Saturday, April 30, 2011

Evicting Robins

Spring time brings with it so many wonderful things. The flowers bloom, the weather gets warmer, April showers, and the birds come back from their winter homes.

Traditionally one of the initial signs of spring is the sighting of the first robin. Upon their arrival robins and other birds seek places to build their nests and lay their eggs. It's all part of that infamous circle of life.  

Now I like when the birds come back. There's nothing like waking up on a spring morning and hearing the birds singing. Spotting a cardinal, a blue jay or a robin in my back yard is cool.

But when birds pick places to build their nests that you don't want them to it's a problem.

Over the last couple of years some small birds (not sure what species they are) have been building their nest in the inside top corner of our carport. It's not been a real problem but at times not the most convenient thing. There have been several instances of the female birds in protecting their nests have playing "dive bomber" with us as we have gotten in or out of our cars. They've never done anything harmful but it's really rather bothersome.

This year the carport birds have not returned. But we've had another problem. Earlier this month a pair of robins decided to start building their nest on the top of our the light fixture outside our back door.

When I first noticed it the nest was only in the initial stages of construction. I took it down and threw it in the yard. From then on for about 2 weeks whenever one of us, Paula or me, discovered the build up of grass and twigs on the fixture would knock it down and sweep it off the back deck.

But the nesting instinct prevailed and our insistent would be tenants continued to build on top of our light fixture. One evening, after being gone all day, we found a completed nest. Their persistence was kind of inspirational. But nevertheless we didn't want a nest there.

I removed the full nest feeling kind of sorry that I had to be "the bad guy" to the innocent birds. We needed to find something that would permanently discourage them from rebuilding. Paula suggested getting a rubber snake.

I went to our local dollar store to try and find a fake reptile. I didn't find one but I did find a tin decorative bird that was painted to look like a cardinal. I reasoned that if the robins saw what they thought was another bird taking over their nesting spot they'd move on.

I brought the metal cardinal home and put it in the place you see in the picture at the top of this post. I even let some of the remnants of the robin's efforts on top of the light so it would look like the decoy had claimed the territory for itself.

The fake bird has worked. The robins have not been back. For a while I felt kind of proud that I was smart enough to come up with a solution to our problem. Then I realized I shouldn't take too much credit. All I did was outsmart a pair of birds. :)

Sometimes I wonder just where those robins decided to build their nest. I really felt bad that I couldn't let them build where they wanted to. I'm sure they found another place. I mean have you ever seen a "homeless bird"? My minor case of guilt was exploited when the other day while walking my dogs I found a robin's egg laying, not in a nest but, in the grass. How ironic is that?

I really love the color of a robin's egg. One my all time favorite pictures that I've taken is of a robin's egg in the palm of my hand. I picked up the egg I found and brought it home. I'd like to find a way to empty it, wash it out, and preserve it. I'm not sure if I will. It sits outside in an empty flower pot. Again, how ironic is it that, after all I went through to discourage the building of a nest, sitting outside my house is a robin's egg?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding Connection

Today the eyes of the world are on London, England where Prince William and Kate Middleton are getting married. I am not the least bit interested in anything that has to do with this wedding (okay, maybe the cake). But as I am forced to watch the coverage that seems to be on every channel this morning I noticed one thing that each commentator has mentioned. They have all talked about William's mother, Princess Diana.

The context in which she is mentioned the most is the fact that the last time the public saw William going down the street he traveled this morning was during his mother, Diana's funeral procession.

The mention of William and Harry's mother makes me think of a series of events and facts that connect Paula and me to today's royal wedding. That link is directly through the late Princess Diana. Let me explain.

Back in the summer of 1997 I was living in Easton, Pennsylvania. I was working weekend mornings at a very small radio station in Bethlehem; a city 20 minutes away from my house. On Sunday morning August 31 I was driving to work when I heard the news of the death of Princess Diana on a talk radio station out of New York.

Although I wasn't actually on the air on the air that day (my job on Sundays was putting a 4 hour block of prerecorded religious shows on the air) I knew that if this news were true the listeners would be calling to find out about it. So I decided that I needed to get the correct information and announce it on the air in between the religious programs.

To get that information I signed on to the radio station's computer. I logged onto AOL to search for the facts about Diana's death. This was long before Googel existed and the only thing I knew about a computer was that you could sign onto AOL using a phone line connection.

After I gathered the basic information and presented it over the air I felt that I had fulfilled my responsibility. The morning then proceeded as usual. That meant I had large blocks of free time while the prerecorded programs played on the air. I had been intrigued by the other options I found while searching through AOL.

I went back and looked around the website to see what I could find. That's when I discovered the AOL chat rooms. I logged into the chat rooms and I was hooked. From that day forward I became obsessed with AOL chat rooms and the computer in general. That obsession would change my life over the next 2 years.

Three months later, in December 1997, on my own personal computer in my own home I met Paula in an AOL chat room. The rest is history.

Today as I write this post I find myself married to the Love of My Life, Paula, for going on ten years. I've lived in South Central Kentucky for over 12 years. Those are the two most important changes in my life since that August morning in 1997 but there are hundreds more. I won't even attempt to begin mentioning them. But anyone who knows me knows what I mean.

The transformation of my life never would have happened if it wasn't for that modern wonder: the personal computer. I would not have discovered its amazing abilities that specific day if I hadn't been searching for information about the tragedy that took Diana's life.

As if that's not enough of a connection between our marriage and today's royal wedding let me give you another fact that cannot be pure coincidence. Paula was born on the same as Princess Diana. They don't just share the same birthday. They were born on the exact same day, July 1, 1961. Isn't that amazing?

So this morning the world is watching a ceremony that joins England's future king and queen in matrimony. What I'm watching is a second generation reminder of God's providence in my life. Because even though it may take a few long stretches of reason to make the connection I've just made; I can't help but be convinced that its a valid one.

The connection just shows me that even though we are oblivious to His presence, and even rebel against Him, because we are His children, God is always working in our lives. I truly believe that it was His sovereign will at work in my life that led me from where I was in August 31, 1997 to where I am today. He used a series of thousands and thousands of elements and events to bring Paula and I together. I find that a love story that's truly a fairy tale come true.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Seating For Eight

After all that was involved in helping my sister-in-law move last week there's one that has had an immediate effect on our everyday lives. Well, there's two actually. One is relational the other is spacial.

This post is about the spacial change. The picture to the left is a view of our living room as it is now. Aren't my puppy dogs cute?

The couch on the right is from my sister-in-law's old house. Her new place was too small for it. We bought it from her and gave her the recliner from our house.

The reason we decided on the change was to make our living room more accommodating for when we have family get togethers at our house. With the addition of the 2nd couch we now have seating for eight; six of them are recliners.

In order to keep the room from looking too crowded we moved the love seat to the back wall. It had been sitting on the edge of the rug (see picture) leaving a walk through lane from the front door out into the kitchen doorway.

The place I sit when spending time in the room is in the love seat, on the left as you look at the picture. It took some time to adjust to being farther away from the TV but I'm used to it now. Paula's living room spot was the recliner but now it's on the new couch at the seat on the far end. It's not in the picture. If you could see it, it would be in the bottom right hand corner.

We now have a set up that allows us to have family and friends over for dinner and a movie and everyone has somewhere comfortable to sit. We've already had the boys over on Easter Sunday. I'm looking forward to inviting some friends from church in the near future as well. Also I can't wait until my family from Pennsylvania come to visit on vacation in July.

Now that we've rearranged our living room we'll have the perfect place to just sit and relax and enjoy their company.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Last Week Was A "Moving" Week

Other than yesterday's short reflection on Easter, it's over a week since I've posted. That's because last week I was busy helping my sister-in-law move. On Tuesday I began by loading boxes and things into my car; taking them to her new house. She's moved from Smiths Grove into Bowling Green. She's about 20 minutes away from us now.

Then on Wednesday, Paula took off work and we both helped. We made 3 trips from the old house to new house with 3 SUV type vehicles and a small open trailer loaded with her stuff. After the first trip Paula stayed at the new house to help unpack and organize things.

I went back a couple of times with Mike (one of Theresa's friends) to load up some of the larger furniture onto the trailer. The last thing Mike and I did was go to a local appliance store to pick up her new washer and dryer. We then unpacked it and carried them into the house.

It was a long day. We didn't get home until after 10 that night. We were so exhausted. That we spent Thursday resting at home.

On Friday we got back to it. We focused on removing pictures and things from the walls and loading boxes already into the cars; taking them to the new house.

About noon I took a break and went to see the movie "African Cats." You can read my review of the movie on my other blog:

Once again, Paula stayed to help Theresa unpack and set up. We got home a little earlier than we did on Wednesday. We were home before dinner time. Our day wasn't finished though. We had to rearrange our living room so that the couch from Theresa's living room would fit in ours. We also prepared some of the food Paula was going to serve for breakfast the next day. A group of volunteers from our church were going to help us empty the old house in the morning.

On Saturday, the last day of moving, at 6:30AM we met about 6 men from our church at the old house to load up all the large furniture. They brought a large covered trailer. Since most of the stuff was already moved it only took one trip. We were finished moving her by 8:15AM.

Both Paula and I were glad the moving project was finished. We were very tired and somewhat sore. But one of the things we realized was that over the course of the days of moving we were able to do a lot more than we thought we could. Our energy and physical endurance was a lot better than its been in a long time. Before our weight loss we wouldn't have been able to do a quarter of what we did. For that we're thankful.

Later Saturday morning I went to our church's annual Easter Egg hunt at a local park. There were a lot of kids there. I estimate that there were at least 150. It was fun to watch the different age groups run and collect thousands of plastic candy filled eggs.

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, we went to church in the morning and had our sons and their wives over for lunch in the afternoon. It was another nice day of being together with family.

I can't review this past week without mentioning the weather. All week long we had rain and thunderstorms nearly every day. These storms have included large amounts of rain, hail and tornadoes. We have been under tornado warnings but have not had any in our immediate area, Thank God. The pattern of rainy weather and severe storms is supposed to continue this coming week.

A couple more things I want to mention about this past week. I found out that my job layoff has been extended through June 10th. This means that I can take Paula on her birthday trip to Chattanooga without using any of my vacation days. Also my family from Pennsylvania has scheduled their semi-annual visit to Kentucky for the last week of July. I'm excited about getting to see them again.

So that's what has happened over the last week. Now that it's over I can get back to focusing on things here at home. Sorry for not posting but it was a busy time. The good news is that I have a lot of other things that happened last week that I haven't mentioned here. This gives me plenty of material for posts over the next week. Come back later this week and find out what they are.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Resurrection Of Hope Of The World

The celebration of Easter should be focused on the meaning of Christ's resurection. But I can really identify with the disciples. Jesus was betrayed to the Romans. The disciples ran away. When Jesus was crucified, they lost all hope. In the aftermath of the death of their messiah they feared for their own lives. What was to become of them? Then Jesus walked into that dark locked room and changed everything. That's what Easter is all about: the resurrection of life and the restoration of hope. Fourty days later they recieved the power of the Holy Spirit. Together those three things given through the Grace of God would change the world one man at a time. Over 2000 years later it's still changing lives.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Finishing A "5K" on Dory's Day Out

Dory and Me at the 5K, today

Me with Bob and Sherri on 4/1/06
Today was a significant day for me in that I accomplished one of the goals I set for myself this year. I did it while giving my pet a special day as well.

This morning my dog, Dory, and I drove to the local Airport to participate in the Bowling Green Humane Society 5K fundraiser. It’s held every year about this time.

The weather was not very cooperative. It was cloudy, windy, and cold. The temperature was in the upper 40s to low 50s throughout the walk. There was a threat of a shower but luckily we stayed dry.

I was a little concerned about how Dory would react to being around so many other dogs. When I take her and Angel on walks through our neighborhood she barks and behaves in a very defensive manner toward other dogs. But I believe that her behavior is directly due to her pack instincts. When she’s with Angel and me she’s with her “pack” and thus feels very protective whenever any other dog comes around. I was hoping that if it was just me and her she wouldn’t feel as defensive.

As we were parking she saw the other dogs walking around and started to bark like she does when a strange dog comes near our fenced in yard. But after we got out and started walking toward the registration area she stopped. She was curious about her new surroundings and the other dogs but not the least bit aggressive.

As we registered for the walk and picked up my complimentary t-shirt Dory continued to try and say “hello” to the other dogs. There were a lot of them in a very small area. I let her sniff and “greet” her new canine acquaintances. It was her first social outing in a long time. She was having a good time.

Once the walk started Dory practically ignored the other dogs. She was more interested in the smells of the lawns and sidewalks where we were walking.

A little over halfway, as we were doubling back to the airport we made a stop to get some water. The Humane Society had a drink station set up in an alcove. Both Dory and I had a refreshing drink.

Once we got back to the airport I got one of the free hot dogs and split it with Dory. I stood around listening to the announcement of the names of those who won door prizes. I didn’t win any of them.

I did get the opportunity to do a good deed however. While walking around I found an IPhone setting on a curb in the parking lot. I took it to the woman giving away the door prizes. She announced that she had and soon the owner came and got it.

After the door prizes were all awarded it was time to head back to the car. About that time Dory was ready to go. We drove out of the airport parking lot and headed for home. It was Dory’s day out but I was the one with the sense of accomplishment.

I’ve wanted to go on this walk ever since I had my weight loss surgery but until today I had to work on the day of the event. I had participated in the fund raiser once before on April 1, 2006.

That was back when I weighed about 370 pounds. At the beginning of this post are 2 pictures. One of them was taken today at the 5K walk. The other one was taken 5 years ago on April 1, 2006 only a few hours after I went on the Humane Society walk for the first time. Behind me are the syndicated morning radio talk show hosts, Bob & Sherri. They were in Bowling Green promoting Sherri’s first book. I’ve included the two pictures for comparison purposes. It shows how far I’ve come.

I took Dory with me in 2006 too. As you can imagine I had some difficulty walking the route. As a matter of fact I barely made it half way. Dory and I took the “rescue van” back to the starting line. I always felt a bit embarrassed that I couldn’t finish the walk. That day I made it a personal goal to one day go back and complete the walk. I did that today.

So now that I’ve completed my first 5K (which was on my list of 2011 goals) I’m looking forward to the next one. Also now that I know Dory can behave herself around other dogs I can start taking her to the local dog park to let her run free and get some exercise. That’s gonna be good for both of us

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My New Rides

Today, for the first time ever, I used both of my new vehicles in the same day. For the 2nd week I used my new Craftsman LT2000 riding mower (pictured above) to cut my grass. The process took a little less time this week because I'm getting a little more comfortable turning and navigating efficiently. I’m still not taking advantage of the tractor’s full speed.

Because of the amount of clippings left over from last week there’s now a lot of dead grass on the lawn. That made cutting a little more difficult. But overall I really like using a riding mower for the majority of the job.

Then later in the afternoon I took my new bicycle (also pictured above) for its first ride. At the time I ordered it last month but was told it wouldn’t be in from the factory until next Wednesday. But yesterday I got a call yesterday telling me it was in.

I picked it up but didn’t have time to ride it last night. The weather was perfect for its initial journey this afternoon. I didn’t go far. I only rode a couple of laps around our cemetery but it felt wonderful. I really love bike riding. I am so glad I am able to do it again. I’m anxious to go on short trips in the near future.

I want you to know that I am not bragging about my acquisitions. I’m so excited to have them and can’t believe that I’ve been able to get them.

This year has been a very good year for me so far. The Lord has smiled on us and with the blessing of my wonderful wife I’ve been able to get some of the things I’ve wanted for a while.

The riding mower will make the chore of mowing grass a lot easier this summer. My new bike will give me incentive to exercise more often. That will help me lose the remainder of the weight I want to lose.

So there you have the story of my new “rides”. Both are going to be very useful tools in making life a little easier and more enjoyable from now on.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My "Congratulations" Gift

If you read my blog posts on April Fools day you know that I fooled several of my family members with a story about going to work at Walt Disney World.

My son, Michael, and daughter in law, Heather, were among those who bought my "dream come true" story hook, line and sinker. They were so excited about my lucky break that they went out and bought me a "congratulations" gift. 

I figured when they found out that the whole thing was a joke they would take the gift back. I even mentioned that in my "confession" post on Friday.

The next day, Saturday, the two of them came to our house for a visit. Much to my surprise they brought my gift with them. Above is a picture of what they gave me. Inside my special Mickey Mouse gift bag was a Buzz Lightyear key chain and a small collectible figure. Also included was a card with the note "Well played Ron, Well Played."

I was really touched by the fact that even though I made them the victims of a "cruel joke" they were sweet enough to still give me my present. That's why I love my family. They're such good sports when it comes to my "warped" sense of humor. The only thing that bothers me is that Michael has vowed to get me back. I have no doubt that he will...someday.

I'll now add my new "toys" to my collection of Disney stuff. My new additions will blend in with the rest of my collection but I'll always have a special story that goes with my "congratulations" gift.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Gospel Calypso Style

This past Wednesday evening I was scheduled to lead the children at our church's AWANA program in music at the start of the night. For the first song I tried to teach them something new that they could sing in a round. That didn't go too well.

The second song in my program was one that took me about 6 months to write and I'd been practicing for the last couple of months. Let me give you a few details about this song and AWANA before I go any further.

AWANA (an acronym that stands for "Approved Workman Are Not Ashamed) is a midweek children's ministry at my church whose main focus is the memorization of bible verses. The children start off learning simple that mostly have to do with the gospel message.

The song I sang was based on one what's generally the first verse the children learn. It's probably the best known verse universally. I wrote a parody about this verse based on the fact that it's an easy and simple way to share the gospel with others. A parody is a new set of words written to fit with a familiar tune. You know like Weird Al Yankovich used to do.

As you all know I'm a very big Disney fan. Last year for music time at AWANA I used my vent figure, Ruben Nathaniel Young, to sing a parody of the song "I Wanna Be Like You" from Disney's "The Jungle Book." The Jungle Book parody was called "The Bible Is For You." Paula helped me write it.

Well this year I thought I'd write another parody for AWANA using another Disney song. The song was "Under The Sea" and the parody was called "John 3:16. I thought the calypso beat of the Academy Award winning song had enough of a hook to keep the kids interested in the message I'd included in the lyrics.   

Now if you are familiar enough with "Under The Sea" that you can recall the melody in your mind's ear here's the words to "John 3:16"

My friend you must share the gospel
Before it becomes too late
You say to the words of the Bible
your friends just cannot relate

But salvation's plan is simple
A blessing and not a curse.
You give to them the gospel
In only a single verse

John 3:16
John 3:16
Yes it is possible
To preach the gospel
Here's what it means.

If you believe in Jesus Christ
You will receive eternal life
You just can't read it
You must believe it
John 3:16

Now Jesus he came to live here
Among us upon the earth
Conceived of the Holy Spirit
And born of a virgin birth.

He gave up his life on Calvary.
He died for your soul to save.
O're death He won the victory
By coming out of the grave

John 3:16

John 3:16
Yes it is possible
To preach the gospel
Here's what it means.

If you believe in Jesus Christ
You'll receive eternal life
You already know it
Now you must show it
John 3:16

John 3:16
You just can't say
You've got to pray it
Down on your knees

If you believe In Jesus Christ
You get the gift of eternal life
Called by The Spirit
Help them to hear it
John 3:16

The Good News is great
So please do not wait
To share with a friend
You'll be glad in the end
Oh help them today
With the prayer they should pray
So God can save their soul.

Show them where to look
Point them to the book
Help them to choose
To believe the Good News
'Bout why Jesus came
To take all the blame
So to heaven we can go!

(musical interlude)

John 3:16
John 3:16
Yes it is possible
To preach the gospel
Here's what it means.

You must believe in Jesus Christ
He is the way, the truth, the life
You just can't say
You must obey it
John 3:16

They're God's creation
Show them Salvation
John 3:16

Jesus is waiting
Stop hesitating
Don't try to sell them
Simply just tell them
'Bout God's Forgiveness
Just simply start with
John 3:16

The kids seemed to enjoy the song and they really liked the silly string I sprayed toward them at the end of the song. I really like writing and singing parodies for the kids. I won't be doing music for AWANA again until it begins again near the end of the summer. That gives me about 5 months to find a song for my next parody.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Wrong Theater, Right Movie

So much has gone on lately that I’m just getting to write this post a week after it happened. Last Saturday around noon Paula and I decided that we wanted to go see a movie. We try to go before 6 o’clock so we can get the matinee prices.

The only movie I was interested in seeing was “Limitless”. A film about a guy who finds a pill that allows him to use all his brain power (as opposed to the 10% we supposedly only use now).

I looked at the feature schedule for the two theaters in town on the Great Escape Theater’s website. “Limitless” started at 2PM. We left about 1:35.

“Where's the movie playing?” Paula asked me. I told her the Great Escape 12. Because of traffic we found ourselves standing in line at the box office waiting to buy our tickets at 2 o’clock exactly.

As we stood there waiting for the 3 or 4 people in front of us I looked at the marquee with the feature times on it. I suddenly realized we were at the wrong theater. As if making a mistake wasn’t bad enough we had passed the other theater on our way.

We searched the movies on the board for an alternative. The only thing that hadn't already started was “The Lincoln Lawyer” starring Matthew McConaughey and Marisa Tome. I’d seen both stars on talk shows over the past week or so promoting the movie. From the clips they had shown and the trailer on TV I was under the impression it was another "cookie cutter" romantic comedy. It didn’t’ look all that bad. So since we had driven into town to see a movie and didn't want to leave without doing so; we decided to go see it. I wasn’t holding out much hope for enjoying myself but I had to live with my mistake.

Well my hopes were not only met they were exceeded. The movie was a turning twisting crime/courtroom drama that kept us on the edge of our seats for the entire time. McConaughey was very good and so was country singer Trace Adkins. He played the leader of a motorcycle gang. Marisa Tome had a good supporting role too. It was a terrific movie. If you are a fan of shows like “Law & Order”, “SVU”, "The Practice", Harry's Law" or those types of dramas, you’ll really like this movie.

I won’t go into the details because I don’t want to give anything away. But I highly recommend seeing this movie. It was  a very pleasant surprise.

Just goes to show you that sometimes things work out even when we make mistakes. In this case it made for an excellent afternoon at the movies.

Friday, April 1, 2011

"Disney Dream" Part 2

It’s 4PM CDT on April 1st. It’s been a pretty interesting day so far because of my “Disney Dream” post published earlier today. Let me something out of the way first then I’ll elaborate.


It was all a joke. There was only one thing true about the post. I was outside the Magic Kingdom waiting for it to open back on September 8, 2010. Everything else was made up. But it was a good story wasn't it?

After I published the post on the blog some of my friends and family received it as an email. I have some of them set up for that. Others were notified about the post when I announced it on Facebook by way of a status update. To borrow from Abraham Lincoln, I fooled some of the people some of the time.

There were those of you who emailed me telling me that because it was April Fools day you didn’t buy it at all. Others sent comments on Facebook questioning its validity but very kindly sending congratulations and encouraging words. Others bought it hook, line and sinker.

Those who were fooled included my sisters and my son and daughter in law. Each of them called me to find out if it was true.

My sisters were upset about 2 things. First, I didn’t tell them about it before they read about it on the internet. Second, if I was going to be in Florida for the summer they couldn’t visit me in Kentucky for their vacation.

My son and daughter in law were so excited for me that they went out and bought me a “congratulations” gift. That was so sweet. But when my son called and asked if the post was true I let him know the truth. Needless to say I’m gettin’ no present.

So those of you who by reading this post are finding out for the first time that it was a joke, I apologize. But I just have to say one more time: GOTCHA!

I try every year to come up with some kind of reasonably good April Fools joke for one reason. It’s to honor the memory of my mother. She was notorious for getting all of my family members with a good joke on April 1st. My dad and I were her favorite targets.

So to all who were fooled don’t feel too bad. You have my gratitude for your help in allowing me remember my mom today. She would have been proud. And as she always would say you can’t pull off a good joke without a gullible target.

Happy April Fools Day, Mom

Is This A "Disney Dream" Or What?

I have an announcement to make. This one's a game changer folks. It has to do with Disney. Up until now I have been subject to a “non-disclosure” agreement so I couldn’t write anything about this. But now I can. Before I disclose the details let me give you a bit of back ground.

Last September for my 50th birthday my wife graciously took me to Walt Disney World for 5 days. During that vacation something happened that could very well prove to be a highlight of my life.

During our day at the Magic Kingdom on Wednesday September 8 while waiting in front of the train station for the park to open we were approached by a Disney Cast member. She asked us a few questions. They included the reason for our visit to Walt Disney World and our ages. Then she asked if we had any hidden talents?

I thought it a rather strange question but figured it was just a survey. I told her that Paula was a terrific singer and I was a ventriloquist. I don't know why (perhaps it was the fact that I was wearing my "birthday" button) but she asked me if we'd be willing to share our talent with other guests?

She went on to explain that they were doing some kind of special event in front of Exhibition Hall in the Magic Kingdom’s Town Square and they were looking for guests who would be willing to display their talents.

Paula begged off saying she would be too nervous to do it and didn’t have anything prepared. Not being the kind of person to ever let the chance for “15 minutes of fame” go by I said I’d be willing to do it. After I agreed to be part of the “event” I realized I didn’t have a puppet to use. But I soon came up with a solution that may work out for me.

After the opening ceremonies for the park we went to the front of Exhibition Hall where we met the same cast member. She had gathered about ½ a dozen other guests besides me and took us “back stage”. This was an area that had a large open garage where some old looking vehicles were being stored.

The cast member gave us some information about what was going to happen during the “show”. As it turned out we were all going to be given 3 minutes to show off our talent for all who were watching.

I was given the number 5 on a piece of paper reminiscent of what you would get if you were waiting in line at the deli counter in the grocery store. It meant I was the fifth person to go out “on stage,”

I started to get very nervous. I realized that with no time to prepare I’d have to use my improvisational skills and previous on stage experience to help get through my 3 minutes.

I watched from the wings the people who went before me. Mostly they did what I call “stupid human tricks”. A little boy made facial expressions, a teenage girl did some handstands and cartwheels, and a teenager balances some small objects and juggled. There was also a woman singer who was pretty good but Paula could have done better.

When it came time for me to go out in front of the small crowd I was shaking. I’d say there were about 100 people or so gathered around the front of the Hall. Most people were just walking past in a hurry to get somewhere else in the Magic Kingdom.

I started off with a couple of jokes about turning 50 and then did a short explanation of what my talent was and that I needed someone’s help. I asked for a volunteer who was at least 8 years old. A little boy named “Ryan” raised his hand. I brought him up in front of me and gave him some quick instructions.

I then did a couple of jokes using him as my puppet and had him sing “When You Wish Upon A Star” I was really nervous and got a bit confused during the act but I did my best. When I was done the cast member had me take a bow. The crowd gave me an enthusiastic round of applause. I looked at Paula and smile. She mouthed the words “You did good” to me.

After 3 more acts the show was over. The people disbursed and the other performers and I waited for the cast member as we had been asked to do. She thanked us for our participation and told us we did a great job. She added that she and her crew needed to get some specific information from us.

A different cast member came up to me and asked for my name, address and some other contact information. We also were asked to sign a “no disclosure” agreement and then we were told what I’m going to tell you in a few minutes.

I spent the rest of the day on cloud 9 because I got to do ventriloquism in the Magic Kingdom. The day only got better as we went through the Kingdom.

A few weeks after we got back from our Florida vacation I got an email from someone in Disney World’s personnel department thanking me for my participation that day at the Magic Kingdom and telling me that I was going to be advanced to the next step of their “experiment”.

A week later I received a phone call on my cell from a cast member named “Brad” he asked me a few questions and whether I’d be interested in being part of a show, like the one I’d participated in back in September, again. I told him “Yes”, I would be interested in it.

I was asked to make a short 3 minute video that was different from what I did in the park that day and upload it to a special website. It took me about 2 weeks to it right ad send it.

All that happened before Christmas last year. I didn’t hear anything more until a few weeks ago around Valentine’s Day.

I got a call from someone named “Valerie” from the Disney World Entertainment department. Here’s the big news.

I’ve been offered the opportunity to take an internship at Disney World for 5 months to perform in a show that’s going to be part of the repurposing of Exhibition Hall as a “meet and greet” area for Mickey Mouse.

The hall is going to be turned into the “Town Square Theater” where a vaudeville style show starring “magician Mickey” will be presented. I will be one of the opening acts, as a ventriloquist.

The show opens the 2nd week of June and will run through the end of October. That’s right, I’ve been offered a 4 months job at Walt Disney World.

I told you this was a game changer. After discussing it with Paula and making some additional arrangements I’ve decided that I’m going to accept the job. Although she doesn’t really want me to be gone for 4 months Paula understands what an opportunity this is for me. She’s all for it.

The “additional arrangements” are things that have come together in such a way that I just can’t ignore them.

I’ll be staying with some friends of ours who live just outside Orlando. They used to be members of my church. He was the music minister. They have an extra room where I can stay for a minimal amount of rent.

Also the church where he is now music minister has an opening for a summer time children’s ministry helper. Thanks to my friend’s recommendation I have been offered that job as well. It will give me enough extra income to help me cover all my expenses. It will not interfere with my Disney job and will help me get experience in children’s ministry.

Of course not everything about this situation is perfect. I will have to take a leave of absence from my job. There’s no guarantee when I come back in November that my position in the call center will still be open. It probably will be but there’s a chance I could end up on unemployment again and looking for a job at the end of the year.

So there you have it. Come Memorial Day weekend I will be packing up my Vue and heading down to Orlando to start what is going to be my Disney Dream job.

Over the next couple of months I’ll be keeping you up to date on how things are going and what’s happening with my transition from Kentucky resident to Disney Cast Member.

Can you believe that I’m going to be a Disney Cast Member? I can’t wait. Is this a Disney Dream come true or what?