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Archive for the ‘Vacation’ Category

An MMP Exclusive

As promised in yesterday’s post,  here is a quick peek at Room 2957 at the Disneyland Hotel; also known as The Mickey Mouse Penthouse.   Of all the people we know,  I think that my friend Traci and my Uncle Wonka and Aunt Danelle would be most impressed by the Mickey-themed decor.   As well as a tad bit jealous.

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You know you’re driving down I-5 to Disneyland when:

You can smell the grazing cows of Harris Ranch about a mile before you see them.

You make a mental note to look into who exactly is responsible for all of those Congress Created Dust Bowl signs.

If there are any more cities beside Los Angeles that have razor wire wrapped around their green freeway signs.

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You know you’re on vacation with the Picettis when:

Although this trip was booked back in March,  apparently the person who did that booking neglected to make a note that we needed a fully accessible room despite a rather lengthy conversation detailing those needs.   The result of that single omission: No handicapped room for you!  We gave a regular room the proverbial community college try but we conceded defeat after a fifteen minute game of Let’s Get the Invalid on the Potty.   These accommodations were simply not going to cut it.

What happened next was unbelievable.   Even though this was the Disneyland Hotel,  I still couldn’t believe it when Fehmeen told me all the details.   It could have been Emma’s undeniable cuteness or perhaps it was my glowing aura of ALSness or maybe they could sense that Nani was about six hours overdue for another verbal spat but the management had decided to give us an upgrade to…

Wait for it

…   The Mickey Mouse Penthouse on the 11th floor of the hotel.   According to the bellman, this suite being occupied was such a rare occurrence that he himself had only ever seen it two other times.   The space was a sight to behold.   I felt like we had just landed in the suite in The Hangover minus the alcohol,  the tiger,  the duck,  and the baby in the closet named Carlos.   My meager words would not do it justice so I intend to post videos tomorrow.  Our stay in the MMP only lasted one night until we were able to move into our other (now available) accessible room,  which of course could only be described as a downgrade.

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You know you’re at Disneyland with the Picettis and Khans when:

The ride you go on the most is the Monorail (4x in 3 hrs).

Emma is still scared shitless of costumed characters like Goofy,  Pluto,  Chip, and Dale.

The highlight of our lunch on Tuesday was the seemingly never-ending quest for Stuffins with Nana and Mamoo.

:-:-:-:-:-:

You know you’re on vacation with Fehmeen and Jason because school is still in session and the opportunity to learn constantly seemed to present themselves like:

It is practically impossible to recreate that same feel and vibe of last years trip considering my abilities are no where near where they were eleven months ago.

In no way,  shape or form is my manual wheelchair considered a remotely comfortable option for a few minutes much less a few hours in the Magic Kingdom.

I think that I can unequivocally say that my days of road trips have drawn to a close.   Give me the comforts of home from now on.   And lots of shorter,  more manageable day trips.

It doesn’t matter that neither of us had a particularly good time,  as long as Emma enjoyed herself,  that is all that truly counts.

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You know you’re heading back to the Bay Area on I-5 when:

You dime out Nana for driving only 55 mph at certain times on the freeway when the speed limit was 70.

The cost of a $2 Meal Deal at the Taco Bell in Button Willow was actually $3.29.

The mind-boggling concept that San Francisco and Sacramento are only one mile apart from each other.   At least that’s what about two dozen green road signs led me to believe.

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Holidays in Mexico

Check out this slideshow of the Ski Weeks my homies and I spent at Club Med Cancun back in Feb 04 and Feb 05.

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Emma’s First Visit to Disneyland

A Photoessay

Words: Jason Picetti   Pictures: Ameer Khan

Earlier this month, Fehmeen, her brother Ameer, Emma, and I piled into the proverbial Wally Wagon and made our way south down I-5 to Disneyland. And despite the fact that things got off to a less-than-ideal start (please refer to the stolen stroller incident), a magical time was had by all.

Much to our surprise, breakfast the first day included a photo op with several costumed characters. However, no one is as surprised, or as tense, as Emma.

Much to our surprise, breakfast the first day included a photo op with several costumed characters. However, no one is as surprised, or as tense, as Emma.

At this point in time, we were all smiles. That changed upon receipt of our bill: $100, gratuity included, for breakfast for three. It wouldn't be the only crazy expenditure of the morning, either.

At this point in time, we were all smiles. That changed upon receipt of our bill: $100, gratuity included, for breakfast for three. It wouldn't be the only crazy expenditure of the morning, either.

In an effort to lessen the tension with Emma, Minnie cozies up to her dad, the perma-grinning ALS Boy.

In an effort to lessen the tension with Emma, Minnie cozies up to her dad, the perma-grinning ALS Boy.

Taking her innocent flirtations to the next level, Minnie seems to have forgotten all about the camera. Luckily, Stitch rats her out.

Taking her innocent flirtations to the next level, Minnie seems to have forgotten all about the camera. Luckily, Stitch rats her out.

Once inside the park, our first ride was on King Arthur's Carousel. Seemingly happy now, Emma's face told a vastly different story once the ride started.

Once inside the park, our first ride was on King Arthur's Carousel. Seemingly happy now, Emma's face told a vastly different story once the ride started.

There are about ten attractions at Disneyland that allow for a wheelchair-bound guest to literally roll across a ramp and onto the ride. This is one such example of me on the carousel.

There are about ten attractions at Disneyland that allow for a wheelchair-bound guest to literally roll across a ramp and onto the ride. This is one such example of me on the carousel.

Our next stop was the world famous Tiki Room. As Fehmeen likes to point out, despite the 39 year age difference between Emma and me, our reaction is exactly the same.

Our next stop was the world famous Tiki Room. As Fehmeen likes to point out, despite the 39 year age difference between Emma and me, our reaction is exactly the same.

Hands down, Emma's favorite ride was It's a Small World. Watching her eyes bug out of her head with excitement as she floated through was the highlight of the trip for me.

Hands down, Emma's favorite ride was It's a Small World. Watching her eyes bug out of her head with excitement as she floated through was the highlight of the trip for me.

Major props to whoever designed the sound for Small World. What a remarkable accomplishment to have one song playing over and over but depending upon where you are in the ride, you hear different things. For example, the music you hear in the middle of the ride is different from what you heard in the beginning yet the people in the beginning are hearing what you yourself had heard when you were there. By design, the song is no longer linear in nature but parallel. It boggles my mind.

Major props to whoever designed the sound for Small World. What a remarkable accomplishment to have one song playing over and over but depending upon where you are in the ride, you hear different things. For example, the music you hear in the middle of the ride is different from what you heard in the beginning yet the people in the beginning are hearing what you yourself had heard when you were there. By design, the song is no longer linear in nature but parallel. It boggles my mind.

Travelling by train to Adventureland minus our replacement stroller which Fehmeen left parked in front of Toon Town. Ameer picked it up later.

Travelling by train to Adventureland minus our replacement stroller which Fehmeen left parked in front of Toon Town. Ameer picked it up later.

Cost of three ice cream cones at Gibson Girls: $12. Cost of the stylish hat atop my un-sunburned head: $85. Seeing Fehmeen's face unblemished by chocolate ice cream: Priceless.

Cost of three ice cream cones at Gibson Girls: $12. Cost of the stylish hat atop my un-sunburned head: $85. Seeing Fehmeen's face unblemished by chocolate ice cream: Priceless.

"I had a great time at Disneyland. Thank you Mama, Dada, and Mamoo Ameer."

"I had a great time at Disneyland. Thank you Mama, Dada, and Mamoo Ameer."

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Setting the Bar

On our first day at Disneyland, someone stole our brand new stroller.

Actually, that statement isn’t exactly accurate. Let me try again.

Before we even left the hotel for our first day at Disneyland, someone stole our brand new stroller.

Here’s how it all went down:

Because the four of us overslept a bit, we didn’t make it down to the breakfast buffet at the PCH Grill until after eleven AM. The restaurant, located in the lobby of the Disney-owned Paradise Pier Hotel, was remarkable only for the fact that the place was literally teeming with Disney characters such as Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Lilo & Stitch. Once we were seated around the table, a waiter took Emma’s stroller and told us that we could retrieve it out front when we had finished our meal.

Well, we ate our Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes, snapped a few somewhat inappropriate (on her part) photos of Minnie Mouse and me, paid an outrageously exorbitant amount for three adult breakfasts, and exited the eatery in order to make our way to the Magic Kingdom. Everything was as cool as the other side of the pillow until we came to the slow realization that our stroller was nowhere to be found, despite the fact that we were the last four turistas in the restaurant.

Fehmeen told the woeful tale of our absconded baby-transport to three different people: the breakfast supervisor, a uniformed security guard, and the restaurant manager. She spared no detail as she vividly described all the unique features of our $50 stroller that was purchased from Target exclusively for this trip. In the end, the best that Tracy, the manager, could do for us was to provide us with a voucher for a free stroller rental once we were inside Disneyland proper. We thanked her and headed off to the park.

During August, the Happiest Place on Earth is also the Hottest and Most Crowded Place on Earth as well. After about two hours of getting our Walt on, we were all ready to go back to the hotel. We returned the rented stroller and started the ten/fifteen minute walk through Downtown Disney to Paradise Pier.

Exhausted and overheated from carrying Emma, Fehmeen decided to vent her frustrations at hotel management. Just as she was about to get into it, the manager, Tracy, appeared and told her that she had a solution to our problem. She then presented Fehmeen with the exact same stroller that was stolen only hours earlier. Apparently, Tracy had her people go to Target and purchase our stroller and then, while we were gone, had them assemble it as well.

So, how cool is that? I’ll bet you didn’t see that end coming, didja?

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72 Hours in Rocklin

Fehmeen, Emma, and I just got back to the “City of Good Living”, aka San Carlos, after a fun-filled three day vacation at Auntie Alia’s house in Rocklin. Although not as hectic and fast-paced as a tour of Washington DC or as sun-drenched and boozy as a stay in Cancun, our little family’s short trip to this small but growing community was perfectly suited to how the Picetti’s roll these days: in a Honda CRV, a stroller, and an electric-powered wheelchair. A good time was had by all.

Because I lack the desire to create a narrative thread which would cleverly tie the events of the trip together, I’m just gonna list the highlights of each day for you to read and enjoy. So read and enjoy.

Monday, Feb 16

  • We arrive at Alia’s house at 1030 pm. Emma is happy to see her Auntie, as are Fehmeen and I to see our new home of the next three days. Of course we were happy to see Alia, as well.
  • When The Bug sacked out at 1100 pm, our hostess/landlord offered us some home-made chili as we watched tv on her fabulous sectional. For the record, the couch was comf and the chili was delish.
  • By midnight, I had had enough so I was escorted to bed. Fehmeen and Alia continued chatting until 300 am. Man, it’s a good thing that Fehmeen and I didn’t have to get up and go to work the next morning after only four hours of sleep. That would have been rough.

Tuesday, Feb 17

  • I arose from my night’s rest at 1030 am. Emma and Fehmeen played in the family room as I slumbered. Ah, vacation.
  • We drove the family truckster to the Roseville Galleria mall and had lunch at Rubio’s in the food court. If food courts had ratings, this one was five-star all the way. Even Panda Express looked swanky.
  • After our meal, we discovered the Rain Forest play area for Emma to romp around in. Witness the romping around:
  • bat flower spin
  • frog rain
  • Back at the old homestead, Fehmeen and Alia went about the necessary preparations for cooking a meal consisting of lamb, potatoes, and salad.
  • By 800 pm, dinner is served. Fehmeen, Alia, Emma, Najmeen, Aria, Elan, Papa, and I thoroughly enjoy our supper. All I can say is that it was scrump.
  • We watched the last half of Idol while we ate our dessert of chocolate cake, carrot cake, and chocolate covered caramel popcorn from this place in the mall called Popcornopolis.

Wednesday, Feb 18

  • Again, I awoke from my night’s rest at 1030 am. In some respects, it’s good to be me.
  • Papa took Fehmeen, Emma and I to lunch at BJ’s.
  • After lunch, we chose to bail on our planned excursion to the zoo, instead opting to visit the Roseville Galleria so Emma could visit the other play area. The comcast construction site theme wasn’t nearly as cool as the rain forest one, fyi.
  • Back home for a quick one hour power nap.
  • With Auntie Alia babysitting the Bug, Fehmeen and I head back to the Roseville Galleria for her birthday dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, compliments of her brother, Ameer.
  • Post-dinner, we entered the mall in search of birthday gifts for co-workers Janet and Diane.
  • Khan family trivia time: Fehmeen’s grandpa has lived here for ten years and made his first trip to the Galleria with us today. We have been here for two days and been to the mall three times. Must be a generational thing.
  • Once home, we watched a dvd copy of the soon-to-be-named best picture Slumdog Millionaire. Outstanding film; can’t wait to buy it when it officially comes out.

Thursday, Feb 19

  • Up and at ’em early today: 900 am.
  • While Fehmeen packed up the car, Emma (and I) watched The Wiggles on tv. The Bug’s opinion in two words: Loves it!!!
  • On the road by noon, home by 230 pm.

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