So, I have a blog apparently…

20 Jul

It seems like I haven’t blogged (can I use it as a verb?) for about four or five years.  I think I stopped about the time I got an Iphone, and didn’t like typing on it as much, plus I got busy with real life.

We’re about to leave on our annual summer vacation to the beach Friday.  Tomorrow is my last day in the office for 10 days.  It will be nice getting away, but right now anxious that I have forgotten to pack something.

I’m going to set up a “Staging area” in the spare bedroom tonight, and pack as much as we can before we pick up the rental car tomorrow.

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Our first day in the Magic Kingdom

18 Nov

We started off leaving at 7:30am, and heading to the Magic Kingdom. We got off the bus, walked into the town square, and I thought I might get a good picture at the train platform.

We caught the train to begin with, and road around the park to fantasy land.  We then rode the Teacups, and we both had a blast.  
We wandered a bit, and ended up in front of Cinderella’s castle.  She saw a horse drawn carriage, and asked if we could ride it.  So, we did, back to the front of the park.  Then we walked back a bit to the bakery, and got a cinnamon roll, milk, blueberry bisquit and chocolate milk.  Then wandered up to the town hall and got buttons, and the Collectible card game at the firehouse next door.  I thought we’d have to prove it was our first time there, but the buttons were just free to give away.
Syd wanted to walk over to Adventureland, so we did, and on our way to Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride, we saw the classic “Swiss Family Treehouse”.  I had fond memories of it, she thought it looked neat, and so we went in!
Afterwards, we walked down a bit towards our next goal, and happened to walk into a tour group getting into the fast-pass lane of the Jungle Cruise.  Not knowing any better, we followed them in, and walked onto the ride.
Syd and I on the Jungle Cruise!
It was just as campy, and quirky and old fashioned as I remembered it, and Syd loved the corny jokes.  So, we had a great time riding it.  It seemed much shorter than I remembered it.
We finally made it to Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride, and hopped on!  I admit, I was nervous at first.  I don’t handle fast rides well, and I didn’t want to disappoint Syd by not riding ANY rides with her, so I let go of any stress, and just tried to enjoy myself.  I succeeded, and we had a great time!
Syd trying to pull the sword free…
From that ride, we took a brief break in the Tiki Room, and enjoyed the show.  Then we wandered into past the Haunted Mansion and towards Fantasyland.  We would’ve gone into the mansion then, but the ride was temporarily shut down.  We jumped onto the carousel, and Syd and I pretended to race our horses.  While we rode, we noticed a child pulling the sword out of the stone…and the sword came free!  So, Syd went to try her luck.  Not today, apparently.
We then decided to take a break.  I suggested that we ride the monorail around to Epcot, and take our bus back to our hotel from there.  She really liked the monorail, and it was nice and relaxing.  We did have to switch trains once, but we got to Epcot, and as usual the monorail runs a loop around the park before stopping.  Syd saw the entrance to the Living Seas, and asked if we could go see Nemo.  I thought it would be a short trip from the front gate, so why not.
Remember how we were going to take a break at the hotel?  Yep, we forgot about that.  After going through the Nemo ride, we went into the aquarium.
She at first saw the manatee’s, and ran up to them!  She had done a report on them, last year.  We then heard about a dolphin show happening, and ran to catch it, too.  This was her first time seeing dolphin’s perform, and she was very excited!  They put on a great show, and we wandered around the aquarium.  A conversation with Crush was starting in 15 minutes, so we went to wait and take in the show.  The show was okay, but Syd didn’t get picked, and the show didn’t last very long.
I was getting hungry at that point, and I know she hadn’t eaten, so we headed out of the Living Seas.  It was about 3:30 at that point.  We went to head towards the Mexico pavilion since I remembered a really good meal there at my last trip to Epcot.  On the way, we passed a “Phineas and Ferb: Help Perry with a Mission” Booth.  I signed Syd up as Agent S, and she got her own smartphone.  The mission was to head to Mexico (Lucky coincidence!) and defeat Doofenschmirtz.
Now, with some sarcasim intended, handing a bunch of kids smartphones to complete an informational scavenger hunt in the park creates quite a crowd of kids, focused on their phones.  Very similar to adults on a busy street.  But think much busier park, many more kids, AND adults all trying to use their cellphones, too…chaos.  But, the Scavenger hunt was informative, and fun, so it really got the kids attention.
We finished up the Mexico mission, and then got a “Quick Service” meal at the San Angelo Cantina.  And that’s where I fell in love.  With Queso Empanada’s!  They were very delicious, and I couldn’t get enough of them.  Syd, however, just made do with a popsicle and some tortilla chips.
We then made our way to the buses in front of the park.  We caught our bus to the hotel, and retired for…a couple of hours.  Magic Hours were in effect at the Magic Kingdom, and they were open till midnight, no, 3am, and there was a special firework’s show at 10pm.  So, we hung out at the hotel till 8:30pm and headed back to the Magic Kingdom.
Cinderella’s Castle at night!
Unfortunately, that was a bad idea.  The streets were blocked off, and packed, as a parade was going to happen in a couple of hours, and so a lot of people had lined up early.  We made our way back around to the back of Adventureland, and I saw that there was no-wait on the Haunted Mansion.  We walked back to it, and Sydney was understandably frightened.  I described the entire thing in detail to her to try to calm her.  There was a short line, though, and a couple of kids younger than Syd were in it.  We talked to them, one had been through it before, and one hadn’t, and they both said that they heard it was funny, not scary, and were looking forward to going on it.
So, we stepped into the pre-ride, “Expanding room”, and they began the intro.  The scary voice came on, the paintings all elongated as I had described to Syd.  She held my hand, but watched the paintings…and when the light’s blacked out at the end of it, she screamed, and started crying and wouldn’t move.
A couple of mothers came over and explained to her that it wasn’t scary, that the worst was over, and she shouldn’t be crying.  The cast members even talked to her (in scary makeup) but said that it wasn’t scary, and that it was like Scooby Doo, but that wouldn’t dissuade her.  We went out the back way, which was much scarier, and made it into Fantasyland.
Where she threw a fit because she thought I was mad at her, and ran away from me.  She wouldn’t let me get close to her to talk, so she stayed 10 feet away from me, and I away from her while she pouted. It was about 9:30, when I finally told her that I was going to take the train to the front of the park, and head back to the hotel.  We walked back to the train, only to find it closed.  She was distraught.  We walked back towards the castle, and I got her some popcorn.  She begrudgingly ate it.  After a few minutes, the fireworks went off and were spectacular!
We then rode the Mad Hatter’s Teacup ride again, waiting for the crowds to die down.  It was about that time that I found out the park was open till 3am, and was shocked.  They open at 8, so that’s an incredibly long time for a park to be open, about 19 hours!   Syd and I wandered through Fantasyland to Tomorrowland, and found a Quick Service restaurant.  We both had a late dinner, but the audio animatronic piano player bugged her.  We wander on through Tomorrowland afterwards, and went to the bus to take us back to the resort.  We got back about midnight.  So we had a very full day.

 

Leaving for Orlando and Arriving at Disney

17 Nov

Wow, a big day of firsts. Our first plane ride out of town.  Syd did great, but as we began our descent, her left ear wouldn’t pop, and she was crying with the pain.  After we got off the plane, she seemed okay, but there was a little pain at the next leg of our trip.

Syd the accomplished flyer!



We got to Disney about 7:30, and got to the resort about 8pm.  We checked in, found our room, and then went to Downtown Disney for dinner.  It was cold, and we forgot Syd’s sweater, so she was quite chilly.  We walked to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, and then to the T-rex cafe.  

 

We finally learned how the Disney Dining Program worked. Syd had Dexter’s mini corn dogs, and waffle fries, and I had a Pterodactyl Tortellini.  I have to tell you, it was the damn tastiest dish I’ve ever had.  I couldn’t believe how good it tasted! (Maybe we were just extra hungry from the day of travel)

And we got desert, which was extraordinarily delicious!  I couldn’t be happier!  Our bill was covered under the Disney Dining Program, but Syd got a souvenir cup for $6.99 and I tipped the waitress $14.00.  It’s four dollars more than the the 20% that the receipt suggested, but she was great at explaining everything on it.


We ended up waiting a half hour for the bus. It was colder out than most Florida nights, but we got back to the hotel room at midnight…and crashed hard.

17 Nov

Getting ready to leave for Disney for tomorrow.  We’re going for Six nights and Five Days.  I think it will be really fun, but I’m worried that I’ve forgotten something.  I’ll make my list tonight, and make sure I haven’t.  I did find my cords and rechargeable batteries, so I’ll be set for my iPhone and camera.  That’s what is really important to me.  Secondarily is the Nook, Nexus 7, Ipod touch and Nintendo DSI.

We’re staying at the All Star Music Resort, a “value added” hotel of Disney’s.  It’s only $800 for the week, so I thought I got a good deal.  I don’t think we can really go wrong, there, but we’ll see.  It’s a family hotel, and a HUGE one, so I hope we can rest.

Dining has vexed me for a few weeks.  I’ve done great at losing weight at home, and now we’ve got this trip ahead of us.  I’ll try not to gain everything back, but it will be tough for the week.  Drink plenty of fluids and keep walking!

Maybe next time we’ll stay at the Cornado Springs resort, or one of the resorts that’s one level up from value added.  And maybe not for a full week, but maybe just a long weekend trip.  We’ll see!

So, there’s not much traffic here, nor content…

1 Nov

I started this blog about the time that my wife passed away.  My intention was to use it as a mechanism for expressing what I’ve been going through, in the chance that I might help someone else in the same situation.  Unfortunately, much of what I’ve gone through I found to be to private to share, at least for now.  I’m going to start putting some posts on here when I feel good about posting them in a public forum.

I have been sharing, though.  My daughter and I were put in touch with a wonderful group called Fernside.  They’ve been a tremendous help to both of us.  The meetings usually split the adults and children into two different groups, and group similar aged kids together.  I’ve met some wonderful people that way, and shared much within the group.  As always, everything said there is strictly confidential, so I consider it a safe place to express what I’m going through.

If you, or a loved one, find yourself in a similar situation, I would definitely recommend contacting them.  Their website is quite simply: http://www.fernside.org/

The first friday in June!

2 Jun

Today started off okay. Syd went to Jump Zone with the neighborhood kids, so I had the evening to myself.  I went to go see Dark Shadows after work, at the Levee.  Then stopped by BW3’s on the way home.  Syd got home, and we had a quick bath, and went to bed.  Now I’m getting ready to go upstairs myself.  

It’s been a while since an update

31 May

My daughter just completed First Grade, and we’re starting Summer Vacation today.  Everything is pretty normal, she goes to a neighbor down the street who she stays with during the day, and has fun playing with all the neighborhood kids.

Strangely enough, it’s creeping up on the two year anniversary of my wife’s death.  It doesn’t feel like it at all.

I just had a dream about her recently, where we talked and carried on as if she were alive. Towards the end of the dream, I thought, “How am I going to pay back the life insurance…do they even have a policy for that?” And woke up shortly there after.  I had dreams like that very frequently the first six months after she passed, but they’ve become infrequent.  At first I thought I was going a bit crazy, as I would wake up each morning, and have to tell myself again that she had actually died, and that I had just been dreaming.

The NBC TV show “Awake” touched on that nerve when it premiered this year, but I never watched an episode of it.