The Smell of Dad’s Nuts

Disney World has always been a special place for our family. We’ve been going as regularly as finances would allow for many years. When our oldest was a toddler, I fondly remember watching her break into dance upon entering Magic Kingdom for the first time. Nothing prompted her besides the rhythm of Main Street USA as she bounced and swayed across the pavement.

As our family grew, we kept going, albeit less frequently. A family of six is expensive! We knew the tricks and dodges to avoid crowds. Wait until summer or a break in school? Not us. We were that family that pulled our kids out of school to go to Disney. And knowing what I know now, I have zero regrets.

To younger families, I say, “Take the Trip!”

Spend the time together. School will always be there. You never know when life will change making a family vacation impossible. In the best of circumstances, the dance of childhood changes from a family rumba to a solo waltz out the door all too soon. When the worst happens… well, you remember the vacations forever.

As my children grew, they began to love rollercoasters like me. Each one strained against the measuring stick that is the gateway to the coaster. Our trips became less about the Pooh Ride and It’s a Small World and began to fill up with the thrills of Space Mountain and Expedition Everest. Fantastic.

But somewhere along the way, the old man lost the ability to do the Tea Cups or anything that spins. I don’t think I have vertigo, but if I spin round and round I am dizzy and lost for a while. I literally feel like I’m coming off a small boat in rough seas and have to sit out for an hour or two.

So I quit those… but my kids didn’t.

I don’t mind being on my own while they wait in line. If you know the layout of Disney, the Tea Cups are situated by Tomorrowland Speedway and Dumbo’s Circus. If you go either way, there are vendors of different treats and delicacies. Years ago, I found one such vendor who serves glazed almonds. They are heaven in a red and white striped bag – for six bucks (It’s Disney, nothing is reasonable. That Mouse knows how to drain every penny out of you.)

Every time my kids get into the queue for the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and spin to their hearts content, I mosey over to the glazed almond vendor for a little bag of heaven.

Last week, we went down to Disney for a quick two-day jaunt. There were things that were difficult as we remembered Kylie and her love of the whole experience. But there were also moments of unbridled joy, such as when we walked past my favorite vendor’s booth and my sweet, demure wife innocently proclaimed,

“I SMELL DAD’S NUTS!”

And Disney World will never be the same.

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Must have been before the smell

The Medical Mafia

Being in film studies, my daughter has had several classes that necessitate watching movies. Some are classics while others are less popular, but each demonstrates a specific point they discuss in class. Where was this major when I was in school? I got rooked. My education consisted of nothing this cool.

Earlier this semester, she came home and asked if I wanted to watch The Godfather with her. Um… YES! One of my favorites. It is so funny to see a child of this instant gratification generation try to sit and watch a three-hour plot unfold slowly. They can’t do it! Even when I explained parts of the story to her, she looked at me like I had four heads and went back to considering sticking a fork in her eye. Oh well, I had fun.

While I don’t condone the Corleone business methodology, I love the family aspects of the movie: Connie’s wedding, Michael’s dogged protection of Vito in the hospital, the “do anything for each other spirit” that binds them together. They even bring others into the family – like Tom Hagen, and go “to the mattresses” – meaning that when they need to go to war, they bring everyone together!

I think they teach this concept in medical school. Seriously… recent experience tells me that the medical community is bound together in a family as thick as any crime syndicate.

Since reaching 50, I’ve been trying to demonstrate some self-care. I’m in good health but I’m trying to document it by visiting doctors recommended for a man my age.

That’s my new favorite phrase – “for a man your age.”

That beloved phrase is usually uttered by a man or woman younger than me who has attained a much higher level of education. Doctors are supposed to be sagely, benevolent old men with white hair. When did they all get younger than me?

My first experience took me to a cardiologist because of family heart history. That led to a stress test, a clean bill of health, but a daily pill regimen. This was followed by an annual physical. (I supposed calling it annual is a bit of a misnomer when the last two were 2016 and 2007.) I scheduled the appointment three months in advance and thought I might actually see my Primary Care Physician. But I’m not sure he exists. I think he is somewhat ethereal and expecting to see him is a bit like walking into a church and expecting to see God.

Although the Physician’s Assistant was about the same age as my oldest daughter, she was very good and thorough. Again, I got a clean bill of health and thought I’d be on my way. Wrong. As I was hopping off the papered table, the PA started doling out cards like a blackjack dealer.

“You need to see this doctor, this doctor, and have an annual this, an annual that…”

The medical mafia at work – taking care of the family. They might all have different names, but they’re working together for sure.

This is my biggest concern. In trying to take back my self-care, I’ve opened up a massive can of worms that leads to a total body mole-check and a colonoscopy by two other physicians no doubt related to my make-believe primary care physician.

I’m coming to grips with the amount of my naked body medically-trained personnel are about to see. But where will it end? Do they have another “ologist” in the family? What other internal or external part of me will be poked, prodded, or surveyed? And can I keep from making terrible dad jokes while I sit exposed?

Only time will tell.