Getting It Right For The-Oldest – Epcot – Vacation Day 5

The-Oldest with the Spaceship Earth growing out of his head.

Getting it right for The-Oldest is NOT easy.

See, Disney World for The-Youngest is a no-brainer. Candy. Rides. Loud sounds. Bright lights. More candy.

But for The-Oldest, it wasn’t the way he wanted to spend eight days. For him, being away from his music was like me being away from my girlfriend at that age.

He was an amazing sport, though, and went on all the terrifying rides with his brother, even enjoying a few, but there was nothing super special about the trip until the Biergarten in Epcot.

No, he didn’t have a beer, again, but it did have an oompah-pah band.

And a buffet where he could choose what to eat. 100% his choice. No potatoes he didn’t like. No gravy that someone poured onto something that shouldn’t have gravy (like peas). No spices cooked into the pasta sauce or meat flavoured with too much flavour.

Instead, he could have a plate full of wieners if he wanted. With a side of peas kept very separate from the wieners. And buns. Lots of buns. With butter.

Plus, while he ate, he could listen to Oktoberfest music (and dance if he wanted to, but that was as likely as me wanting to sing naked in front of my high school French teacher while dancing on a red-hot grill.) The music, I have to say, was fantastic, but stopped us from talking (which was also a HUGE plus for The-Oldest.)

Now THIS was The-Oldest’s idea of fun.

There is a video here.

Literally dripping wet, we all had a great time. I ate so much food, I think I gained 40lbs before I left the restaurant. Think Mr. Creosote from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. But then, I LOVE German food. Sauces. Sauerbraten.  Spätzle. Strudel. Red cabbage. I think in a former life, I was German. Or at least starving.

Nothing like good fireworks

With darkness falling and the rain letting up, we decided to stay for the fireworks and what a great decision that was. The-Oldest had the best reason why this is the BEST fireworks in Disney World (and that will be a part of his Top 10 list coming soon), but from my perspective, nothing beats a good fireworks show.

I don’t know why. I’m like a little kid seeing a puppy for the first time. If there is a heaven, mine will be filled with fireworks. And German food.

For some reason, it didn’t rain at all as we watched the sky explode around us, as the crowd oooh’d and aaah’d, as the air filled with the smell of explosives.

A great picture of a great day!

Everything had simply come together for this evening to make his adventure amazing.

Despite the rain, we got to ride on the Test Track.

Because of the rain, we went inside to a sitdown restaurant where The-Oldest had his best experience.

With no rain, we got to enjoy an incredible fireworks show.

I couldn’t wait to see what the next day would bring, not knowing at the time that I would get to experience one of my real-life nightmares.

Unexpected Fun – Epcot – Disney World

epcot in disney world, orlando florida, the spaceship earth
Epcot in Disney World. Unexpected fun awaited

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times – the best thing about traveling is that you can never completely predict what will happen. This time, at Epcot, we had some unexpected fun.

So, our plan, with rain already spitting down on us, was to get to our Fastpass ride, the popular Test Track, (weather permitting) grab some food, and see the fireworks (weather permitting).

Unlike the other parks, Epcot was not filled with Dumbo rides or Splashy rollercoasters. It’s a showcase for pavilions from around the world. Back in Joe 1.0 life, I loved this park more than the others since it was like visiting Norway, or China or Mexico in a bottle. But The Boyz, well, I could drag them there, but it would be like giving a cat its bath.

So it would be rides, food, and fireworks. Weather permitting.

But that rain bit us in the ass right away. When we checked our Disney App, we found that the Test Track was canceled.

Doh.

However, when a Fastpass ride is canceled, Disney gives you a free Fastpass to any other ride in that park. Any ride. So we changed our plans and decided to see Soaring.

But upon entering the park, the boys had an odd reaction to the big dome, the Spaceship Earth. Like fangirls crushing on Beiber, they gaped at it in wonder. They wanted to run around it, take pictures of it, and go inside it (and do the ride.) The ride itself was a journey through time. Not a rollercoaster. Not a thing that flipped you around until you wanted to throw up. Not even a ride that got you wet.

It was information. Like a museum.

Like the little kitten who comes close to you for the first time, I didn’t want to scare them off with all sorts of Joe-information (of which I have a ton!), so we just got on the ride. It was a little worn, a little outdated, but The-Boyz loved it. Yes, they loved learning something.

What the f…?

Then, just as we got out, the rain stopped and the Test Track was back on. We ran to the ride (or rather, The-Boyz ran, and I waddled like a very pregnant woman in need of some pickles and ice cream.) We got inside, hoping the weather would hold.

And let me tell you, there is a reason this ride is so popular. Like Avatar: Flight of Passage, it has so much to do while you wait in line. In fact, it’s THE BEST ride for the line-up since you actually design your own car!

The-Boyz made something out of Sci-Fi, while The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, (a car-girl at heart), put in quality-time making it look aesthetic, making it as ‘green’ as possible, and ensuring that it would run like a bat out of hell. Pictures on Instagram here.

This monstrosity designed by The-Boyz for the Test Track ride in Epcot won? Really? It looks like something out of Tron

Such fun! Unexpected fun.

The ride itself was blazingly fast, but we all took our stats from the car and on the test track, got to see who had actually designed a better car. The-Boyz won twice, we won three times, which made The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World as happy as a lion getting to eat a tourist.

The car that won for the fastest was The-Boyz car, so they were super braggy about how well they’d done, but jeeeez, look at the thing. That race was rigged!

As soon as we got off, the rains came, hard and heavy, like a movie rain so wet that it soaked through our raingear.

Sopping wet, we chose to eat in Germany. On the spur of the moment, we decided upon the restaurant, the Biergarten. I mean, why not? German beer. A buffet with wieners. And a band!

Little did we know it would become The-Oldest’s most unexpected fun.

What To Do In Calgary – The Military Museum

Sherman Firefly in Caen 1944

Canadian Sherman tank, Calgary Alberta, 2018
Canadian M4A2(76)W HVSS Sherman “Easy 8” tank . Military Museum in Calgary

Or Tanks for the Memories!

Of all the things we planned to do, the thing I looked forward to the most was seeing the Calgary Military Museum and their collection of tanks.

If you look at my website, you’ll see there’s a whole section for tanks. I love tanks. I don’t know why. My therapist doesn’t know why. There’s a lot of head shaking and eye rolling. But when I found out there was a military museum in Calgary of all places, I had to go.

The-Youngest decided to join me, (part of his plan) even though it meant getting up early. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and The-Oldest were happy to sleep in.

We managed to get there in about 11 minutes. Ok, 16, due to me getting lost despite a perfectly functioning GPS (when the nice GPS lady said take the SW exit and the sign said south, I hesitated too long while I tried to figure out if there was a SW exit as well…. And, ah, no, there wasn’t.)

No matter. We got there.

Most of the tanks were outside, which was fine except that it had decided to rain. Of course. And I had not thought about bringing a jacket. Of course. I debated bringing an umbrella, but apparently, people who use umbrellas here are considered marginally “challenged” in Alberta so I thought what the hell, a little rain never hurt anyone.

Calgary Military Museum 2018
A WW2 “Churchill VII” tank

The tanks they had on display I knew well. The Churchill VII, a huge British heavy tank, a Centurion Mark III, perhaps the best post war 1950s tank built, a surprisingly big Sherman M4E8 (an ‘Easy Eight’), and a soon-to-be-restored Russian T-34-85. Near the entrance, they’d stationed a T-72 with desert camouflage. ‘

Both The-Youngest and I were super stoked to be there, to touch the tanks to look at them close up. Only one of us did a happy dance, and (spoiler alert) it wasn’t him.

t72 tank calgary military museum
A T72 tank with desert camo.

I took tons of pictures while The-Youngest told me stories of the adventures he’s had with the tanks while playing World of Tanks on the Xbox.

I had forgotten how huge tanks could be. Even the Sherman which was supposed to be a fast, medium tank.

No German tanks, though and let’s face it, the best tank builders in WW2 were the Germans. However, despite their Tiger tanks with their huge 88mm guns that could shoot straight through a Sherman, the allies produced so many tanks that we simply overwhelmed the Germans with very reliable, mass-produced machines.

But it makes me realize the courage of our tank crews. It’s all fair and fine to sit in an 80-ton German heavy tank with a massive gun and armor that’s almost impenetrable, and it’s quite another to try and fight one of those beasts in Sherman.

Yet, they did.

Sherman Firefly in Caen 1944
Inside Calgary’s Military Museum were plenty of life-sized displays. This one featuring a “Firefly” tank fighting in a city.

Often at great cost.

Inside, the museum itself was fantastic for its size. They had great displays set up in regimental rooms, from the famous stand of the PPCLI against the German gas attack in WW1, to the famous victory for the Canadians at Vimy Ridge, to the battles in Italy and France in WW2, to the heroic stand during the battle of Kapyong, in Korea, and finally, to the peacekeeping missions around the world.

Check out my history section if you want to see more about all of this.

After seeing all the regimental rooms, we quickly toured the naval part of the museum, then the air force section, but had to pass on seeing their collection of planes due to a particularly scary entrance into those hangars (though The-Youngest had been so awesome coming with me that I didn’t mind we missed the planes.)

I could have spent long hours there reading of the heroic moments of these Canadian regiments, but we had a lot to do and The-Youngest, while vaguely interested in guns and tanks had no stomach for reading, which seemed way too much like school work.

No matter.

We were off to see dinosaurs next.

However, if anyone gets to Calgary, has an interest in the military, a family member who served, or hell, you just love a good museum, check it out. The staff were awesome. The displays fantastic. Fun was had.

And the sacrifices of our armed forces should never be forgotten.

 

Hey, if you’re interested, here are a few other links.

World of Tanks (the best tank game ever!)

Tanks in Canada

PPCLI (Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry) Regimental History

Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) History

The King’s Own Calgary Regiment History

The Calgary Highlanders History

**********

And hey, thanks for reading this!  

If you like what you’re reading, please follow on FB, subscribe to my blog, or check out my coming-soon newsletter. Or, heck, just tell your friends, your baker, your accountant and your barista. 

If you want to support a starving writer, check out the coffee link at the top right-hand corner of the website.

 

 

The Joys of Copy Editing

Who knows more about great suffering, I ask you?

June 5th, Yager’s War was finally sent to an agent who’d requested it. Like most things worth doing, this was not achieved without great suffering. Or at least great silliness. Especially when it comes to the copy-editing,

The writing of the novel was fun. The rewrite a lot of work.  A LOT. Then I did up the first final draft and sent it off to my trusted readers. They came back with suggestions, ideas and concerns. I dealt with them all.

Then came the dreaded copy edit. Now, some people have minds fo copy-editing. Smart people. People who can do the NY Times Crosswords in pen. The people who beat Jeopardy winners to the questions. People who can quote Shakespeare instead of Snoop Dog.

Not me. I am like that dog in Up. I get distracted very easily. My mind’s always thinking of something. Like where did I put my Def Leppard tape from the 80’s? Or why did Ares try to convert Wonder Woman when clearly, she wasn’t all about the whole ‘let’s kill mankind’ thing.

But I got some help from my friends and did the best I could. I went slowly. I used Gammarly. I blew up the font to be so huge, it could be read from space (so I wouldn’t start actually reading the story and get all lost in it.)

And then, after a freaking month, 459 pages, I finished.

But for laughs, here’s what I found.

I had to look up the crazy stuff like is adam’s apple capitalized? Well, it turns out, yes, yes it is. Adam’s apple. (I’ll take stupid things the English language does for 200.

Or you can ask Bill Maher. Wait, too soon?

Alec.)

I found that I had written gate instead of gait. Oh, I knew the difference, but somewhere in my brain, gate came out. I did the same thing with hanger and hangar that my critique group still giggle about.

I actually wrote, “bowels of soup” instead of “bowls.”

Looked up if herring should be capitalized (grammarly said yes, but google says no, so, I, ah, guess it’s kinda dealer’s choice.) I went without.

I wrote, “at the there.”  Yup. Dunno how, but that came out.

Later, I wrote, “on the table above the table.” I had to wonder if I’d been drinking that night. Or just up too late.

But seriously, WTF!?!?

Then I found that I’d written, “whipped the anger from his face.” which made me giggle.

From the Huff Post. They know their women’s bits.

I spent an hour, I kid you not, trying to find good words for lady bits. Then another hour reading about the time-line of genital slang. Then briefly thought about using stiff deityinstead of erection. But, my cop, being from Chicago and all, would probably not have used that term. Makes me want to write a novel using that as a title. (See how I can get distracted.)

I made lots of comma errors, plenty of ‘he’ instead of ‘the’ mistakes, buggered up the paragraphing somehow from one document to another, and even accidentally copy-and-pasted a deleted chapter back into the final draft.

Oh, fun times.

This is how I imagine the book cover. Only with the shadow of a man in a coat and hat looking all detectivie

But it’s all done. Yager’s War, 109,000 words is out there. A story set in Amsterdam in 1940 about a Chicago Detective who races against the clock to find his missing sister before the Germans invade.

It’s the best writing I’ve done.

Wish me luck.

(Copy edited by the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world).