Wednesday, March 27, 2013

It's A Sad World After All

In case you haven't seen or heard about this news article, a man recently sued Disney World for being stuck on the "It's a Small World" ride for, get this, 30 minutes.

Granted, he is handicapped (in a wheel chair), so life is harder as a whole for him.  And also, he only won $8,000, which doesn't seem like too obscene of an amount.  And additionaly, the ride didn't have any way for him to get off of it when it was stuck, but everyone else (not in a wheelchair) did have a way off.  So maybe it wasn't really too bad of a judgement.  I've certainly heard of worse.

But then again, I was stuck on that ride before too, for at least 30 minutes, if not longer.  And the amount of time that people have to wait just to get on that ride on a normal Disney day can be more than an hour.  Did I mention that that stupid freaking song plays over and over the whole time when you're waiting AND when on the ride?  Over and over.  And over.  Again.  *It's a small world after all...*  AAAAAaaaaggggghhhhh!!  I never thought of suing them though, I was just annoyed and thought that I have no desire to ever get on that ride again - EVER.  I'm sure I'll swallow those words for my kids some day though, if we finally decide to waste thousands of dollars to take them there, and if they want to experience the unjustified hype.

As a final thought though, if a lawsuit and negative press is what it takes to get them to get their act together with that pathetic excuse for a ride, then maybe it's for the best in the long run.  Maybe the experience won't be as bad if/when one day I'm persuaded to *take my kids there after all * (singing the song).

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Grandma L. is Gone

I got a call last Sunday (3/3/13) from my family in Florida saying that my dad's mom had been transferred to a hospice and was not expected to last very long.  Then on Tuesday I received messages that her health was declining rapidly.  So I made arrangements to take the earliest flight I could to go back home, to Orlando.

The trip to get there had several challenges and setbacks though.  After missing my first flight (I-71 and I-75 traffic was stop and go), then missing the connecting flight after I was rerouted (the plane was stuck on the CVG tarmac due to weather conditions), I finally made it to Sarasota on Wednesday morning.  I was then able to borrow my sister-in-law's car to get to the hospice in Orlando.

The next 5-6 days were a weird and emotional roller coaster of an experience.  Aside from spending time with my family (siblings, cousin, aunt and uncle), and wonderful one-on-one time with my mom (who I stayed with), I mostly just sat next to a hospice bed that held a shell of the woman who was my grandmother.

Grandma Nettie (short for Antoinette) was always spunky and lively.  The above picture was taken in November 2011, when my family was in Florida for Thanksgiving.  Whenever we visited her, she would delight in serving food and bustling about between the kitchen and dining room.  She wasn't much of a listener, but she had fascinating stories about herself and of our family's history.

Now she couldn't speak at all though.  She did periodically make groaning noises, but I had no idea if she was trying to talk, if she was expressing a high level of pain, or if it was all just involuntary.  She opened her eyes once or twice, primarily after the attendants (I guess they were nurses?) turned her over to make her comfortable.  But her eyes were completely glossed over, like her conscience was enveloped in a thick grey fog.

Several people told me that she (and others in her state) can still hear and process everything around her.  I don't disbelieve them, but I couldn't observe anything to indicate that this was true.  I'm not someone who is often at a loss for words, but I had a difficult time figuring out what to say to someone in her state, especially when there's no response or indication of her hearing me.  There's no encouragement to give her about getting better, and the normal topics of everyday life (weather, food, politics, etc) seem completely pointless.  I finally determined that the only topics that really mattered is (a) telling her I love her, (b) thanking her for who she was to me and my family, (c) thanking her for how she influenced my life (directly and indirectly), (d) talking about the life that I think is to come for her, including a request to give my dad a big hug for me, and (e) Jesus.  Through the duration of my time there I talked to her numerous times, including reading her the Bible for a bit.

She finally passed away on Saturday afternoon (3/9).  Although several other family members were there at the hospice (my mom, my aunt, myself), somehow at that moment my brother Steven was the only person in the room with her.  Her memorial is scheduled for this Tuesday (due to scheduling complications at the church she requested), but at this point I don't think I can afford either the travel costs or the additional time off of work.

She will be missed by us all though.
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