Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Florida Disney Trip Part III

The final full day of our trip will begin at Disney's Hollywood Studios. We didn't plan a lot of time at Hollywood Studios this year because there wasn't a lot we were interested in there last year. Erin is not a fan of Tower of Terror and I'm not a fan of Rock'n Roller Coaster. That being said, I'm glad we've done them but this year we're opting out. That on top of it being a transition year for this particular park leads us to not spend as much time here.

'14 In front of the now removed Sorcerers Hat
We will have fast passes on Toy Story Midway Mania (one of our favorites), Star Tours, and Muppet Vision 3D. In the later part of the day we'll probably use our park hopper and go back to Magic Kingdom or hop between a few parks. As I said in my first post about the trip, we're going to be making up for lost time at Magic Kingdom this year as we didn't spend nearly enough time there last year.

We don't have any special dining reservations this day either. It's pretty much a free-for-all final day. The one thing that is in our itinerary though is a return to MK at night for Wishes. We'll be starting our Disney vacation with Wishes and fittingly ending it with the show too! It will be a good bookend to our trip.

On Saturday morning, we'll be up early to take the Magic Express to MCO where we'll catch our flight on Jet Blue back to Boston. This WILL be a direct flight. Unfortunately, a few weeks ago (after I wrote the initial post about this trip) Delta changed our direct flight at the start of our trip and made us have a layover in Atlanta. Fortunately, the times work out but it's annoying. The good news is that we're still flying first class and as long as the weather holds up we shouldn't have any problems.

Now you know the rest of the story!

Florida/Disney Trip Part I
Florida/Disney Trip Part II
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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Negative Negative Negative

This year, keeping a positive mindset has been difficult. I mentioned this in a previous post but I just can't put my finger on it. Is it because I'm getting older that I'm hearing about more and more negative things in the world or was I really just that naive 5-10 years ago? I mean, I'm tired of hearing about people getting killed, people being laid off, and people being overall just miserable.

I get to work last night and hear the news and they're talking about seven children killed in a fire, a man attacking a TSA agent, TV contestant slain, and woman stabbed, baby cut from womb? Excuse my language for a minute but what the f*ck is wrong with people? Seriously, what is wrong with these people? I can't even wrap my head around it. Woman stabbed, baby cut from womb? WTF.

OK.

That's bad enough right? Well, then I'm reading an article about arrests after a woman was beaten and set ablaze in Afghanistan. Is it me or is the world just going icky balooky? I mean, seriously. We all know the old saying why can't people just get along. Well, seriously, why can't people just get along? I don't understand it and I never will. There's no way to justify any of it, and listen, I don't care what religion you are, and I know there's a bazillion out there. There's no way to justify killing, especially the killing of innocent peoplePERIOD.

I used to tell people for every negative thing you heard about do a positive thing. I feel like that's next to impossible now. Every day and I mean every day I hear headlines like the ones above in the news and maybe that's the problem. Maybe I shouldn't be listening to the news. It's just so hard not to today with smart phones, TV's, tablets, and computers. Just about everyone is connected.

This probably answers my own question but I think life was probably better without social media and I feel like social media has blown up into part of the problem. I mean, anyone I talk to who was around in the 70's and 80's seems to have nothing but good things to say about their interactions with other people. Today, you can't get online without seeing somebody blasting somebody on Facebook or Twitter. Back when you just had the phone I guess you had the privilege of not witnessing it.

This week, the negativity hit home as five people were laid off where I work. The layoffs had been talked about for quite some time but I don't think anyone really believed it would happen. In my opinion, it had to do with poor planning and execution and that's in no way a slam directed at our administration. I don't fault them at all because they were the ones who had to make the tough choices and balance a budget which includes a drop in revenue (enrollment). When I talk about the planning and execution piece I refer to our previous President who a number of years ago was ready and willing to make the tough choices before it came to this today. See, we knew this would happen so in reality it was more the execution than the planning that was the problem. It was never a secret and shouldn't have come to a surprise to anyone because she told us we'd be in this spot. At the time (April 2011), she announced that by the 2015/2016 fiscal year we would not be able to survive without making drastic cuts. Her exact words were that "we needed to change the way we do business" so that we could thrive in the future. The woman knew what she was talking about but people didn't listen. Instead, they twisted her words to make it seem like there was some shortfall at the time of her announcement which their never was. Instead, she tried to plan ahead and she tried to pull us out of what at the time was considered to be a $750,000 projected hole going into this (2015/2016) fiscal year but, before she could pull the trigger, she was bombarded with grievances from faculty and protests from students. Because of that, on the Thursday evening before a day of announced layoffs the following Friday, she retired.

I sincerely believe had she made those moves we'd be in better financial shape today and the people that lost their jobs this week would still be there. She knew about the dip in New England students going to college and she knew about where we would be today. She's probably sitting somewhere today shaking her head. We actually ended up being a lot more than $750,000 in the hole and that's probably due to a number of things. New union raises, back pays, title changes, etc. It all costs money but I really believe had she done what she felt she needed to do we'd be in better financial shape today. That being said, she's helping to fix another school's financial woes today and our current President has had to make the tough decisions that she didn't get to make. Honestly, she's probably happy it didn't have to be her anyway. I can't even imagine having to tell someone they've lost their job. It's a miserable thing to even think about. I can't even imagine being in that situation and my hope for the people who lost their jobsthat they're able to get back up and move forward.

All of this being said, it's been a tough year in terms of negativity. It's been all around me, from when I wake up, when I go to work, go home, read the news, etc. I can't change it but I can try to help and on some levels avoid it. Most of this negative news doesn't even directly affect mebut it just kills me to see other people impacted by such stuff. In terms of helping, I've been donating money back to my employer (a college). I donated $100 earlier this year which I asked for it to be specifically used "where it was needed" and I've added a deduction into my paycheck for the same cause in hopes that we can help students get the education they deserve through student scholarships. The deduction is a yearly deduction of $3.84/pay period for a total amount of $100/year, (26 pay periods). I can't change the fact that people got layed off but I can do my part to help make sure it doesn't happen again in the future. If every alumni and friend of the college did this it could really make a difference.
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