tested for strep and the flu and they were both negative.  Got his ears checked too and they looked fine.  And they were fine, until like an hour after we got home from the doc when he was suddenly writhing in horrible ear torture pain. I had to sit and watch him like the most useless person on the planet watching the worst imaginable TV show I haplessly landed on.  This poor kid.  We finally got some drops in him which seemed to help the pain. But that was the PITS.

Next day, we left on our trip.  This poor kid SUFFERED through the entire Disneyland experience.  He was miserable.  We put him in a wheelchair because he could not walk and we didn't even have to instruct him to "look sickly" or "walk feebly from the chair to the ride."  He did it all really naturally on his own. :( He hadn't eaten for three days and finally after I had sweated my self to death and ground my teeth to nubs over it, he ate some soup on the night of the third day, hallelujah.

Anyway, I will have to work through the guilt of forcing him to go to Disneyland whilst super sick. I'm sure others have similar stories out there? Maybe? Please?  But here are the pictures of us-- Julian suffering from unknown illness + unknown (at the time) double ear infection, thus having super plugged, oozy ears and not being able to hear a cursed thing.  Oh, my heart. It still hurts. It's still fresh. We thought it might make a fun story one day. I'm not there yet.  But still, I must document.

We stayed in a Disney hotel which helped the hobbling we had to do from hotel to wheelchair.  And waking up to a scene like this is not the worst thing I can imagine:

good morning, my love

Yaaay, time to have so much fun

Pumped full of meds and hoping for the best. We noticed we got one good hour of him feeling better before they wore off and he went back to Misery Town which, for the record, is the least popular town in Disneyland.  

At first he thought he might up for doing the slow boat rides only. Smile efforts to the max, here.

sickie cutie

Seriously, It's a Small World really is the worst. Julian's face says it all.
Jungle Cruise
But then we decided for him that he was feeling good enough for roller coasters and tossy-turny rides.

This is my penance-- proof for him to use against me later. I deserve it.
Also the opportunity for some public shaming, perhaps.
We walked up the Tarzan treehouse (didn't this used to be Swiss Family Robinson?) and yelled Sean's name for hours and watched him turn left and right and left and right, looking for us. Finally i had to take a pic to send to him. 

In my old age, I have gotten more claustrophobic and have to straight up fight off the panic when I'm in enclosed spaces. Turns out waiting in lines underground in strange, dimly lit, mysterious, confusing, disorienting Disneyland ride underbellies for undetermined lengths of time ARE NOT MY FAVORITE THING.  I honestly had to stress-eat Tiny Tarts every time I subjected myself to this which was, for some reason, REPEATEDLY, and I thought it was the harshest, most courageous self-administered exposure therapy. I was super proud of myself and that's not a joke.  Luckily, that wheelchair saved me in that respect, but again, at the cost of my sickly child.  We were able to go on way more rides than we normally would have and that was kind of amazing.  We rode Indiana Jones three times. Turns out that's prob my favorite ride.  Julian was able to enjoy it some but to what extent, I do not know. 

Guess what else I don't love? Spinny-around vomit rides.  I usually opt out of Teacups but compared to scary, dark, people-packed underground cave rides, this was nothing. I'll happy puke out in the wide open air with exits all around that I can see. So one evening when we had to return the wheelchair, we left Julian in the hotel and ran around the park real quick to get a ride in. Teacups is Sean's favorite. It's so cute and magical and nostalgia-steeped (get it?) and there was no one else to go, so I agreed to ride with him. But here was my face:

What have I done.
Luckily he got to go again the next day with Julian who was feeling .5% better.  We'll take it.
Rolling out of the Indiana Jones ride. Seeing this pic is giving me PTSD. I honestly don't know how I survived that. 
The ride must really be that good, I am left to conclude.  

The thing about Disney is the intensity of fun one has.  We had no chance to enjoy the weather because it wasn't ABOUT THE WEATHER.  GET TO THE NEXT RIDE.  We had the max pass which helps you skip lines and we also had wheelchair check-in where they scan your tickets and tell you when you return which was usually about 30-45 minutes away. And then we'd come back and often just walk right in.  Orchestrating this took planning and skill and it was kind of a thing of beauty by the end.  The first day we walked about five miles and the second day? TEN. Doubled it. So good work, everyone.  This kind of sounds like we were less-efficient on that second day, darting around from ride to ride. But I think we just had to pack it in and power through. "Powering through" at Disneyland is definitely the appropriate mode to be in.  If you are a fun-pansy, then go to Lagoon. Disneyland is for fun-warriors.

A rare moment of sitting and sun-enjoying. The first day temps were mid-80's. Second, low 70's. 

Now, let's talk about the new Star Wars section of Disneyland.  We love Star Wars but Sean loves it. Julian does too but given his state, couldn't quite give it the attention he normally would.  I had heard vague things about the new ride but really didn't know much.  Here are some pics of the place.  It looked rad, I have to say. 

drink on the left was fun and blue.  The drink on the right tasted like death and had a bunch of weird crap in it. I don't remember it from Star Wars at all. Am thinking it may have been a joke.  

There are two rides in Galaxy's Edge (I finally just remembered the name for this area which I heretofore happily called "Star Wars Land.")  There's Smuggler's Run, a fun virtual reality ride where everyone has a job hitting their button to defeat the enemy.  Entering a new line in a new facility where exits and paths are unknown had me running for the Tiny Tarts, but it was fun to look around and see the stuff.  Sadly, our wheelchair meant nothing here and we had to wait like in line like peasants. Also, I don't actually know what the ride was like because I had to bail at the last second because I had no idea it was virtual reality and those rides are the DEATH of me.  LITERAL. DEATH.  I have to shut my eyes, the entire time, like being faced with a basilisk, or I will die. So I backed out and waited near the exit like someone's grandma. 

The other ride, Rise of the Resistance is the Big Deal ride everyone was there for.  But actually being able to experience it was no easy guarantee.  Basically you had to be assigned to a boarding group, using the Disney App.  The way you'd win the lottery of that crazy set-up is you had to wait until 8:00am, after having had your tickets scanned, and then click the button in the app with all of your ticketholders and hope you make it in which you have literal seconds before you lose out.  You hesitate one second and that could be your chance thrown out the window.  Sean had actual nightmares about it the night before consisting of tapping the "get a boarding group" button and having it do nothing, and also having the button turn into a price you had to pay to ride the ride, which was $46,000, ha ha ha.  Still makes me laugh. He actually had nightmares.

The next day we arrived at the park at 7am and you could feel the tension, even greater than the normal, everyday "new day at Disney" tension. We saw suckers who joined an extremely long line, thinking that was their only option. Fortunately NY-living has trained us to be the fittest to survive and we kept walking and found a much shorter line hidden between the others.  Nervous excitement filled the air. Julian miraculously made the walk. What sacrifice.  We got our tickets scanned and waited...waited...waited.  Everyone standing around with their phones out at the ready.  It was weird. I started a countdown and then when my phone indicated, yelled, "EIGHT O'CLOCK!!"  And Sean flew light lightening and got in before I did.  We made it! Cheers ALL around us, for the lucky few.  Our boarding group was #79 out of like 81.  Whew!  What an experience. So bizarre.  T'was a wild ride in and of itself.   

We wouldn't be notified of our group's turn until that afternoon so we began our ride-mapping.  Speaking of wild rides, we took this opportunity to ride all the "mini-rides" as we called them. The old school classic rides like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.  I had no memory of this ride and it was WHACK.  Apparently the story goes we are Mr. Toad riding in a car, hitting characters and driving recklessly, eventually facing a train, being hit by it, and then we die and go to hell where we're surrounded by fire and demons and the air is actually hot?? And then the ride ends. SO weird, and so very old-time Disney--  "And always remember kids, be good or you'll BURN IN HELL."    Our faces when that one finished: 

what just happened.

But they were all fun-- Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan (so fun), Pinocchio--fun and also nightmare'ish.

Back to Galaxy's Edge.  It was finally our turn and we made our way back. The ride itself? Kind of friggin' amazing.  It's hard to tell because it was so disorienting and I, of course, was experiencing my usual but no less intense panic of being faced with riding an unknown ride.  But it was quite a ride, and a long one, full of different things.  We walked onto what looked exactly like an actual star destroyer, got yelled at by New Order officials, were assigned to some vehicle, watched holograms of Star Wars characters explain our mission.  I always feel weird when I'm part of some "mission."  Like, "You're telling me all of these things but I really feel like I'm doing NOTHING, here."   Sean was super wow'ed at the details of the star destroyer--the floors, the many stormtroopers, all of it.

i'm fine. I'm fine. 

At the very end, we got into a vehicle and zoomed around a level surface, from room to room, one of which containing real (i think), FULL-SIZE At-At's. WHAT.

They were real, not just projections. I swear! I think. 

The whole thing was trippy as heck. I'd have liked to do it again but I'm not sure that'll happen in this lifetime. 

And the rest of my pics:

Hey Sean, there's your girlfriend.  But who doesn't have a crush on Mary Poppins, let's be honest.

Julian was so mad he was sick. He tried so hard.  This sudden huge smile was kind of unnerving for me, i'll be honest.

We decided we prefer Disneyland over California Adventure, which has some fun rides and vibes, but not quite like the original. 

We all three did some carnival games. It took me until we were home to realize winning a game against a bunch of little kids is NOT really a thing to be proud of, after all, but did not lessen my love of the prize I won, which was a stuffed Eva doll from Wall-E.  Then again, there were like five other little kids competing.  

We convinced Julian to ride the Matterhorn at the end of the second day.  He had his eyes shut the whole time because he and the yeti had some unresolved issues, but that one is a kick. Loved it.

I like these kinds of rides. Wild enough to bring out the screams but not the neck injuries.
Also, both so handsome. I just go  back and forth, back and forth, at each handsome face.  

Also I got this sweet pic of him in front of it:

Dear Julian, can you ever forgive us?  Two days after our return, I finally got him to the doc for some proper meds. His ears are healing up, (I think) but he's STILL not fully recovered, and during this time of extreme sketchiness and uncertainty, I am paying the price, man, along with all of my unraveling, raggedy nerves.  More on that later, but I wanted to give you some good pics of the place before it closed up shop along with the rest of the world, two weeks later.

the journey home.