The 100 Day Wait/Weight

As I come up with some guff each week to form one of these posts, I never know what the week ahead will bring. Usually I have a good idea that it will include lots of work related stuff I’d rather not be doing but other than that, it is a glorious meander through the maze of chance.

Last week work took me to Glasgow on Wednesday for a meeting. I don’t do very many of these things these days, so it was a nice change. Earlier in my “career” I used to be out and about a lot and what I remembered was how not being tied to my desk breaks up the week and makes it less of a slog.

The trip north is rarely a chore, as it can be when journeying south, as the M6 in that direction is a joy and is exactly how motorways should be. I travelled up most of the way with a colleague, one I have mentioned many times, who is a DVC owner and fellow Disney lover so the conversation usually drifts towards Florida and food making the journey even more enjoyable.

It was during one of those conversations that Steve asked me how my Dad was doing. He’s had a lot of health issues over recent years and has had a bit of a bobbins 2018 so far, to put it mildly. I was pleased to be telling Steve that did seem to be behind him, with some positive news recently from the docs and the resumption of his summer golfing routine.

That of course meant that I was to be proved wrong, and I was surprised and concerned to see an ambulance pull up next door on Friday evening. To cut the story short, he has a severe infection and is currently hooked up to antibiotics so strong that in future whenever he gets angry he will turn green and rip his shirt.

There was a concern it may be something more sinister, so thankfully, although he has felt rubbish, it should be sorted once the drugs work and hopefully he’ll be home before long. Serves me right for opening my big mouth I suppose.

In more trivial news, tomorrow sees us dancing. We move into double digits and the pace of this countdown seems somehow to be picking up. I know it isn’t but the nice summer weather, the end of the football season and a realisation that we only have three pay days until we go all add up to fooling me into thinking we’re nearly there.

That should serve as some sort of kick up the arse for me to shed a stone or three of my winter weight. By that I mean the last few decades of winters. I think I will try on all the T-shirts that I know are snug and rely on my inner scrooge to motivate me. I do not want to have to buy a whole new range of T-shirts that fit, so let me attempt to force myself into a healthier regime by writing it down here.

LOSE WEIGHT YOU FAT KNACKER

There we go, how could that possibly fail? It is essential my waistline reduces so that my fanny pack will fit around it.

Every time we go there is a pre-holiday diet to endure. The trick, as if I am any sort of expert on weight loss, is not to go too early. This is what I have been telling myself anyway. If I get down to a more acceptable weight too soon there’s always the risk that my lack of will power will see me drifting back towards my current Jabba like state. It’s like a long distance runner timing his kick for home. Go too soon as he will be picked off on the home straight, leave it too late and he will never catch the leaders.

Right now, I am doing some stretches and lunges at the start line and wondering how on earth I am going to make it past the first mile, never mind what position I may finish in. The race itself may be less tortuous than all these running allegories.

Enough, I have a load of stuff to do including a hospital visit.

Till the next time…..

 

 

 

Endless ESTAs

It’s been a tough old week. Sure it was only four days long, but having had a busy weekend, I started it running at around 3% of my battery, with no hope of recharging until Saturday.

We’ve been eating buffet food for most of the week, so it’s not been all bad. I think I will have to admit defeat now and throw away what’s left before it becomes a health hazard.

I took advantage of the bank holiday Monday by applying for all of our ESTAs. I was convinced that most of them were still valid, but I was wrong. Only Emily has one that will cover our next trip so I completed six applications in one sitting and I was done by sometime on Wednesday. Is it me or have those forms got a whole lot more complex in recent years? I think I gave fewer personal details on my last mortgage application. I’m old enough to remember trying to fill in green forms on the tray table on the plane whilst Colin from Barnsley in front of you reclined his seat half way through.

As expected, we initially got the pending message for all of them but when I checked the next day we had all been approved for travel. That’s a good thing as I would hate to have to leave anyone behind.

I had no need to apply for ESTAs yet of course. Someone more sensible than I may have waited until a few weeks before we travel to have the two-year period cover as many trips as possible. Call me stupid, but doing ESTAs feels like a bank holiday task and completing the forms just made the trip feel a little closer. Sometimes, you just need that, right? Plus, should Freddie’s criminal record be a problem and he be denied entry we wouldn’t have much time to do anything about it.

At a tenner each, I am happy to sacrifice the few months we may lose for that peace of mind, and who is to say we will always go at the same time of year over the next two years. We are no longer shackled by the cruel mistress of the school term. The peninsula of Florida is our oyster whenever our hearts desire…and we can afford it….and can get time of work….and find someone to mind the dogs…but other than that…whenever we like.

I also had my first look at theme park tickets last week. It is nice and simple this time as we are only doing the Disney thing, so the 14 day ultimate is all we need. It seems they are around ¬£360 each at the moment. As we will be on Disney property pretty much every day of the trip that’s about ¬£30 a day. That’s less than the Alton Towers daily rate, so I feel comfy with that price. Offer me a ticket for Reflections Of Earth for ¬£30 and I’d be likely to throw my money at you before you increased the price, so getting everything else thrown in as well seems decent. It appears that this price also includes the Memory Maker. We had that on the last trip and failed to use it at all. I don’t know why that was, but my guess is that I felt it would delay our movements by a vital few seconds having to wait for the official photographer to snap¬† and scan us and I preferred to do my usual snap and move technique.

It probably increased the number of rides we managed to get on by around zero. Having said that we only did four days in WDW on the last trip so I’ll blame that instead.

That recharging I suggested I was in need of at the start of this post still hasn’t happened. Louise has been working all weekend so all the lovely household tasks have fallen to me, whilst she selfishly has fun tending to Bolton’s sick, including a long overdue tip run. Then, last night, young Freddie stayed with us. That’s always lovely but there’s a reason most people have babies in their younger years. I’m shattered.

He’s been a little star though. He slept from 10.30 until after 9am and he’s since had some breakfast, a bath and is now flat out again. Life at six months old is something we all aspire to.

We treated Freddie to a bit of Eurovision last night. It was the usual mix of insanity, mediocrity and dross, but I don’t know if you spotted Tim Tracker representing Albania?

A strange career development but fair play to him! Maybe that’s what he means by paying the price?

Till the next time…..

Happy Birthday Rebecca!

My work here is done. Rebecca turns 21 tomorrow and so all parental responsibility ends at midnight. It’s been a wild ride and now I can put my feet up, relax and never worry about either of my daughters ever again now that they are both over the age of majority.

yeah right laughable animated GIF

If my parental journey has taught me anything it is this. Those younger years of a birthday party every weekend, reading bedtime stories and hosting sleepovers for 35 kids were the easy bit. Once they started growing up, having minds of their own and bloody boyfriends the fun really started. Still, with them both now officially grown up, life will be a breeze I’m sure.

We celebrated the event will a full-blown 21st party last night at my Dad’s golf club. It had a Disney/Pixar theme and it was fantastic that so many of those attending got into the spirit of things and dressed up accordingly.

Louise was dressed as Ursula. She doesn’t have a severe blood pressure problem.

It was a traditional family do, with guests of all ages and the obligatory buffet with enough pastry based goods to keep Gaviscon in business for the next few years. Tragically, we seemed to have over-catered by some distance and I had to bring home several “platters” worth of party food that will need eating before it goes off. I accept the challenge.

There was  dancing and some Mustard action too, and Rebecca had a great night which was the whole point after all. She loved the venue so much that towards the end of the evening she even gave the toilet bowl a cuddle for a few minutes. These moments of parental pride have to be savoured before they flash by in the blink of an eye.

So for those of you who have “known” Rebecca virtually, that little girl you saw in those trip reports on the Dibb is now 21 and a Mum. Yep, I feel old too. I mentioned those sleepovers earlier. Here are some of the girls who used to take over our house on a regular basis.

So there we are. Parenting “done” in what feels like five minutes. I know that’s a clich√©, but most clich√©s exist for a reason. Would I do it all again? Sure, it’s been the best job I’ve ever had and the only one that I’ve enjoyed. Would I do things differently? Christ yes, I might have enjoyed the job but I couldn’t even begin to count the number of mistakes and things I wish I could re-do. Such is life.

Neither of my offspring have been to prison, drug rehab or a Coldplay gig so I guess you have to count that as some sort of success. One thing I got absolutely right were the holidays. There were many years when a sensible man wouldn’t have blown a small fortune on getting us across the Atlantic and the penny-pinching before and after was a strain and a struggle, but as I have said a million times, but it’s still true, your kids are only the age they are once, that day, that minute and you have to make the most of it.

Every time I see someone say they are going to wait to go to Disney (or anywhere for that matter) until their kids are older and can appreciate it I want to cause them harm. You will never get that chance again. That moment, that year vanishes in a puff of smoke whilst you do the commute and make their tea. If you can afford it, go, always, there is nothing to debate. It’s no good, in my view, looking back when they turn 21 thinking, coulda woulda shoulda. Some of our most fantastic experiences and memories are from our WDW trips and we are just getting started (sorry Louise).

Enough preaching and sepia tinged schmaltz. I have things to do, buffet to eat and another gig this afternoon. Happy birthday Rebecca, you’ve been a constant (well, almost) source of joy, fun and laughter and it’s a privilege to be your parents. Never doubt what a fantastic job you and Tom are doing with Freddie. Your Mum and me are astounded every day at how two people of your tender years are taking everything in your stride. Soak it all in because in about five minutes you’ll be posting photos from Freddie’s 21st and God knows what shape I’ll be in then!

Love you pud.

Till the next time…..

My Fantasmic Package

In the hurly burly of the last few weeks the act of planning has been a casualty to my lack of free time. This shall not stand.

You may remember, no, you will remember as the contents of this blog are of course your top priority and every syllable uttered is burned into your consciousness every week, that I wanted to book the Fantasmic Dinner Package at Hollywood Studios. See, I said you would remember!

At the time of ADRness those packages were not available on the app/web site so I just booked a meal at the Brown Derby instead. We knew we wanted to eat there anyway, as clearly we have more money than sense.

During a recent five second break from the daily madness this came to mind and I fired up the web site to see if this oversight from Disney had been corrected and if my multi-million dollar law suit for my emotional distress had been replied to. One of those had been addressed and I was now able to secure our seats in the amphitheatre. I know deep down that we probably don’t need to reserve seats in this manner but a few factors means it made sense (to me).

  1. It is Labor (for a country which starts with a U, I don’t know why they insist on omitting them from words that need them) Day on this day in question.
  2. We have a toddler with us and standing in a queue for 60 to 90 minutes may not be the best experience of the trip
  3. The package costs no more than just dining at the Brown Derby.

The Labor Day thing is an odd one. Any public holiday usually sees me making plans to being in a different state or continent to the theme parks. Those days like New Year’s Eve or Thanksgiving, when the parks shut due to hitting capacity are the few of the year when I wouldn’t automatically rather be in them. Louise especially does not do well in a packed theme park. Those nights when we have had to go to Magic Kingdom to see Wishes and a parade as it was our last night were always a struggle for Louise.

Anywho, a little bit of research about Labor Day reassured me sufficiently to allow us to attempt a park on that day. Several blogs and vlogs are of the opinion that Labor Day is not on the same scale as other public holidays, as it is just the one day, and historically crowd levels have been normal, if not a little quieter than usual. What could possibly go wrong?

So, on the off-chance that those blogs are wrong (not something you will ever find here my friends!) and Louise is close to murdering someone, specifically some fat bald bloke with a rucksack, we know we have a lovely meal booked and a seat in Fantasmic without waiting. Add in out three Fastpasses and a couple of shows and that should do the trick.

All of that could of course be totally irrelevant due to our track record with this Fantasmic Dinner Package. My memory is probably playing tricks on me, but it feels like every time we have booked this thing at vast expense the show has been cancelled due to rain. Now I could find out if that is the case quite easily by reading all of my trip reports but who wants to do that? In fact why don’t you all do that this week and report back to me next Sunday?

In other news I am ill. This is not Vitamin D related, this is a proper manly, visible, and understandable illness that I can wear like a badge of honour. I feel dreadful, can’t sleep, can’t really function and there are even signs that my appetite is slightly diminished. The latter being a real cause for national concern. It is just man flu of course and the odds are I will pull through but let’s not take that for granted.

Last night we had Freddie over for a few hours whilst Rebecca and Tom went to the cinema. Being infected and infectious sadly I couldn’t be too hands on but it is always lovely to have him around.

I shall leave you now to tend to my illness. I had a long to do list for today so let’s see if I can medicate myself sufficiently to get any of it done.

Till the next time….

Summer Lovin’

I love the summer. I only hope that next year it falls on a weekend.

I have blogged previously about my aversion to winter. As well as being at times sad in a not groovy kind of way (I am down with the kids and all their lingo), I do believe that I have a case of SAD, (seasonal affective disorder) the thing which makes you all grumpy and down when the sun goes away.

The last couple of days of decent weather reminded me yet again that I and pretty much all of the country are different in the sunsheeeeine, as Mr Gallagher may put it. Even Bean, our nut job of a cocker spaniel is a big fan. When the weather is warm we leave the back door open and she can be found outside lying in the sun.

All of this may make some sense, but only some, of my love of Florida. It’s called the sunsheeeeine (I’ll stop now) state after all. It’s not something I’ve made up. I have been under the doctor recently. That sounds a bit odd, but you know what I mean. I have felt a bit crap for ages and yet as many tests have confirmed, I apparently have absolutely nothing wrong with me. So this is just how you feel at my age? Eight hundred and four blood tests can’t be wrong!

However, after my last visit I have been declared deficient. That won’t be a surprise, but that deficiency is not in intelligence (not officially anyway), charm or good looks, but hey you knew that right, but instead, in Vitamin D. I have to take the stuff, having had it prescribed. What that really means is that the doctor says I must get more Vitamin D, which means I need more exposure to the sun and ergo, the doctor says I need to go to Florida more.

Sadly, that isn’t something the over stretched, under funded and short-staffed NHS (a bit more politics, but hey my wife’s a nurse, so don’t @ me as the kids might say) can afford, but it is official, my poor efforts so far in spending as much time (and money) there as possible have been frankly, poor and I must do better.

So knowing that my country and climate are making me ill, and with it being some 128 days until I land in some better stuff, what is to be done? Clearly the UK has shot its bolt weather wise for this year as I sit here looking at some rain, and I have unavoidable incidentals like the mortgage, food and other nonsense to use my meagre earnings on so perhaps I need to buy one of those sun lamps that my Mum had in the seventies?

My only option seems to be to start a petition to have my incurable disease addressed on the NHS. Me living in Florida for around nine months of the year looks¬†to be the only way to address this crisis. I can tolerate the UK from say June to the end of August, which will be a blessing to the UK tax payer and a sacrifice I am willing to make. Naturally, all of my family will need to be funded too as I will need their help and support to get me to all the theme parks and restaurants. The risk of me being “a bit tired” when all alone is not one that I wish to burden the conscience of the medial profession with. I am caring and compassionate in that way.

The light at the end of the tunnel for the NHS is that by living in Florida for most of the year I shall die nice and early from an obesity related disease and to keep costs to a minimum I shall have my ashes strewn outside the nearest Applebees during one of their happy hours so that those attending can pop in and get a lovely meal and a couple of cocktails at minimum expense.

So happy Autumn. That paddling pool you bought on Wednesday can go in the shed now until next year and you can pat yourself on the back that you only invested in a couple of disposable barbecues rather than that £2500 gas powered thing you keep promising yourself.

Feel free to write to your local MP to highlight my struggle.

Till the next time…..

The Painful Tooth

It’s not like me to complain.

Chloe Side Eye GIF

I did however have the misfortune to visit the dentist last week. I blame several traumatic experiences in my youth with a vindictive bastard of a dentist called Mr Stephens. He was the physical embodiment of loving your job. He was the Katie Hopkins of dentistry, intentionally causing upset and pain to earn a living.

I can still smell the gas he used to put me under to remove a huge molar. I was out cold but I imagine scenes of him with his knee on my chest wrenching the suspect tooth from my bleeding gums.

Steve Martin GIF

See, I’m not a fan of dentistry. Now, being all grown up, I’m not allowed to be afraid of the dentist. I should instead be afraid of more mature themes like paying the mortgage, the endless and unstoppable tide of time which ravages my body and pushes me continually closer to the grave and heartburn.

For the past few years I have seen a kind, understanding and patient dentist. There was an unspoken understanding that I was petrified of her. I never told her of my childhood experiences but she must have seen the fear in my eyes early in our relationship and she was always gentle with me. She saw me through the dark days of root canal work a few years ago without me passing out or punching her and for that she should be awarded whatever dentistry medals exist.

Recently she has been inconsiderate enough to get pregnant and she is using that as some sort of excuse to not look after my ageing teeth. When I arrived for my latest check up a few weeks ago a young lad popped his head into the waiting room to call me through. I thought it was nice that they were letting the work experience lad get involved.

As I settled into the chair, being reclined to an uncomfortable angle where they can see all your bogies, I was struck with the realisation that this teenager was tooling up to touch my teeth. As the customary sweat began to pool in areas we shall not mention, he began to chat to his equally youthful mate who was handing him stuff as he did unmentionable things to my mouth.

I know it is a clich√© that as you get older you think policeman look younger. The trouble is, thanks to the Tories, I haven’t seen a policeman since sometime around 2010 (bit of politics…this may go viral) so my mind was struggling to process how this dentist, some years younger than the underwear I had on was going to cause me enormous pain in exchange for lots of money.

He didn’t of course. That was just the check up, but I did need to return for a couple of fillings and some work on the area I had root canal on a few years back. He also quoted me for work that cost about the same as a small family car, but I declined most of that as it was non life threatening and I value my money more than vanity.

The fillings went fine to be honest. There was no pain, just that uncomfortable noise and vibration that goes all the way down to your toes. However, this week I returned for the big job.

As I took my place in the chair he asked if everything was OK with his work on my last visit and did I have any questions.

“Yes, is this going to hurt?”

He smiled, thinking I was joking. When he realised I wasn’t he gave me his best sympathetic smile but crucially gave no promises. From the first injection which lasted three and half weeks and was more painful than childbirth (I know it was…I’ve seen two births and they were mild in comparison) to the frankly unnecessary amount of drilling he did, it hurt. I was in the chair for roughly two and half years and when I eventually staggered, sweaty, groggy and a little tearful out to reception, to book in for more fun next week, I wasn’t really sure what had happened or how I was going to operate the car to get to work.

Because the work isn’t yet complete, my mouth is in a state of flux, with crucial bits missing. He was just laying the foundations for future misery. Those missing bits are to be fitted on Tuesday. My mouth has felt very weird and awful all week and strangely I can’t wait to go back and get them added. I think (please God let it be true) that the awful drilly painful bits are done and the next visit will just be restorative.

Once complete I than have the joy of handing over hundreds of pounds. There are fetish web sites (I have been led to believe) that cost their customers less than I shall be paying for being hurt in this manner.

So, how was your week?

Till the next time….

My Poor Sack

It’s fine. Really…don’t worry about it….I spend many minutes making my blog look all different and nobody makes a comment.

Image result for it's fine cry gif

Moving on…

For a four day one, last week did its best impression of a twelve day one, or was that just me? As much as I was all upbeat last week about being on the home straight of the countdown to our holiday, sometime during the endless monotony and despair of my working week, the unavoidable, and seemingly unending road to that particular event hit me like a car driven by a Geordie TV presenter. (Too soon?)

If I’m not careful this post could easily set off down mid-life crisis boulevard so I shall apply the hand brake to that train of thought, un-mix my metaphors and head in a different direction.

My West Wing addiction has continued, with season two now completed. When’s the new series out? Due to watching that,¬†I have to confess that I was the one person in the UK who didn’t watch the Saturday Takeaway thing last night. I didn’t watch it last year either. It’s a bit weird I suppose for someone like me with such an obsession with the place, but I feel upset and offended by it. I don’t want people to know about Florida thank you very much. If the secret gets out I’ll be waiting an extra ten minutes for every ride. Stop, advertising it on prime time TV!

In a small yet potentially vital planning move, I made a strategic purchase last week. As part of the preparation for Freddie’s first time, I have assumed that there will be times when the bangs and crashes of WDW will be a little too much for a ten month old, especially if he’s having a kip. With that in mind, he now owns his very own set of noise cancelling headphones. The fireworks of an evening at the various parks are likely to upset a sleeping toddler so we’re hoping we can just slip these on and he’ll be oblivious.

They will also be getting a first live trial at Rebecca’s birthday party in a few weeks to defend his ears from the face melting awesomeness of Mustard.

There are some other milestones on the horizon but as nice as it is for them to arrive, they are things like paying the balance on the villa next month. Things get a little more exciting as we hit the summer and we need to get the theme park tickets sorted so that we are primed and ready for the securing of FastPasses. It is then, and only then that I can start to think about considering the plan done. There is always the chance that an unavailable FastPass may mean some juggling of days. The laminator will be idle until then.¬†Of course, as soon as Freddie’s passport turns up, we will be ESTAing too.

I should also share with you some troubling news that I have kept hidden from you for almost a year now. Ryan is not in good health. If you don’t know who or what Ryan is, this next section will be very confusing to you.

He is currently resting in the spare room with a busted zip. I blame myself. I tried to get too much into him and for a sack of his years, it was all a bit much and it broke him.

There are two schools of thought in play.

  1. He’s had a good run and now, with a new generation of the family in tow, it could be a good time to introduce a new sack, Ryan’s daughter if you will, to our trips.
  2. We shall rebuild him.

I am hopeful that the second option will be possible. I need to seek out someone with the necessary skills to remove and replace the busted zipper and make him whole again. The girls are a big fan of option two, and were genuinely upset that Ryan may have travelled for the last time. I hope they feel the same way about me in years to come when my metaphorical zipper gets busted.

Should anyone be an expert in these matters and be willing to handle this delicate operation then do get in touch!

Till the next time…. Discount Disney Tickets