Binging, Bean and Bonkers Behaviour

Remember when it wasn’t raining? Good times, good times…..

The weather has been a meteorological metaphor for my past week at work. Each raindrop representing some element of my working week that washed away my energy, resilience and will to live.

With no immediate end in sight to the current madness and a diary chock full of things I don’t want to do with people I don’t want to do it with, I am clinging onto sanity by looking at my fridge door on a regular basis. Why? Because that’s where our countdown sits.

Evenings have been a vegetative state of binge watching, with Louise similarly busy, it’s all we can muster. Last week we polished off the new Killing Eve in two nights, caught the first episode of the new series of Handmaid’s Tale and then, whilst surfing around Netflix, Louise chose Dr Foster. We are always on the cutting edge of new releases. I probably wouldn’t have picked it to be honest but it was largely good. The end of series 2 seemed to be a case of the writers losing it a bit and letting the whole thing get away from them, but it was very watchable for the most part.

I was out gigging last night at a wedding in Tottington/Bury and Louise took the opportunity to binge watch all of the current series of Love Island. This has to happen when I’m out of the house otherwise I have to set the TV on fire.

Away from exciting TV related news, that I know you live for in these blogs, yesterday Rebecca started her wedding dress search. She, Louise and Emily went to a couple of shops where apparently you now need to make appointments. Clearly I am not involved in this process and will not see the selection until the day, but she has not yet found “the one” but did try a few on which she really liked and found it helpful.

The cake has been ordered now and lots of other things are being looked at and selected. It’s full on this wedding lark isn’t it?

During the hurly burly of my working week I got wind of utter madness going down in Orlando. I have to say it did fill me with a bit of horror and dread for what might be in store with the opening of Galaxy’s Edge. I didn’t have time to read too much detail of what was going on, but for the opening of what (it seems to me) is the re-theming of a fairly standard roller coaster, folks were waiting over ten hours. Ten. Hours!!

I barely tolerate a flight shorter than that to get to Orlando never mind to ride one thing. Come on folks, have a word with yourselves. Apparently the park had to shut the gates at 10am after reaching capacity, and the queue literally filled the whole park.

I mean, I have a soft spot for this ride already. For those paying attention, it was the announcement of this ride that forced Louise into wanting to go back, (next year) to ride it. Sure, another trip then got shoe horned in this year but still, it has played its part in our Orlando obsession. But, look, just, look….

Look at how happy they look. Ten hours…….ten hours!!

I would go so far as to say, despite all my work related moaning that I probably would rather spend a day at work than queue for anything for ten hours. That is the level of my disdain for this stupidity.

Before I go, I need to mention two occasions of note. The first, as Emily would be upset if I didn’t give it a “shout out”, is Bean’s third birthday. She’s a pain in the arse at times, but can also be a loving, funny ginger nuisance. Happy Birthday Bean.

The other of course is Father’s Day. With both of my daughters having the audacity to be spending this morning out of my house with their respective partners, there was no breakfast in bed and I had to source my own bowl of Shreddies.

Having said that, I live next door to my Dad and I didn’t make him breakfast either so I suppose that’s fair enough. I shall pop round later Dad with a gift that will in no way reflect what you deserve for everything you’ve done for me, Louise and the girls. Happy Father’s Day to my Dad, all of yours and of course to those Dads who aren’t here to receive their gifts in person. Louise’s Dad is in that category so a special mention to him.

Oh, and it’s 72 days folks. I don’t know if I’ll remember to give you a weekly update on that but I hope so!

Till the next time…..

Little Cards Of Joy

We have defeated the 80’s and we are at 79 days folks. FastPass day approaches more quickly than my ulcer and with that in mind a welcome and significant delivery came this week.

These little bits of plastic were a very welcome distraction from a week at work I will long remember and yet wish to forget. It was a busy one.

That photo also demonstrates how dirty my laptop is. That’s a result of spending its three year life with me eating my lunch whilst working. There’s probably a whole sandwich somewhere in that keyboard.

Along with the tickets and their inherent ability to get our FastPasses sorted in a bit came news, well more rumours, of a tiered system at DHS. The theory is that all rides will be Tier 1 and all shows Tier 2 and you will only be able to book one Tier 1 and two Tier 2s. Now, I have my doubts that this is actually going to happen, as rumoured, when Galaxy’s Edge opens, mainly as Disney have already said that there will be no FastPasses for Star Wars stuff, at least initially.

It doesn’t sound great though, especially for those long time visitors who have seen all the shows a lot and prefer to do the rides, but I think this may be a symptom of the fears Disney have over the crowds they are expecting and how to control them.

For us, certainly whilst Freddie is so young (and short) it won’t affect us too much. He (and Tom) are still relative newbies, so doing the shows is fine and many of the rides Freddie can’t do yet. Disney will do what Disney will do, and some of the meltdowns I’ve seen on those very sensible and level headed WDW Facebook groups over this is just another reason why I very rarely contribute to any of them.

This year is very much a bonus, we shouldn’t be going year, so I am going to try and be as sanguine as possible when the time comes to get our FastPasses. I will of course fail and be sat at my keyboard, with war paint on and wild eyes, hammering sandwich riddled keys whilst screaming about how shit the My Disney Experience web site is as it crashes for the seventh time that morning and it’s only ten past seven……

Sorry, I just had a flashback to last year…..

If we can get on some stuff, and maybe benefit from the DHS crowds by bagging Pandora related rides, which we couldn’t last year, then all will be well. What will be will be……well, I almost believed that myself.

So 49 days till FastPass fun and games. I’m at the stage where I’m looking for ways to make the holiday seem closer than it is. For example, there are only two more pay days until we leave. See, it’s sooooo close.

In less frivolous news, Louise endured a trip to A&E during last week. The pain levels she was experiencing led to suspicion of a stone of some variety. X-rays, prodding and tests of all her liquids over many hours seemed to rule that out and a follow up visit to out patients a couple of days later confirmed that. As welcome as that news was it didn’t really explain the root cause, but she’s slowly getting better, and should be back at work tomorrow.

She is of course now on trial, having to prove her fitness to travel to Florida without the need to visit our friends at Centracare. As much as our Platinum reward card comes in handy, its to be avoided if we can.

Till the next time……

Freddie, Football and Fatigue

This will be rushed and make less sense than usual. I know that sounds like a challenge but I am on Freddie duties this weekend so my typing time is restricted. Louise is out working so he has been entrusted to me and me alone. My parenting memory muscles are being tested along with my stamina.

Supervising little humans is literally a full time role as this weekend has reminded me. The fact that I did my step target yesterday without leaving the house other than a walk to the local shop demonstrates the physical exertions of making sure he hasn’t got his fingers in something he shouldn’t.

He’s been good though, as he always is. He is ever pleasant, tantrum free ( so far) and a joy to be around. There’s a reason I had kids in my twenties though. I had more energy then!

I have of course fulfilled my duties as Grandparent to spoil him and feed him stuff his Mum and Dad might not. Here he is enjoying his Scooby Do gingerbread biscuit.

It has been a manic week all round. Work has been a million mile an hour maelstrom full of pressure, problem and pricks and then I was out gigging on Friday night over in Bispham, which meant a very late night, followed by an early start on Saturday as Freddie duties commenced.

Louise arrived home just after six, giving me just enough time to walk the dogs before settling in for the football. Now, typically I avoid blogging about a few things that I feel strongly about and football is one of them. The easiest way to stop either of my readers from turning up each week would be to wang on about my favourite team. Same goes for Brexit.

You probably know that I support Liverpool so last night was kind of a big deal. It’s been a terrific season but the thought of ending it with nothing tangible to show was not a good one and I was, as I always am before big games, anxious, edgy and knowing I wouldn’t actually enjoy the game itself until the result was beyond doubt.

The game itself was awful, and with Liverpool holding a slender 1-0 lead from the first minute, the game was on a knife edge for the next 86 minutes and it was not an enjoyable experience. Then, in the 87th minute a second goal brought sweet relief and a grown man to his feet in the living room, shaking his fists at the TV. If you get football, that won’t sound tragic but if you don’t then of course it will and I don’t mind either way. It’s best I don’t tell you about how emotional I got at the final whistle. It cannot be explained if it needs explaining to you.

If you have no idea what the game was, just know that winning the European Cup for the 6th time is a big deal and the pleasure almost equalled the relief felt as the cup was hoisted aloft by the players.

I retired to bed just before midnight preparing myself for day two of Freddie fun. He’s currently crawling through his pop up tunnel thing on our living room floor. It isn’t clear it is a floor at the moment as it cannot be seen for toys. If it ever stops raining we shall head out to the park for some swing action but the forecast does not look great.

This evening will be spent relaxing for sure, readying myself for another five days of mayhem at work. A casual glance at my diary for the week confirms it is chock full of meetings I don’t want to go to, people I don’t want to deal with and more work than I know can be fit into the amount of time available. It pays for the holidays I suppose.

OK, I have to go and see what Freddie has been doing outside on the road for the last half an hour. That’s a joke Rebecca!

Till the next time…..

ESTA Bank Holiday

Having had glorious (relatively speaking) weather all week whilst working, the bank holiday weekend brings with it a November style climate and I sit looking out at sideways rain and people walking past dressed like the folks who used to get involved in the back lot tour at MGM in the boat scene.

Some cliches are cliches for a reason. As another example, yesterday I did some painting…yep the bedroom again. This time it was only a few minutes of a job, following my Dad helping me (code for I stood watching) fill a couple of last bits. Oh and of course I went to the tip. I am the living embodiment of a British bank holiday weekend in flabby form.

We’re 93 days out from our trip and the need to change the flabby part of the above becomes more pressing. Louise recently invested in an exercise bike and I have already worked up a real sweat with it. But since assembling it I haven’t been near it to be honest. I have made plans to do so of course, by buying the cable that was missing from the spare room’s TV so that I can watch it whilst peddling. That is half the battle surely? Now, it is all set up and ready to go I am literally shedding the pounds already, right?

My relationship with exercise is sort of hate, hate with a side portion of guilt. I have started walking every lunchtime at work again with the winter weather possibly behind us. It’s only half an hour or so but add that to the half hour of walking the dogs after work and that makes a whole hour of me doing stuff I’d rather not, but it is for the greater good I guess.

During last week Emily introduced me to a new You Tube thing that has some good stuff for those who are obsessed with food. The channel is called Delish and whilst a lot of the content is less interesting to me, being recipes and such, they do have a good few that are right up my street.  I particularly enjoyed the ones where they eat the entire menu at the likes of IHOP, Cheesecake Factory and Applebees.

There are also some good ones involving all the snacks at Magic Kingdom, Universal and Disneyland. For a rainy bank holiday weekend, it’s ideal. Tell them I sent you.

The first one I saw was a good one. It involved the many snacks and of course alcoholic drinks at World Showcase. Enoy.

The fact that this one blog post goes from exercise bikes to life threatening amounts of food so easily sort of sums up my life quite well.

My new passport arrived at the start of the week. Despite them saying it would take three weeks, it took three and a half days. Clearly nobody is travelling anywhere these days. Having wept over the horrific ageing shown in the respective photos again, I then went off to the ESTA site to update mine and Louise’s with our new passport details.

You probably all knew this, but that isn’t possible. Even though we all got new ESTAs last year and should have had them last for two years, upon trying to edit mine, I saw that it expired alongside my old passport in a few days. So I had to bite the bullet and the $28 and apply for brand new ones for the two of us. I always forget the level of detail these buggers ask for and it took longer than I thought it would. I should at some point log back on and make sure we have moved from Pending to Approved.

Here’s a question for someone who knows their stuff. Am I able to update our US accommodation details on the ESTAs for those who don’t have new passports? I mean, I could go to the website and try but that would mean me going getting Emily’s passport from her bedroom in the attic and that’s not happening right now. This is the equivalent of those who post questions like “My child only turned three four years ago, can I pretend they are three and not pay for park tickets?” on all those WDW Facebook groups. They are of course one click away from Google but hey.

My guilt just forced me to Google that and I think the answer is no, you don’t need to/can’t update your US address but if you know better, hit me up, as the youngsters say.

Enjoy the bank holiday Monday if you get one. You might need a cagoule.

Till the next time……

The Hundred Day Bore

For hardened rock and roll legends like myself, there’s a condition that afflicts us all, especially when you are of a certain vintage. Gigamortis is ravaging my body this morning after a Mustard outing last night at a 30th birthday party in Stockport. I told you I was rock and roll.

As enjoyable as playing is, it comes with a lot of pre and post show effort and of course a late night, so waking up the next morning feeling stiff (and not in a fun way) is an occupational hazard. It feels like I have been run over by a truck. I think it was the third stage dive, or maybe the twelve foot knee slide that may have tipped me over the edge.

On second thoughts it may be that I was sat in the lounge at 1.50am with a cup of tea and three jaffa cakes that destroyed my body. There’s only so much candle burning anyone can take.

Louise is working all weekend again ( I do wonder why these politicians keep going on about moving to a seven day NHS?) so that gives me a great excuse to do very little aside from the daily walking of the dogs. Rebecca, Tom and Freddie are due for Sunday tea later. In my current state the chances of me making a Sunday roast are zero, although I make good one, so a Chinese is on the cards.

You know that food is important to this family, and I suspect most of those coming for tea will be pleased with my decision. On the subject of food, whilst I was out gigging last night, a prior crime caught up with me. Here is a snippet of our family group chat of which I am not proud, but, you leave stuff like that in the fridge for more than a couple of days and there is only one outcome.

Now then, whilst you are here, look, we are at an important milestone….

Is there anything more tedious and tiresome that some idiot telling you how many days it is until their holiday? Suck it up, I’m telling you anyway. The digits will be double tomorrow and this countdown does seem to be progressing nicely. Being busy at work helps with that I guess, and on this week’s to do list was the renewal of my passport.

Much has changed in the ten years since I got my last one. Firstly, it seems a lot easier to do it now. It’s all online and you can supply your own photo. Last time I was up at the local Co-Op pumping pound coins into the photo booth trying not to recreate the Tenacious D video for Tribute (Google it). There were also a load of forms to fill in and post off if I remember rightly. We’ve come a long way baby.

The other thing that has changed is my photo. If you compare the two photos from this week and 2009 all I can say is that they are a fair reflection of the trial and tribulations of the last decade. I won’t be sharing the new one as I have the look of a stroke victim or a very tired middle aged man. Either way, it didn’t enhance my fragile sense of self-confidence.

It takes around three weeks for the new one to arrive and then I’ll have to go online and update all of our ESTAs, as Louise and I both have new passports and we need to put our US accommodation details for this year in. I’m not sure that really matters, but if it saves me a cavity search at Orlando airport it seems a small price to pay.

I have resisted the ADR urge this week. There was a brief moment whilst watching a Tracker video that a dessert party was almost booked (it was the Star Wars one at DHS we were watching, and the food looked tremendous) but a quick google confirmed my suspicions that it wouldn’t be on when we are there as Galaxy’s Edge will have just opened and you’ll need a FastPass just to get into the parking lot.

One thing I am trying to build into this year’s plan is something I’d be open to your suggestions on please. One thing we like to do, Louise especially, of an evening is to head back to the villa for showers, a liberal application of After Sun, and some loose fitting clothes and to head out for a nice meal. You know all that of course, but as an additional bonus, somewhere laid back to have a drinkie or two can be lovely if we can stay awake long enough. As an example, in previous years we have done so on the deck of Bahama Breeze whilst listening to the steel drum man. The Boardwalk can offer a similar experience, Disney Springs has a few places with this on offer and City Walk is a busier place to do this. In the absence of beach side bars, anywhere you know of that ticks these boxes would be interest. I thank you.

I am away now to cosset my gig ravaged body, take some drugs (Ibuprofen) before spending five minutes trying to make it look I’ve tidied up before Louise gets home.

Till the next time…..

Failing, Football and (TGI) Fridays

I am a weak, weak man. I have the backbone of an amoeba and the integrity of a politician. Having committed to something in the sanctity of a blog post, I have reneged, defaulted and failed that promise in spectacular style.

What is this heinous crime?

I booked another ADR.

I know what I said. But honestly, it makes sense, and I should know having spent more time than I should justifying it to myself before doing the deed. Sure, we need to be on a tighter budget on this trip, and on-site dining is expensive but…..but….well, I wanted to.

The justification goes like this.

I have booked it on my birthday, therefore, it qualifies as a treat for me. We will (of course) be in Epcot all day, right though to Reflections of Earth, for the last time ever on one of my birthdays, and that deserves commemorating. We therefore don’t want to be having to leave Epcot to find an off site eatery. That takes two hours plus out of the day, and what finally pushed it over the edge……I loved the pizza at Via Napoli last year and I want to eat it again.

To be exact, everyone loved the pizza at Via Napoli, and that plus its location right in the middle of my traditional World Showcase birthday pilgrimage makes all sorts of sense. So there we go.

To be honest….

Joey Im Not Even Sorry GIF - Joey ImNotEvenSorry Friends GIFs

Other than a needless countdown update (107 days folks), there is little else to report holiday planning wise from this week. On Tuesday we went out celebrate Rebecca’s birthday at a newly opened TGI Fridays. It’s almost American-ness peaked our anticipation for the two weeks of awesome eating we have in store. Freddie in particular is, based on his reaction to every dish’s arrival, which was a “WOW” and eyes like dinner plates, is going to have his mind blown. One year at his age makes such a huge difference in him knowing what is going on of course. At my age, it’s reversed and thankfully not (yet) quite as drastic.

I went full American and had nachos (yes, I know….) and a burger but shamefully I could not manage a dessert. Although, to reassure you all, I did manage a slither of birthday cake instead…..I’m not that much of an amateur. It is safe to say though that in my advancing years my appetite is not what it once was. That’s a good thing, as my ability to gain weight is without rival and if I could eat like I used to in my twenties I would be featured on one of those “My 600lb Life” programmes and need to be winched out of bed every morning.

 

Those of a football disposition may raise an eyebrow at the timing of this celebration. You may know that I am a life-long Liverpool fan, and Tuesday night saw the second leg of the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona. Now, after the first leg, missing the second to celebrate Rebecca’s birthday, which by the way, was never a competition, I like football, but it doesn’t compete with things like one of the girl’s birthdays, wasn’t too hard as the mighty reds were 3-0 down and very unlikely to go through.

Having seen a few Liverpool comebacks over the years I did record the game on the off chance something miraculous happened. I decided to do a “Likely Lads” (ask your Dad) and try not to know the result until I got back home, so that I could watch the game “live”. I didn’t remove my phone from my pocket for the entire meal and briefed everyone else not to breathe a word of any news they may come across.

To cut a long story short, I found myself sat in my front room, past midnight, being a little bit more emotional about a football game than a man of my age should be as the final whistle blew (two hours after it actually did). It does strange things is all I can say. If you get it, you get it, if you don’t, you’ll think I’m an idiot.

That is all I have time for today folks. We are off to meet Rebecca, Tom and Freddie at the local park before I settle in for more Liverpool related nail biting. I am even less hopeful of a miracle today, but it’s the hope that kills you in football.

Till the next time……

Handmaid’s Tales and Grandparent Fails

This is happening a little later than normal as we’ve had a bit of a lazy day. Normally, weekend days are just a series of tasks and chores that need to be done, but today we’ve ignored them so far, and spent our time binge watching stuff.  We are currently knee-deep in The Handmaid’s Tale. We like to be right on the cutting edge of the latest releases! Next, we move on to Bless This House.

There’s a tip run that should have happened as we have our old blinds and a microwave which exploded spectacularly during the week to get rid of, but they sit outside our back door making our house look like Steptoe & Son. It’ll do no harm. I mean, I’ll go tomorrow when it’ll be nice and quiet…..on a Bank Holiday Monday, right?

Speaking of nice and quiet, this week Disney announced that Hollywood Studios will be opening at 6am from the 29th of August for a few days. That’s our first day in Florida, so technically, with the typical first morning wake up in the early AM, we could be there for that. Not a chance. We shall we making our way to the Magic Kingdom which will hopefully have the crowd levels of an Accrington Stanley reserve game. I think that time is only for on-site folks anyway, but regardless, down that path lies a perfect example of how not to enjoy a theme park.

I suspect DHS will be carnage for our entire two weeks, but we will strategically dip in and out to hopefully do stuff and specifically Toy Story Land, hoping that will be quieter than our last trip and we shall retreat gracefully to somewhere else should we encounter the cast of Ghandi.

Our countdown as of this morning sits at 114 days, so two weeks today we shall be gliding gracefully into double digits. Bring it on.

In other news, wedding plans continue to be made. Cake tastings happened this week. That I have to say has been one of my highlights for obvious reason. Less interesting (to me) conversations are ongoing about bridesmaids dresses etc and I think there’s a suit try on looming on the horizon. That’s all fine, but it’s no cake tasting is it?

Louise also had some good news this week. Ages ago, she went through the application process to return to study, this time, to move into midwifery. After weeks and weeks of waiting she heard this week that she had been offered a place. It’s a mighty fine achievement as the competition for places is very tough, so all things being equal, on our return from Orlando she will be back at Uni, at UCLAN, learning how to get babies out of women. I think that’s the correct technical term.

To finish the brief trip through our week just gone, I shall leave you with a masterclass in grand parenting. Yesterday, whilst Rebecca and Tom went to the cake shop to return with the samples I hoovered up, we were looking after Freddie. Louise nipped out to the shops to buy him more stuff we could spoil him with and I was in sole charge. We were playing, and he was doing his usual thing of wandering around the house fiddling with stuff and pressing every button he could find. I was with him of course, and as he made his way to the washing machine I thought I’d get my phone out and take a picture.

Here it is.

The button he was to press one second later actually started the washing machine with a loud whoosh of water. It shocked Freddie so much that he jumped backwards and in complete slapstick style landed bum first into the dog’s full bowl of water.

His little face was a picture of shock and horror as he sat there waist deep in cold water. I whipped him out immediately of course, which was not easy when laughing so much. He was stripped off and wrapped up cozy on the couch watching Paw Patrol by the time Louise got back a few minutes later.

There’s no need to involve social services.

Till the next time…..