Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Little Spider Story

In the spirit of Halloween, Auntie V’s Story Hour today involves a spider.

It is no secret that I hate spiders. I REALLY hate spiders. This phobia has been a long-standing joke among my family and friends, and was the subject of an A+ paper in my college Abnormal Psychology class. I have been rescued from spiders by neighbors, friends, one very indulgent husband, and my kids. It seems odd that one of the eight-legged monsters would inspire a blog post, but this was too cute and too funny not to share.

My Halloween decorations include two large plastic spiders. I put them on the front porch, usually with pumpkins or mums or whatever I can prop them against. They are not very real-looking, and after a few days of staring at them from a safe distance across the room, I can work up the courage to pick one up and take it outside for the Halloween display. This year, they have been stuck in my half-dead ferns, and can be unnerving once you catch a glimpse of them, tucked away in the leaves.

With thunderstorms and high winds for the past two nights, I wanted to keep the spiders safe. Not because I couldn’t imagine life without them, but because I didn’t want them to be blown off the ferns, only to be discovered in the mulch next spring when I began putting in my warm-weather flowers. I would have had a heart attack if I had seen one of those lying in my flower bed, not remembering they were the missing spiders from October. I picked them off the ferns and tossed them into a pumpkin bucket on the front porch for the night.
This afternoon, Davis was re-arranging my pumpkins on the front porch and started laughing. “Mommy,” he said, “There’s a REAL spider in with the plastic ones!” I walked over and took a look inside the bucket. Sure enough, there was a small spider in with the two much, much larger fake ones.

My over-active imagination went into overdrive as I began imagining what this little spider thought when he fell or crawled into the pumpkin bucket. Was he terrified of his dinosaur-sized cousins? Was he a misfit spider who didn’t have many friends and who was trying to recruit these two to return with him to show all the other spiders how cool he was? Would he go back to his home and tell everyone about the giant mutants he had encountered during his travels? Would they believe him, or would they think he was a lunatic?  Would he go down in spider history as a spider Shakespeare, who would chronicle his adventure in the land of the gigantic?
I practically had an entire children’s book written in my head when the kids called me in to work on Halloween cookies. If you ever see “Sparky the Spider’s Giant Adventure” in bookstores, pick up a copy…

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Return of the Prodigal Planner

A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to Disney World. We all got off the plane in Orlando. My Franklin Planner did not.  While this may sound like the most trivial "problem" in the world, it was a big deal to me.

My entire life, I have been dependent upon lists and notes to stay organized. I color-coded my packing lists for Camp Bratton-Green. I kept lists of homework assignments throughout school. My obsession with lists and note-taking has made me the butt of many family jokes, but I will point out that I rarely forget a deadline, a birthday, or an appointment. When on vacation, I get there on time and with everything I need. I have addresses ready at Christmas card time. My color-coded lists are just part of who I am.

When I landed my first “real”, post-college job, I was required to attend a Franklin class and received my first planner. In the fourteen years since then, I have rarely been more than a few feet from my planner at any time. (I'm joking.  Not really.)  The only way that I can juggle two kids, their school activities, their friends’ birthday parties, my Brownie troop, adults’ and kids’ church activities, doctor and dentist appointments, tennis times, Scott’s schedule, and nights out with the girls is to have it all written down in the planner. I have business cards, copies of social security cards, touching notes I have received, school schedules, addresses, phone numbers, and passwords all safely tucked into their respective color-coded sections.

So how did I manage to leave it on the plane? Well, in the bustle and confusion of getting four adults, four very very very very excited children, and all of our stuff off the plane in Orlando, I forgot that it was in the overhead bin. I realized my mistake soon after we got to the hotel, but when I called the airline, I was told that everything found on the plane was promptly thrown away. “They figure if you left it then you didn’t want it,” explained the customer service representative. Well, I just couldn’t believe that.

As the week went on, I continued to try to locate my planner. I wasn't going to let it ruin our Disney trip (and of course it did not), but I was determined to get it back.  I called different numbers within the airline’s network, hoping someone would be willing to help me. Also as the week went on, I realized more and more that in addition to the schedules and calendars and to-do lists, the pictures and notes and special items that were zipped into my planner would be irreplaceable.

The item I most mourned was a picture of my grandmother, Dott. I don’t believe in coincidences, but by “coincidence” I met a former student of my grandmother’s while notarizing some documents at SunTrust. When he realized I was her granddaughter, his eyes filled with tears and he spoke very movingly about how much she had meant to him. A few weeks later, he brought me a picture of her he had saved for decades and gave it to me. It’s the one picture I have of her as a young woman. That picture is on my “grab it when the house catches fire” list. I couldn’t believe that her picture was in the bottom of a box, shoved in a back corner of some random airport’s warehouse. That picture was going to find its way back to me.

I finally spoke with someone at the airline who was nice enough to tell me all the cities to which my plane had flown that day. I called each airport’s lost and found and begged someone to help me. Another notebook I was carrying was found in Akron, Ohio, but no planner. So close! I went to sleep Saturday night losing hope of ever seeing my planner again. Sunday morning, the phone rang. The lost and found manager in Akron had my planner locked in her office, realizing that the information in the book would need to remain secure. She mailed it to me and it arrived today.

My next color-coded travel list will include, “Do not take planner on airplane!”

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Disney World, Part I

OK, so it turns out this Disney World place is kind of a big deal.  I had prided myself on being such a wonderful, selfless parent that I was taking my kids on a "kiddie" vacation.  I knew that they would have a good time, but I thought that most of my good time would be watching them have a good time.  However, I began to see the flaw in my plans for sainthood when I had finished back-to-back rides on Aerosmith's Rocking Roller Coaster today.  We are all having a ball.  As I write this, my husband is off wandering the Epcot Food and Wine festival.  He promises he will be back in time to take the kids to breakfast so I can have a birthday massage at the spa.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, to the Averys for allowing us to tag along on your trip and for being the Disney veterans that you are.  This entire trip would not be the same without you!

Yes, friends, dreams really do come true here in Disney World.  See below for examples:

Katie and Cinderella

Katie and Belle

This was the BEST moment of Davis's life.  I have literally never seen him so excited.

Except for this moment.

Those of you who know me well know how much I love The Lion King. 
And that Rafiki is my favorite character. 

Farewell for now, and I'll post more later!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Twas the Night Before Disney

Twas the night before Disney
And all through the house
All the Taylors were sleeping
Dreaming of Mickey Mouse.

The luggage was stacked by the back door with care
In hopes that the airline would get it all there.

We're hoping for sunshine, we're hoping for luck,
And a picture with Buzz, Belle, and of course, Donald Duck.

We can't wait to share all the things that we've seen
And done at Mickey's Not-So-Scary-Halloween!

Katie and Davis, Emma-Caroline and Sophie
May come back with at least one Disney trophy.

Not to be left out, the grown-ups can cheer
Hooray for Epcot festivals and international beer!

The characters we'll hug!  The fireworks we'll see!
What a great Disney vacation this will be!

I will be posting a blog or two from Disney World and then I'll overload you with stories and pictures when we get back.  Wish us luck as we tackle the ultimate family vacation!