Saturday, January 6, 2018

Frozen on Ice on a Frigid Night

Polar vortex, bomb cyclone, whatever you want to call it, Elsa has clearly been to Connecticut. Yesterday we had blizzard like snow whipping around, and today we have the aftermath of the absolute coldest air we've had in a while. Between the actual temperature and the wind chill, it is COLD to the bone.

So naturally, it was the perfect night to see Frozen on Ice at the Webster Bank arena in Bridgeport. Elsa fit right in. It was freezing, we weren't happy about it, and we just wanted summer back.

We've made the early January Disney on Ice show a family tradition over the past few years. We've seen plenty of different shows, all of which have been amazing and well done, and this was no different. The sets and costumes, the talent of the performers, it's all top notch and done flawlessly. Seeing how much every kid there loves it is just an amazing experience.

And let me tell you, Frozen on Ice is just perfection. As you're watching it, you think, wow, Frozen was just MADE to be performed on ice. 

I love what they did with the characters. Obviously Elsa, Anna, Hans, and Kristoff (along with the villagers) were costumed skaters like you'd expect. But the girls adored four footed Sven, the trolls stacked on top of each other, and the snow monster. They also thought it was fantastic that Olaf could come apart, just like the in the movie, with no hint of a person inside that costume! They kept speculating about how they did it, but no matter what the answer was, they were going to love it.




















This year, instead of our family of four going, I invited my niece to come with us. Three Disney loving girls was just perfect. What made this performance even more special was that, although Frozen was the show, plenty of other Disney favorites made an appearance. Duos who loved each other, either as friends, family, or romantically, were out to open and close the show. Mickey and Minnie, Marlin, Dory and Nemo, Timon and Pumbaa, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Rapunzel and Flynn, Woody and Buzz, Ariel and Eric, Snow White and her prince, all out spinning and skating together.







To be honest, Reagan and Madison were a LITTLE disappointed that their favorite princesses, Belle and Aurora, weren't in this one. However, they managed to rebound pretty quickly.

Of course, if you do head to the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, there are a few things to note. None of these have to do with the actual show, but they will definitely make your visit more enjoyable.

 - The traffic this year was the worst I have ever seen. We get off the highway pretty much right at the arena (two major highways make this venue easy to get to), but this year, it took forty five minutes to crawl the .4 miles from the highway exit to the parking lot. I estimate we were moving at about a half car length every light cycle. We got off the highway at 6:01 and didn't pull into the parking lot until 6:47. I've been to this arena on this particular January weekend for four years and I've never seen anything close to that level of traffic before. I'm not sure if it was the snow yesterday, the packed show, or what, but I would recommend leaving LOTS of extra time. We picked up our tickets, grabbed our cotton candy from a vendor with no line, and just barely made it into our seats for the 7:00 start time. If I'd had any inkling it would be that bad, I would have left much earlier. The doors don't open until an hour before, but sitting in the parking lot would be much less stressful than sitting in traffic, and at least we'd know we had time to make it!


- Parking also seemed to be an issue this year. Usually I recommend the garage for the easy in, easy out, but this year a police officer directed me into another lot without another option. Leaving this particular lot was crazy. There was mass chaos as people seemed to be making up their own rules. We watched it unfold around us, then I finally decided to just keep the car parked in our spot until things settled down, since we wouldn't be moving anyway. After about fifteen minutes things were less crazy and we got out easily, but again, it's something to be aware of.

- I'd also recommend boots suitable for snow. Since we've always parked in the garage, we've never had this issue, but the sidewalks from the lot to the arena were not in great shape, and we found ourselves climbing through slushy piles of snow at intersections.

- The arena itself is chilly. This shouldn't be a HUGE surprise, since it's ice, but it seemed chillier this year, possibly because of all the snow that fell during the performance. Layers are a smart idea!

- And, as always, budget for the extras. My sister sent my niece with spending money, and she definitely used it. Yes, Disney concessions come at Disney prices, but everything you get DOES come with an "extra", and it's all part of the experience. I let each girl get a souvenir and a treat.




If you're in Connecticut and have some free time this weekend, the show is around Saturday and Sunday, and there are plenty of tickets available! My heart just swells watching all these kids have such a cool experience, and it's totally worth it in my book.

There are still FIVE shows left this weekend! Saturday at 11, 3, and 7, and Sunday at 12 or 4. Tickets start at $15 and any ticket is a great seat for this show. You can get tickets right at the arena, or on ticketmaster.com.

Friday, December 15, 2017

My Fantasy Wish List

Adam and I recently spent a big old chunk of change on new furniture. We desperately needed it, we'd budgeted for it, but when that final bill was presented, it had both of us cringing.

Because we're pushing forty and we don't usually do big Christmases, we decided right then to make the furniture our Christmas gift to each other. Just sitting on our new sectional or recliner on Christmas morning would be the perfect gift. Obviously the girls will have their usual haul from us and Santa, but we don't need to stress.

Now since then we've shaken hands on two additional items - we will do stockings, and we're doing a "I don't wanna" gift - he's picking out the carpet for the family room without me, and I'm muling for him at Treehouse (a brewery he loves with strict can limits).

But I have to say, as I watch Christmas specials with the girls and get my fill of commercials, I do get those pangs of longing.

So, in my fantasy, what do I want?

1. I want that new car, chosen for me, in the driveway with a big bow. I want that fantasy of opening the tiny box, looking at the key and realizing what it means before we all pile out into the snow in our pajamas.

2. I want ONE professional deep clean on the house. Just one. I promise to keep up after that.

3. I want a finished basement. I'm not quite sure how that surprise will happen, but I want it.

4. I want the house decluttered and organized. Again, I promise I'll keep it that way. But I trust whoever is doing it to make the decisions.

5. I want clothes that fit well, are comfortable, and look fashionable.

6. I want a guilt free day - gift card shopping, paid for spa treatments, and delicious treats that I won't regret lately.

7. I want the ability to digest dairy back. I didn't realize how much I'd missed it.

8. I want my sitter's schedule to change, so it lines up with ours again. Another thing I didn't realize how much I'd miss until it was gone.

That's a lot. I'm having a definite Veruca Salt moment here, in my warm and comfortable house, soon to be looking fresh with new carpet and furniture that isn't structurally cracked. I'm able to stay home and homeschool the girls, and we are incredibly fortunate in that we don't need to worry about the day to day right now.

But sometimes, just fantasizing about what it would be like to get all those little things taken care of is enough.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Timing is Everything

Timing can be such a pain in the butt.

When it's right, it's awesome. A sale at the furniture stores lines up with a bonus check, and suddenly, we've got new couches on the way (but still not HERE yet, because apparently we ordered very special furniture).

When it's not, it's a giant annoyance. 

Little things have been starting to go on my car for a couple of years now. Because we know we want a new car, we're picking and choosing what to repair and what to cross our fingers on. Right now, we're thinking it'll be any day now. We've got the budget figured out, we have the wants and needs and preferences. By all accounts, we could go and replace my car today.

The timing issue?

We have a Subaru. While there are things that annoy me about Subaru, the reliability and awesomeness in the snow can't be argued.

But Subaru didn't have a "big" family car. I have the five seat Forester, and the station wagon is considered "bigger", but it's still only five seats. Since I wanted a car with the ability to carpool or even just fit a third carseat to bring my niece with us, it seemed like Subaru was out. I comparison shopped and tentatively chose another model.

Then we found out Subaru was releasing a new seven seater. Since my father in law used to sell them, he was a bit more "in the know" and urged us to wait to check it out. They were supposed to come out at the end of the summer.

Then the fall.

Then at the end of 2017.

We are waiting for this new car to release, as more little things go wrong on my car, and trying to figure out if we can hold out until next summer and HOPEFULLY get one of the very first models.

Or, we decide now if we don't trust that timing will work, and a lease is the way to go to bridge the gap.

Right now, we're still torn. My car vibrates and rattles, but it drives. The interior is cramped and stained, but our family of four fits. And considering how long it takes us to make major purchases, it doesn't seem smart to plan on car shopping TWICE in the next couple of years.

So we're crossing our fingers, hoping there are no more delays, and cursing the timing.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

How Old Am I?

Last week I was grocery shopping, trying to remember what I needed when I'd left the list at home. I was wandering around, hitting aisles two and three times as I remembered ingredients I'd need for dinner and that I promised the girls I'd get marshmallows for hot chocolate. The head cashier, standing at the podium, watched me walk back and forth and probably wondered if my memory was on its way out and if I should be trusted to drive my own car home. She asked me, every time I passed, if there was something she could help me with.

Excellent customer service, but made my memory even worse.

So I left, feeling like a mess, and went next door to the liquor store to pick up some wine.

I wandered around there for a while. I picked out a few bottles, brought them up to pay, and pulled out my credit card.

The cashier looked at me, glanced at my card, and then, apologetically said, "honey, I'm going to need to see your ID".

My face lit up with delight. Really??

As soon as I looked thrilled she laughed and said, "OK, how far off am I? You're not over thirty, are you?"

And all I can think is, I love you.

Now, this is probably a combination of the fact that I was wearing an old college sweatshirt and a ponytail, instead of an actual youthful appearance. Just like I don't think anyone actually thought I looked senile, it was more that I was just wandering with a look of confusion.

Still, as a woman pushing forty, who was pretty confident she'd be returning home missing at least one key ingredient, it made me feel great.

Sometimes, keeping up the appearance is key, even when you think you're showing your age. I know that my car is nearing the end, but I still get a feeling of satisfaction when I cover up the little rusty spots or scratches, or tidy up the backseat.

Getting carded isn't going to make me younger, but sometimes, it's nice to feel like you've still got the world fooled.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Becoming a Regular

Sometimes I don't make any sense.

I love the idea of being in a small town, and I love the idea of being a regular somewhere. I like knowing that my order at the Chinese take out will be $12.25. I like knowing the routine at my nail salon and which scent I can chose for the footbath. I like knowing the people we use for services.

However, apparently I don't love it in practice. I'm not totally sure why. Do I honestly think that the people at the Chinese take out place are judging how often I order?  Do I think the manicurist is concerned with the dirt under my nails? Do I think that our landscaper is gossiping about how many weeds we have?

So I end up totally awkward. I won't get Chinese food, even though it's what I want, because I'm afraid to have to make small talk with the friendly girl at the checkout who knows that I like to get egg rolls, soup and fried rice on Monday nights.

Seriously, it's ridiculous. I don't make sense, and I know it.

I was a regular at a car shop, where I got my oil changed. The guy there was great - I feel like he knew my car. I could go in when something sounded weird, and he would look at it right away. Then he left, and I didn't feel like I liked the guy who replaced him, and I found another place to get my oil changed. This guy got to know my car too, but for some reason, I kind of resented that. He wasn't saying anything that wasn't true, but I hate that he knew that my car wasn't well kept and looking new.

Then I didn't love that when there was an issue, he wasn't helpful at all and didn't seem to have interest in resolving anything further. So, now here I am again.

And I think it may be time to put those insecurities aside, and become a regular again.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Denial

My tire light has been on for well over a year now.

I had a slow leak, and during that time (many months, definitely longer than recommended), I would wait for the light to come on, fill the tire, and go on my way. I finally went in and got the tire repaired. Easy.

Except of course it wasn't. When I picked up the car at the tire shop, they let me know that the light would go off within a few miles. It didn't. I brought the car back. They checked the tire, checked the light, and told me that it would, eventually, go off.

It didn't. They checked again, and finally told me it was probably the sensor. The tires were fine.

And I've been driving a car with a tire light on ever since. It drove me crazy for a while, but now I'm used to it. I check the pressure every once in a while, I know it's fine, and I just...deal. It's not a problem.

Except that when I have people in the car, I feel like I'm embracing my inner Penny from the Big Bang Theory. Yes, I know the light is on. I can see it. But it's fine.


In fact, I'm totally used to my car's idiosyncrasies by now, and it probably looks bizarre from the outside. For example, my car has a slow oil leak. When my check engine light comes on, it usually means the car is low on oil (I'm sure it would make more sense for the oil light to come on, but it doesn't). I'm completely blase about it.

On the other end of the spectrum, my friend just traded in her car for a new model, because her check engine light was on. She got the car serviced, but the light didn't go off immediately, and she didn't like it. She didn't feel confident driving the car.

Whereas right now, I'm happy in my denial, that my ten year old, nearly 200K miles old car will hang in there until my ideal car goes on sale, no matter how many lights flash up at me.


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