How many of you have heard about how lucky Vicky is? (No, I don't mean to have me!.... although....) She has a gold thumb! She won us a trip to Hawaii. She won us some bucks on the lottery. And, last night we went to Disneyland when she won us tickets to the Mark & Brian (from KLOS) 50th Anniversary Disneyland... thing...
Vicky won four tickets and it took us a bit to figure out who to invite. Sean & Megan? No, Thursday night is their BINGO night. Trish & Clay? No... babysitter, required. But then, I remembered a couple who we hadn't spend any time with but who, for some reason or another, were totally our buds. Jennifer & Joe! I'll always have the memory imbedded in my mind of the two of them coming up to our table at the wedding and giving us great hugs and smiles (and a kiss from Joe... I can count my kisses with men on one hand!). Why not hang out with them? Sure! So, we invited them along, too.
(It's at this point that I wonder if Vicky has sent them a link to our One Path...)
We'd meet them there but had plenty to do beforehand. At 7pm, we left out house with arms filled with bags of bottles. See, if you brought 25 recyclable bottles, you could enter to win various prizes. (Those who have done any reading on pollution know that recycling bottles is like opening the refrigerator to cool the house on a hot day against the horrors that are industrial pollution. The real target is heavy industry but no one will go after them as long as there is money in politics, which is why campaign reform is so important! You were wondering how I'd throw a rant in, weren't you?)
Disneyland now has this ENORMOUS parking structure - the old parking lot is now known as Disney's California Adventure & Downtown Disney - and, being the first time I'd been there, I was pretty amazed. We parked, eventually, hiked out - that took a while - and went to the Will Call booth, where Vicky retrieved her tickets. Yeah! Then, we went to turn in our bottles. "I don't know why all these people are in line," Vicky said. "I'm going to win."
That's my Vicky, a wet tissue of self-confidence. We must prop her up!
The thing is, they also gave us our "Commemorative Mark & Brian 3D Posters"... which were too big to carry around for the next five hours... and that meant - shit - we had to go back to the car... And, so, we hiked and hiked back to the car, put away the posters, and hiked and hiked out of the parking structure to the tram, which took us to Disneyland, et al. Oy.
The tram stopped at Downtown Disney. How was I supposed to know it was the last stop? We got off (the tram, you pervert) and headed straight into - now, come on, guess... - the Disney Store. Ugh! But Vicky was like someone in a candy store going through her second childhood. How could I deny her? When she found a "Princess" hat that she liked, I made a sour comment about it but, honestly, how could I deny her? See, that's my problem - I can't say "No" to Vicky. But the beauty of Vicky is that she appreciates that without seeing how far she can take it. Rosa took that all the way to the bank, which made so much of our time together totally miserable. But Vicky doesn't take advantage of me... which can be a good or bad thing, depending on how you - anyway, she didn't get the hat and we proceeded to Disneyland.
For those of you who are familiar with the place, basically, they left the assembly area in front of the park intact but where the parking lot used to start is now California Adventure, with a huge CALIFORNIA standing before the entrance, each letter 10 feet tall. We passed through a rather lax security area - "Hi, my name is Achmed Bin Laden. Would you like to see my Anthrax?" "Keep the line moving, pal." - and proceeded to the "L" in CALIFORNIA, where we would meet Jennifer and Joe.
(By the way, in case your wondering, the couples in our extended group - or, at least, the women in the couples - have all conspired to have the woman's name first when referring to them. "Jennifer & Joe" "Trish & Clay" "Paula & Don" "Billie & Dan" "Vicky and Ken"... draw whatever conclusions you like.)
The line was enormous but we waited. The beauty about this evening was that only a few thousand people were invited - I'm guessing 10-15, based on some of Vicky's estimates - so we knew we'd get in without having to wait too long. When Jennifer and Joe showed, she popped into line and began our slow approach.
How do describe Jennifer & Joe? Well, they're a cute couple, obviously happy. They seem to be decent people. Jennifer is bouncy and vivacious. Joe is sarcastic and not too grown up. I liked them. (Mind you, I was the oldest one there, so...) More on them later.
Once inside, we moved very quickly to Space Mountain, which has just reopened. All the ads say that it's been totally "redone", whatever that means, and everyone, it seems wanted to find out how. Rather than wait in line - this was not a night about lines! - we hit Star Tours. I remember when this opened; I was so excited to go on! Now, well... meh! I was under whelmed. Hey, I'm 40, you know? Jaded by life! But it occurred to me that this would probably be my last time at Disneyland as a child, not a parent. Soon, Vicky and I will have a child, and I will be able to reexperience all of this through his or her eyes. So much for jaded...
Space Mountain was next and, though there was a line, it moved rapidly. We boarded... what looked like the same ride... and started... what looked like the same ride... and rode... the same - Hey! They didn't "redo" anything! It's the same ride!!! Jerks!
But we went from one side of the park to another after that and hit the "Nightmare Before Christmas" Haunted Mansion - the best part of the evening. That may be Vicky's favorite movie - and it doesn't even have Brad Pitt! We walked inside and, once it began in the circular elevator, she was all smiles, turning around and around, clapping her hands. She's so beautiful when she's happy and smiling! I just love seeing her that way! I watched her smile through the whole ride. God, I love her.
Then, to the Shmatterhorn (because Indy Jones broke down while we were in line) and a bite to eat and to the Castle for the kiddie rides: Pinocchio, Mr. Toad, Snow White...
And it was time to go.
Time just flew by.
We had a great time.
And I'd had so much fun with Vicky that I'd learned nothing about Jennifer and Joe, except... they're going to "work on" having a kid next year, just like us, but they already have three from Joe's previous marriage. While we were eating, Joe was telling us about some recent troubles with his son... who is a teenager. As I listened, I thought, "Boy, he's got it a lot more together than I ever will. I could take lessons from this guy." Without going into too many details, I will say that he seemed to both discipline his son and communicate with him. From what I can figure, that's a fine rope to walk. Good job.
So, I like them, which is good because, according to Vicky, they like me too... oh, wait. There is something wrong with them...
We said goodbye to them at the parking structure and began the hiking back to our car. Vicky was smiling from her night at Disneyland and so was I. I remembered the picture taken of us on Space Mountain - we looked like such a cute couple.
And so we were.