An update, or really a down date…..

So the build up to this trip continues to be anything but smooth.

I just wanted to post a quick update to let you know that our travelling party is down to four now.  Unfortunately, my Mum & Dad won’t be coming along as planned due to illness.

Last week they were away in France, and had to fly home early as my Mum was not well at all.  To cut a very long story short, she has since been admitted to hospital with what is suspected kidney stones, but no-one is sure of the diagnosis as yet.

We feel gutted for them, as they were so looking forward to going again, and it is a cruel twist of fate to suffer illnes in the few weeks of the year when holidays are planned.  It has put a bit of a dampner on the final few days of countdown, and it is hard to see the look of dissapointment and upset on their faces now that we are about to leave.

I know that they will want us to go and have a fab time, so we’ll try our best to not let this take anything away from the trip.  My Dad is busily filling out insurance forms, and hopefully he will get back the vast majority of what he has paid out.

With all the “stuff” that we’ve been through in the build up to this holiday it surely is now bound to be the best holiday to be had ever in the history of holidaydom!  Here’s hoping.

We’ve changed a bit of the plan in light of this, mainly the fact that we are now doing Airport parking rather than a mini bus, being only the four of us now.  I got a good deal (I think) with a meet and greet service at the Terminal kerbside for £44.  However, I had forgotten that we’d changed cars recently to much smaller models, and now we’ll be driving to the airport with kids and suitcases sellotaped to the roof.  I know I’ll have a seat though so all is well.

So there we are.  Surely that is it.  There can be nothing else in our way now.  I will just be so relieved to finally get going.

Watch out for the occasional update via the usual media, otherwise we’ll see you in September.  Onwards!

Till the next time…..

An Over Sentimental Sign Off

So dear readers this looks like the last blog before we embark on our latest American adventure.  This time next week, we shall be airborne over lots of water, full of barely edible food, anticipation and good spirits.

This will not be new news to you unless this is the first time you have stumbled this way.  Certainly if you have the misfortune to encounter any of my social media outpourings, then surely by now you will be sick to the back teeth of smug countdown tweets and over excited nonsense.

As most of you will know, the smaller the countdown gets, the slower time goes by.  The last month has been turgid, and now with just a week to go, it stretches out ahead of me like an endless runway of meh.

I don’t know if this is just us, but when we are deciding whether or not to book these holidays, we tend to tell lies to ourselves, such as, we won’t need to spend a fortune on holiday clothes, and we’ll just make do with that we have.

If I lived with three men, rather than three females then this may be doable. It would also be a weird type of family unit!  So over the last few days we have been ticking off the essentials of the items required for such a trip.

Blinded by the light

Of course for me this must mean the purchase of some trainers that can be seen from space.  I am complete.  Other than that though I shall be rocking the same holiday clothes that I have enjoyed for the past decade or so.  Why change a classic look?

We’ve done a couple of Trafford Centre trips to get the girls sorted with their staple items of denim shorts and T-shirts.  In my next life I am going to be a denim short seller…seriously how much????

Rebecca is so excited that she has more or less packed with a full week to go.

A case of premature packing

Whilst I was taking that picture of Rebecca’s case in her room, I noticed some of the snaps she has on her shelves, and it brought home just how much history we have with these holidays, and what a massive part the place has played in our lives.  I can only imagine what that’s like for the girls as it is all they have known really.

I took some pictures of the pictures, so apologies for the quality.

A big Pooh
chip n dale
Who knows which is which?

This next one is (I think) one of the earliest we have, from 1999, when Rebecca was just two.

I think I’d been drinking

We shall not be attempting a reconstruction of this photo this year!!

So many memories, and it is about this time in the countdown that I try to remind myself to enjoy every second.  Even the boring bits like the flight.  Who knows what memories we will make this time, and which of those will stick with us for the years to come.

Each year is different with the girls at different stages of course.  As young adults now, I look back on memories of them in the photos above with great fondness.  The strollers, the extortionate and endless Princess dresses we bought them, and their wide-eyed delight at every character encounter.

We’ve worked so hard for this trip in so many ways, and in equally as many ways we shouldn’t be going.  We booked in a rush of blood and crossed fingers, and events have done their best to conspire against us at every turn.

We have dodged every one as best we can, and still we sit here, seven days away from departure still able to go, and determined to have a bloody good time.  What happens when we get back….well we’ll deal with that then I suppose.  I’ve been working on something that may make those long winter months and credit card bills less depressing, but more of that some other time.

I had a thought earlier this weekend, caught up in the euphoria of Mo Farrah’s incredible race and second gold medal.  The country is currently experiencing some of the atmosphere and magic that us Disney idiots revel in.  The shared and overwhelming feelings created by an event like this, the massive crowds, the shared focal point of everyone’s attention and goodwill, is much of what the crowds leaving Magic Kingdom after Wishes will feel.  When you see photos of a line of Police doing the “Mobot” as the crowds leave is the equivalent of seeing the Cast Members waving you goodnight as you follow the crowds out towards the monorail.

Close your eyes, imagine the perfect heat of an Orlando night, the tiredness in your legs from a full day of touring, and that post Wishes lump in your throat as the perfect background music carries you on a cloud to your exit plan of choice.

Then, the endless twinkling magic of the resorts through windows as you speed past them on the monorail with *that* voice telling you what you know already about staying clear of the doors and which resort you are approaching.

These are a few of my favourite things.

I apologise for the cloying over sentimental tosh, but you will have to forgive me.  I am a week away from a trip, not knowing if it may be the last for some time, and I intend to eek every last drop from it, and then some.

Before that of course I have to endure every painful moment of five endless days at work.  It appears insurmountable from here, but I’m sure somehow it will pass.  Won’t it?

So from a blog perspective I shall see you on the other side, as I cannot imagine updating this whilst over there.  We probably will have a laptop with us, but I think the most I will muster is an odd tweet or Facebook update just to remind everyone where we are and where they aren’t.  It pleases me.

Now, I have to go and be over excited, over emotional and overweight somewhere else.  In this state, the Olympics closing ceremony may well have me in tears, but I suspect that will be for the wrong reasons when the Spice Girls take to the stage.  Watching them?  I won’t Wannabe!

Till the next time……







Lofts, lamp-posts and lots of other stuff

The loft……it is complete!

It is a delight and a relief to finally have it done, as it means that Emily can fully move in at last, but more than that, it means I don’t have to do any more work on it.

I took some before photos a few weeks ago, but to be honest, they were sort of half way through as we had already spent a few weeks in demo mode.  You can scroll back to find them I’m sure.  Either way, the room was a mess.  However, now it is habitable again, probably for the first time in a few decades, and Emily moved in on Tuesday once the carpet was in.

The view
This was the day it wasn’t raining
Stop and stair
loft 3
The walk in wardrobe
loft 4
There’s a teenager in there somewhere
loft 5
Kit and Kaboodle
loft 7
Bloody cat!

We had a slight false start (or end) with the carpet folk who did a bit of a shoddy job first time round, and it took me in my sternest grown up voice to get them back and sort it out.  Grrrr!

We’ve had a bit of a busy week aside from the completion of Emily’s room.  On Friday it was our wedding anniversary.  Sixteen years this time around.  Those quick of maths will have worked out that Emily just turned seventeen, so we will surely burn in hell for doing things the wrong way round!

Being in “skint before holiday” mode we didn’t do much to commemorate the day to be honest.  We just went to Pizza Hut with the kids on Friday evening for a very underwhelming dining experience.  Not to worry, it reminded us how good the dining will be in a couple of weeks time.

In other news, Louise’s Mum has been in hospital for an operation, which seems to have gone well, and she is now home resting up.  Weirdly they operated on Saturday.  Maybe they have extended their opening hours for the Olympics like the supermarkets?

This week has also seen Emily and myself survive a high-speed car crash!  I took her out on Saturday evening for a practice following her second lesson. She somehow managed to find the only lamp-post in the empty car park we were in, and like some sort of light seeking missile, jammed the front of the car right into it.  Apparently the brake and clutch are very confusing when you first start driving.  Thankfully, there are no visible signs of damage, and the car is OK too!

Despite finishing the loft, DIY was still unavoidable over the weekend, with a bathroom that needed painting.  Well, it needed finishing as Louise had started it, knowing that I would not be able to pee in peace knowing it was half done.  On top of that we had to do some floor tiling in the kitchen.  I have to admit to doing the handing of stuff to Dad approach on this one.

Add a couple of tip trips, and there you have what has been a fairly typical weekend since the move.

Oli was not to be kept out of the headlines, with an injury all of his own.  Getting ready for work on Monday, I noticed he was hopping about on three legs.  I ignored him hopeful that he’d got those post poo pins and needles that you can sometimes get if you take too long over your business.  Alas, no.  Louise confirmed later that morning that he was still limping, and they were off to the vets.  Only one word springs to mind in that scenario.  Kerching.  They did not let me down.

Despite the huge hole in the already swiss cheese like bank account, luckily Oli was quickly back on form later that day, despite what was diagnosed as a fractured toe.

Sometimes, I think I’m living in a very low-budget soap opera with writers that need sacking.

Speaking of soap operas.  No writer of one of those could have put together the script that we all witnessed on Saturday night.  I speak of course of the Olympics.  Wow, what a night.  It is rare that a sporting occasion grasps our whole family, but we all sat glued to the action, shouting them on.  By the time we got to Mo Farah’s race we were truly hooked, and absolutely blown away by his incredible performance.  Well done to all who are making this summer memorable despite the crappiest of weather.

So now we turn to the inevitable countdown ramblings.  We now enter those funny last two weeks before departure.  I want to wish them away with all my being, but I know that these next two weeks are the same duration as the actual holiday, so as quick as these go, I would hope the holiday goes too.  If only.

Several times through the day today we have been doing the “this time in two weeks we will be……”  thing.  In fact, right now, we will be at Atlanta airport waiting to board our second flight down to Orlando.  I’ll have put on my first half stone just with the airport Starbucks and eating the kid’s in flight meals for them before cracking open the three pounds of sweets and Pringles.  I’ll be on Diet Coke though.

Until that time comes around there is a fair amount of work enduring to do, no doubt more DIY and tippage, and the usual last-minute prep to go through.  I shall really try to enjoy all of that as much as possible, as heaven knows when it might come around again.

This evening whilst doing her homework, (yes I too am astounded that she has given it any thought before the last of the holidays) Rebecca came down stairs with a smoking laptop.  Not literally, but it had a blue screen of death.  I have since spent the last few hours wrestling with it.  Admitting defeat I had to rescue the files we needed off it, and go for a full wipe and restore.  It took an age, but I sit typing on it again now resplendent in my own IT excellence.  It is the equivalent of returning to the cave dragging a mammoth!

So with manhood proven, I’m off to go and give someone a gun show, and watch the rest of the Olympics.  *flexes muscles and gives manly look*.

Till the next time…..