Day One and Two
Brighid is planning to spend a week with her grandparents at their home in Florida. An airline ticket is bought, and she is excited and ready to go. And then a terror plot is discovered in the UK that causes chaos at airports all over the country. I am really nervous about her flying alone now, and worried even more that messages might get crossed, her plane would be delayed, and her grandparents will be worrying as much as I am.
Jim and I go back and forth, and finally the decision is made that we will all drive down. Our annual passes are going to expire in a couple of weeks, and we’ll take the two little kids to Disney while Brighid vacations with her grandparents.
Usually, in these situations, I make sure the comedy of errors is based on things my children do. This trip, it’s all on me. Really, we do make trips to Disney World that are stress and problem free. No one gets sick, no one loses shoes, no one is threatened to be left on I-95 for the buzzards to pick them clean. This is not one of those trips.
I am recovering from bariatric surgery, and I am only on week 2, which entitles me to eat full liquids and mashed potatoes. I have packed lunch meat and sandwiches for the kids and Jim, and I ask if we can stop at KFC so I can get a small portion of potatoes to eat at the start of the trip. Jim decides we should give the kids a hot dinner, since we’re leaving late in the day (4:30), so we end up with a bucket of mixed up chicken things (strips, pop corns, and real chicken), and macaroni and cheese for the kids, mashed potatoes for me and whoever else wants them.
By the time we are 5 minutes from home, I am busy making platters to pass back to all of the kids. I have a huge dashboard, perfect for platter making. I am convinced that was the original intent of my dashboard. I put Eilis platter up there, including a healthy portion of steaming hot macaroni and cheese, and I bend over to try and get a biscuit. While I am in this position, Jim pulls away from a stop light, causing the platter to slide off of the amazing food preparation dash board and onto my bare legs. Did I mention the steaming hot macaroni and cheese? Did I mention the bare legs? As soon as the macaroni hits my thighs, I am screaming and swatting away at pieces of elbow macaroni as if I am being attacked by killer bees. My husband is trying not to get hysterical laughing, but he’s not sure if I’m in pain or in shock. Shock would be really funny. Pain is just moderately funny. He pulls into a diner, and Brighid runs around to my seat, and she is now helping me swat the macaroni off and clean it up as it hits the door. 20 minutes later, everyone is happily munching their chicken, and I am trying to think of the name of the lawyer who won that guy a bazillion dollars from McDonald’s because they served him hot coffee. The nerve of these restaurants and their damn hot food.
After dinner, Eilis, who has just this morning come home from an exhausting week at the seashore with Nannie, Uncle Danny, Aunt Angela, and her cousins, has fallen asleep, and we’re making good time. We get into Virginia, and we are nearing Manassas when Eilis wakes up and decides to watch a movie. Now, I am not allowed to lift anything yet, so when I saw Eilis carrying the DVD case out to the car, it looked much easier than I remember it to be. I figure the salt air from the sea shore has given the kid the strength of Hercules. I ask Brighid to check and see if the DVD player is in the case. She assures me that it is. Guess what we find out in Manassas? That we could cut Eilis’ hair and it will not have any impact on her strength. Samson she is not. Empty is what the DVD case was.
A quick call is made to Aunt Megan, who lives in the area, to see if there is a Wal Mart near where we are, but she is off with weekend company. Fortunately, we come upon the Potomac Mills Mall and a Target store, so I run in and buy a new DVD player for the car. Crisis averted.
Another few hours go by without incident, and it is getting bedtime. I always stop. Jim hates to stop. He has already said we are not stopping, we are driving straight through, so I do not dare ask to stop when Granuaile starts fussing. Of all three of my children, this is the only one not good on car trips. She hates them. By 10 PM, she is crying hysterically, unable to fall asleep, and we are on the phone with Marriott reservations trying to find a room. We are in Emporia, VA when we place our first call. Our experience with them takes a bad turn for 2 solid hours, and we end up not finding anyplace with a vacancy until 2 AM. It is not even a Marriott. We go up to the room, I make sandwiches for everyone who is now WIDE awake, including Gracie, and we embark on a journey that takes us until 5 AM, when Gracie finally falls asleep. Who is the first one awake the next morning? That’s right – our little party animal.
We are back on the road by 10 AM, planning to be in Orlando at 6. We call Jim’s parents and arrange to have them meet us at the All Star Music, where we are staying, and we will all eat at the food court.
We check in at exactly 6 PM, and the front desk guy, BJ, is super nice. He tells us we are getting one of the best rooms on property! It’s pool side, first floor, and in the Calypso Building, right next to Melody Hall. Jim heads off to find the room with Grace in tow, and I go to get the car to drive it around to the building.
By the time I get into the room, Jim is already on the phone. For Jim, me, Eilis, and Granuaile, there is one king size bed. He has been on hold for 5 minutes already, and is getting fairly steamed that they could have made this kind of mistake.
He hands me the phone, and a few minutes later, a woman gets on, apologizes for the confusion, and she tells me they are upgrading my room, at no additional cost. We are already in a preferred room. What kind of stunt is she pulling? Then she tells me that we will be assigned in to one of the new FAMILY SUITES!! Holy cow, SOMETHING has gone right!
The room is spacious and has storage galore and two bathrooms and a small kitchenette – it’s wonderful! We change quickly, because we are going to the food court, but when we get back and settle in, I can’t believe how quickly everything gets put away somewhere. We will absolutely not be tripping over each other or each other’s stuff! This is great!
So, after a rather dubious beginning, the start of our trip really turns out for the best. It had to be those prayers to St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost causes, that I started saying at about 4 this morning!