Thursday, December 20, 2007

Oh, the stories. They just keep coming.

This morning, I was late. I waited around my house until 7:25, and since Evil Car Moving Guy still wasn't answering his cell, I left. I made it over to the cast parking about 7:45, and scurried into costuming to exchange my pants-- when I tried on pants yesterday, one pair was about seven thousand inches too short, and the other pair fit decently (Well, decently for high-waisted pleated polyester pants). Of course, I somehow managed to put the wrong pair back on the rack after trying them on, so I came home with the pair which would really only be appropriate during a flood. I went in, dropped the too-short pair off, and found a pair marked with the
right size, and went off to change.

Dear friends who are planning to become cast members in the future: Never change in the costume building dressing rooms. They seriously frown upon it, and will tell you so. You will feel dumb when they point out the sign on each dressing room stating "this is not a dressing room, use the damn locker rooms, you idiot!" (I may be paraphrasing.)

However, in this case, it's a good thing I did change there, because these pants were mislabeled, and also way too short. The wardrobe lady set off in search of another pair for me, and eventually, I had the right pants. However, searching for pants, returning my old ones, getting new ones, checking them out, changing, returning them, and waiting for new-new ones took up about 15 minutes. By the time I actually made it to where I was supposed to meet my trainer, it was 8:05, and everyone was gone. D'oh!

I got some info about where my group was, got lost getting there (and, I must add, got a ton of help from several different people who went out of their way to send me the right way, which I appreciated more than I can say), and finally met up with the group about 20 minutes later.

After that, my day got much better. (For the time being, at least). My day consisted of helping to open Tomorrowland (including a magical moment of letting a first family duck under the rope to be the first people on the ride of their choice), riding both sides of Space Mountain (Wheee!), working crowd control for the parade (So much fun!), doing both Buzz and Stitch, and handing out stickers to kids. Yes, there was acutal training in the midst of all that, but the fact that they break it up with fun makes the day so much better.

I have to point out that I am only speaking from my own experiences here- training obviously differs depending on your location, your job, and your trainer. I talked to a lady from my traditions class who was working somewhere on Main St, who said that her group hasn't even been out in the park yet.

I have already learned so much in just two days. It is interesting being on the cast side of things now- sort of a culture shock. So far, I really love it, though. I think that for every magical moment guests have, there is probably a cast member having one, too. While I was working the parade, I kept looking around to make sure everyone was staying within the safety lines, but couldn't help but take in the excited faces of the children, totally giddy at seeing Cinderella or Mickey. I love the way a little girl's face lights up when I call her Princess, or how happy people
get over getting a sticker, or yes, the fact that I actually got paid to ride Space Mountain today. (Twice!) The truth of it all is that I am sick, I am tired, I am stressed out, I am frustrated by moving issues, I miss my cat, I miss the internet, I miss having furniture, and wow, do I miss sleep, but I am *happy*. All of the exhaustation and stress is only on the superficial layers- deep down, I am better than I've been in a long time. (But I do wish my cat would hurry up and get here.)

I had eight zillion missed calls when I checked my phone after work, and I found out that the car guy had decided that his trailer wouldn't fit in my apartment complex, then said that if he didn't drop the car off today, he would charge me an extra fee, and then a later message where my mom called to give me the address of where he was going to leave my car. I live within a mile of at least 20 hotels, so I assumed he would leave it someplace like that, but I didn't recognize the address at ALL. I called mom to have mer mapquest it, as I still have no internet, and was still laying on the floor in a heap of worn-out tomorrowland costume, thus not in the mood to
drive to the place with free internet. Well, no wonder I haven't heard of the place-
Mapquest says it's 20 miles away. DUDE.

Twenty miles away is a LOT when you don't know your way around, AT ALL. Seriously,
at this point, I know my way to MK, Epcot, Target, Wal-Mart, Panera, and Taco Bell.
This is the full extent of my Orlando-area driving knowledge. And now my car is on
the total opposite side of the city. But there's another conundrum- how do I GET
there? I can't drive, because I'd have no way to get *both* cars back. Katie is the
only person I know here, and she's not available (Plus lives like an hour away, so I
don't want to drag her out), so I'm sort of screwed.

I am not too proud to tell you that at one point, I sat on my living room floor with a giant cream cheese brownie and a glass of milk and cried.

I finally got the idea to dig out the business card of the transportation company who
picked me up from the airport and see if they can help. They're available, and agree
to meet me at the Dolphin (where I need to drop off my rental car, since it's due by 2pm tomorrow, and I work till 4, so this is my only chance.)

As we're driving along towards the address, I start to recognize some street names and neighborhoods as places I was told to avoid when I was asking around about apartments. I've got a bad feeling, so I ask the driver what area this address we're going to is in.

My car is in Pine Hills.

If you live here, you probably just fell over when you read that. If you don't live here, I don't know how to explain the badness of this area, other than that it is pretty universally known as Crime Hills. The driver advises me that when I get in my car, I should lock the doors and keep them locked.

So, let's review. My car, with the keys inside, and about half of my posessions, is sitting in a parking lot in the worst neighborhood in the Orlando area. You have GOT to be kidding me.

We finally make it to the supermarket parking lot, and as we drive past the rows of the mostly empty lot, the driver and I keep an eye out for my car. We get all the way to the end, and we haven't found it. Oh, no. Then, at the same time, we both breathe a sigh of relief as we spot it out in the far row that faces the street. We both seriously thought it was gone.

I'd like to take a moment here to promote the transportation company- Murray Hill Transportation. First, both drivers I've had were fantastic- friendly and knowledgeable. When they picked me up from the airport, they included a free grocery stop, and were really nice about telling me about the area. When I told tonight's driver that I wanted to pay attention to how we got there so I would find my way home, he made an extra effort to make sure I knew the way, and also pointed out things along the way, to help me learn my way around. But even beyond all that, when I first called to ask the price of the trip, they told me $30, which I was amazed at, for a 20+ mile trip. When I called back to let them know I was at the Dolphin, they
told me that they had made a mistake, assuming that the address on that street was much nearer, but since that was what they had quoted me, they were going to stick to it. He just wanted to let me know so that I could pay attention to how we got there so I wouldn't get lost. Judging by what I paid for my airport trip, they probably should have charged me at LEAST $30-50 more for this trip. I tipped the guy an extra $20, but even with that I feel like I got off cheap. I am really impressed that they stuck by the first quote, which was seriously undercharging me. And that is why I wanted to tell you guys about them- after all the stress of dealing with the car delivery people who seriously screwed me over, it was so nice to deal with people who were beyond fair, and really went above and beyond. They have seriously earned my respect, as well as my recommendtion.

Anyway, I made it home (yay!), and brought up four loads of stuff from the car before calling it a night and settling down in bed with the computer and half the contents of my kitchen. (Note: That's less impressive than it sounds- it actually means a bag of veggie chips, a chunk of cheese, a nutri-grain bar, and some blueberries. Apparently my body is crying out in need of just about every food group.)

I would unpack my stuff, but it's already 10:30pm, and I am in serious need of a shower (and maybe that brownie- I only got around to a couple of bites earlier), and I need to be back up at 5 to hose the gunk of a 1000 mile trip off my car window so I can see to drive to work tomorrow. Strangely, I actually would love to clean the house up right now, but I think I have just enough energy to get my stuff together for work tomorrow and shower before I fall over.

To end things on a positive note, let's review: I now have my job (first payday tomorrow! Yay!), a place to live (now slightly less empty!), my car, and some of my stuff. Other than either getting my furniture here or buying new and finding a way to get it up 40 stairs, I now have all of the major moving hurdles out of the way.

Unless you count waking up at 5am tomorrow. Ouch!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I am so incredibly frustrated.

I just got a call from the guy delivering my car, wanting directions so he can bring it tomorrow. I gave him directions, and said I'd be here about 4:45pm.

"Well, that won't work, I've gotta be in Miami at 3."

"Well, I have to be at work until 4:45". He's got another delivery in Orlando at 8am, so I asked if he could make it here before I leave for work at 7:30. "Well, I may, but I can't guarentee it, 'cause that's 6:30 my time." Well, WTF? This guy has already screwed me over because the car was supposed to be here on Sunday, but the ice storms slowed him down to Wednesday, which means I had to spend $150 extra to extend my car rental. (A note- the awesome rate you get online to reserve your car does not still apply if you have to extend. D'oh!)

So, if he doesn't make it here by 7:30 tomorrow, I'm not sure what's going to happen. I'm already running on one hour of sleep from being up sick all last night, and I'm totally exhausted. I just can't deal with idiocy right now! (And he's saying that his trailer won't fit in the apartment complex, so he's going to have to unload my car out on the street. WTF?)

Can I have one of those Easy buttons, please?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Go With The Flow

(Titled after the Finding Nemo song currently stuck in my head)

Last night, I celebrated the end of the weekend by locking myself out of my house.

I had stopped by Panera for food & internet, and then Wal-Mart for a lightbulb for my new lamp. When I got home, I realized that my new keychain had fallen off my rental car keys, and my house key was totally gone. Uh-oh.

I searched around the door to the apartment, the stairs, and near my car in the parking lot. I called Emergency Maintenance for the community and left a message, and then set off for Wal-Mart, hoping I would find it there. I searched where I had been parked, went in and retraced some of my steps, and checked the service desk lost and found- nothing. Finally, as a last hope, I set off for Panera. I wasn't hopeful, because they had been about to close when I left, and that was well over an hour ago. When I got there, the doors were locked, but I must have looked desparate and they let me in. I explained the situation, and they said they hadn't found any keys. They let me check the booth I'd been in, and... voila! MY KEY! Note to self: keychains are not something to scrimp on.

Today was "buy stuff cheap" day. I started off with a trip over to Cast Connection &
Property Control, where they sell damaged/discontinued/etc merchandise at a discount
for CMs. I admit I was hoping for a really lucky day ("Oh, look! We had all this
furniture left over from the recent Polynesian remodel, and would love to deliver it
to your house and carry it up your 40 stairs for $5!"), but no such luck. I picked
up a few odds and ends, but nothing substantial.


After a quick stop at Casa Crystal for an ice cream break (My allergies hated me
yesterday, resulting in a very sore throat today), I set off in search of furniture.
I don't know if I've mentioned it, but my apartment is humorously bare. I have an
air mattress to sleep on, a barstool, and a little side table, and that's *it*.
Oooh, and the floor lamp I bought at Target for $8 yesterday, because there was no
light in my bedroom. I need some furniture, stat, and sadly, it's cheaper to buy new
stuff here than to pay movers to bring my old stuff.

Long story short, I found one of the two places, but their furniture was way overpriced for what it was, and they wanted too much to deliver. So I'm back to nothing! Oh well, maybe I'll just embrace my new Spartan existance?

I am so exhausted- I don't know if I'm coming down with a cold, or what, but my body is being Ms Grumpy Gills. I had considered going to DAK today, but I really just want to go home and sleeeeeeeeeeep. I have to be up painfully early tomorrow, so a little extra sleep probably wouldn't hurt.

And yes, I know I'm whiny today. I keep making a point to snap out of my mood- I mean, I was whimpering earlier about having to be at work at 7am tomorrow. But dude, I have to be there for orientation that involves a tour of the MK. They are paying me to take a tour that I would probably otherwise pay to take if I was here on vacation. And I am being a spoiled brat about it? Get over it!

I considered going to the Adv Club tonight to cheer up, but Club + 6am wake-up time = BAD. Another night- I'm not going anywhere!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cravings

Oh, internet! Sweet, sweet internet! I have missed you so!

I am sitting in Panera, trying to decide what kind of bagel I want, but soaking up the free free wonderful beautiful wi-fi at the same time. I am so happy to be online that my hands are a little shaky with excitement. Yes, addict, I know.

The nice men come to add internet to Casa Crystal on Thursday (hopefully), so until then, I am at the mercy of establishments with free wi-fi. I am planning to mapquest up one closer to my house than this one, because while it is only 2 miles away, evil Orlando traffic turns that into a ten minute journey. Bleh! Although bagels and such make it worth it.

I am starting to settle in here. It doesn't feel like "home" yet, but I can actually travel to several places without getting lost now, which I'm fairly proud of. I even made it to my Traditions class with Disney yesterday morning not just on time, but early. Yay, me! (And I only accidentally ended up at Epcot once on the way!)

I have today and tomorrow off (THANK GOODNESS), so I am setting off on such pursuits as finding a Target (yay for Mapquest!), and looking for somewhere to get cheap furniture near my house. Have I mentioned that I have no furniture yet? My house is humorously bare.
I also am still driving a rental. My car (stuffed full of my stuff) was originally supposed to be here Sunday, but the giant ice storms of Doom back in MO have delayed that considerably. Now I'm looking at Tuesday. I'm having to spend money I don't have, as a result, on things I need to get by until then (paper plates, towells, etc.) I miss you, stuff!

I am also missing my music. I only brought one CD with me (Tribal Derivations), and when you add in the Finding Nemo Musical soundtack I bought myself for my birthday while I was at DAK, you have my entire music collection at the moment. I have my iPod, but it is dead, and the charger is somewhere in Missouri.

I am not a girl who does well without music. As much as I love my Beats Antique CD, and have fun car-dancing to it, I am craving something different. I realllly hope my stuff gets here soon!

More than anything, though, I miss Tallulah! I keep picking things up off the floor, thinking she'll chew on them if I leave them out, only to realize she's not here. Falling asleep is not the same without mah kitteh puring next to me! I miss coming home to her dashing towards the door and head-butting my leg. I miss just having her around. And with the ice/snow situation in MO, I'm not sure when my mom and/or sister can bring her yet. What kind of Crazy Cat Lady In Training am I without my cat?

I know I've talked mostly about the things I'm missing, but things are far from doom and gloom. I'm actually really happy. I've traded in snow and ice for sunshine and palm trees. I am constantly amused by the little changes; The top news story a few nights ago involved dolphins. That cracks me up!

Some things feel surprisingly like (old) home. The traffic is sometimes reminiscent of Hwy 76 during show times, and hell, there's even a Dixie Stampede. Can't get much more like my old life than that! (Note to self- stop by after internetting and see if they still have my horse there!) (And no, I am NOT going to work at Dixie again. Will not! Must....resist....horsies...)

Well, I think you're mostly caught up now. I'm going to sort through my two hunded (!) e-mails, mapquest a bunch of things, and then set off on errands. Does anyone remember when my days off actually included relaxing? Not that I'd trade now for then. I've got sunshine, baby.

I wrote this on Wednesday, but have been internetless, so here ya go now! For the record, I am much less grumpy about the world now, but it's part of my experience in moving, so I'm sharing anyway!

***

Dear Friends-
I have just discovered that if it is very late, I am very hungry, and all that is available is a vedning machine, I will happily pay $2 for a candy bar.
And then I will be really pissed when I get back to my hotel room and discover that it is stale and nasty.
And then I will contemplate going back to the vending machine and spending $2, because hey, maybe the Reeses cups will be better. I mean, it's hard to screw up peanut butter and chocolate, isn't it?
In non-chocolate news, I found an apartment today! And they actually agreed to let me live there! It will be ready to move into on Friday, so I am only homeless for one more day!! Tomorrow I need to go out to buy house stuff, find nourishment (foooood!), and find the stuff that really nourishes me (dance studio, yoga, library, etc.).
Also, I have found love. Ah, yes, after only being here for two days! My love is a zippy little silver Toyota Rav 4 that I rented today. I have been a very faithful Mustang girl for over a decade now (despite my short affair with a truck when I needed to take hay to my horse), but I am almost tempted to trade in my car, Apple, for one of these things. Of course, then I realized that moving to Florida and getting rid of a convertible sounds really stupid.
If, however, you would like to buy me one to have in *addition to* Apple, that would be quite kind of you. Especially since all of my money is apparently going towards the vending machine down on the first floor. (WHY am I still eating this nasty candy? I should have driven to the Cloob tonight instead of taking the Disney bus so I could have gotten fooooood afterwards! Live and learn!)
Speaking of driving, this is where I pat myself on the back for driving a rental car in a city I've never driven in, and actually *finding* the place I was trying to get to! The Rav and I did go through a rocky period at first where I sort of drove it in the 4-wheel drive gear instead of drive, but we got over it quickly. The Rav is good for making u-turns when you miss the road you were supposed to turn on. The Rav is not so good at actually getting close enough to the resort's gate key thing so that you can reach it, thus making the security guard come out to the car, and catch you singing really loudly to the Finding Nemo soundtrack. I am sorry, security lady, I will pay to get your hearing fixed.
My internet is being a huge idiot, so I may actually sleep tonight. It may be my last chance for a while! Especially with a bed! (I move in to the apt on Friday, but as of yet still don't know if my furniture is going to be coming here from MO, or if I need to just buy new stuff. Air mattress time!)
My day actually started off incredibly stressful. I needed to swing by to fill out paperwork for Disney, and then go pick up my rental car, and then look at apartments. The paperwork part was fairly painless, but the rental car was a huge pain in the ass. Disney's casting center is right across the street from Downtown Disney, so after paperwork, I just walked over there to catch a bus to the Dolphin, where the car rental desk is. When I got there (and finally found the desk- I find the Dolphin's layout incredibly confusing. But they do have great grilled cheese. Or at least they did a few years ago, not sure now... WOW, tangent...) the lady at the desk told me that I couldn't use a debit card, only a credit card, despite Expedia saying a credit card wasn't required when I made the reservation. D'oh! They got the Alamo van to take me back to Pop (where I'm staying while homeless.. or "vagabonding", as my dear friend Todd is so sweetly calling it) but the driver had more people to pick up, and couldn't wait around five minutes for me to go grab my card. So, I grab the card, dial the Alamo #, and no answer. It took four tries to get someone, and of course she gives me a different # to call. Call that, and they say they can pick me up to take me to the Alamo desk at the Car Care Center, but not the one at the Dolphin. Well, that would be dandy, except my directions to apartments all originated at the Dolphin, so changing would probably get me VERY lost. So, instead, I took a bus to MGM, and then the boat from there to the Dolphin. Total time between first arriving at the desk, and making it back- over 2 hours. D'oh!

(And apparently, this is where I fell asleep!)

Current updates soon!

Monday, December 10, 2007

I leave in the morning, my iPod is dead, and I can't find the charger cable! D'oh!

I ended up changing to the flight out of Springfield, which was probably a good idea, since Joplin ended up getting an inch of ice, with trees down and power out. I'm still watching weather.com like it's a fascinating suspense movie, though.

I have no idea how it has happened, but my whole house is now sitting in a series of suitcases and cardboard boxes. There's a LOT I'm not taking, but I've managed to smooosh everything important into a portable size! Yay! I've got one small box of stuff left to fit into my suitcase, and a last lap around the house to check for things, and then I'm done! Amazing!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

STRESS

I think that when I finally make it to Florida, I may kiss the ground. Because getting there is stressing me out!

My flight is out of Joplin at 5:45am on Monday. The weather was calling for freezing rain overnight Sun/Mon, so my plan was to drive up tomorrow afternoon (it's about 2 hours from here), and spend the night, to be sure to make my flight.

Well, now the weather is calling for waaaaay more freezing rain, and then no tempertures warm enough to melt it. So, I'm worried. Kansas City, where my layover is, is also supposed to be getting ice. D'oh!

I'm thinking of canceling that flight in favor of flying out of Springfield, which is only an hour away, and looks less likely to get canceled. The weather is calling for freezing drizzle there a few hours before my flight, but then it will warm up to above freezing before I'm supposed to take off. This one is also a direct flight, which means no getting stuck somewhere on a layover if my connecting flight is canceled.

The problem is that I booked my flight through cheaptickets.com, and they charge a $150 change fee. The balance of what I paid would be available as a credit to travel on until Dec 2008. But then I'd also have to find transportation from Sanford Airport, since Disney's Magical Express doesn't pick up there.

I can't make up my mind- trying to do so much at once has blown circuits in my brain, and I'm now totally incapable of making decisions. I think I'm going to sleep on it, check the weather again in the morning, and go from there.

Oh, the other benifit of flying out of Springfield- I would have to leave home early tomorrow afternoon if I fly out of Joplin, but leaving from Springfield gives me until Monday morning. And oh, if you could see my house, you would understand how much I NEED that extra time. And sleep. I haven't slept in forever. It's 1:40am, and I have to be up by 8.

How do I feel so utterly unprepared for something I've been planning all year?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I think I deserve some kind of title as Queen of Last Minute Decisions and Planning.

It's almost 2pm on Thursday. I leave at 2am on Monday. (Unless I leave Sunday night to avoid the impending doom of an ice storm). That's 84 hours. I still have no idea where I'm living, or which resort I'm working at. EEP!

Well, I shouldn't say NO idea where I'm living. I've narrowed it down quite a bit.

"C" (I'm calling them by letters, since I don't want to come out and say "Hello, internet! This is where I live! Come stalk me!" untill I at least have furniture.) is probably my first choice- it's fairly well know, not fantastic, but doesn't suck. It's less than 3 miles from Disney gates, which is a huge plus. They offer 5% off the rent for Disney employees, which is the best Disney discount I've found so far. (Most places just waive the application fee or something trivial). Sadly, it doesn't include a washer and dryer. You can rent them for $40/month, but I just don't have anywhere near enough laundry to make that practical. Also on the down side, their prices change daily, kind of like airfare. They seem to drop the closer you check to your move-in date, so I'm going to look again tonight after midnight to see if there's anything I can afford yet.

"V" is pretty much tied with C. It's a bit farther away, but only by a couple of miles. It's a good decade older than most of the other places I'm looking at, but the reviews seem fairly positive. It sounds fairly safe, which is big. It includes a washer/dryer (YAY!), and they only allow cats, not dogs, which is a huge plus for me. I like dogs, but knowing for sure that none of my neighbors will have loud ones that like to bark all night is a big plus. However, they charge a random $200 "redecoration fee" to cover cleaning the carpets and such before you move in, which is pretty sucky.

"P" is great on paper. It's the closest to Disney at less than 2 miles, and the deposits required are cheap. It has a screened-in balcony, which would be perfect for my cat. They include washer/dryer, and trash pickup is free, vs $18-25 at the other places. That's made up for by the rent being about $10-15 higher, though. The down side is that the reviews aren't so great. Being right off the highway, in a fairly busy area, it isn't quite as safe. But the super-short distance from WDW is a huge pull, so I'm tempted to ignore the bad parts...

There are a few others I'm still considering, but these three are the frontrunners right now. I just wish I could pick!!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Holy crap, y'all- I'm moving to Florida.

In five days!!!

I just booked my flight, which is what made it finally feel real. I've talked and planned all year, but once I booked that one way flight, it meant I was really going.

Watch this space for upcoming news and updates!