Tag Archives: Air Conditioning

Disney Doesn’t Depress

I didn’t want to scoop out my brains and bash them on a rock, leaving my brainless body to wander the parks, forever staring blank-eyed and hungry at the exits, forever doomed to wander .

Admittedly, that isn’t perhaps as rousing an endorsement as you dudes have ever heard, but it is several magnitudes better than I had ever expected to hear myself talk about visiting Walt Disney World again.

See, I used to live in Florida with the young dudes and my wife, known to one and all as She Who Must Be Getting Back To Mouschwitz Again And Again And Again. . ., and that meant we had a residents’ pass every single year that we had kids. And, to make the pass pay for itself, we had to go to the House of Pain Mouse at least three times a year.

By the end of our time in Florida, I couldn’t contemplate one more visit to the Magic Kingdom without also contemplating where I wanted my body found and who I was going to take with me.

I realize that I’m going against the grain here, but there were some parts of the entire Disney experience that just rubbed me the absolute wrong way. The corporate-enforced cheerfulness on display everywhere. The constant way that the parks pushed both Mickey Mouse and his iconic symbol. The relentless manner in which Disney World did everything possible to separate you from your money, often in the most blatant manner possible; the worst of which was making sure your little dudes and dudettes wanted the latest cool thing the park was pushing.

The concrete covering every single part of the Magic Kingdom would reflect and concentrate the relentless Florida summer sunshine, mix with the famous Central Florida humidity and make every second out of air conditioning a minor torment. Couple that with the long lines for any attraction or ride worth seeing and you’ve got a recipe for instant whining. And the young dudes were whining a bit as well.

To say I had a bit of an antipathy toward Mouschwitz would be an understatement. Still, I managed to stuff down my true feelings, plaster a reasonable facsimile of a smile onto my mug and give the little dudes a good time. Of course, my aneurysm grew several times each day, but it was worth it. I guess.

Then the youngest little dude, Hyper Lad, told us he didn’t even remember going. I’d have told him to count his blessings and then moved on to the next conversational gambit, but that doesn’t cut it around She Who Must Be Having A Secret Affair With Goofy.

And so we were off to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL, where a number of surprises awaited me.

But more on that tomorrow.

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Labor Day

No, even though my Mom kept saying this was the truth, today doesn’t have anything to do with how long our various mothers labored to bring us into this world.

Instead, Labor Day is a day set aside to allow us to labor over a grilling fire one last time before summer ends, to give us one more day at the lake, one more time out in the heat of the backyard with the sprinklers flashing rainbows into the sunny sky.

Or, you know, not.

It could be that Labor Day originally was founded to celebrate the working man (and he was, for the most part, a man back then), who sweated his day away on the assembly line, or out in the hot streets, laying down the roadway the white-collar workers used to drive in to their cushy jobs in the city with their fancypants air conditioning.

Labor Day was designed to honor those who actually produced an actual thing, instead of giving us a service. The people honored by Labor Day were singled out for a number of reasons: 1) to say thanks for helping build this country on their metaphorical, economic backs and 2) labor unions used to have a lot more members, a lot more money and a lot more pull so they could get something like this put on the national calendar with relative ease.

What? It’s true.

Since it’s founding, many folks have tried to usurp Labor Day’s reasons for celebrating. (Hello, Mom, wherever you are!) A lot of folks these days think it’s a celebration of the dwindling few who actually are able to find, get and keep a job for longer than a quarter or two. And a job with bennies? Dude! That’s something to celebrate.

Regardless of the reasoning behind Labor Day, I do enjoy one last fling at summer. I’ll be using the day off to relax in the backyard, crawl under some shade and spray an appalling amount of bug spray at anything that so much as twitches a blood-thirsty proboscis in my general direction.

We all have our own ways of celebrating. That’s mine.

Enjoy yours.

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Reading For Fun. . . And For Profit (Sort Of)

Let me get this out there: I straight-up love reading. There’s almost nothing I’d rather be doing when I’ve got some downtime. I can be instantly transported into another world, full of thrilling adventures and amazing sites.

Given a chance, most little dudettes and dudes love reading as well, as long as they can find the written words that actually interest them and are on their level — not too hard, not too easy.

The problem is that reading isn’t as easy to do as watch television or play a video game or ride a bike. All of these things simply require either a simple flip of the switch or a decision to go outside. Reading takes more mental effort, in that you can’t simply sit there passively and take in the story like you can television.

However, studies have shown again and again that the more you read, the better is your vocabulary. And the better your vocabulary, the more success you’ll find once you enter the working world, all other things begin equal.

Over at Awesome Elementary School, reading was emphasized more than any other basic skill. The better reader a student is, the better she’ll be at math, or science or social studies. Anything really. If she doesn’t have to work on reading while doing her science homework, she can actually concentrate on the science part, not what the next word means.

Which brings me to summer. See, growing up, I never had this problem. My ideal summer day consisted of waking up in the afternoon, heading out to enjoy the setting summer sun, and just goofing off until after dinner. I’d watch a little tv and then head up to my room, which was where the fun began. I’d haul out the book I was reading and then get started. And I wouldn’t stop. Even when my parents came into my room and turned off the light, I’d get out a flashlight and read under the covers.

I know it sounds like a cliché, but it’s true. I’d read until the early morning hours and then sleep until the afternoon and start the whole cycle over gain.

But I understand that a lot of kids aren’t like that. Which means it’s up to you parents to help set them on the right path.

I seriously advocate that you set aside an hour a day for reading with your child. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, that should be easy. Just do it during the hottest part of the day and you’ll avoid too much sun while also broadening both of your horizons. If you’re working, try to set aside that time with your child during the evening.

Turn off the television and both of you haul out a book. After all, he shouldn’t be the only one having a good time. And, when your child sees you read, they realize that it’s cool to do so. This is the kind of behavior you want to model. You know, rather than showing the kid how to curse when someone cuts you off in traffic.

You also can schedule trips to the local library for more books. Libraries are wonderful. Truly. I mean, you can go in there, wander around all day and find book after book after book that interest you and then — wonder of wonders — the library lets you take them home to enjoy at your leisure. All without paying a single cent.

That is fantastic!

One of my favorite things about the library is that it also has a ton of audiobooks. My middle young dude, Zippy the College Boy, isn’t a big reader, but he loves listening to books. Unfortunately, audiobooks are expensive. Thank goodness for the library, then.

And many libraries have story times during the summer as well. You can bring your little dude and dudette into the library and listen to some pretty fantastic stories in the air conditioning. And leave with even more books.

Reading: not only is it fun, but it’s been shown to prevent brain rot in most little dudes and dudettes. Give it a shot.

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