OK, I mentioned on Christmas Eve that I had something that I was going to wait until after Christmas to post. Still not sure it’s the right time, but I have to vent it. I won’t think less of you if you don’t want to read it.
Already this year, my mom was diagnosed with COPD (which was scarier at the time than it is now, since her meds are working wonders). Found out Dad has cancer. Grandma died. Lost my job. You can say that 2010 has left a bit to be desired already.
After my grandma died, my mom and cousin Jim had been going back and forth on splitting what she had left. He’s also a grandson, like me, but his mom (my mom’s sister) died many years ago. He wanted more than what was spelled out in the living trust. Lawyers got involved.
Turns out that my mom, who has Power of Attorney in the trust, had written checks from the trust on grandma’s behalf (at grandma’s request, since it hurt her to write due to arthritis). Everything was on the up-and-up. Now lawyers want copies of every check since the trust was set up, and apparently want to contest each one’s legitimacy individually. Basically, the lawyers want to make sure that they get more money than any member of the family.
But wait, it gets better. On Christmas Eve, cousin Jim died. He hurt his back years ago when he was a fireman, and had been on disability ever since. He went through a very nasty divorce about 6 years ago. His bitch of an ex-wife dragged that through the courts for five years, trying to bleed every cent she could out of him. She got the house. She got the kids. She got child support. She got the car. Jim got nothing, except depression. On Christmas Eve, he fell in the bathroom and hit his head on the toilet and died.
But there’s more. Now his kids, at the behest of bitch ex-wife, are calling the lawyers looking for their share. Yes, I believe that it is right that they get some of it, but with the evil queen prompting them, this is getting very ugly (for the record, these are great-grandkids, where I’m a grandkid). When grandma gave my mom money to help buy a house, that is now suspect and she wants that money split. She claims that grandma had lost her marbles. FAR from true. Until the day she died, she was sharp as a tack. The only part of her head that didn’t work right was her ears. And the bitch wouldn’t even visit my grandma when she lived across town from her, and was a nurse unwilling to help with care. Neither she or the grandkids have spoken to grandma in years. How the hell would they know?
Some of the few of you who’ve read this far are probably thinking “sure, you’re trying to keep your share as large as possible.” But here’s the kicker. I don’t have a share. I’m not in the trust. So you would think that I wouldn’t care so much what happens to the money and stocks. But it’s tearing my mom apart, and that is killing me to see. She’s having to fight lawyers, deal with a nephew’s death right after her mom’s, and a truly evil bitch trying to bleed her dry…even though she divorced out of the family years ago.
So, yeah. I can’t fucking wait for 2010 to be over. 2011 can’t possibly be worse. Sure, this situation will carry over into 2011…but it has to get better, doesn’t it?
I just looked ahead to Day 24 and it’s “Favorite Disneyland memory.” And here I just shared it (I may have better, but if I do I can’t think of it now). I may just cheat and give multiple other memories. We’ll see!
Between pins, the 40th anniversary trading cards, tickets, park guides, and the new Vynilmation (which I just don’t understand the draw of), Disneyland has no shortage of collectible items. I’ve even seen Disneyland napkins listed on eBay.
Still, as corny as it is, my favorite things that I’ve collected at Disneyland are memories. There’s the bomb scare in Fantasyland, where myself and one security guard cordoned off Fantasyland Theater and the adjacent restrooms for an unattended backpack. There’s helping ducklings and their mom get across the parade route to the waters of Storybookland right before the parade came through, keeping the little kids from handling them. There’s dancing down the parade route to the applause of thousands of people (I’m a terrible dancer, but when you do it with a smile, people like it).
My favorite was a family that came down from Washington to celebrate their daughter’s birthday. It was her first visit, and they were on day one of five. I was at the popcorn cart at Central Plaza. She was having fun watching the ducks that were smart enough to hang out and eat the kernels I dropped, and the ones fed to them by people who just spent $2.50 on it. She named two of them…Pop and Corn. How could I resist? I gave her a small cup of popcorn to feed them.
The family was taking a break, and I chatted with them for a good 45 minutes. I answered questions, I gave them hints and tips, even told them a few Disney secrets (good ones, not the dark side). I told them where I was scheduled through the week so they could drop by and say hello, with the warning that sometimes our locations get switched at the last moment.
So the next three days come and go and I don’t see the family. Still, with tens of thousands of people in the park, seeing a particular group stand out isn’t a given (I wasn’t giving the crowd-scans the same level of scrutiny as I would, say, for a kid’s parents who had gotten themselves misplaced).
On day five, I’m “closing the park,” which in my dept means going around and making sure the carts that stay out are cleaned (as opposed to most, which are transported back to the vending warehouse for cleaning), tarping them so when the streets get washed the dirt doesn’t splash onto the cart, and making sure everything is locked up.
As I head from Main Street to Frontierland, I see the family! They are standing on the wooden bridge into Frontierland watching the ducks. I stop by to say hello. It’s 12:15am. Disneyland closed at midnight. The shops are still going to be open for 45 more minutes (and I’m on the clock for another 3 hours with not much left to do — I’m getting to the lazy part of my evening). So we talk for a while. Pop and Corn swim around, and I run to the back and get some leftover popcorn that is about to be thrown away for the girl to feed them.
It turns out that the girl got sick towards the end of day one, and they had spent three days barely venturing out of their hotel. So we didn’t talk too much about what they did and didn’t do…I didn’t want the girl to go home thinking of everything she’d missed. So we talked about classic Disney movies, characters, and, of course, ducks. Security came by on their sweep (they start at the outside edges and work to the middle, then up Main Street to make sure nobody spends the night), and I heard on my radio that the park was clear to Main Street…except for one family.
I was able to talk to the guards and explain the situation, and they let me assume responsibility for clearing the family when we were done. Finally, at 1:30 in the morning, the girl was exhausted and ready to go. We exchanged hugs, and I told them I’d see them next time (I wish that had turned out to be true, since I don’t work there anymore). I walked them up Main Street and out to the exit, and got back to work.
It’s memories like this that are better to collect than anything you can buy in the shops. And it’s things like this that I miss the most about working there. Not every day had something special happen for me, but enough that I have a lifetime of these memories to look back on.
In the past few days I’ve seen several NBA players complain about having to play on Christmas. Let me just say: Get over it.
In the past 20 years, I’ve worked probably all but three Christmases, for a LOT less money than these guys make. As in their pay for one game equals my annual salary.
So stop whining, rich people. Your charter flight home to your luxury car and mansion will be there after the game. The maid will have your house clean, and your Rolex will still be wrapped under the tree.
And us poor people will still struggle to make ends meet, while you complain about your ridiculously high-paying job not taking the day off.