We’re Officially Moving to Utah

Posted by Carly Morgan

We’re moving to Utah. It only took us about 3 months, but we’ve 100% decided and now we’re looking at moving trucks, apartment listings, and job opportunities for yours truly.

How do I feel about it? Pretty good, but you might want to check back with me in five minutes. My feelings on the matter range from “yay!” to “wtf?” and I can’t really give you a good prediction about which emotion is coming next. There are some huge pros to moving to Utah, which include being closer to my family and old friends (obviously) as well as having the opportunity to experience living out west for the first time (again) through Kyle. He’s never seen most of the landmarks and national parks that I take for granted and a lot of the things I did in my childhood are completely foreign to him. So, that will be fun.

There are a lot of cons to moving out to Utah, though. The huge ones are that we’ll be moving away from Kyle’s family and taking a chance on employment since we’re only 90% sure that Kyle can transfer and I’m 30% sure that I’ll be able to find employment quickly, given the economy. I’m really good at what I do, but my work has a lot to do with local programs and personal connections, so moving across the country means that I’ll have to leave most of that behind. I’m not opposed to working at Starbucks to make ends meet in the meantime, but it is a little hard to be walking out on a job that I positively love, especially when jobs are so scarce these days.

The other thing that has me worried is that I don’t know how Kyle will handle Utah. He’s looking forward to spending more time with my family and exploring the southwest with me, but I don’t know how to prepare him for the culture shock. There’s a major culture shock when you spend time in Utah after being gone for a while. I don’t think I would have thought much of it if Kyle had moved to Utah while I was still living there, but now that I’ve been out of Utah for a while I can see a huge difference. We’ve been living practically on campus at Ohio State for the last four years and there’s always a late night party or a happy hour event going on. I’m going to have to get Kyle used to campfire barbecues and potluck suppers.

If you haven’t lived in Utah, it’s easy to make assumptions about life there. Last week, we had our monthly book club meeting and the book of the month was “Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith” by Jon Krakauer. I love the book and think it was incredibly well done, but it paints a rather confusing picture of what life in Utah must be like. The line between Mormons and Mormon Fundamentalists is blurry and the book club talk often turned to questions about how weird it must have been growing up around people who are LDS.

On the one hand, I believe that 90% of the assumptions made about life in Utah (and Mormons in particular) are false. On the other hand, it is pretty weird that my friends can’t see R rated movies and it is pretty weird that they’re working on storing a year’s worth of food so they can be ready for the second coming or whatever else they may need it for. So it’s hard to give answers when people ask about how odd Utah is. I’d like to say that it’s just like any other place in the country, but the honest truth is that living in Utah is kind of bizarre.

I think Kyle will handle it just fine, but there’s definitely going to be a period of adjustment. I don’t even know what he’s going to do when he sees the prices at the state liquor store. I also don’t know how to explain to him that the city practically shuts down on Sunday. I do, however, believe that a pile of casseroles for friendly neighbors will win him over, so I’ve been trying to look for apartments/townhomes/houses in neighborhoods that look like they are filled with casseroles.

So yes, I’m excited to be moving to Utah. Slightly apprehensive, more-than-slightly stressed out, but quite excited…

My Grandma and Her New Digital Camera in WDW

Posted by Carly Morgan

One of the things that is keeping me from posting about the at home receptions is that there are still little crumbs and nuggets left over from our time in Florida and I want to get those out there before I move on. I just haven’t gotten organized enough to put all the crumbs and nuggets up in blogland.

One such nugget is the pile of pictures and video that I got off of my grandmother’s camera. My grandma’s pictures from Florida are Exhibit A for why you should always practice with your digital camera before a big event. Luckily, there were about a bazillion photos from everyone else and the moments were all adequately captured. If my grandma’s pictures had been the only record of the family trip to WDW, well…

The only thing that beats the pictures are the video clips she accidentally took while trying to take pictures. This collection had my whole family rolling on the ground laughing…

Remember, practice at home! WDW is a TERRIBLE place to learn how to use your new camera.

Wedding Trip – The End

Posted by Carly Morgan

Wedding Trip – The End

Kyle and I woke up early Sunday morning at the Polynesian Resort. We had to get back to our hotel, pack up our stuff, and catch the Magical Express at 10:30, so we walked over to the TTC and caught one of the marathon busses. Goodbyes with my family were short, sweet, and uncertain. I still didn’t feel comfortable leaving with grandpa in the hospital and the rest of my family stranded in Orlando, but we were working on a tight timetable, so I headed back to the hotel to help Kyle pack up.

Kyle had moved from “getting sick” to “really sick” to “been sick for too long” by this point and he had absolutely no energy. We packed up our things on time, but it was a really rotten morning. Between my stress over grandpa, Kyle’s illness, and the fact that we were leaving Orlando, we were both in bad spirits. I ended up calling my mom to let her know that I was going home to Ohio. I felt terrible about leaving everyone to take care of grandpa, but there was nobody else to take care of Kyle and I didn’t want to send him home alone, him being as sick as he was.

The flight home was uneventful and instead of being carried over the threshold, I helped my new husband drag our stuff in so he could collapse into bed. Thus, with our beautiful Disney wedding behind us, we were home.

Epilogue: My grandfather wasn’t discharged from Celebration hospital until the following Tuesday, so my family was in Orlando for four days longer than they thought they would have been. Luckily, the Polynesian staff worked with them and kept them in their rooms, which was wonderful. My grandfather is doing fine now, having changed up some medications, etc., but we’re still keeping an eye on him. Kyle’s fever broke the night we got home, finally, and with about 48 hours of sleep, he was back to normal.

Disney Wedding Trip Report- Day Eight

Posted by Carly Morgan

Day Eight

When we woke up on Saturday morning, a week after getting to WDW, Kyle was done. He was so done. I’ve never seen him so done in my life.

His fever was raging and he was so congested that none of the medicine was working. He’d gone through an entire box of Advil Cold and Sinus since Wed morning and he was still totally miserable. Our plans for the day included going to breakfast at Kona with my mom’s family before they all flew out and then going to Epcot to spend time with my dad and his family, because we hadn’t really had the chance to see them at all during the trip. I told Kyle to skip breakfast and meet up with us later, but he was bound and determined to come along. I think part of it was that he didn’t want to let me down by staying behind, but I think the other part of it was that he just didn’t want to miss anything while we were still on vacation.

Unfortunately, we got caught in the mess that was the half-marathon day traffic. If you’ll recall, Kyle and I signed up to do the half-marathon. We paid about $250 and never even made it over to pick up our t-shirts and commemorative pins. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking when I signed us up to run. Not only had we not trained at all, but we were so tired from the wedding and the week that we couldn’t have done the race if we’d actually been running from wild animals. As the bus went by the runners, I did feel pretty jealous, though. I had such a good time when I did it in 2005. Oh well…2010?

We finally made it to Kona about 45 minutes after we left Pop Century. My fam was already all down there and everyone was in pretty good spirits, considering it was the end of the trip. To be fair, they had done a WHOLE LOT for a group of people who had never been to property before and, other than my brother, I think everyone felt like they had really done enough.

Our meal was amazing. I don’t remember what everyone else got, but I got some kind of eggs benedict thing that was spectacular. No, I don’t remember what it was called or what it had in it, but it rocked my world like you wouldn’t believe.

After breakfast, it was time for us all to say goodbye. They all had to catch the next Magical Express to the airport and we needed to get over to Epcot to meet up with my family. As we got up from the table, though, my grandfather fell down. Actually, he sort of fell into my Uncle Denis, who helped him lay down. I don’t know if you’ll recall, but right before Christmas, my grandpa had all sorts of trouble with his heart and we weren’t actually sure if he was going to be able to come. So, when he went down, we were panicking but at least we had a good idea of what was going on.

The staff at the restaurant were really good about calling paramedics immediately and keeping everyone around us from freaking out. There was a doctor (or something?) at the restaurant who was from some foreign country and he was right there from the beginning, but it only took about five more minutes for a whole team of people with a stretcher to show up. My grandfather was conscious, but he was disoriented and he didn’t remember what had happened, so they ended up taking him to Celebration Hospital with my Aunt Carole, who help my grandparents with all of their medical stuff. The rest of us went back to their rooms to wait.

Things were sort of a mess for a while. We were trying to figure out what was going on and the hotel staff was working to extend the rooms, since check-out was in an hour. My mom managed to get everyone’s flights changed, but because she didn’t know when they’d all be able to leave, they were changed to really weird flights that were sort of theoretical. I called my dad to let him know that we were hung up for a while and then we were all just sitting around, looking at each other, not knowing if someone should go to the hospital or what.

While all of this was going on, Kyle had sat down in one of the chairs in my mom’s room and fallen asleep. To be more honest, the boy had basically passed out. I tried to wake him up, because I was afraid that if he stopped too long he’d have a harder time getting up later, but since we weren’t going anywhere, there wasn’t any real reason to bug him. I don’t know if I could have woken up if I had really tried…he was out like a light, all wrapped up in a blanket and twitching with fever.

We waited for about an hour and when nothing had changed, it became clear that nobody was going anywhere for a while. Kyle woke up because he’d gotten a call from one of his groomsmen, who was hanging out at AK by himself as it turned out. Kyle left to go meet up with him for a while (such a trooper) and I grabbed Randy and J.W. and headed to Epcot.

The boys still had a day left on their park passes because they had one of those length-of-stay passes, so I figured it would be better for them to come to the park with me than it would have been for them to mope around at the hotel while we waited for news. This was actually not the brightest idea, because they could have saved the passes for the next day and spent the whole day at the park, but at the time we still thought they were leaving on Sunday.

We found my dad and his family in Germany, eating at the restaurant. Randy and J.W. took off to ride Mission Space and I walked around with everyone else for a while.

At some point around America, Chris took the little kids and let them lay down on benches so that they could take a little rest and everyone sort of split up. Dad and his sister went to ride Test Track, which I don’t ride, and I think my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin had lunch reservations. So, with almost my entire family on Disney property, I somehow ended up alone at Epcot for about a half hour, wandering through the shops. I won’t lie…it was a little bit awesome. I haven’t been alone at WDW since I worked there and it was nice to just look at stuff and grab an ice cream and do my thing for a bit.

I caught up with my brother and J.W. and we did the future world thing for a while. We also got in to the Disney Visa character thing and I got some great pictures…

While the boys were riding segues, Kyle caught up with us. We had made plans to meet Craig and Kristen for lunch, so we left the boys at Journey Into Imagination and headed over to Canada for cheese soup and pretzel bread.

Craig and Kristen had done the half-marathon and they were celebrating their three year wedding anniversary, so it was pretty much a big party. We got special desserts and all that from our nice canadian waiter and whatever it was that we had for lunch was amazing…I wish I could remember, but the deliciousness of the pretzel bread just drowns everything out…

After lunch (late lunch), we went over to Morocco to meet up with my dad again. Through some sort of miscommunication, I thought that they were still wandering the pavilion, but as it turned out they were just eating dinner at the restaurant, so we couldn’t really visit with them for very long. We said our goodbyes there, since they were leaving early in the morning, and then Kyle and I made our way out of Epcot. We had been checking in with my mom’s family all day, but nothing had changed. They were heading to MK to use their park passes, but it was going to take them a while to get there, so we had some time before we needed to get over to meet them.

That night in Epcot was the last night that we were going to be in a Disney park for a while and we both knew it. Between the week spent there for the wedding and the “honeymoon” that we had taken in August, we’d actually racked up a lot of park time. Still, it’s always so sad to know that we’re going to be going home. We got a hot mint tea to go, sat in Japan for a while watching people, ended up buying a couple of plastic knickknacks, and talked about how nice the week had been.

As we were leaving the park, walking under Spaceship Earth, I couldn’t help but think about how many times Kyle and I had walked under that ball together. The first time I ever went to Epcot was with Kyle in 2002, while my boyfriend was at work, and he had taken me straight to the ball because it’s his favorite ride at Epcot. When it was time for us to fly home from the college program, Epcot was the last park we went to and I took a picture of Kyle under the ball so that I’d always remember him there. Three years later, when we were there for the half-marathon, Epcot was the first park we hit and as we were walking under the ball, Kyle took my hand and held it for the first time in a Disney park. On our honeymoon, we ran to Spaceship Earth after overindulging on our attempt to Drink Around the World and I have lots of happy, blurry pictures of us playing and dancing around in the line for the ride. And now, with our wedding week behind us, we walked under the ball with our arms around each other (mainly me holding him up because he was still so sick) and I absolutely could not have been happier.

We took the monorail to MK and met up with Randy and J.W., who had been riding the adventureland rides. It turned out that everyone else had wised up and decided not to waste their park passes on what was left of the night, so it was just the four of us. The great thing about Randy and J.W. is that they’re totally easy-going and fun, so they were up for anything. The first thing we hit was Mickey’s Philharmagic, which I had really wanted my brother to see. It was TOTALLY worth it. My brother has the greatest sense of humor and gets a real kick out of things like that, so he laughed through the whole thing and completely loved it.

After Philharmagic we hit teacups, Toontown, Snow White, and snuck in a one-minute-before-closing It’s a Small World. It’s really the greatest ride to end the night with because it takes soooo long that you end up being in the park a half hour later than you normally would have. We shopped around a little bit, but there wasn’t anything that we really needed, so we took the monorail to the Polynesian with the boys. Everyone was just hanging out, so we traded stories, snacked on the bits of food that had been collected over the course of the trip, and laughed at how many pins my aunt had managed to collect since I gave her that lanyard.

There was still no update on grandpa, but we knew that he was probably going to be there for a little while. As it got later and later (and Kyle got sicker and sicker), we debated on whether or not to go back to Pop Century. We had to check out and grab our flight the next morning and the room was a complete mess with all the wedding stuff thrown every which way. Ultimately, we ended up spending the night at the Polynesian in the extra bed because we were just so tired and it takes so long to get back to Pop Century from there.

I’ll tell you, there’s nothing like spending your second night as a married couple in a hotel room that you’re sharing with your parents and little brother while your new husband positively burns up with fever. Good times.

NEXT: The End

Day Seven – Part Two

Posted by Carly Morgan

Day Seven – Part Two

Schovy, Jed, Steve, and I took the monorail to the TTC and then caught the boat over to the Magic Kingdom. The monorail to MK is much faster, but Michelle had been desperate to get herself on a boat for her whole trip and the ferry across the lake made her very, very happy.

At MK, we met up with Kristen and Chris and ran around for a while, riding whatever we wanted. My big feat of the day was managing to get Schovy on the Haunted Mansion ride. The girl has a serious phobia of anything that may or may not be scary and the last time we rode the Haunted Mansion (Disneyland), the ride broke down right when we were in the middle of the graveyard area. I thought she was actually going to hop out of the doom buggy and take off on a blind run. Luckily, we made it through this time without incident (if you don’t count the half-moon gouges her fingernails put into my arm).

I can’t even give you a run through of everything we did because we flew through it, but we hit a whole lot of rides in a really short amount of time. Around the time that we hit up Pirates and the Jungle Cruise, Schovy and I split off from the rest of the group. This was the fourth time that I’d been at MK during the trip and Schovy used to go to Disneyland all the time when she lived in California last year, so we didn’t feel like we were missing out by leaving early. The other four were still getting their fix, though, so we made plans to meet up with them later…

Schovy and I took the monorail over to Epcot to meet up with my family. Friday was their last day in the parks since they were leaving Saturday morning, so they were getting in their last round of pin trading and German beer. We met up with them at China, where my grandparents were happily engaging the sales staff in speaking Chinese. My uncle offered to buy me a dress for our Napa reception, so I ended up with the first authentic Chinese dress of my adult life…which you don’t get to see until I blog about the Napa reception.

After we finished shopping, Kyle showed up. He and Jeff had split up and Kyle had gone back to the resort to pick up Kaitlyn, who hadn’t spent any time in the parks with us. She’d had her face painted at some point, so when she showed up she was a niece of many colors…

Our caravan of wheelchairs, pin traders, and painted nieces slowly our way from pavilion to pavilion. Kaitlyn isn’t very shy so after only about ten minutes of hiding, she started to warm up to my family and once they started giving her candy and Disney pins, she forgot about Kyle and I completely. Kyle was holding up a little bit better, it seemed. He was still pretty warm, but he’d had the chance to rest for a minute before he and Kaitlyn met up with us and he’d caught his second wind. Plus, since my family moves at the pace of a glacier, he didn’t have to run around anymore.

Eventually, we all made our way to The Land pavilion, since they have the most diabetic and low-sodium friendly menu items. At this point, Kaitlyn had received a sucker and a smoothie from my mother, who was practicing the whole grandma thing, and I wasn’t sure about her eating dinner. She’s not the best eater in the world…when she’s hungry she’ll eat a ton, but if she doesn’t feel like eating it turns into a major battle of wills.

When we hit the food court, she gravitated immediately to cookies and ice cream, which my mom probably would have indulged her with if I hadn’t been there to be the bad, mean aunt. We got her one of those PB&J snack boxes instead, even though I was 99% sure there was no way we were going to get her to eat it. (I think the exact quote was “I don’t WANT that…I HATE THAT”)

Luckily, the rest of us had gotten noodles and there was an abundance of chop sticks on the table when we sat down. Kaitlyn was pretty intrigued with the fact that we were all eating with sticks (Kyle and Schovy are quite good at chopsticks, actually) and it wasn’t too long before she wanted to try. I’m not even sure how she did it, buy my mom managed to talk Kaitlyn into eating her entire box dinner with chopsticks. That kid happily snapped up piece after piece of that PB&J sandwich until there was absolutely nothing left. It’s true we practically had to give her a standing ovation after she managed to get each piece to her mouth, but still…

The plan had been to get to a place where we could see the fireworks before all the good spots were gone, but we left The Land with only ten minutes to go before Illuminations. My family just doesn’t rush very well. There were lots of bathroom breaks, lots of wheelchair organization, lots of double-checking…by the time we got back to the show we only had a couple minutes left and the thing was PACKED. We ended up watching the show from a pretty bad spot and the people in the wheelchairs couldn’t see much, which was really too bad. My grandfather was so impressed with the show, even though he couldn’t see much of it…I really feel like he would have been blown away if he could have seen the whole thing.

After Illuminations, we started wandering up the other side of the pavilion, stopping in at the United Kingdom so Schovy could get her fill of British. I was worried that Kaitlyn would start to crash and get really whiny, because it was late and she’d been at the parks for almost the entire day, but she was pretty content to just ride around on my mom’s lap on the wheelchair.

Eventually the group ended up at Japan because there was something my cousin wanted to buy. Kyle’s parents met up with us to pick up Kaitlyn, which was lucky because she was starting to lose it over the fact that I wasn’t buying her one of those oysters to crack open for the pearl inside. What can I say? I’m a mean, mean aunt. Don’t feel too bad for her thought…before she left, my stepdad bought Kaitlyn a pair of her own chopsticks, so that she could go home and practice.

The park was really winding down at this point. Kyle and Schovy were both dragging along, but they were being troopers. We made it out of the world showcase slowly, stopping at each pin trading station and sampling the foods that hadn’t been tried. Eventually we ended up back at The Land pavilion (we just couldn’t get enough!) My family hadn’t been able to ride Soarin’ yet, since it was always so crowded, so we had really left it to the last minute. I think my family was actually pretty done at this point, but I was desperate to get them on that ride since they know all the places that are showcased.

A few of Kyle’s friends met up with us, so we ended up being the group with 15 or 16 people. I was a little worried about my grandparents falling out of those little seats, but they were fine. Randy and Michelle took extra precautions when they buckled themselves in with the safety strap.

In the end, it was great that we stayed late to do it because my grandparents really liked it and were talking about it the whole way back. I know some people are iffy about Soarin’ because it’s not that thrilling and it does really depend on which seat you end up in, but I really like it. I just wish those lines weren’t so long…

We made plans to meet my family for breakfast before their flight out and left them at the bus station. The rest of us hopped on the bus to Pop Century and ended up back at the resort right around 1 AM. What can I say? Kyle and I were pretty incapable of getting to bed before midnight for the whole week…and so, it was another super-round of antibiotics and fever reducers and then we collapsed into bed with only one more day to go…

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