Tips and Tricks

Questionable Advice.

Tragic Kingdom

Disney is a land with love and magic. It also has frustration. And anger. And confusion. I kept a list in the notes section of my phone so that I could be helpful to someone in the future. There won’t be a grand narrative or connecting theme with this post, only a list of my random observations and experiences. Enjoy.

  1. Everyone Takes Constant Selfies. I saw a woman lying on the ground upside down while her friend stood on a trash can to get an extreme photo angle. What I saw later made me feel sorry for the lady on the ground.

  2. The employees are all very happy and the guests look like prisoners who have just been turned out to the rec-yard. I figured people who paid money to stand in line would have been happier about it. The entire thing is optional. The monorail will take you back to the parking area and the happy guests will be glad you leave. It is a small world and Disney makes it feel claustrophobic.

  3. Sometimes the monorail breaks. Then you sit in line for the ferry with other people who would rather take the monorail. Tragic_Ferry

  4. There is no good place to fart at Disney. I didn’t consider it before but a few facts about humans became important. The human body is constantly making methane. Everyone farts. If you don’t fart it could be a sign of a fatal condition (see your doctor). Despite these facts, society frowns on farting in crowds because nothing is worse than oppressive heat except for oppressive heat and a sulfur cloud. Lady Bug gave zero shits what anyone thought about farts. She crop-dusted everyone within ten feet in nearly every line. She would giggle and when the smell hit us she would say, “That’s my butt!”.

  5. You can give an alien plant a hand-job in Pandora. No shit. There is a large plant that has a large red area on the side. If you rub this area vigorously for a few seconds the plant will groan and spray water out of the end into the passing crowd. I’m not sure which part is more awkward. If you walked into Pandora in the Animal Kingdom and felt a mysterious spray of water…

    I mean… how is this not inappropriate?

  6. Disney must be the largest disease vector in the developed world. All handrails are at licking height for children and they must touch each and every surface in the entire park. I tried to show them examples of why we don’t touch surfaces in Disney. In one instance, a sickly man was walking behind a lady in a scooter. He began coughing and leaned on the scooter in some attempt to half walk, half ride. The lady asked him, “Are you okay.” To which he replied, “No” and then vomited watery snot directly onto the sidewalk. The rear tire of the scooter rolled through it and left a trail of moisture for about five feet. I pointed to the spot and told the girls, “This is why we don’t crawl on the ground on our hands and knee. Because no one is going to clean this and after it dries in the sun, you won’t have anything to let you know it was here.” The message didn’t stick because Prima licked the exterior wall of our condo later that night. I assume out of boredom.

  7. Disney is home of the overprotective mother. I can’t count the number of full grown children who had their knees crammed up to their chins in a stroller while their mother pushed them through the crowd. If your child is in danger of getting their entire leg sucked under the stroller before their upper body would move, they may be too big. Lady Bug is four and walked 100% of the time. She never requested to be carried and we went from morning until night. Kick your entitled kids out of the stroller. While you are at it, kick them out of the wrong bathroom. A good rule of thumb for moms, if your child has a baritone voice or any manner of pubic or facial hair, they are too big for you to take with you. They can wee wee all by their big-boy selves. The amount of women taking their boys into the women’s room was ridiculous. Cut the cord already.

  8. Scooters are proof that God has abandoned his creation and is blind to our suffering. I couldn’t tell if I had stumbled into an area of character actors from the movie Wall-E. America is so out of shape. And old. I nearly went ape-shit on an old man in a scooter who I am fairly sure might have been dead already. His eyes weren’t responding to movement around him and he was slumped over with a slight drool. I would have cared but he hit me in the ankle twice. Fuck that guy. There should be a test when the keys to the scooter are handed out. Not a hard test. More of a safety check. Something like, “Excuse me sir, do you have a pulse or a functioning motor neurons? Oh you do? Fantastic here are your keys. Enjoy the mayhem you will inevitably create. May God have mercy on your eternal soul.”

    This old dudes scooter said “SUE” on the front. The woman next to him had a sign that said “Frank”. I rest my case. 

  9. Fast pass is an interesting social experiment. It gives you a chance to be a “have” and a “have not”. Every time I had a fast pass for a ride I would zip to the front and look at the sad faces of the people waiting in line. I would think, “You poor bastards. Ha ha. Sucks to be you.” Then, two hours later, I would be standing in a slow-moving line with a farting four year-old while fast-passers zip past me and I would think, “You self-righteous pricks. I hope you die. I hope the ride malfunctions and lops off your leg.” Everyone probably encounters the same level of waiting but it just felt good to hate the fast-passers.

    We summon the dark-lord of animation… STEAM BOAT WILLIE!!!

  10. Two of the most enjoyable rides for me were the Toy Story rides. It was basically a drive-by shooting. You get a laser gun and unlimited ammo to blast bad guys. Very satisfying.

  11. They sell double balloons that consist of a colored mickey shaped balloon covered by a clear balloon. Grandad Map found one crammed into a trash can and he rescued it for the girls. They loved it but in about ten minutes they were done with it which meant that it got tied to my backpack. One side note about the backpack… I have lifetime rights to put random shit in my wife’s purse until we are old and grey. I carried everything for everyone in a backpack while we were in the parks. I carried juices and snacks and ears. I tolerated constant stooping over for someone to zip and unzip the backpack. Back to the balloon. This balloon decided to torture me and everyone near me for the next few hours. It was depleted of helium enough that it hovered instead of floated. It smacked people in line and wedged behind me when I tried to sit down. If I die and go to hell, 90% chance that the devil will tie a balloon to a backpack and make me navigate a crowd.

    I offered a man twenty dollars to pop the balloon. He walked away with a confused look. Too bad, easy twenty. 

  12. Money falls from the sky at Disney. Every surface that is too far for guests to reach are covered with coins. Any water was guaranteed to have piles of coins littering the bottom. The posts sticking out of the lake next to the ferry boat glistened with nickels and dimes. You could hear them hitting the post and splashing into the water. I was on a lower level and I held my hand out. I caught thirty five cents. True story. I wonder if people are just that broken at the end of the day and they say, “Here, take it all you rat bastard!” Tragic_Money

  13. We betrayed all of our children’s trust through traumatic roller coaster rides. Prima fell victim to Yeti Mountain. Jane got motion sick on Mission to Mars. Prima may have lost consciousness on Mission to Mars. Donna Threeto was broken by the Tower of Terror. Lady Bug was up for absolutely everything. She rode Big Thunder Mountain and shamed her sisters back into riding roller coasters. My favorite kid meltdown was someone else’s kid. We were waiting in the line for Rockin Roller Coaster and a small girl ahead of us in line was whimpering. Her father was assuring her that everything would be fine and there was no need to worry. The line moved out into the loading zone for the ride and the waiting guests got to watch a few cars launch before riding. The Rocking Rollercoaster is built to launch the coaster from zero to sixty miles per hours in a couple of seconds. Like a rocket. As the small girl, who had just finished crying, stopped at the fence to watch the first car leave, there was a burst of air and the coaster shot into a darker tunnel and disappeared leaving only echoes of screams. The girl melted into the floor in a pool of tears and screaming. She lost her mind. I laughed too hard to be helpful. Jane was with me and she thought it was funny too. Strangely enough, the girl decided to ride the ride proving that humans are addicted to bad decisions. By the end of the trip all of the girls liked roller coasters and were more open to enjoying all the rides. Plus we got cool pictures on the ones that scared them out of their minds. Tragic_Tower

So there you have it. A few tips and notes on Disney. There are probably lots more but I’ll save them for another day.

If you have ever been to Mickey’s world then this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Ghost Worms

The other day I got an interesting text from Supermom.

[C/D’s bedroom light just came on by itself. (Concerned emoji) I’m kinda freaking out.]

She was sitting on our bed and in the room across the hall the light just came on. No one in the room. Kids were at school. Lady Bug was napping next to Supermom. Creepy.

Later that day I called to let her know that I was on my way home. We were talking about dinner options and I hear the two oldest children run into the room, “MOM, MOM, Our light just turned on by itself!”

“Did you hear that?”

“Yes. Did you tell any of them about it happening earlier?”

“No. Only you.”

I’m disappointed that we have a ghost because I am afraid it will affect resale value. I didn’t tell her about the night I heard a bump in the girl’s room and ignored it until the next morning only to find a picture had fallen off the wall. A picture in a closed room on a night when the kids stayed at my mother’s house.

We had been watching “The Conjuring 2”. That movie is some kinda creepy shit. The Marilyn-Manson-looking demon nun with yellow teeth really brings it home. Don’t watch the movie. You will spend the rest of the night burning sage and watching your cat to see if they are picking up any spirit world vibes.

I don’t personally believe in ghosts but that doesn’t mean that I am taking the garbage out at midnight or looking for random junk in the creepy attic. That nonsense can wait until sunlight is part of the equation.

A second scary trend has been starting. One of our children has taken an interest in scratching her butt. When I say “butt” I mean “butthole”. Aggressive and constant scratching. We tried diaper cream and some sort of drying powder. No help. We then took it upon ourselves to Google the problem and came upon the common condition of pin worms. Pin worms are disturbing so you can skip these last two paragraphs if you are squeamish.

These worms live in the rectum and crawl out at night and lay eggs around the anus. They cause itching and irritation but are physically harmless. Psychological damage is another story. The internet insisted that the only test for an infestation is to wait for your child to be asleep and carry a flashlight into their room to try and sneak a peek at their worm portal. You could also put a piece of packing tape in the butt-crack and check it in the morning for freshly laid eggs. Omg.  Wtf. No thank you.

One day in therapy, under intensive hypnosis, our child will bring up a repressed memory of being awakened from sleep with two parents shining a flashlight up her butt. Her sister will have a fuzzy memory of rolling over and asking with quizzical eyebrows, “What are you doing?” To which I answered gracefully, “Checking your sister for butt worms. Go back to sleep.” The answer was acceptable because she went back to sleep.

It is a wonder that we aren’t all damaged goods. Maybe this is how people get the idea that they were abducted by aliens and experienced probing. Like most horrible parenting requirements, this scarred me every bit as much as it could possibly have scarred her. Also, I learned that there is an Over-The-Counter remedy for pin worms and instead of midnight flash-lighting you can just treat for the worms and move on with your life.

After the worm-check incident I had a thought. Maybe our ghost is not being scary but instead is actually scared of the dark. He might be worried that we will sneak in an check him for ghost butt worms.

If your family is weird enough to scare ghosts, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

When Tempurs Flare

Dear Tempur-Pedic,

When I first got married I wondered how we would integrate the little things like our choice in mattresses. For the first few years we were financially bound to hand-me-down, well-sprung Serta/Sealy styles. Our first co-ed bed sagged in the middle and provided a gravitational force that made sure we stayed close. It was an apt model for the space-time effects of gravity. We dreamed of the day that we could have a designer mattress and a comfortable night of sleep. Then, one star sprinkled November evening, we decided that our health and happiness was more important than our fragile credit rating so we financed a king sized Tempur-Pedic sleeping apparatus.

Oh happy day.

I am perfectly happy to swallow my pride and fully disclose that we financed around $2k for a mattress. Another minor detail, we actually bought a pair of twins and smushed them together under a king sized top sheet. It was cheaper but we used rationale such as “more isolation of movement” and saying, “it was cheaper” to defend our pride. So in effect, we financed a lie upon a lie on which we lay. Twenty four months with no interest which would have been nice if we hadn’t missed the first fucking payment and had full interest and penalties applied.

Didn’t matter. Not even a procrastinator tax could ruin my excitement over a new mattress and the hope for a good night’s sleep. After all, the material balancing the pressure under my weary back was none other than a top-of-the-line molecular structure developed for astronauts by NASA. Not Cosmonauts or Chinese-nauts, good old first-world American bodies in the deadly depths of space. Surely this would be the wisest investment in the history of man.

Never once did the thought occur to me that using NASA as a credential for a mattress was flawed. I realized today that astronauts are in a weightless environment. They could be strapped to the flat side of an I-beam and would be grateful to not be floating around banging their face into vast panels of complicated button panels. What could a foam mattress provide? How hard are they strapping astronauts into their beds? Hindsight is twenty twenty. Moving on.

The delivery day arrived and we put the magical cube of super-dense mystery on top of the faux box springs. I thought it would be appropriate and symbolic to do an honorary swan dive into the lush comfort.  About the point where gravity took over I had a salient thought, “What happens when memory foam hasn’t developed a memory yet?”

I’ll tell you.

Mosquitos asses go through their brains against car windows in much the same way.

I peeled myself up and reassured my inner self that if I could tough it out a few dozen months then the memory function would kick in and my new mattress would be form fitting heavenly down. The heavenly part was true in as much as heavenly equals clouds. Also, clouds in this case equals a thin fog of moisture that wouldn’t support a stiff breeze. This mystical shape shifting brick bound lump of shit turned from polished stone to sixth grade home economics throw pillow half filled with poly-fil, overnight.

One minute it is hard and the next… I can feel the double stitched seams of the box springs under my butt cheeks. I’m 95% certain that the mattresses used in the children’s tale, The Princess and the Pea, were a dumpster scavenged collection of twice used Tempur-Pedics. Five second rundown – the story is about a girl claiming to be a princess so they test her by putting a pea under her stack of mattresses with the assumption that a pampered princess would be able to feel the slightest discomfort of the pea. Of course that skinny poser felt the pea, it probably damn near ripped a hole through the bottom six layers. Piece of shit.

In other news, I might be royalty.

I wake up every morning want to punch myself but I find myself unable because my arms are floppy tingly dead weight. I need to leave this bed.

It is like a bad relationship. I am constantly worried that I will do something to ruin it but that may be the best possible outcome. I worry that I will spill something on the foam and according to the salesman (after we signed the deal), any wayward moisture breaks down the molecular structure. Is that what has happened? Did I sweat too much? Did the humidity of the southern United States doom me from the start? Is this a sign of magnetic planetary pole reversal? Was it ALIENS?!?

If I had an ounce of manhood left I would douse this mattress in kerosene and throw a lit match. But I don’t. Mostly because I am tired from poor sleep but also because that is arson. In the unlikely event that my house burns down and the evidence points to my mattress, let the record show that I am firmly against setting intentional fires. Desire and action are two different levels of involvement.

In conclusion, screw you guys for shallow reasoning (i.e. NASA technology), predatory marketing to habitually poor people (who finances a mattress?), and for the persistent neck pain that I endure. Maybe I am just getting old but the next bed will be something adjustable that is developed for sleeping under the full gravity of our home planet. I bet Orgeenic was developed for cooking in space too.



Night of the Gliders

So… good news. Our fourth and youngest child has achieved a solid 90% potty trained status. When she has an accident it seems to be a purposeful and defiant pissing of the bathroom stool. High comedy for her sisters. Our puppy is still a slight pain in the ass. Literally. She chewed a plastic bottle on my side of the bed and last night I plucked three shards out of my butt cheek at 1:00 am. The tossing and turning that helped me find these scraps was a result of our other “big news” for the month.

No Supermom isn’t pregnant again. She better not be. I can’t imagine how Joseph must have felt finding out that Mary was pregnant. Luckily the angels smoothed things over beforehand. I have this image of him yelling at Mary across the living room, “That better be the lord almighty!” #Drama.

Anywho, our big news does involve a mating pair.

About two weeks ago we took a trip to the exotic animal show at our local fairgrounds. I knew before we left that we would be buying something. I didn’t know what but I did know that we wouldn’t escape unscathed.

There were hedgehogs, bobcats, snakes, lizards, shit-loads of birds, ferrets, and last but not least… Sugar gliders.

We bought a mated pair because we like to lie to ourselves. The idea that we might somehow recoup our investment through sale of sugar gliding offspring is just what we needed to enable our habit of poor decisions. Just like the wallaby and the rabbits, there are interesting facts about sugar gliders that I feel compelled to share.

  • Sugar Gliders look like methed-out chipmunks that are wearing a wing suit and screaming at strangers.
  • Sugar Gliders are nocturnal. Every. Goddamned. Day. Or night I guess. They hide for most of the day then run circles around a noisy metal bird cage for about forty five minutes each night around 2:00am. This is concerning to dogs who then whine and bark. At 2:00 am.
  • Sugar Gliders are noisy when mating. You might think that a prey animal whose best defense is hiding in small holes might be quiet. You would be wrong. They sound like a drunken couple humping on a balcony at a spring break hotel. I’m concerned they are going to fall to their death and/or wake the children. Thank God they don’t say actual words.
  • Sugar Gliders make a warning noise when they feel threatened that is called crabbing. It sounds like fifty cicadas crammed into a really small space. They do this randomly as shadows and large creatures cross near their cage.
  • Sugar Gliders eat something called mealworms. These are basically maggots that are killed and bottled for hand feeding to the precious little meth squirrels. I suppose hand feeding maggots to meth squirrels is better than manual stimulating potty-time for a baby wallaby but not by much. Life shouldn’t be an episode of fear factor. Speaking of which, I accidentally picked up a smashed dog turd because I thought the kids had brought a smashed walnut into the house. I only realized what I was holding after the smell floated out of the half dried turd.
  • Sugar Gliders bond with people and eventually can be put on a leash. Part of the bonding process is allowing the glider some freedom in a controlled closed space. The best controlled closed space is a two-man tent that we will be buying at Walmart tomorrow. Remember kids, the cost of a thing is never the cost of the thing. It is much more.
  • Sugar gliders bites. They bite with a small set of ice picks that double as teeth. Evolutionarily it is confusing because I’ve never noticed mangos that try to escape being eaten. Sharp teeth are for holding prey and randomly biting human owners.
  • Sugar Glider couples enjoy being named so we named ours James and Lily after the late Potters. I feel that they would have belonged to Marsupial House and been really good at Quiddich (sp?) because of their inherent flying skills.


So in recap: Tomorrow afternoon there will be a couple of full grown adults in a two-man tent trying to bond to a couple of meth squirrels with a handful of half-dried maggots.

Tell me more about how interesting your life is.

Oh snap. I almost forgot to share the awesome experience of James getting loose in our bedroom. Both gliders were in a small pouch and James decided that he needed to get out and explore. Judy Cornbread, our mix breed puppy, was very interested in eating the spastic treemunk and I had to leap into action to keep her separate. Supermom was wearing a glove to keep from getting bitten but had it on her left hand which was useless in a skilled movement like catching anything that moves. It was a comical few moments as we tried to lure him into the pouch without releasing the other from the exact same pouch. In the end, Supermom grabbed James with her bare hand and suffered through a couple of bites. The blood was more than a papercut but less than the chainsaw scene in Scarface.

If you are curious about Sugar Gliders, this post is for you. You’re welcome. I will try to share any other knowledge I gain from these night howling bastards.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

How To Be Rich

Let’s talk today about how you can make tens of dollars with a little thing I like to call “yard sales”. A.K.A. garage sales, rummage sales, or fun-time-with-lemons-and-razors.

I agreed to the yard sale for the same reason I agree to everything. My wife is beautiful and persuasive. She learned long ago that I am a powerless negotiator in the arena of married life. She holds the cards, so to speak. Regardless, I did agree and we spent the better part of two weeks sorting out the piles of hoarded junk into marketable goods. Hundreds of pieces of pottery and I dare say, thousands of clothes for girls from sizes Newborn – 3T.

There were a few outfits marked “Just Born” which I thought was an aggressive suggestion for a clothing tag to make. Can they only wear the item if they were just born? What is the timeframe on just born? Hmm.

Moving on. Friday and the sale items are all prepared. Good thing because we had planned on seeing one of my favorite people, Peyton Manning, speak live at an event in my hometown. He is a class act. Funny and easy going with a little wisdom sprinkled along the way. I left the event feeling motivated to do something. That something was to lead our yard sale to victory. Never mind that we only had six hours to sleep before dragging out all the tables and junk to meet the 6 am crowd (psychopaths, no one enjoys 6 am), we were determined and this shit was gonna happen.

Saturday morning we got up, got doughnuts, and prepared the sale. By 7:00 we were ready for the wave of inevitable commerce. By noon we would surely have financed a trip to Bora Bora or Fiji.

8:30 rolls around and we have seen no one. A lonely car pulls up and an elderly lady walks over and starts judging our life one piece of junk at a time. “My goodness you must have a lot of children”, she said. “We do. Four of them.” I replied. She kept walking and ended up at the hanging rack of nicer clothes that we felt deserved more than $0.50. She picked out three nice outfits and one was a decorative Christmas dress which was a modest $5. Originally it cost $40 and I’m certain it was only worn once, briefly, for photos.

“Five dollars seems expensive.”

“Does it? I thought that was a decent price.”

“It was more than I was wanting to pay.”

“I think your frame of reference is off. You are from the generation where a nickel was admission to the movies. This decade, five dollars is a fancy cup of shit-tasting coffee. If you can’t imagine paying 100 admissions to the theatre for a simple dress I can understand but to me the choice looks an awful lot like naked poverty versus a latte. I think you know the right choice.”

“Would you take three dollars?”

“Sure. Thanks for stopping by.”

The old lady made off like a bandit for a grand total of $6.25. In the meantime, two older gentlemen in beat-up pickups did drive by inspections of our crap and visually determined that we suck and our stuff wasn’t even worth pumping the brakes. If I had been standing near the road I might have been killed.

We had some gracious friends drop by and relieve us of some pottery and clothes. Then we had what can only be described as “the rush”. For a period of five to ten minutes there were three separate customers shopping in our makeshift store. Some of them even bought things.

Near lunchtime the skies began to darken and rain moved in. We started moving things into the garage to shut down the sale and people kept driving up. In the rain. To pile in the garage and look at junk.

A couple more sales of $2 and $4 and we managed to close the garage while there was a break in traffic. We locked up and went into the house for a well-deserved nap.

About ten minutes into naptime someone knocked on the front door. They weren’t confident that the knock would be enough because they immediately rang the doorbell too. I was greeted by two ladies who had bought several baby shoes earlier and realized that they didn’t have matches. We opened the garage, located the boxes of baby shoes and sorted out the missing shoes on the floor of the garage. Thank God they made the trip of thirty minutes back out to the house to save that $0.50 worth of missing toddler sandals. I closed the garage again and managed to take a nap.

We didn’t want to count the money right away because it might cause us to pack our bags and move to Mexico or Belize. You have to ease yourself into being rich so you don’t appear to be “new money”. After waking up and eating some lunch we rolled out the bankroll. I am an engineer to the core so I did a cost benefit just to be sure we were officially wealthy. After deductions of obvious costs like donuts, price stickers, gas to go get display tables and hanging racks, and a box of Red Bull to get me through the morning, I was confident that we had made a profit well beyond $5.50. I dare say… $6.00.

If I understand Federal law correctly, my wife employed me to help. Henceforth and theretowith, I should be guaranteed the minimum wage at the very least. I assume I could sue her in court for lost wages and benefits but I’m not sure if I would be awarded attorney fees. The Better Business Bureau would be very little help in the yard sale market. So to save time and balance the scales of morality I ate a few of her chocolate glazed donuts even though chocolate is not my favorite flavor. I know that stealing pastries sounds harsh but I feel it is a lesson she needed to learn.

Lesson = When disappointed and undercompensated, I will eat your pastries with total disregard for my own preference in flavor.

If you have ever kick-started the road to fame and fortune via yard-sale, this post is for you. You’re welcome. Let’s spend our six dollars on a beer together.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.