How the Terzis Family Landed in Disney Jail

Apologies. This one is long overdue.

The day after Real Estate Dad and I were married, we were at my parent’s house. Someone started talking about the time we ended up in Disney Jail. Real Estate Dad listened to the whole story and very calmly looked over at me and said, “I see you saved the really scary stuff until after I was locked in.”

Growing up, our family vacations were nothing short of epic. Not epic/amazing but epic…uh…memorable. The real decision maker on these vacations wasn’t even a member of the family. It was my father’s wallet. The wallet would only let us to do things where we could “get our money’s worth.” Like when the 5 of us would squeeze into one crappy fleabag Motel 6 room for $16.95. That was considered a steal. Before we checked out, we would take all the leftover tissue boxes “for the car.” If we were lucky, we would leave without lice or bedbugs. I still shudder at some of this.

On our arrival to Disney World on one such vacation, Gloom and Doom sent the three of us to the hotel game room. This was the only time they would ever encourage us to go to the game room, but it’s not like the wallet had to fork over any money. We would just go in and look for wayward coins in coin-return slots or on the floor. Don’t judge, once I found $20!

The reason for the game room strategy was because they were securing our hotel room and then the Magic Kingdom tickets. It’s much harder to shave years off the lives of children who keep showing up at the desk to ask if we can leave yet.

Back then, the tickets were a paper square and they had lines for “Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.” For many years my parents would buy 1 pass with 3 days on it and 1 pass with 2 days on it, and that was our admission. I understood two things about this situation:

1) Gloom and Doom said since there were no multi-day discounts, this 2-ticket method was the same price as 5 separate passes but just less to carry.

2) Number 1 could be a Gloom and Doom lie.

We went to the turnstiles at the front of the Magic Kingdom. My mom and I were using the 2-day pass and my dad was taking my brothers to another turnstile with their 3-day pass. The underpaid employee at Doom’s turnstile didn’t approve of the “stamp for three of us” situation. She called foul and we were being told we couldn’t enter the park. What? No Thunder Mountain? No Mr. Toads Wild Ride?

To this day, my dad is a very calm and level-headed man. It’s a personality trait that served him well for six decades in his career as an attorney. We knew he would solve this.

He yelled “RUN!”

I watched one of my brothers and his long legs go galloping into the park. My Dad took off in a different direction and my other brother followed suit.

And then was Gloom. Stuck with the dead weight. All 40 lbs and 8 years of me. They knew we were together. We were detained by the Mickey Mouse Police. They brought us to some room and told us to stay seated until they came back for us. They were on their Disney Walkie-Talkies alerting Mickey, Donald and all the other characters to be on the lookout for 3 absconders.

Somehow Gloom sprung us. See, the Disney law isn’t really the law. They’re just the characters without their costumes. When they weren’t looking, Mom grabbed me by the hand and we escaped. My parents have balls, you have to hand it to them. They literally did not give a fuck.

I said, “How are we going to find everyone else?” She said, “You know your father. He’ll be at the Crystal Palace eating eggs and sausages.” And he was. As were my brothers. You have to wonder about a family scattered faster than roaches when the lights go on, and know each other well enough to find each other without cell phones.


Whatever You Do, Don't Open the Box

Summer is off to a good start. The first week it pretty much rained on and off, just enough so the kids couldn’t go to the pool, I had clients who walked away from a death-trap-money-pit house and the Pro-Terz clan went to another Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Sort of.

It’s not really like the movie. This wedding was Real Estate Dad’s nephew (I can’t call him my nephew because he and I are closer in age than me and Real Estate Dad) (I don’t always get married, but when I do, I prefer them older) (Stay thirsty, my friends.) Anyway, there wasn’t much big and fat about the wedding. They didn’t have a large bridal party (thank god because am I the only one who hates the dozens of drunken introductions of people no one knows?) The bridal party was just a few of their closest friends. The reception was outdoors.

We were 2 hours late because: traffic. I’m sure I’ve spent more time in my life sitting in traffic in that painful stretch of the last few exits before the Bay Bridge than in all the world’s 7-11’s combined. Unfortunately for us, we disappointed Bowie. We did not get to the church on time so we went straight to the reception.


Princess Roundhead and I were milling around the various tables they had set up with pictures and guestbooks and such. We came across this nice little carved wooden box the size of a shot glass. Princess Roundhead was like, “Does this open?” I said, “I don’t know, let’s see it.” We were both grabbing at it and fiddling with it and she was like, “I want to know what’s inside!” It appeared to slide but also it could have lifted like a lever. She tried. I tried. We couldn’t get it open.

The groom came over and said, “Ooh, guys don’t open that.” We looked up like, “Buddy we’ve been working on this thing for a full five minutes and you want us to abandon ship now?”

He said, “There’s a person in there.”

Well crap. A sign or something would have been nice, because they invited the child I call “a Bull in a China Shop” and her relentless mother. Actually, the child wasn’t really invited but that’s a whole other story. I’m not good at following directions. Or getting places on time.

I went over to tell Real Estate Dad how our daughter and I really could have gotten ourselves booted out of the whole shindig and I swear to you, that man does not let the truth get in the way of telling a good story. He buzzed around the entire reception like god damned Sophia Petrillo, telling everyone that his wife and eldest daughter almost set the bride’s father free.

By the end of the night, the Greeks were coming up to me howling, “DID YOU HEAR WHAT YOUR DAUGHTER ALMOST DID TO THE BRIDE’S FATHER????” Yes, because a) I WAS THERE and b) WHERE THE HELL IS PROAKIS. RIGHT. NOW.

He took his little one-man act over to the bathrooms. Because these were the bathrooms.

If this van’s a rockin, don’t come a knockin

If this van’s a rockin, don’t come a knockin

Real Estate Dad could not resist. When the girls or I were in here, he went running to the back like the bad kid in the back of the school bus and pushed on the side so we would rock back and forth. A few drinks and a shot of Ouzo later, I enacted the payback.

When he came out he said the vase of flowers tipped over and everything fell off the walls.

The second week of summer was better. We have a new Summer Nanny who is Chubs’s old Year-Round Nanny and she never calls in dead to work! I had two buyers close on houses in week 2 of summer, other clients get a super cute house under contract, and a few other buyers lost houses. Real Estate is still plugging along.

Today we started week 3 of summer by finding a paralyzed squirrel. He got away from us (don’t ask) but we’re going back out to look for him. Poor guy.