Wednesday, June 17, 2015

How Orlando is like the end of childbearing

We spent 7 days in Orlando, FL---we left last Tuesday and returned home yesterday.  It was our 3rd Orlando trip.

The first trip was in 2007 when N was 3, and I was pregnant with G.  She was into Disney princesses so we did the princess meal in Epcot and had a wonderful, magical trip.

The second trip was in 2011 when N was 7, G was 3.5 and M was 20 months.  We went hoping to see Lightning McQueen and Mater, but they weren't there.

I didn't want to go back a third time.
(I don't even like amusement parks.  If I had my choice, I'd take cities with historical tours or the beach with a couple day trips to plantations or quirky shopping areas thrown in.)

Sometime last fall M started saying he wanted to meet Mickey Mouse, so we
I blame it on those damned scrapbooks I made for the kids of their Disney adventures.  They love to look through them.

We flew this time, which was nice for the most part.  I hadn't flown since 2003.  Flying while regularly taking an SSRI plus an additional Ativan is a most excellent experience.  It used to take me 3 Ativan for a flight (which could probably put down a horse), and I was still off-the-rails nervous.  The kids all did great on both flights.

On this trip, however, we did both Disney and Universal because N has read most of the Harry Potter books.

The trip was a success in that N got to ride all the Harry Potter rides at Universal.  We were at Hollywood Studios for the final Star Wars Weekend, so G was able to see the Star Wars parade and characters.  M got to meet Mickey Mouse in Theater Square.  And we were all able to see the Magic Kingdom Nighttime Parade of Lights.  It rained most of the afternoon on our Magic Kingdom day but cleared up in enough time for the parade to go on.  Hurray!  Every time we'd tried to see it on previous trips, lightning and thunder canceled it so I was glad to finally experience it.

We had a character meal at Garden Grove and had lots of visits by Goofy and Pluto as we ate our meal.  N ran into Jack Sparrow in Adventureland and nearly lost her head.  The kids got to see McQueen and Mater this time in Hollywood Studios (which G wasn't able to do during the height of his Pixar Cars adoration).  D and N were able to spend loads of time together riding coasters, something they both enjoy.

But despite all the good things, there were any number of sucky things that will might make this trip the Most Memorable Vacation Of Our Lives.

After standing in line for the Harry Potter Gringotts ride for almost 2 hours on Thursday, D woke up on Friday and could hardly move due to muscle spasms in his back.  I had to call insurance, take him to a sketchy clinic on our plan (which was right next to a hookah bar and a variety of less-than-savory retail outlets and we STILL had to pay out the nose due to a high deductible plan).  He got injections of anti-inflammatories and cortisone and prescriptions for muscle relaxers.

We picked up his Rx and returned to the condo.  I went to the pool to meet my MIL and the kids (THANK GOD she was there otherwise I'd have had to manage a husband wincing in pain and three kids in the exam room), while D tried to nap.

Suddenly, the fire alarms started going off in our condo complex.  They went on and on for at least 30 minutes.  D came to the pool because he obviously couldn't stay inside with all that racket.  He said, "This is our worst vacation ever."

But it got even better.....

There was no smoke or anything.  It began to thunder and lightning so they closed down the pool.  We returned to our condo and found the door to our unit wide open.  Apparently, an electrician (who may now be unemployed) was doing work in the condo above us.  He did something which turned on the sprinklers and set off the alarm.  The water from the sprinklers leaked below into our condo---soaking the floors, running down walls.  So everything is wet AND there is no electricity.

We had to quickly pack up and move, which was stressful especially given the morning with D's back.  Perhaps this was the suckiest vacation of our lives?

The silver lining was that the management company moved us to a house with a private pool and hot tub.  D was able to soak which helped his back.  We didn't have to shlep to the community pool with all our crap.

The injections allowed D to visit Disney and Universal on Saturday and Sunday.  We were at both parks from 8 or 9 am until 5 or 6 pm and then swam and ate at the house.  Monday was sleep late, swim and do nothing day.

The last mishap of the trip came at 6:15 am yesterday when we had everyone, including the boys still half-asleep and in their pajamas, in the rental van, ready to drive to the airport.  The key wouldn't turn, and the steering column was locked.  We turned, we jiggled, we finagled, and D nearly stroked out with stress. There was no manual in the car, so I had to call Alamo for roadside assistance.  Apparently, you have to have doors closed, seatbelt on, key in, and lovingly stroke the steering wheel while whispering sweet nothings to it to get that b*tch to move.  If adrenaline could have fueled the vehicle, we could have driven to the moon.

This Orlando trip is a lot like how I felt during my pregnancy with M.  Varicose veins where I'd never had any.  Tiredness from taking a graduate class with a 5-year-old and 20-month-old underfoot while 8 months pregnant.

I knew I was DONE with childbearing.  I know I am DONE with Orlando.  If I suggest otherwise at any point in the future, I give anyone who has read this blog permission to slap me in the mouth.  (Caveat:  If I ever have grandchildren, I reserve the right to want to go with them.)

At one point, someone from the management company suggested we might get a free vacation as a result of the condo flooding, and I thought, "PLEASE NO!  I don't want a free vacation because then I'll have to come back."  My reaction to another Orlando trip would be similar to finding out I'm pregnant---tears, anger, and a straight-jacket.

Orlando--you've been fun.  My kids have experienced your magic.  I am ready to see more of what the world has to offer.  

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