I slept in super late today to catch up, and woke up feeling much better. I was still the first out of bed though, which I just don’t understand. We got everyone up and headed to Disney Springs to shop for souvenirs. I told the girls we should find something to eat for brunch so we could have a nice dinner, but we just started walking through stores instead. They were the only two to walk up to a giant physical map of the place, and still asked me for directions. We pushed through as it got hotter and hotter in the early afternoon, and just went straight to T-Rex for a late lunch. Our server seemed good, but our food took forever to come out, and my pot roast pot pie had a film of dried gravy on top. Everything tasted alright, but this whole trip, I’ve been thinking the food has only tasted as good as it does because we’re all so hungry by the time we eat.

We circled the property, then doubled back so Eaddie could find a keychain that we ultimately could have just bought in our resort gift shop. Then it was a sleepy bus ride back to the room. Summer went down to lay out by the pool, and after taking a break for a while, I got Eaddie to go down and swim with me. She didn’t last long before heading back up to the room though, and then Summer and I followed shortly after that. Then the two of us went to the front of the resort to visit our gift shop before settling in for the night.

Storms comin’.

Give It a Rest

I slept in a little bit today, but didn’t want to miss seeing any animals. That was kind of the point of staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I was the first one up and spotted an addox in the field outside our room. I woke the girls up to show them my picture, and it wasn’t long before we saw some giraffe as well. We eventually got everyone rolled out of bed to try and swim for a bit, but then we smelled breakfast cooking at Boma, the restaurant downstairs from the lobby. We were able to walk up and get a seat nearly immediately, and the buffet was incredible. There was some pretty typical breakfast stuff, but a lot of new African things to try as well. I particularly loved the orange, passion fruit, and guava juice blend, as well as the stewed tomatoes. I stuffed myself silly, and then we went outside to swim under some direct sunlight.

I didn’t want to stay out and burn, so we weren’t out terribly long. We came back to the room and the girls played on their phones. I started to doze a little bit, but never took a proper nap. We went back outside for a little bit at one point, but eventually had to start making our way to the Beach Club Resort for our reservation at the Cape May Cafe. I wasn’t prepared for another buffet, but the girls were hungry again since they hadn’t eaten much at the first one.

We took the bus to Hollywood Studios, the Skyliner to EPCOT, and then a boat to the resort, where we had some time to kill in some rocking chairs by their pool before it was time to eat. There, some of the food was super good, but then I was disappointed by some others. I guess most of the seafood I had was pretty good, but I could only eat so many fried calamari. The pork loin and prime rib(?) were both pretty tough and unenjoyable. I did really like the clam chowder, and the glaze they used on their salmon was super good. I wished I liked the taste of salmon more, because they were really thick cuts.

After stuffing myself again, we headed straight back to Hollywood Studios by boat, and then took the bus back to our own resort where we went out for another dip in the pool. Eaddie joined us at the side of the pool for a little bit, but then went back upstairs. Summer and I goofed around in the water for a little while, and then headed back up for bed.

You’re a nuisance to my plans.

Dusted and Busted

It was super hard to wake up for a second day in a row with only a couple hours of sub-optimal sleep. We didn’t make it out of the room quite as quickly as yesterday, but we still got there for park open. Summer scored us really early virtual queue tickets to the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind coaster, so we ended up cancelling our breakfast reservation at Akershus and tried to be first in line. They didn’t actually open that ride until 8:40 though, and recommended we try something else for our early hours. We didn’t want to walk far, so we just stopped next door for some Starbucks and then came back.

The whole ride seemed pretty out of place for EPCOT, but it was super cool nonetheless. We were so early that there wasn’t a queue at all yet, and in fact we were the only three people on our train. The ride was incredible, and I only partially jokingly asked if we could stay on for another ride. The first guy said we didn’t want to know what was behind the door that led back to the start of the ride, but then another woman asked if we wanted to ride again, and took us through a staff door and loaded us on the back of the next train, which only two other people were on. After riding both first and last cars, I think the rear was my preferred. It really was an excellent experience, and getting to ride twice, back-to-back, was super special.

The rest of the day was some tough bouncing back and forth, partially to hit rides, and partially to make our lunch reservation at Space 220. Overall the food was great, but the experience was fairly middling. The screen for the “space window” could have been way better, and we were seated too close and too far to one side for it to be even noticeable at all.

By the time we got back to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, the reported wait time was like 160 minutes. I think we actually got through in just under an hour though. The ride was super cute, but we kind of thought it was more kiddy-cute than something we really cared to ride repeatedly.

We squabbled a bit in pain as we decided how to attack the rest of the afternoon and evening. I really wanted to at least experience the new Frozen ride, and we eventually made it. Eaddie and I both came away with the exact same thought, that Disney has started relying too heavily on projections for their rides. We preferred actual animatronics, and felt the projections just took away from the experience.

Overall, I think most of the things we’ve experienced this trip have been disappointments, and I’m definitely falling out of love with Disney. There are just an intolerable number of people here, and everything feels like a blatant money grab. The only other highlight for the day was really the special fireworks display over the United States pavilion. Julie and Kevin missed it because they went to the front of the park, but we watched from right next to the pavilion and it was intense.

We all made it back to the resort without too much trouble, but a little worse for wear. Everyone’s feet were hurting pretty badly. I have a pinky-toe that’s more blister than toe. The girls crashed pretty quickly, but I didn’t get to sleep until late because I kept trying to wake Noah up off of our couch at home by playing music over my speakers remotely. Then I had trouble stopping them when he finally woke up. I just wish he’d leave, because I’m tired of him blatantly disrespecting us.

Wake me up before you verti-gogo!

Open to Close

I squeezed in about three and a half hours of mild sleep before getting up and ready to rope-drop the Magic Kingdom. Summer was able to get virtual queued for Tiana’s Bayou before we left the resort, but Eaddie didn’t have access to her email associated with her Disney account, so she couldn’t even try. We got onto the bus around 7:30, and they started letting people into the park way earlier than their open times. It was already a struggle with heat and not having a plan of attack for rides. I fought to wait in line for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train first, but the line was already super long and we were there for about an hour. While we were in line, I called and got Eaddie’s account fixed. We were also called for Tiana’s while we were still in line, and we just barely made it by our assigned time.

Otherwise we had a reasonably good day for rides just because we were there for so long. We made our reservation at the Liberty Tavern and stuffed ourselves. By that time I had a massive headache on top of being full. We carried on, and I ended up just cancelling our Crystal Palace reservation.

We waited for fireworks for way too long and should have kept riding rides instead. We had some drama about where to view, and then I thought Kevin was going to beat up some kid that kept bumping into us for the two hours we were standing waiting for the show to start. They had a DJ on the stage playing awful music at an ear-damaging volume the entire time, so that was awful. The girls loved the show, but I was disappointed in the projection, which was basically just a flag over and over again.

We not only closed the park down, but went to the end of the extra magic hours for staying at a Disney resort. Summer had lost her Magic Band somewhere along the way, but we were fortunate enough to find it at the lost and found on the way out. The only ride we really missed was Buzz Lightyear’s shooter thing, but what are you gonna do when the kid wants to ride Small World?

We got back to the resort around two in the morning after accidentally getting off at the wrong bus stop. Luckily they were unloading a wheelchair and we had time to run back. We were all beyond exhausted, and we’ll have about four hours to sleep before we have to get up for EPCOT and do it all over again.

It’s pretty sad that the most magical part of the experience was the lost-and-found.

More Expenses Paid Trip

The silence stirred me this morning. I was hopeful after spending so much time and effort fixing up the fence, but I knew there should have been more noise outside, at least from the neighbors’ dogs. I got a call from a group of people with Muad’Dib, and then Summer got a call from the vet because someone else had Stilgar. I took the Onewheel because I thought Muad’Dib was only a block away, but he wasn’t much farther. I talked to the folks that had him, and then rode with him to get Stilgar. That woman came out in a mumu and had locked him up behind her privacy fence. Behind that fence was a chain-link fence. She wasn’t necessarily unpleasant, but she wasn’t pleasant about it.

The dogs ran home with me at a pretty good clip, so they were fine with coming in for the day. Then I started packing and getting ready for our Disney trip while Dad came over with some more concrete blocks.

I was high stress for the entirety of the day. I only missed one thing when packing, because I couldn’t find my USB power bank. I remembered taking it out from my daily carry, but I couldn’t remember where I put it after that. The girls took Stilgar to the vet for boarding, and Noah would be staying at the house. Dad and Suzanne both said they could check in periodically. Summer drove us to Conway to eat at Raising Cane’s, which was just more spicy mayo. Then we got to Expressway Parking and took a shuttle to the airport. The TSA line was long, but manageable, and we made it to our gate in plenty of time.

Julie and Kevin showed up, and then Summer saw Jeff and his wife get off of our plane and talked to them. I was still trying to plot and plan and understand the Disney Monster, but it was only more stress. It’s just become too much. Maybe it will be fun in the moment, but the people and the money and the stress just makes me want to do anything else.

The flights were uneventful and long. The changeover at St. Louis was easy enough, but then finding a ride to the resorts was stupid. Julie managed that for us, and we shared a ride with two stops, but the Disney and Lyft apps were both frustrating to navigate. Too much.

We got to our room and I found a dried up contact lens on my nightstand. The girls made it to bed quickly. At least in this time zone I’ll be awake before I get a call about the dogs.


Silly Dog. Fence Is for Rabbits!

I awoke to another call about our escaped dogs. They happened to be in the same neighborhood, so I got over to them and they ran up to the car. They didn’t even hesitate to jump into the Murano for the ride home, and now I’m thinking they just like riding around in a car. I took them for a walk around the block, but Muad’Dib couldn’t get enough. I was still exhausted though, so I went in and tried going back to sleep for a bit, but never had a good time with it. Summer got up and made eggs and corned beef hash for breakfast. Eaddie slept in, and I was more than a little jealous.

I tried calling the vet and a couple other places to see if anyone could take both dogs for the duration of our vacation, but the closest thing I could find was our own vet, who could only take one dog. I knew then that I would have to fix the fence issue for real, so I picked up Dad and we went to Harbor Freight for some bold cutters and Lowe’s for some welded wire fencing. They had a few different options, but we went with the fencing for rabbits on account of how much cheaper it was, and I figured it would do the job well enough. It was a little easier to bend than the other stuff, but I think with enough staples it should hold.

After we left Lowe’s, I dropped Dad off so he could take care of some stuff, and I went home to get some containers to bring home some rice for lunch. Then I picked Dad back up and we got the wire fence installed. There were still a couple places that could have used some work, but I think overall we have a pretty good chance of thwarting their next escape plan.

I let Dad take the Murano home and I rode over on the Onewheel to swim. Without any recovery time, my whole body has been aching, and I hate the thought that I’ll struggle at Disney now because of it. I’ve got exactly no time left to recoup.

When I got back home, Eaddie and I tried to clean house and she packed her bags. I had to go back across town to pick up a shirt for Summer and fix the fish feeder, but I forgot to return our unused bolt cutter. I also forgot that we had technically tried to use it to cut a twisted wire that was holding the fence roll together, and noticed a small mark on the tip of the cutters that made it pretty obvious that something had actually been cut.

As soon as I got back to the house and got out of the car, my phone slid out of my lap and onto the driveway where the back glass shattered. Most of the glass was contained, but I was mad all the same. I suppose this is what the insurance is for, but I hated that it happened at such an inconvenient time.

Eaddie and I eventually took the dogs out for another walk while we waited for Summer to come home from work. Then I took a shower and Eaddie brought Noah over to housesit. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens tonight.


Dog Caller

The tags I engraved last night worked and I awoke to a call from a couple, John and Becky in the Pinecrest neighborhood, who had Muad’Dib and Stilgar. It tickled me that John said he was very familiar with Dune, and could only read Stilgar’s tag, but knew that the other must be Muad’Dib. Summer and I got up and drove over to get them, but she ended up just walking them around the block to get back home. They had pulled out the board I nailed up yesterday, so I had to secure it better.

After that, Summer had some work to do from home while I had some coffee and caught up on a bunch of bills. Eaddie eventually made it home from her birthday sleepover with friends, and then Summer and I left to run some errands and do some shopping. We stopped by the old house first so I could try and find my automatic fish feeder and see if I had a cooling towel to take on the trip. I noticed the tiny peaches were ripened on the small tree by the front walkway, so I had Summer pick a bunch while she waited for me.

From there, we checked out Tractor Supply to see what they had for dogs. All of the electric fences they had “for dogs” were buried cable with electronic collars, but Dad suggested a proper electric conductor to shock them away from the fenceline. Next we stopped by Walmart and picked up a few things for the trip. They had one of the collars I liked on sale, so I went ahead and grabbed it too. Then I wanted to stop by Shoe Carnival to see if they had any better walking shoes. I wasn’t willing to pay what they were asking though, so we continued to Hardee’s for a quick dinner before Summer had to go conduct a staff meeting.

I dropped Summer off at the wash, ran to the old house for a bit, and then went to Lowe’s to spend some rewards cash I had earned. They happened to have some charcoal on sale, so I was basically only out of pocket for the tax. By the time I finished looking around there, Summer was done and I took her home.

It seemed less awful outside when we got there, so I took the dogs for a walk by myself around the block. Stilgar kept pulling on the leash, which has been uncommon for him. Muad’Dib did pretty well, but they both struggled with attention, and only minded me when it suited them. I’m not sure what it’s going to take to break them of that. When we got back to the house, Stilgar was happy to take a swim, but Muad’Dib sat down in the driveway and didn’t want to move. If I hadn’t been drenched in sweat, I would have taken him out a little longer by himself, but it was just miserable. I tried to make up for it inside, but he just went under the porch and sulked.

Eaddie had gone out with Eli for a bit, but she made it home and we all wound down. I helped her compose a response to Beth’s beckoning for her to spend her senior year in Wisconsin. Sometime after Midnight, I heard dogs barking and went outside to find that ours had gotten into the neighbor’s yard again. At least they hadn’t gotten any farther, but they ignored my calls to come home, and even stopped barking as though they were trying to hide. Concerned they might have left the neighbor’s yard, I rode around the block but then heard Stilgar barking again, so I headed home. This time they were happy to meet me at the fenceline where I had barricaded them out already, so I let them back in and then attached yet another board to the fence. This is like some kind of reverse Stockholm syndrome by which I want to keep them the more they try to escape.

Checklists of Checklists

Ten Mile Search

The dogs woke me up super early with some barking, but they were just laying on the porch. As soon as I opened the door, they mauled me and wanted to play, but I was too sleepy and went back to bed. The next thing I knew, Eaddie was up checking on them and they had vanished through a new, large hole in the fence. I got up and rode around looking for them, and found Muad’Dib pretty quickly, but could never find Stilgar. Muad’Dib followed me home, but stopped a few houses down to hide in someone’s garage. I ended up knocking on her door to see if maybe Stilgar was in there, but she didn’t seem terribly happy about the dogs being loose every day, and there was no Stilgar. She mentioned she had called animal control on them last week, but they were never picked up.

Eaddie came and took Muad’Dib back home since I couldn’t retrieve him without a leash. Then I rode the block several times, blowing my dog whistle to try and attract Stilgar. Eaddie left to spend her birthday with some friends at the lake. The day just kept getting hotter and I eventually gave up for long enough to take a shower. I called the animal shelter, and their answering message said they would be open until four on Saturdays, so I ran across town to check there. A couple of girls were sitting in a dark office just hanging out, and they recognized Stilgar immediately. They had seen posts on Facebook from people that had seen them. Evidently he ended up on my parents’ side of the neighborhood, so I ran back to try and find him.

Summer got home from work, and I still couldn’t find Stilgar while I was driving, so I went home to get the Onewheel again and took Summer’s car to my parents’ house so I could start from there. I got up to the top end of Camelot, and Stilgar was panting in some water on the front porch behind a couple kids playing in a kiddie pool. The father said he had been sitting there for quite a while, so I ran back to get the car and took him home. He was so hot and tired that he just laid down in the front seat while I pet him.

With everyone back home safe, I knew I had to get collars. All we had seen were plastic clips, but I wanted a collar with an actual metal buckle. Summer and I tried to go to Price’s Town & Country, but they were closed, so we went to La Huerta to get some food. Then we went to PetSmart, T.J.Maxx, and Ross. We didn’t see anything that we absolutely loved, so we started to go to Tractor Supply, but we both got belly aches and decided to go home instead.

After a break from the heat, I went back out to Atwood’s to see what they had. They did actually have a surprising variety of collars, and I ended up picking a simple, cheap, blue one for Muad’Dib. I would have liked it to be wider, but the wider ones were all too long. They happened to also have kiddie pools, so I grabbed one of those and stuffed it into the car for Stilgar.

When I got back home, I filled up the pool and then took the dogs on a walk to my parents’ house to borrow Dad’s engraving tool. I poured sweat the entire time, and it was absolutely miserable. The dogs did pretty well on my 20-foot double-ended leash, but ultimately what I wanted for two dogs were two really short leashes for discipline. They did alright, but they still got distracted several times.

We got back home and Stilgar laid in the pool to cool off. I went inside and engraved my phone number onto their rabies tags, and then spent the rest of the evening researching GPS collars. If I can’t keep them in for now, maybe I can at least recover them more quickly.

Great. Dog subscriptions.

Dog Days of Summer

I slept in a little bit today, and the dogs dug a new hole under the fence. I rode around and found Muad’Dib a couple blocks southwest, but didn’t see Stilgar anywhere. We looked around for a little bit, and then I got a call from the vet asking if we had him, because some lady brought in a dog that looked just like him. Muad’Dib and I started rolling back toward home so we could go get Stilgar, but then he just turned away from me and started walking toward a guy that was walking down the street. We ended up at the cemetery before Eaddie got to us with the leashes, and we loaded him up and headed to the vet. She said the lady came in a little panicked, and wanted to chip him. I would have been fine with it if she paid for it, but I couldn’t understand why that would be someone’s go-to action for a lost dog. It didn’t necessarily sound like she wanted to keep him, but maybe she did.

We finally got everyone home, and I went outside to brick up the fence, and nail some new pallet wood above it. That seemed to work, because the dogs were in the yard for the rest of the day while Eaddie and I ran around town.

We showered first, and then went to Superfast to see if Summer wanted to join us for lunch. She said she couldn’t, so the two of us went to New China. After that we went to PetSmart to browse for dog stuff. We looked at the little kiddie pools they had, but decided to try and find a cheaper one somewhere else.

Next we went to Ross and then T.J.Maxx to look for a swim suit for Eaddie. She found a couple she liked, but we ended up buying one she saw yesterday and missed out on when someone else picked it up. I guess the other girl didn’t care for it, or maybe they stocked a new one. In any case, Eaddie was happy.

We stopped at Harbor Freight, but couldn’t find any clasps for my homemade leash, so we went to Walmart and picked up a couple from there. They were out of pools, and thus started the great search. We went to the nearby Dollar General where they had just sold their last one. We decided to get something to drink, but at $2.30 for a 20oz Coke, we ended up buying two cartons of Minute Maid fruit punch for $3.

After that, we stopped back by PetSmart to look at their pool again, but after sizing it up, I felt it was too small for Stilgar, and definitely too small if both of them wanted to splash around at once. We went across town to the newer Dollar Tree and then another Dollar General on our side of town, but nobody had a pool. We finally made it back home and rested for a while. I had a pretty bad headache, so I laid in bed for most of the remaining afternoon.

We eventually got up and went to my parents’ house to swim for a bit. We got back home a little before Summer did, and played with the dogs a bunch more. I was exhausted, so we wound down pretty quickly from there. Hopefully the dogs will still be there in the morning, because I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

Collars next.

Defence Dog

I could hear Stilgar yelping around the block when I went outside this morning, so I rode over to Ridgewood and found Muad’Dib harassing another dog behind a fence. I got him home and then went back to find Stilgar with his head stuck in a chain link gate. I don’t even know how he got into it, because it was tight. They both did a great job following me home, but I’m still so sick of them getting out in the first place.

Work was still quiet, though I went to a couple classrooms today to deploy some newly imaged computers. I couldn’t really start on any big projects in case something broke in my absence, so I just rode out the day.

Eaddie and Eli took the dogs to the vet in the morning, so Eaddie called afterward to give me the details. They said Muad’Dib was about a year old and likely had some huskey in him. Apparently the vet pinched off at least one of the warts on his mouth, and Eaddie said he didn’t mind at all. They pegged Stilgar at about five months old and didn’t know what kind of dog he was, but said he would get pretty big.

Everyone was gone when I got home, including the dogs. They had dug under the fence again to play with the neighbors’ dogs. I figured they’d be fine since they weren’t paying any attention to me on our side of the fence, so I went to Walgreens for a pickup order and then rode to my parents’ house to give them some of the corn I got from school. I ate some leftovers there and then headed back home to mend the fence.

The dogs were gone from the neighbor’s yard, so I rode about six and a half miles around the neighborhood looking for them. They eventually caught up to me around Ridgewood again, and sprinted straight home with me. We’ve got to work on the obedience, but at least they know where home is.

The girls were home by then, and though I didn’t see much of Eaddie, Summer and I talked for a little bit before she went to bed. The dogs were exhausted from playing and running, and I was exhausted from another week of searching for them every day. Hopefully we have this figured out before we leave.