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January 30, 2003

moan, moan, moan

I feel positively not-good today. It started last night, when I thought curling up and dying might be a positive alternative to, you know, not dying. I don't know what is wrong, but I feel like I'm going to faint, and I can't eat a single thing. I don't really feel nauseous, I just have zero appetite.

Last night, I barely slept. I kept waking up and rolling over and trying to get comfortable. And I was freezing. Absolutely feezing. I have flannel sheets and a fleece blanket and a comforter, and I couldn't get warm. I had to dump my cat (quite ungracefully, at that) off the blanket in which he was nestled on the futon, and I was still cold. Under two comforters, a blanket and a sheet. This is not normal.

If I hadn't had training in Cicero today, I wouldn't have gone to work. I never get sick. Ever. And I've never in my life called in sick to work. If ever I'm feeling not-good, it's never been bad enough to take a sick day. I just suck it up and deal with it, then go home and crash. Today, I was seriously considering calling headquarters and finding out how to get ahold of my trainer to tell her I wouldn't be there. But I didn't. I went. I almost went home at lunch, but I kept telling myself "it's only three more hours." Now, I just want to sleep for all of eternity. And tomorrow, it's supposed to be sleeting and snowing for the morning drive in, and I'm back in Oak Park, which is a not-fun drive anyway, so I have to leave extra early. Like, 6:30-early. Blah.

I am just one big ball of complaints today, aren't I? I'm sorry. =( What good happened today? I didn't have to go to my branch... got to sit in a room with two or three dozen other people and learn all about customer service. And then my team won at Jeopardy, and we got little piggy banks filled with gum coins. That was exciting!

Okay, sleep. Yes.

January 28, 2003

Nightmare day

I survived work. I was a nervous wreck for half the day, but I made it through.

It was after work, though, that was awful. It was snowing. A lot. And I was kind of excited, because snow! We haven't had much. So I left work, early (not that I left early, but that I got off at 4:45, which would allow me to beat the rush hour traffic, or at least get a head-start). I went out to clean off my car, and thought "Why don't I turn the car on, get it warmed up why I clean off the snow?"

So I turned the car on, put my purse down, and thought "make sure the doors aren't locked, Kate, because you're leaving your purse with the spare key inside the car." So I made sure the doors were unlocked, and then I manually made sure the driver's door was unlocked. (I'm sure you can tell where this is going....) I closed the door and went to open the back door, where my scraper was. Locked. Hmm. Maybe it's frozen, I thought. So I went back to the driver's door. Could it, too, be frozen? It wasn't a moment ago.... I pulled. Really, really hard. It didn't budge.

So I locked my keys in the car. With the car running. In the middle of a blizzard.

On my third day at my location.

What a lovely first-week impression. That Kate, she's a bright one.

I had to have the non-emergency police come and unlock me. And I'd been so happy to be getting a head-start on rush hour traffic. Ha! By the time I was unlocked and on the road, the roads were a MESS, they were clogged with cars, and it took me over an hour and a half to get home. Which, in the grand scheme of things, probably wasn't bad. It usually only takes about 40 minutes, but I can't complain too much. I was going about 40 most of the way, which is more than I can say for the other direction. Thank god for a reverse-commute.

TO MY CREDIT: My dad was snow-blowing the driveway, and moved my car. He went to move it back... it was locked. He swears he didn't lock it. Now, maybe he did. And maybe I, too, locked it on my way out at work. Or maybe there is something wrong with either my locks or my keyless remote.

I sure hope the roads are clear for the morning commute.


I'm feeling really nervous about work today. I'm by myself. The girl who was training me is off today, and my manager said he wanted me to do it alone. Alone! I've trained there for TWO days. When I was there on Friday, he said three weeks. I'm actually on the schedule as training until the end of February. I am NOT ready to be on my own, taking calls and customers by myself. Not ready at all. I can't even eat breakfast, I'm so nervous. =( Didn't they say something about me being on my own when I feel comfortable? Yes, yes they did. That is NOT today. Not at all. Ahhhhh!!!

In other news, it's Joey's birthday. And, I hear, Nick's. And my aunt's. And the girl's who was training me. Happy birthday to all of you!

Off to my DOOM.

January 26, 2003

Weekend Update

The Super Bowl was watched. Of course, I paid more attention to the commercials, but my dad had put my name in for the pool at work, so I kept an eye on the score. Tampa Bay's score was supposed to end in 8, Oakland's in 7. Those were good numers, yo! But sadly, I did not win. <.sigh> Could used that $100, too! Lol. I did want Tampa to win (no good reason, really, just decided at Tampa at the start), so that was good.

I spent Friday at my branch. Everyone seems super-nice. Shall be interesting, though, because the only other retail banker is actually on loan from another branch. So there's me and... me. That's a lot to live up to. I'm a bit nervous, to tell the truth. There are a few more possible developments on the job front, but I can't really talk about them here.

This weekend was spent indulging in laziness. I played Sims, I watched a lot of TV, I did a little shopping returning today with my mom. Studied my product knowledge a bit. I'm not as confident in it as I would like to be, but that's okay. Tomorrow's only Day 2 of retail training.

What else? On Friday, Meghan and I went to the city to pick Aarti up... had a little sleepover party. That's really the most excitement I've had. <.g>

I guess I could go to bed.

January 24, 2003

branch day

To the branch! Da-da-da! Right. *ahem* Today I'm going out to Naperville for the first time. Should be interesting. See the bank, meet my coworkers, and start hands-on training. The first wave of classroom ended yesterday. Boy, my head is about spinning with the amount of information I have to know. There are two computer systems that we spent the last day and a half learning how to use. Those I feel pretty good about. Well, one of them is all key-entry, so you have to just KNOW what to type in where to do what, but I think if I make myself a cheat sheet for it, I'll be fine after a couple of times through. The other is very user-friendly, and I think I can handle it. =)

I'm sad to not be seeing my 'girls' anymore. *shiff* They're all off to their bank today. We all have retail training the first half of next week, and then back to the classroom for two days, so I'll get to see them again. Yay! And then after next week, I have two more weeks of retail training, two weeks of teller training, and then by the beginning of March, I'm on my own. Eeeeeek!! Except that technically I'm in training until April 22, which is when my three-month "training period" ends.

I don't want to go outside. I have to go warm up the car... yesterday it was -5 with a windchill of -25. Today, it's a comparatively-toasty 5.4 degrees. I hate winter.

And.... off I go!

January 22, 2003

Workin' It

I'm surviving work. The drive has been less-than-pleasant, however. On my "test run" it took me 52 minutes. So, having to be there at 9 yesterday, I left at 7:45 to be early. Ran in the door at 8:57. Eeep. Today, had to be there at 8:30. Didn't want to be late, so I left at 7. Got there by 7:50. Oh, the joys of rush hour traffic patterns. One more day at this location, then out to my branch for four days, one day in the city, one more where I am now, and then to the branch for ever and ever.

I'll end my hands-on training on February 28th. On that day, I will take my final exam. The day of the Nick concert. This is a bit distressing to me, as the bank is open until 6 on Fridays. They have to let me out early! 4- or 4:30-ish, to get in to the city in time for dinner. Eeeeek!!

And. Will have to work some Saturdays. If they have me working March 1st, I will cry. I'm not allowed to take vacation time OR sick days (!!!) in my first three months. I'm not allowed to get sick until April!

I have more information crammed into my head than I thought possible. Well, not as much as during many final exam weeks, but still. A lot. The stack of papers outline this procedure or that account is five inches tall, I kid you not. One big binder and a whole lot of packets and folders. This is just for two days! I have another month of training!

Today, our trainer did a Jeopardy-like game with us over the stuff we learned yesterday. Now, mind you, I have ZERO experience with any sort of financial services. I'd say I'm pretty much an expert on my checking account, I know I have a savings account, but have never done anything with it personally, and I have an ATM card. That is about the extent of my knowledge of anything bank-like. Remember that 5" stack of papers? Probably half of that was stuff from yesterday, detailing all the different kinds of personal accounts, investment accounts, business accounts, retirement plans, etc that the bank offers. Yeah, like I retained all the details. She was getting pissy with us when we didn't know the answers. Jeez. Give it time to digest, please. This is all really new and a tad overwhelming. I'll figure it out, I'll have it down pat by the time they stick me out on the retail floor, but on Day 2? Might not be an expert yet. Sorry 'bout that.

The girls I'm training with are really nice. They all started two weeks ago and have completed their teller training. Their classroom stuff just started yesterday, though, so I'm not behind on that. They're all working at one branch, though, and I'll be at another. So after next week, I won't see them anymore. =( Ah well.

"Blowin' Me Up" just came on the radio!! Eeeeee!!!!! *ahem* sorry.

So, all in all, it's not bad. I'm anxious to get out to my branch, meet people, and see how things are going to *really* be.

January 20, 2003

Congratulations, Jamie and Craig!

Jamie and Craig got engaged!! It's been something like six years they've been dating, and we've all been giving Craig a bit of a hard time about when he was going to finally pop the question, but on Saturday night, he did it. And the really cute thing? He'd been planning out all these creative ways to ask, and he was so excited about it that he couldn't wait, and ended up asking her in the car on the way home. <.giggle> So cute. So, CONGRATULATIONS!!

I wanted so badly to do something with someone last night. Anyone. No one was around. <.sigh> Tammy was down at Eastern, Greg and John were in Champaign, Aarti was in Danville, Emily was on a double date, Meghan was at her aunt's, Jamie and Craig were celebrating their engagement... I miss living with a bunch of people, or at least having them within a 5-minute carride of me. It's such an effort to get together with anyone who lives in the city. So instead of doing anything exciting, I did a facial mask, plucked my eyebrows (they were needing it), and watched a couple of Jennifer Aniston movies (Picture Perfect and Object of My Affection) on ABC Family, and then the Golden Globes. Such a hoppin' social life I have.

This morning I went to brunch at Egg Harbor Cafe with Emily, Dorothy and Meghan. It was a lot of fun! We went shopping a bit afterwards at Deer Park, but as I have no money, I did not purchase anything.

Tonight, Emily is having a little engagement celebration dinner at her house. We're getting pizzas from Lou Malnatti's. When I first invited Jamie to dinner, I had kind of been thinking just the two of us, but then she started talking about making sure Craig was free, and then if anyone else was coming, so it'll be fun this way. Even though it's just Craig and Jamie, Emily and Frank, Dorothy and Erik, and me. Lone little me. Kate without a date. I'm getting kind of tired of being the single one. Usually I have Meghan or Aarti as my "date," but not this time.

I really don't have a problem being single, 99% of the time. My self-worth is not measured by whether I am in a relationship. It doesn't bother me not to get flowers on Valentine's Day. But in situations like this, when it's me and three couples, sometimes it gets tiring.

Enough bitching and moaning out of me! Ha! Going to the mall with my mom to return some things (her, not me... I'm just along for the ride), and then maybe I'll watch the movie my dad rented.

January 18, 2003

And all. That. Jaaaaaazz!

Yesterday I did my trial run to Naperville to find the bank there. It's about a 10-15 minute shorter drive than to Oak Park, and seems less aggrivating, so let's hope that I don't have to train in Oak Park.

Then I went to lunch with Megan. I'm trying to think back... I don't think I have met an online person since Kris and Elaina and Noelle, back in high school/freshman year of college. And with them, I talked to them on the phone. Like, a lot. Way before I ever met them. Of course, meeting them required plane tickets... lol. But yeah. My lunch with Megan was good. I had fun. We went to Olive Garden and then walked around the mall. Went into the Disney Store, where there are many cute things I want a whole lot, and into Build-A-Bear, where we planned out the outfits for the bears we will make as soon as we have money. Heehee. SO CUTE. So it was a fairly painless internet meeting, if I do say so myself.

Then, last night, my parents and I went to see Chicago. Oh my goodness, I loved it. So, so much. I haven't seen the stage show, so I didn't really know what it was about, or anything about it, really, except that it was a Bob Fosse show. And I saw FOSSE when it came to Assembly Hall, and there had been a handful of dances from Chicago in that show, so that was good. But yeah, really didn't know the plotline or anything. SO GOOD. Everyone in it was wonderful. Richard Gere tap danced! And they all sang, and of course, they all danced. Wonderful. It BETTER win awards. I don't even usually like Catherine Zeta Jones, but she was excellent in this. Really. Lots of love for this film.

And now, it's snowing. Big fat flakes, and snow plows and salt trucks keep going by, and I'm supposed to drive down to Kankakee. Fuuuuuuun. Really. Driving hours in the snow is just a barrel of laughs. Oh well. My mom and I are going to see my godmother and her critters, and I haven't seen them since KayCee was... well, since before she was KayCee. She was just a tiny grey unnamed ball of fluff smaller than my hand, huddling scared in the corner. I'm sure she's grown SO much. I can't wait to see her.

January 16, 2003

Psychic JC moment

I was sitting here, filling out piles of paperwork, and I thought "I should turn on the radio. Maybe JC's on." Just... randomly. So I did. And he was! Right at the beginning, too. Made me giggle. Partially because I'd been sitting here for an hour, without the radio on, and just out of the blue, decided to check. <.g>

Yesterday I went in to my grandparents'. To help them finish putting up the border in their kitchen. I had (wrongly) assumed that, since most of the border was already up, they'd paid attention the first time and knew how to put up a border. They didn't. So here we were, three of us with a box full of wallpaper tools, and not a clue how to do it. We called my uncle, who was not home, their neighbor, who was not home, my grandma's sister, who was not home... I finally called my dad at work, and he told me how. Whew. It looks really nice, now. It was kind of difficult, but we made it, and it's done. Their kitchen is now bordered in sunflowers all the way arround, instead of ending above the door. <.g>

My grandma loves it. She called today to tell me how much she loves it, and to sing a song to me about it. She sang something about daisies. Because she calls them daisies. They're sunflowers. She has a boquet of dried sunflowers (smallish ones) in her bathroom, she has a picture of a sunflower in her dining room, and lots of little sunflower-y things in her kitchen. And she calls them all daisies. I suppose there are daisies that look kind of like sunflowers, but these aren't them. These are definitely sunflowers. Oh well. She's cute. <.giggle>

Then we went to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I can't remember if this is time five or six for me, but I love that movie so much. My grandma has been trying to see it FOREVER, and finally made it. Last time they tried, about a week ago, it was sold out. At a 1:30 showing. On a Thursday That boggled their minds, and mine, too. It's been out since MAY. May. Of 2002. And it's still selling out? I suppose that was during Christmas break, but still. Yesterday, also at 1:30, about half the theatre was full. And it wasn't during break, and it was a Wednesday, and still. I think that's cool.

Today, I made a trial run to Oak Park, just to see how long it'll take me to get there on Tuesday. 52 minutes there, 27 back. Because coming back at 9:00, there's no traffic. But going in at 8, there's traffic. Lots of it. I was actually impressed that I moved for so long. It wasn't until I got about ten miles out of the city that we came to a standstill. Stop and go. The street the bank is on is the dividing line between Oak Park and the city of Chicago. So. Traffic into the city sucks. Traffic out of the city also sucks. Traffic, in general, sucks. I hope that I only spend my first day in Oak Park, and get to do my training in Naperville. Not that it'll be much better there, because I'm guessing it'll be about 45 minutes (which I may "practice" tomorrow morning), and it'll be on a toll road, which slows things down considerably, but at least I'll be clear of the city. And pleasepleaseplease don't let it snow. Or rain. Because if either of those things happen, you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be adding an extra 20-30 minutes to my commute. Blue skies and sunshine only, please. Thankssomuch.

So today, my only plans are to finish filling out the mounds of paperwork sent to me to bring along on my first day. I did what I could, but the rest is scary. Insurance stuff, and W4 forms, and I don't want to touch it with a pen until my dad is here. Which, I'm an adult and shouldn't rely on my father to help me through stuff like this, but I really don't want to do it wrong. I've never had insurance, I've never not been a dependent on tax forms, and those are two things I'd rather not mess up. Eeep.

January 14, 2003

A day in the life

Well, my room is completely reorganized. It was a LOT of effort, yo. There are pictures down in "more."

I have had the most boring week and a half. I've done nothing. Other than clean out/organize/rearrange my room. I guess lazy is good, because starting next Tuesday, I will be working like a maniac. <.sigh>

I heard "Blowin' Me Up" on the radio today. First time in Chicago. It's exciting! JC's getting played around here. Of course, I was in the car with my mom. I tried to talk over the "uh, uh, uh" parts, and hoped she was distracted for "gettin' horny, maybe we'll get naughty." <.giggle>

What else? Hmm. Like my new sidebar picture? From the AMA's last night. JC looked pretty adorable, don't you think? Yep.

I'm boring. My life, lately, is boring. I have nothing to say. Aren't you glad I'm still talking? Shut up, Kate.

Oh, the pictures. Click below. V V V <--- those are my down arrows.

That cat, there? That's Speckles. He's being shy.

My futon and my dresser and some posters... and that darn cat again. Must be nice to sleep all day.

My computer. If you look real closely, you can see my IM to Noora. *g* And the half-finished painting of a cat (not my cat, just a random one... with roses), there in the corner, and my TV on MTV. Wonder what video that was. *shrug*

And, because I was taking pictures and I love this so:

My grandma gave this to me for graduation. She'd found it in her basement. She can't remember which of her kids it belonged to, but it's from the 50's. Cool, huh?

And one more, because he's just that cute:

This is Speckles. All content and purring. I thought he deserved his own close-up, since he popped up in half of the pictures, anyway. *g*

January 12, 2003

Wherein I babble endlessly about everything

I'm moving my room around. It's all a crazy mess right at the moment. In the middle is my suitcase (still not completely unpacked from Florida), a pile of Christmas gifts I have to find a place for, a pile of papers/cardboard boxes/garbage I unearthed from who knows where, and countless other random things that need to either be put away or thrown away. It would be so simple if I could move things without having to organize everything, but alas, I'm doing this the thorough way. I have lived in this very room for twenty-two years, and it shows by the amount of stuff I have squirreled away here and there.

This is my last week of "freedom" before I become a member of the professional, working society. It's a scary prospect. Especially getting only ten days (plus bank holidays, which I need to find a calendar of so I can start planning things) off a year. That is going to be the biggest transition, when going from three months off in the summer, a month at Christmas, and a week in both the fall and the spring. Gosh. Welcome to the real world.

So I'm beginning to play the rest of my life. Ha! All this without having started my job. I don't have a clue as to how I will like it, and yet, here I am, planning, planning, planning. I was looking at the Disney job postings the other day. Almost all of them require 2+ years experience. I figure for a lot of it, I can kind of fudge experience. Not in lying about it, but I'm pretty sure that, in the five years worth of random jobs I've had, I can come up with something relevant. That, added to a year or so of working at the bank, should put me in a solid position to obtain a "real" job with either Disney or a similar company. And if I like the bank management position, there are banks everywhere, in every state. Moving, to me, is a valid reason for leaving a job. So I can do as much without coming off as irresponsible or mean to my employers. All that said, I want to move within the next year, two at the most. That's really nothing new, I'm just thinking through things right now. I could go out to Los Angeles, try my luck on the west coast for a while. Or I could go down to Orlando, where I know I can be happy. We'll see.

I miss my Florida friends. {{hugs}} to all of you!

It sounds like Carolyn is having a blast in her new position as a Guest Relations intern. I am officially jealous. <.g> Miss talking to ya, C!

January 09, 2003

Life at home is none too exciting.

I'm sad. In that don't-wanna-get-out-of-my-PJ's kind of way. I slept all day yesterday. I was awake from 7:30-11:00, 12:30-4:00, and 6:30-8:15. That's it. Slept for the rest of the day/night. I would have taken a nap today if my dad hadn't come home at the exact moment I was drifting off to sleep. I am a lazy bum. I miss Orlando.

I miss Orlando and I miss my friends and my stomach hurts because of it.

I bought my ticket to see Nick Carter in February. I can't afford it, but I did it anyway. I think it'll be a good show, and I needed something happy to cheer me up. So, yay for Nicky!

JC's potentially-future album was named one of the best/most anticipated albums of 2003 on TRL today. "Blowin' Me Up" was also listed by the New York Times as one of the best songs of 2002. Not bad for a guy who's getting zero publicity by his label.

I have a headache. Maybe I'll take a nap.

January 07, 2003

A great vacation... over

I love Orlando. I'm not sure if I've said that before... <.g> I do, though. Being there this week reminded me of how much I love it. I can't wait to move there. I'm thinking a year, tops, at this job, and I'll be back in Florida. If I like the job, maybe I can do the same thing at a bank down there. If not, maybe my experience will get me a different one. Either way, I can't wait to go back.

One of the things I love so much is that you can just randomly run into people you know practically everywhere you go. <.sigh> I'm going to try to run through my vacation, to remember it ALL. This may only be fun for me, and will be SUPER long, but I don't care. I want to remember ALL of it. <.g>

Wednesday, January 1, 2003
I got an hour and a half of sleep. I had to be at the airport at 5 in the morning. I arrived in Orlando at about 10:30 and Carolyn picked me up. We went back to Meg's apartment, where Amy, Grace, Lisa, Meg and Meg's roommates Amber and Katherine were hanging out. We watched movies and I took a mini nap, and then we went to Margaritaville to see BlueStone Circle. It was great to be back. They played a lot of their old stuff, sets we knew from this summer. It was a wonderful way to kick off my return to Orlando.

Thursday, January 2, 2003
An early morning again. I *thought* I had to be at work at Toy Story Pizza Planet at 11. So C and I got up early to go to Access Control to get my ID, then to the hotel to check us in, and then to MGM to drop me off. I had to get costumes, which was an ordeal because they'd printed my ID badly and it wouldn't scan. Yeesh. So once that was taken care of, I got to work ten minutes early. OR twenty minutes late, as they had put me on the schedule for 10:30 and not bothered to tell me. So I was greeted by the new GT "You're Kate and you're late." Ooookay. Sorry. Hard when someone changes your schedule on you and you have NO way to find out if they don't call you! Ah well. I have never been late to work before in my LIFE. They changed my schedule, though, so that I started at 11 as planned.

So working was good. A lot of people have left, but everyone who was still there remembered me! It was SO nice. They had me filling... by myself, for a while, it turned out. Then there was no soda person, so tickets were TERRIBLY backed up. I felt bad, but I was going as quickly as I could. Then they pulled me to put me on REGISTER. My HOME! I was on register nearly every day this summer. I love being on register. =) It didn't take that long to remember it all. So it was fun to work again.

Aarti got in that day, so I headed over to the hotel to meet up with them. We all went back to Meg's and ended up going to the Orlando Ale House, where I met this random guy. The pick-up line of the century... "Are your shoes Nine West?" Lol! I was like "Um... I think they're imposters." Ha ha. I got them for $20. What a line. But he was pretty nice, if not a little... I don't know. Odd. He sat and talked with us the entire night, bought us dessert and "my friends" (since I don't drink it) beer. He, apparently, is very rich and knows EVERYONE in Orlando. All the owners of the Ale House knew him, so... it was interesting. He was nice, but I was NOT giving him my number, no matter how many times he asked.

Friday, January 3, 2003
Aarti and I stayed at the hotel. All Star Sports. We, again, got up pretty early. There's No Sleeping in Florida. That is our motto. Carolyn picked us up and we went to Property Control. Got a hat and some stationary. Afterwards we went to eat at Donato's, and then back to the apartment for a bit. HEATHER came in! It was SO good to see her. We all (Carolyn, Aarti, Heather, Amy and I) went out to dinner with Marcus and Joaquin at a Mexican restaurant. Yummy. It was really good to see them again. Afterwards, we went back to Margaritaville (minus the boys and Amy) for some more BlueStone, and to introduce Aarti to them. It was great, once again. AJ did this awesome little old school rap set, and danced, and it was hysterical! I love them. It was our last night to see Amy Jo before she left, though. Sadness. It was great to see her and her friends for the time we did have. To bed super-late once again.

Saturday, January 4, 2003
My FIRST day back at a park. I was itching for it. Aarti, Heather and I went to Disney-MGM Studios. It was SO GOOD to be back there. MGM is my favorite park. I had to return my costumes, which was once again an ordeal due to the non-scanning of my ID. We dragged Aarti on Tower of Terror, which I think she hated. We went to TSPP and visited for a few minutes, saw the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, went on Star Tours, had a disasterous meal at the Sci-Fi Dine-In, stalked (and finally were able to visit with) Stephen, did Who Wants To Be a Millionaire: Play It and dragged Aarti on Rockin' Roller Coaster, which I think she hated. I believe that's all we were able to do before we had to book it out of there.

We got back to the hotel in time to get ready and squish into Carolyn's car once again. Did I mention that she had all of her stuff packed for moving in for her Advanced Internship? Yeah, her trunk and 2/3 of her back seat were PACKED. And I mean packed. Not an inch of extra space. As it would be if I was moving somewhere for six months. The interesting part was that Carolyn had the only car, and she had to transport herself, Heather, Aarti, and me. We worked it so that Carolyn drove, I sat in the passanger seat, Heather was in the third of a seat left in the back, and Aarti so elegantly straddled the gear shift. Or "shaft" as we referred to it as. <.giggle> It was quite a picture, I'm sure.

Anyway. We all drove to meet Karen (I got to see Karen!) at our old Wendy's meeting place to see I-4 play at Borders! It was an adventure finding the Borders, and we ended up about 20 minutes late, but we made it. I guess it was a last-minute show (they hadn't scheduled it when I left on the 1st, but Karen checked their webpage between then and the 3rd, so...), so Jared and Brent weren't there. It was all acoustic, though, and it was such a small show that we got to hear all the band banter. Much fun it was. We were dorkily singing along to their songs, though, and I guess not many people do that. They stopped and pointed it out, all surprised. it was fun! Lol. Embarrassing, but fun. Afterwards (it was a 2-hour show! Woohoo!) we chatted with them a bit, and they remember us. <.g> Scott said "These are our oldest fans!" Ha ha. This summer, we were always the only ones who hadn't come with them. It's definitely fun to be amongst the "oldest fans." So we got some pictures, met Andy, who has joined since this summer when Caleb left, and bought their new "CD," which they burned and made labels for themsevles. Heehee. So cute.

Afterwards, Aarti, Heather, Carolyn and I went to the Orlando Ale House to meet up with Chris and Charles, who were also in town visiting. C and I went to the bar to chat with Chris and Charles, and as we were standing there, this guy walked in. Let me back up a moment, rewind to that very same afternoon at MGM. We were getting on Rockin' Roller Coaster, and we turned a corner. I saw this cast member, and you know how you look at someone, but are on your way walking and don't stop? So I walked past, and as I was walking away, thought, 'that looks like PJ.' But no, why would PJ be in Florida? He was on program in 2000 with me, so he couldn't be back working for Christmas break... you have to work once a year to keep your status. So I didn't turn around or anything, just thought to myself that there's someone working there that looks like PJ. Fast forward back to the Ale House. This guy is standing there, and I kind of blink at him for a moment before saying, "PJ???" It was him!! I couldn't believe it. Chris and Carolyn also worked with us, so it was a Spring 2000 Animal Kingdom ODF reunion. <.giggle> I was so glad I looked cute! It's great to run into people you haven't seen in years and look good for them. Ha ha. Anyway. He was on program again this fall, and was just finishing up. SO great to see him. Went to bed late again. Because (say it with me) there's No Sleeping in Florida.

Sunday, January 5, 2003
Got up early once more. Got to see GINA!! It was awesome to see her. I miss that girl sooooo much. She came to our hotel, and then she, Aarti and I went back to MGM to complain about our awful Sci-Fi dining experience and to visit Stephen again, one last time. I didn't get to say good-bye because he was supposed to come go PI Monday night *ahem* but more about that later. So after our brief time at MGM, we went to meet Heather and Sak (a friend from her program this summer) at Magic Kingdom. We went on Space Mountain, Alien Encounter, the Aladdin ride, Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, Small World, the Carousel, the Dumbo ride, Snow White's Scary Adventure... what else? We missed Big Thunder Mountain, which I'm kind of sad about, since it's my favorite ride there, but that's okay. We also had an interesting dining experience... there were these birds. Crazy birds. They stole a woman's churro, followed us to Columbia Harbor House (from Pecos Bill's, where half of us had gotten food), and were basically just scary! Like the movie. Awful. So we were eating, minding our own business and trying to protect our food, when Sak kind of ducked. He looked at me with this look on his face like "what was that??" Well, a bird had pooped on his head. Right there, splat, on his scalp. <.giggle> We pretty much died laughing. I'm SO glad it happened to him and not one of us, because he has a shaved head and was able to wash it off. It would have been all in our hair! So, yeah. That was quite funny. <.g> After MK, we actually went to BED. Early. What a concept!

Monday, January 6, 2003
Heather, Aarti and I slept in. It was our one night of getting any sort of sleep, and I think we over-did it. <.g> Carolyn had to get up early to be at Vista Way for move-in, so we took our time getting ready. We went to the food court and had a real breakfast, and then Carolyn picked us up to show us her new pad. After visiting and meeting one of her roommates, Heather, Aarti and I went to Downtown Disney for some shopping. I bought a few things, but really have NO money. <.sigh> It's so sad, because I want it ALL! Lol. We had fun, though.

We went back to the hotel and got ready for Carolyn to pick us up. We went to Celebration, which I had never been to. Jen just got a full-time job with Disney and moved in to an apartment in Celebration, so we visited. She has an AWESOME apartment. I love it. After seeing her for a while, the rest of us went to dinner. Yet another dining mishap. Our waiter dropped a dish of vinegarette and it splashed all over us, the majority of it falling on Aarti's face, hair, and skirt. It was awful. I had it in my hair and my face, Heather got some in her eye, and C got splashed a bit as well. They didn't even give us a discount on our meal, which I thought they should have done. Ah well.

After that fiasco, we went to PI. My mom's cell phone plan sucks, and I didn't have service basically anywhere I went. Therefore, no one could even leave me a message. So of the people we were supposed to meet up with, we only got to see Chris and Charles briefly. We went to Motions first. We were dancing, when someone ran up to me, screaming, and grabbed me into a huge hug. It was Andrea!! We hadn't told her we were coming back down, and we didn't know she was still there, even. So it was a lot of fun to see her. We took some pictures. <.g> Then we went to Comedy Warehouse, which was pretty good. When we went back to Motions, I had a bit of a fiasco with a rude guy dancing behind me... it was not good. So that basically ruined the rest of the evening for me, unfortunately, but I found out how many guys will come and chat with a random girl leaning against the wall all by herself. <.g> Again, late to bed. Lol.

Tuesday, January 7, 2003
Our LAST DAY in Florida. *sob* We got up even earlier than usual, carrying on the tradition of No Sleeping in Florida. We checked out of the hotel, stored our luggage, and headed to MGM to meet a wonderful woman Heather had worked with, who was willing to get us into the park on her Maingate. It was fr-fr-freezing cold, as a couple days were, and we had a bit of a wait, but it turned out well. She got us in, bless her heart, and she wasn't even able to stay with us to play a bit. We did the Muppet 3D show, got pictures with Buzz and Woody, Sorcerer Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto. We did the Backlot Tour, which was shortened due to the weather, the Animation Tour, Playhouse Disney, and the Great Movie Ride. We even saw Minhee. Wow. She was "friends with" Mulan today. She didn't see us, but it was crazy. That's all of the roommates from this summer: Amy, Carolyn, Heather, Andrea, Minhee, and me. Kind of cool to see everyone. We then ate at TSPP again, and a wonderful guy I had just met on Thursday gave us pizzas and Cokes for just the price of the Coke. <.g> So sweet of him! I didn't even think he'd recognize me. Lol. There sure are perks to working at a restaurant!

We had to say good-bye to MGM and to Disney. SO SAD. Carolyn picked us up and took us to the airport. It was good-bye Carolyn, who gets to stay forever, good-bye Heather, whose plane left first, and then good-bye Aarti, who I will see shortly, I'm sure, as she's moving up to Chicago this week. =)

All in all, it was a GREAT trip. I think I was able to see everyone I'd wanted to, ran into a couple of people unexpectedly, and did most everything I'd planned on doing. There are a few things (Big Thunder Mountain, Jellyrolls, the Roxy, the Orlando Science Center) that I would have loved to have had time for, but the trip was too short. I guess I'll just have to come back. *g*