Florida – September 2008

Day 19 – Jax – back to the First Coast

Friday 10th October

We were the first to stir in Patti’s house this morning. Well, actually, the kids were the first to stir, followed by Sandy, followed by me – after having been asked if I didn’t mind a ‘shift change’. This happens about once a week or so when Sandy decided that she needs to go back to bed for a few more winks and comes to ask me to get out of bed to take care of the kids whilst she does. I always hate it when this happens but I also always immediately spring to life and do as I’m told. Sandy, after all, does work very hard with the kids and I’m more than happy to step in when required to lighten her load when I can. I often volunteer to get up with the kids but she rarely let’s me. Sandy is blessed/cursed (choose as appropriate) with the inability to go back to sleep once she initially awakes in the morning. I, on the other hand, can readily roll over and doze off again – for several more hours if need be – but not today at least.

I spent the better part of an hour trying my best to keep the kids’ noise to a bare minimum for fear of waking the rest of the household. I apologised to Patti about the noise when woke up but she told me she hadn’t heard a thing. I guess you get used to it when you have a house full of kids most of the time.

I wanted to treat Patti to breakfast so we set off with her into town to find somewhere to eat. This turned out to be a nearby Denny’s in the end. We all filled our tummies before Patti insisted on showing us around town to see just how much the Palm Coast area has developed in recent years – which was quite significantly as it happens. We also stopped by Joseph’s newly built house.

Patti was in a lot of pain this morning still from her tumble yesterday at Wal-Mart so we drove her to her doctor’s surgery to see if she could be seen. It wasn’t possible but the surgery had walk-in hours later in the afternoon so Patti will go back then.

Having dropped Patti back home, we collected the remainder of our things and were back on the road again heading North towards Jacksonville. We stopped off at an outlet mall near St. Augustine, where Sandy spent some more money at the Disney Store there. This seemed like a good idea on account of everything being cheaper there compared to in the theme parks in Orlando. The mall was being renovated and was largely devoid of any shoppers. Many of the shops were also closed and I have to say that I found it a bit disappointing. Prices here in America have gone up considerably since last we were here.

Just as we were wrapping up our shopping there, the heavens opened up and it started to bucket down. There was even a tornado warning announced on the radio so I was particularly careful with the final push back up to Jacksonville.

We stopped at a restaurant called Chik-Fil-A. This is a favourite of Sandy’s and it had an indoor play area in which we let the kids run wild for half an hour or so. We soon thereafter made our way back over to the beaches area and moved all our bags back into Dave & Jennifer’s condo on the eleventh floor of the luxury Aquilla II building. As was the case the last time, everything was laid out just perfectly and it felt extremely welcoming. It felt like we had come home.

We got the kids off to bed after unpacking and settled in for an evening of chat with Dave & Jennifer. I pointed out that we’d just completed ten theme parks in eleven days and Dave asked me if I was tired after all that. I surprised myself when I realised that, actually, no I wasn’t particularly tired. I can remember in years gone by when a simple long weekend on the Orlando theme park trail was all that was needed to sap the energy right from us. Perhaps it’s because we took our time in the parks or maybe because we’re used to a busier lifestyle now. Either way, I’m not complaining – I hate being tired.

I can scarcely believe how much we’ve actually done on the past couple of weeks. A quick tally of the photos we’ve kept shows a grand total of just over 3000 since we arrived in Florida. I only hope that the kids don’t grow up thinking that Mum & Dad’s faces bare a stark resemblance to that of a camera lens.

With Orlando now firmly behind us, we can hopefully concentrate on the two of us now having a bit of a rest for a while.