Sunday, February 19, 2012

I May Be Leaving California, But I'm Taking Disney With Me!

Those who know me in my personal life know that I spend most of my free time either at a Disney park or talking about a Disney park. We currently live an hour away from Anaheim and our annual passes are usually piping hot and steaming from being swiped to death at the gates of our two Disney parks. My family's love for Disney is somehow a tangible energy that is picked up by anyone who interacts with us almost immediately. Sometimes I don't even recall discussing Disney with any particular person, and yet I will hear them remark to someone else "Go ask Brandy. She's crazy for Disney." The other day, the guy who takes my office's catering order at Rubio's said to me "Yeah, don't you love Disney? Weren't you just there the other day? I know you're always there, right?" I swear to you, I don't recall ever discussing that with him. But he was right! How did he do that? Then I start to think "Maybe it's the Tinkerbell sweatshirt you're wearing. Or the Mickey clippie in your hair. Or maybe the sticker on your car that says "My other car is a Monorail". "

At any rate, my love for all things Disney is a defining characteristic of me. The first question anyone asks me when I tell them about our upcoming move to Texas is "But...what about Disney?" People know that Disneyland offers some sort of mystery nutrients that my body, mind and soul are able to feed off of and are vital to my existence. And like any good nutrient, regular consumption is paramount. In other words, my friends showed deep concern that without easy freeway access to Disneyland, terrible things may begin to happen to me. My eyes could get deep and sunken in appearance. My soul could blacken. My hair may fall out! My health deteriorate. My will to live may begin to ebb and my mind will begin a slow decent into madness.

Okay, maybe I'm being a little dramatic. But you get the point.

I have a few remedies to my new location.
1. I did a quick mapquest search on the driving distance from Houston to Walt Disney World. It's 16 hours each way. Tough, but doable.

2. Disney Cruise Line will soon find a home in Galveston, Tx until May 2013. And I love Disney Cruises.

3. Become an authorized Disney vacation travel agent!!

A few years back on Facebook, through circumstances I cannot recall, I "friended" a lady who was such an agent. I loved following her page and looking at the pictures she would post of Walt Disney World and of her families vacations there. I would think to myself "What a wonderful and perfect job for me." but thought it only a pipe dream. Something real people can't ever actually do. This lady was somehow way more well connected and better equipped to work at such a magical job. (I can see how that I may have a confidence problem that needs attention. I'll look in to that later.)

So a few years later, I see now that an actual friend of mine, someone I know personally, has also become a Disney vacation Planner. Now I am just dripping with a need to make this my own reality as well. I can't think of something I would rather do. Make money while working from home doing something that comes naturally to me. The American Dream. So I ask my friend how it is possible to have such a wondrous job. She tells me about the agency she works for and how much she likes them. I let this sit with me for a while. Still not knowing if it is possible for me to make this dream a reality. Honestly, the biggest blocker in my mind is money. Of course I don't know for a fact yet, but I do not believe that you make very much of it while doing this. So how would I live in California and support my daughter? Well, fate intervened and took care of that little issue for me. Jiminy Cricket! Your words never felt so intentionally directed towards me. Because my heart was in my dreams, fate stepped in and saw me through. A-mazing.

What's more amazing is the day that I finally decided to go for it and see if they would have me. I googled the company, emailed the lady who runs it and asked her how it is that one becomes employed with them. I also threw in there that I am a former Disneyland Cast Member, and have even worked at the Disney Store, figuring "what have I got to lose?" Her response was this, "If you complete this interview questionnaire, we will be happy to review it.  I'm not necessarily hiring right now, but I like to hear about people who seem enthusiastic and qualified (and a past cast member doesn't hurt!).  We may contact you in 1-2 weeks for a phone interview. We look forward to hearing back from you!"

When I open the questionnaire, something happened to me that almost never happens when I am applying for a new job. My confidence SOARED. I knew 20 different ways to not only answer each question, but to blow it out of the water. You know how when a certain song comes on the radio there is always someone who's eyes light up as they yell "Oh turn that up. That's my jam!!"? Well, this questionnaire was my jam. I immersed myself in it. I had never had so much fun filling something out. I sent it back to her in an email so packed with confidence I'll bet her computer jumped a little bit when it got there.

She read it. She set up an interview with me. Then, she hired me.

"Lack of Disney" crisis = averted.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hold your head high. Take a deep breath and sigh

Goodbye to California.

I'm a little out of words because I already spilled a little of this on Facebook and to some of my friends. But I'll tell the same story using different words if I can.


Ode to Coleman Kane:

Today I handed in my resignation at work. It honest to God broke my heart. I love my job. I have loved it since the instant I started working there a little over 3 years ago. There are many reasons to love my job. We work in a great location, just about 3 blocks from the beach, which you can see from most of the windows. I get to do things I love. I know it sounds nuts, but I love paper work. It makes me feel important when I have paperwork to do. I have gotten to learn many things at my job. Things I never expected. I book travel overseas. That was not a part of my job when I started, but something I was able to take on during my time there. And although at times I may bitch about having to do it, secretly I absolutely love it. I also love the hours I work. They are wonderfully regular, which is a dream for a single mother like myself. Monday - Friday. 8-5. I get holidays off. I acquire vacation time.

But most of all are the people I work with. My God. What a fantastic collection of people. Humorous, friendly, tight knit, laid back, wonderful people. All of them. They have all been so special to me. So nice and encouraging and they have offered me such guidance when I feel lost. I could never have made it, nor would I ever have stayed so long without this magnificent cast of characters. And my favorite person of all of them is my boss, Coleman Kane. I have worked many places in my time. I've sold cell phones to people in malls, I've been the door girl at a downtown club, I've processed paperwork on some less than saintly people working at a power plant, I've run my own business, I've worked in retail, I sold Christmas trees, I fabricated orthodontic appliances, I even worked for a Mouse. And in all of my wanderings I have never had a boss who cared so much for the people working for him. He takes care of us in such wonderful and sometimes funny ways. He sees to it that every Friday is not just casual, but Casual Pizza Friday. He makes sure that we have hilarious office parties. He's put up with me through all my wide eyed confusion and mistakes and takes more time than he can probably afford at any given moment to explain things in a way that my slow moving mind can understand. He's a friend to everyone he works with. He remembers details about our personal family lives. He's hosted office parties at his house because that's the kind of guy he is and those are the kinds of people he hires. People who are wonderful and people who can be trusted.

I have grown so fond of my boss, and I hope that he is fond of me. At least in a way that would never allow him to curse my name in vain, although he pretends to curse it on occasion. Since joining the company, never once did I wish I worked somewhere else or for someone else. Not many people understand me, or even tolerate me for long. But my boss has always been so kind to me and that has meant the world to me. I swear if I had a choice I would have never left.


Ode to my family:

We'll get into my choice here.
My family is more incredible than yours. That's the truth. Not just my immediate family either. All of us. We have about 12 million people in my family and every one is a gem. Concentrating for a moment on my immediate family though, we have been to hell and back more than once over the last five or ten years. In the last 4 years alone I had a baby, witnessed the decline of my marriage, went through a long battle with depression, lost my house to foreclosure, lost my husband to his own demons, and put on 90 pounds. Through it all, my family never left my side. Not one time ever. Not even for five minutes. Not even when I wanted them to. My temper, my mood and my general outlook on life has had violent swings up and down for years now and God bless them, they stuck by me. And they were happy to do it.

My family has suffered it's own series of unfortunate incidents over the past few years (on top of an emotional basket case of a daughter, can you imagine?). It leaves us now with my parents health in a state more delicate than I would hope for. I don't know how much they wish for me to share about their personal lives, so I will just leave it at they should no longer be working, and can therefor no longer live "comfortably" in California. And I use the term comfortable loosely, and I think a lot of Californians will know what I'm talking about.

So they must depart the land of beaches and orange groves and Starbucks as far as the eye can see. And I could never let that happen without placing myself and my daughter by their side. I have no choice, because there is no choice. There is no choice because there is no question. There is only fact. We are family, and we need each other.


I am an emotion basket case right now. Not only am I coming to terms with my impending departure to the Lone Star State, but my daughter is gone to spend 9 days with her father. I have never been away from her for so long. She has only been gone for 3 night-nights and I am already starting to go numb. I keep forgetting that she is not home when I leave work. I pull up into the drive way and right before I open the garage it occurs to me that she is not inside waiting for me. I have only gotten to speak with her once since she left, and it was very brief. I was waiting up to Skype with her this evening after she got home from a restaurant, but her father sent me a text saying she had fallen asleep. Disappointment and heartache immediately follow.

My eyes are swollen 3 times their normal puffiness. My face needs no moisturizer tonight because it is still damp with tears. This has been a very emotional few hours. With the handing in of my resignation comes the end of my ability to pretend that this is not really happening. "Yes it is. And you better start to pack because, frankly honey, you've got a lot of baggage."