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Old 12-22-2010, 12:55 PM   #16
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Old 12-22-2010, 01:30 PM   #17
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:11 PM   #18
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What a lovely audience!

In true Molly style (omg what is WRONG with this Dell? it skips around from one line to another randomly) I'm multi-tasking. E is next to me, doing his learning work. Reading comprehension. Which right now is taking form as drawing things into a picture to make it match the story. Which right now means he's pretty much drawing the scene from Twister at Universal, as it's a farm scene with a scared cow and the picture is called A Stormy Day. Learning work and our trip collide.

For those who followed me, I still have very little voice. So that's about 7 days. Very weird. I'd get more worried except that my aunt lost hers before me, and Robert's voice is scratchy as well. I'm just exceptional in how long it's taking.
***********************


I've already introduced our little family of 3, but there were more relatives coming in. I'm not sure what I'll be saying about them, but I should mention them anyway.

Syl, my aunt. Mom's sister. She's a good person who cares and has a huge heart, but it often comes across in really over the top worry. She was way too concerned with my (let me repeat MY) choices and decisions when I was pregnant, and I foolishly wanted her here to be my pseudo mom, it did not (let me repeat NOT) go well. She was NOT my mom. And I didn't have the relationship with her to tell her to buzz off. She has a very volatile relationship with her daughter, but on the other hand her daughter relies on her quite a bit for help with the kids. It's a relationship best left to them, and just ignore it when it doesn't concern you.

A, my cousin. A nice person. Loves Disney.

Sh, her husband. I'd never met him before. Robert had only met Syl, not even my cousin. Turns out he's super-great. My aunt talks about him strangely; I think she still sees him as a clueless coltish very young man (he and A married at 22 after courting for a couple years) and doesn't see the man he actually is. ADORES Disney and is very enthusiastic, even when he's wrong about something. He and I got along swimmingly.

Mr Boy will be the name for their 8 year old son. They called him Mister Baby when he was new, and he's an E as well so that would get confusing, so Mr Boy. A good kid, recently taken from school to be homeschooled. For the best, but the school was also a part of the decision and they were NOT nice about it and the family is still reeling. He's got some issues, his parents don't totally understand them, his grandma seems embarrassed about them...I think that he and I got along the best of everyone. He would maintain eye contact with me and stayed focused when we talked for the most part, and if he lost focus I could call him back without being a jerk about (*cough* Syl *cough*).

Lady, what they actually call their daughter (nickname, of course). Sometimes it sounds funny, as she's only 3, but it's what they've called her since she was new. She is a kick in the pants. FULL of energy and personality and LOVE. Annnnd reacts pretty strongly to corn syrup products just like my E. Also has a new peanut allergy that her father MUST become more aware of.



Later on we met up with another of my cousins, the daughter of my mom's brother. He was a teen in Florida b/c of his older parents retiring while he was still in school, and then he just stayed. Youngest person at the time to pass the Florida bar exams, that's his claim to fame. His older daughter (first daughter) is L. She's nice and really sarcastic, and it was the second time we've met as full-fledged adults. We got along great the first time, and this time was a bit weirder...she's all into psychology and did a wee bit of armchair stuff with DS (which is interesting b/c she's ignoring something pretty big with her child while we were actually trying to prevent the things she ended up talking about), but anyway, she's a good person too.

L's husband who I barely talked to, nice guy, knows the ins and outs of fastpasses, so that's good.

And their daughter W, a tiny mite of a thing, nearly 5...if I can find some sort of software to cover her face I'll show a cute pic of her and E. Smaller than Lady, and Lady is only 3 and is small for 3. Because she's little, one is constantly surprised by the mature things she says, and since we didn't even spend two full days with their family of 3, I never quite got used to it. My failing entirely!


I should mention that my cousin A grew up most of her life in coastal FL, and her kids are from there. Sh is from the northeast, and then cousin L and her small family are all FROM Orlando. L's sister was supposed to visit, but I'm not even sure I've ever met her, and she lives in Tampa, and she's not a big "mouse" fan...so the urge was pretty low on her part to meet up. Just never found the time.



So those are the players in our trip!
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Last edited by bumbershoot; 12-22-2010 at 11:48 PM.
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:53 PM   #19
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Oh wow. You have quite an interesting cast of characters Molly. I can hardly wait to read it all.
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:29 PM   #20
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flying

Our flight day was November 30. At sick and wrong in the morning. Robert had a credit through hotels.com, and we decided to use that to get a seatac hotel. That way we'd get an extra maybe-one-hour of sleep. Maybe. I'm not sure it worked.

It was really complicated, and although we liked the Radisson just across from the airport, if we were going to do it again I would get to the hotel much earlier than we did. The way it worked out for us, it was just another stressor, more packing and unpacking, and, well, let's just face it, more TIPS.

Tips were HUGE this trip. I wanted to be generous. Dollars were being thrown around like never before. And I hated it. Hated it! But that's perhaps another story, or just the conglomeration of all the tipping. We didn't tip on our way in. Came in, unloaded the car, got a pizza from somewhere, Robert took the car home, took the bus back (this had NOT been the plan), we went to sleep.

The tipping started the next morning with the shuttle driver. We'll say that we know $1 per bag is the general idea. We'll also say that we had a LOT of bags, most of them small and light. So maybe there was some fudging. But there was a whole lot LESS fudging than there normally is with us.

Got to the airport, wandered around cluelessly (not really, but all I remember is getting there and then getting coffee after we got through security). After all the worry, I was never asked to be extra-radiated or strip-searched or anything like that. Security was a breeze both ways, except for...well, we'll leave that until the last day.

Mmm, coffee from Dilettante....

The way things worked out, we didn't have much time at the gate at all. Took off, lovely view, saw the sunrise. Landed in Vegas, where there are birds in the terminal. They had a veggie burger at their Burger King, but they weren't serving lunch until just after our plane took off. I opted for some nasty french toast stick thing that was just hideous, and fish-tasting hashbrown things...gah. E had a pretzel and Robert had some no-meat breakfast sandwich thing that I gazed at in wonder, wishing I'd had THAT.

George Lucas is a genius. A rich, rolling in it, genius. He's even licensed Star Wars to slot machine makers! If E had been younger, it would have taken everything we had to keep him from leaping up onto the chair for those slot machines and getting us kicked out for it.

The flight took off, we saw the Luxor (where I will stay once Vegas goes smoke-free), we flew. And flew and flew and flew. And flew. Got some pretty shots of the ground from my seat. Over 4 hours later we were finally approaching our destination.

You know those ads with Dumbo flying in the clouds and the clouds are huge and fluffy and amazing? And when you haven't been to Florida, or haven't been there in awhile, or when you were going there you were taking red-eye flights because you were a 20 year old college student and could take those flights and still survive the next day, well when you haven't been there, what you don't realize is that those clouds are in the ads because those clouds are in the Florida sky!

Amazing huge tall fluffy you-can-walk-on-them clouds. One even looked like Dopey, and another like Grumpy. Seriously I can see why people start to think Disney has a dome over Orlando, because what the heck??? How do those clouds look like that without help????

Sunset came in fast. So sunrise and sunset on the same day while on a plane. Sigh.

Landed, wowie that is a BIG airport!!!!! I've been through Chicago (first red-eye to Miami stopped at 1am at O'Hare), I know big airports, but wowza.

Gathered our 200 bags (we *could have had* 2 checked bags, one carryon, and one personal item EACH, plus the stroller and carseat....instead, we had only 4 checked bags total, and the rest of that), found a cart or two, made our way to the National rental car's "Emerald Aisle".

I'm going to halt there b/c dinner is on the stove, and I figure I got us to an airport, through the skies, and to the parking garage...good transition point.

Sure do wish I had some from-the-plane pictures to share, but I'm still working on getting them to photobucket while using this unfamiliar computer...



Here's a photo. Just one. Not of fluffy clouds; I was too blown away by them to drag the camera out, plus I think we were in our slow descent and everything was put away by then.

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Last edited by bumbershoot; 12-23-2010 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:02 PM   #21
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:56 PM   #22
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driving

Yes, it was really neat!

SW and Alaska Air really make me miss Virgin America. I love the map function in their "Red" system that allows you to see where you are. But I had no idea where we are, unless I went by the cocktail napkin's map of their routes LOL. No wait, that was on Alaska, I just had no clue on SW.


*************************

We finally got outside, and I felt the muggy Florida air. Ahhhhh, mugginess.

Well I hope that I appreciated it, because that was about the last night I felt that warm and humid feeling!

Found our way to National, got confirmation that we just got to pick whatever from "that row" of cars. Hubby wanted to get a towncar type of car! Dude, we HAVE a towncar type of car. "It would fit all of our luggage." Well that's true, but how fun is it to just drive your own car????

There was that weird new Kia something or other that he's been drooling over, and as I was pointing that out (and realizing our luggage was NOT going to fit into that) I noticed a lucky guy throwing his stuff into a cool SUV. Then I saw another, bigger, but not as cool looking, SUV on the other side of him, and figured we'd go get that. I'm not big into big tall cars, but when in Texas and Florida, and to an extent in Montana, I WANT the big tall one, because everyone else seems to have one! I want the extra bulk LOL.

As we approached, the guy started taking stuff out of the cool SUV. I got up to him and said "are you taking that one?" He said no, that his equipment wouldn't fit. I indicated that we'd be taking the one he was abandoning, which was the Dodge Nitro.

I noticed his equipment, and asked if he was a photgrapher. Yep, he was a DISNEY photographer. I tell you, it took all the willpower I had to not toss Eamon in front of him and say "look at this face, LOOK at it!" LOL. But it had been a late night and early morning, with a long flight, and none of us were at our best, so I figured I wouldn't embarrass us. He and I joked about the REAL memories that were created daily in the parks, the ones caused by low blood sugar and long days...that was amusing.

Meanwhile Robert was loading the Nitro, and then I needed to install the carseat. The guy gave us some directions (fairly decent directions) and took off. Because it was Florida-hot at that point, I was sweating by then, especially once I had to squeeze into the carseat to get it really tightly installed. I don't sit in it of course, but I put my knees down into the seat to get it tight, which means I have to get into the back seat backwards, and that's not the way I fit best. I was a mess!

We got squared away, changed the credit card info on our reservation (they had hubby's work card for some reason, even though I changed it), verified the total, and we were off!

By the way, thanks to some excellent codes and coupon IDs (OK, one of each), I got basically 17 days of rental car for $311 plus change. While that's a goodly sum, when you think about how long the rental was, it's not bad at all.


And then came the FUN of driving in Florida! It's nowhere near as aggressive and frightening as driving in Miami, I will give it that. But you've got everyone, almost everyone, with FL license plates, so you can't tell the tourists, and people in different states drive differently from people from other different states...it's a madhouse. And then, the TOLLS!

I tell you, tolls and tips were the banes of my existence! In fact, tolls and tips should go into my list of possible titles. Tolls and tips and cold fronts, oh my!

Yes the toll roads are beautiful. Yes I can see where the money goes. Yes they are convenient. But OH my goodness how can people live with all those tolls? 50 cents, drive 2 miles, 75 cents, drive 4 miles, a dollar, drive 7 miles...auuuuuuuuuuugh.

But we were prepared with dollars and quarters, I was navigating while Robert was driving, it worked out. And it wasn't so late that the change-givers weren't there, so if we had gotten into a jam, we could have gotten change.

MCO really isn't that far away. That night it felt like it was, but we had the opportunity to get out onto the roads and get progressively better and better maps, and it's really not that far.

We never did make it to Whole Foods, but then we saw it as we left Universal. It's *right there*. And Universal is just a small number of miles up I-4 from the WDW exits. We ended up going up 4 and east on 528 to go back to the airport, that was EASY. Way better than 417 and 536 and whatever else craziness we did on the way to WDW that first night!

So I have some good maps. Tracey, Michele, anyone else in the planning stages, let me make copies or point you to the good ones. I had no maps, I was clueless, which is why I was getting directions from a Disney photographer on the Emerald Aisle 5 minutes before getting on the highway!


It doesn't seem right to get to WDW without a picture....I need to see what I can do about that. For now, I'm posting this!
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Last edited by bumbershoot; 12-23-2010 at 01:30 AM.
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:44 PM   #23
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I have to tell you that I was reading the part about the carseat to Scotty. And I must tell you I was laughing too in spite of myself. And the toll roads would drive me nuts.
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Old 12-23-2010, 01:46 AM   #24
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You reminded me I needed to clarify that paragraph, thanks! But I'm glad it was funny. It never feels all that funny while installing carseats but it is an amusing thing to watch, that's for sure!
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Old 12-23-2010, 01:49 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumbershoot View Post
You reminded me I needed to clarify that paragraph, thanks! But I'm glad it was funny. It never feels all that funny while installing carseats but it is an amusing thing to watch, that's for sure!
It was all in how you worded it about being backwards in the backseat and it not being your best. It was funny. You have a talent with words.
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:54 AM   #26
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I'm lovin' it so far ~ looking forward to more. And hey I Psych *so does my 10 year old! And I have been known to sit in a car seat to get it as snug as possible
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Old 12-23-2010, 01:17 PM   #27
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I'm in Molly! I can't wait to read more about your Florida adventures!!
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Old 12-23-2010, 02:30 PM   #28
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Hey! I'm here too--can't wait to hear all about it!
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Old 12-23-2010, 02:33 PM   #29
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Loving it so far!!!!

The hubster is Robert. I might be the budget-watcher, the one that made our money create this trip, but he's the one that made the money. Yay him! He also helps with the homeschooling. And the dishes. And cooking. Hmm, what is it I actually do around here? He might need to renegotiate his contract soon. Hmm.

This is fantastic! I love your writing style!
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Old 12-23-2010, 03:37 PM   #30
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Wonderful start Molly, and I will take you up on the good map I have to say, giving up the car seat was a happy day for us, and now we are even without a booster. Love it! It has always amazed me how few people install their carseats correctly!
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