We've had an annual Disney meet. Cat folk I've met on the internet. Made some damned good friends in that time, forever friends.
Before last year's meet, we decided that this year will be the last one. I'll be 60 on the 16th and it will be the 15th meet.
There are a number of reasons we're ending it.
Money. Disney passes have gotten so damned expensive. And even with the higher priced passes, the parks are crazy busy. So crowded. So tiring. Then there's the hotel. We like Stovall's Best Western. We had stayed at the Anabella for a while, but Stovall's has free internet (Anabella is ten bucks a night) and Stovall's has a great free breakfast offering. Checking prices for this year, they look to be about fifteen bucks more a night than they were last year. I'll keep checking, but stuff just keeps going up. Brian's starting this new business and money is tight and being gone for four days and three nights doesn't help him stay caught up with production. We pay the catsitter a hundred bucks a night.
Like I said, money is tight.
Then there are the cats. The last two years, we've had sick cats crated while we were gone. 2011 saw Skip in a crate so he could be medicated (remember he'd lost all of that weight and the doctor could find nothing definitive?). Last year it was Spot and Chandler. Spot ended up ripping the foam on the bottom of the crate to pieces and knocking over the litter box and water. Chandler was very stressed. We lost Chandler the next week. The cats are aging out and I felt like crap leaving them.
Then there's the time it takes during the year. Gathering the photos and video, editing them, processing them, and getting them resized and brightness adjusted and colors fixed. When that's done, they get added to the video. Transitions between the photos and video, music needs to be added, then they're burned to disk. Once they're good, I have to figure out the design for the case and the inserts and the labels on the disks. All of this takes a lot of time. Once that's done, it's usually time for the shirts and buttons.
I have to come up with a unique design for the back of the shirts. I try dozens of ideas until I come up with one that we both like. And the buttons. The buttons have been the same for the past couple of years,the only exception is the date. But I have to put them together, which includes a sort of epoxy. I have to hold the pinwheels in place until they're dry enough to set down without moving the position of the pinwheel.
Once I decide on the shirt design (if I can make the idea for this year work, it's going to be the best one ever). There's the printing of the transfers, the cutting out of the transfers and the foil for the pinwheels on the front. Then there's making sure I have everyone's shirt sizes and when I make that list, I have to make sure I've got the shirts to fill the list. And if I don't, I have to order the shirts. Once the transfers and pinwheels are done and the shirts are here, I have to press the transfers onto the shirts.
Last year, I had a problem with the press, the pressure setting was off. I ended up pulling a muscle in my arm and I had this huge bruise in the middle of my chest from locking the lid into position, then releasing it when the time was up. It didn't want to lock, it didn't want to release. It hurt. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't fun. And because of the time of the year, it's so damned hot. Working with a press that's 375� in a hot garage, peeling the paper immediately so it doesn't stick (hot peel transfers), then turning the shirts over and doing the other side. Hoping and praying that I've got them on straight....
And then there's the RideMax program. I set up a survey a few years ago, send it to everyone who's planning on attending, take the answers, compile them and the top fifteen or twenty are put into the RideMax to plan out our day. We've tried to set up things so that it doesn't get boring, one year Brian and I went up beforehand, took a bunch of photos, then I made photobooks before the meet and we had a contest between two teams where they'd find the place in the photo, then have a team photo taken there. Last year, the shirts I made had a list of the rides in both parks with check marks next to them. This was to see who rode the most rides. (I'll probably try my hand at selling these online, maybe I can make enough money to pay for Disney passes.)
It all takes months to put together for me. And if I'm not actively working on any of this, it's there in the back of my mind, the stuff I need to get done. And it takes money. The shirts, the transfers, the ink, the disks, the paper, the button makings, the pinwheels, the glue for the glue gun (used in making the pinwheel headbands), the bandaids for the burns on my fingers from the hot glue... The electricity to run all of my equipment... There are a couple of people who always donate to the cause and I appreciate that. Every dollar helps.
And I'm tired. I'm just tired.
It's been forever since we took a vacation where all we had to do was pack. I'd kind of like that. Have the vacation be over when we get home. Not to start planning for the next one. I need time to decompress.
So, this will be the last year. Because I'm worn out. We're tapped out.
And I'm a little bit sad that it's ending.
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