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…..

 

 

 

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…..

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

Birthdays and Books

Welcome to the shiny and new looking blog. A lick of paint and a shifting around of the furniture was overdue so here we are, looking all different.

From time to time, I do wonder what I’m doing with this blog. When I look around the internet at the Disney “blogging community” I seem to be doing pretty much everything wrong. It would appear that I should be an early thirties Mum of at least three kids with names like Gunner and Zeke and my profile should proclaim that I am a social media strategist, which I think means you use Instagram and have more than 100 followers.

Anyway, I do what I do, writing the same stuff for the same loyal folks and it’s all good. It seems I am missing the opportunity to “monetize” my blog and allow it to fund my lavish lifestyle, but all of that sounds like a load of work that I don’t have time for.

I clearly shouldn’t go looking at what other folks are up to with their blogs, it’s just a distraction. I’ve never really considered myself a Disney blogger in the sense that most seem to, as they don’t drone on about everyday stuff in the glorious way in which I can and do!

Speaking of funding my lavish lifestyle, Facebook memories reminded this week that it is now five years since I self-published my first lot of trip reports.

Book Image
Mkingdon’s Tales of Family, Food and Florida

It launched in a blaze of typos and spelling mistakes but God bless you, many of you bought it, promoted it and gave lovely feedback. Though some members of the Disney forum community may never believe it, the intention was not to make money from that exercise. You will notice that I have not retired to a beach front Florida location yet.

The idea at the time was to do a few things…

  1. Save my trip reports somewhere a little more permanent than a forum site on the internet that I had no control over
  2. Learn how to self-publish a book as I had been toying with the idea of writing a novel and I needed to know how hard/easy it would be to get that self-published. I did eventually write that novel, All This and More, so you should buy it immediately.
  3. Be discovered by someone willing to fund my permanent residence in WDW and write about it for loads of money.

As Meatloaf once said, two out of three ain’t bad.

Anyway, if you bought it, thank you. The fact that is has nearly eighty reviews, almost all of which are five stars, is both incredible and very much appreciated.

Elsewhere in my Facebook memories, it showed what I already knew. I have always been slimmer and younger than I am right at this moment, but also that this time of year is a cavalcade of family birthdays. My nephew George, my niece Sarah and of course Louise all have a birthday over the course of two days in late March.

We went out for a lovely meal on Wednesday to celebrate Louise’s. It was our first meal out with Freddie and he was great. He enthralled the waiting staff, played and laughed his way through the entire thing. This augers well for the many dining experiences planned for Florida later in the year.

I have been off work this week and it’s been glorious. I have done very little indeed and therefore it qualifies as glorious. I took the very deliberate decision to do as little as possible and force myself to relax. I do find that hard to be honest. My type A, get stuff done mentality is my enemy. I constantly battle my brain’s need to feel as if I have “done stuff” before I am allowed to do nothing. Doing nothing of course has included a tip run, some tidying, some admin tasks I’ve been putting off and walking the dogs, but beyond that I have been using the couch and streaming services in equal measure.

I have watched all of The Looming Towers on Amazon Prime, which was excellent and much better than I was expecting, and having had my “Whitehouse drama” taste buds whetted, I sought out the original in the form of The West Wing and I devoured Season 1 in a few days. Season 2 is going much the same way.

With Easter upon us, and Happy Chocolate Day to you all by the way, you never know, the weather may be turning , the nights getting lighter, and in terms of what is most important, we are entering the home straight in the run up to our holiday. It’s roughly twelve months since our last trip so by the time we go in August it will be exactly far too long between trips and I think we are all feeling it. Rebecca, having not been with us last time, is suffering more than most as I think this is the longest period in her life that she hasn’t set foot on WDW property.

Right, I’m waffling now, a symptom of me not planning out my blog posts, which is something else I’m not getting right. Next week, there will be a “haul post” where I walk you through everything I got from Asda in the big shop. This will be linked to my Pinterest, YouTube channel and Friends Reunited account. Please, click, share, follow, subscribe etc etc.

Oh, that reminds me. During last week I saw a news article telling of some waste of oxygen YouTube “star” who was arrested at WDW. Sigh, this intentionally provocative, self promoting, desperate for views and clicks shite is everything that is wrong with social media and YouTube specifically. There’s some belting content to be watched on there, but these types need to be stripped of their smartphones, broadband and human rights until they learn their lesson.

Till the next time…..

Appy Eater

Unlike last week’s pity fest, this post will be a moan free zone….probably.

That is more a case of my restraint from inflicting more of it on you, than there being nothing to moan about, but still, that’s progress on last week, yes?

Our holiday officially started yesterday. Sure, there were still 180 days before we stepped onto the plane but that doesn’t matter. I booted up the My Disney Experience app, updated our touring party and got on with sorting out our first ADR.

It’s not that I expected to have too much trouble getting that first one in the bag but it is still nice to get the first part of the puzzle in place. The hardest part of this ADR for our first day was predicting our energy levels at that time of day and knowing what time to make the reservation for. After the first day awakening sometime after 2am, I am slightly concerned that we may be asleep by 5pm Orlando time, but I think first day adrenaline will see us through.

I don’t expect us to have gone the whole day in Magic Kingdom and then go straight over to Wilderness Lodge, but hey, if we do then that’s a bonus, but in reality I would imagine we will head back to the villa mid-afternoon for resting and showers before driving to Whispering Canyon.

If anyone is feeling a little drowsy then the servers will soon see to that!

I’ve just tried to get our next ADR, for the following day, which will be my birthday. The Disney app is not awake yet and is giving me errors when I try. I am a little concerned about this one as we need a booking for a party of seven at Beaches & Cream. Knowing the layout of that establishment pretty well, that may not be physically possible. Hopefully they will let us book as a seven and then split us between two tables when we are seated.

We have been seated at the counter previously with a party of six, which was OK but I’d prefer a couple of booths/tables. This level of knowledge and preparation for some ice cream could be seen as over the top. You and I know better don’t we?

The time we want may help, as I’m hoping to get us in around 2pm, when hopefully the lunch rush is coming to an end, and once we have ingested a week’s calories, we shall be off for my usual birthday tour of the World Showcase with the day ending with ROE. That is of course unless Disney have replaced it by then. Rumours have surfaced this week that that this is likely and it may not be too far away. Now, as much as I would rather this didn’t happen, I always trust Disney to get the replacement right, but I would rather it happened after I had one last time to watch and appreciate it in a torrent of tears and snot.

It has been a weird juxtaposition this week. With the weather here, walking the dogs has been an absolutely painful experience. I do not handle the cold well, it is obvious that I should be living in Florida’s glorious climate. At times, as the dogs played in the snow, the biting wind was coming close to having things fall off my body, some of them I still use. Literally at the same time I was on my phone, looking longingly at ludicrous wait times for rides and watching a few Tim Tracker videos on the telly (well, I was working from home due to the snow!). Hang on, this is bordering on a moan, let’s move on.

Last night, Louise was out on a do with work, so I took the opportunity to take a beautiful twenty two year old to the cinema. Emily and I watched Game Night and it was very good. I don’t think it’ll be winning any Oscars, but it was really good fun and an enjoyable watch.

In other news, tonight we have a very welcome guest. Rebecca and Tom are off out, and we are looking after this chap.

He is even sleeping over, so we are very excited. However, if he wakes during the night, I shall be less so. Freddie has started on a few spoonfuls of baby rice this week. He is developing so quickly it is scary. Mind you, he does have to get ready for a Doughnut Burger in September so it’s for the best!

On the subject of Freddie beginning his journey with food, this was being discussed this week in our family Facebook chat group. I have to say I was quite pleased with my GIF skills, so in a rare show of self congratulation I shall end this week’s post with this…

Till the next time…..