Florida – September 2011

Day 5 – rest day

Friday 23rd September

We spent our first day today since arriving here in Orlando NOT traipsing around a major theme park. As such, there really should be very little for me to write about. We’ll see.

Although we had forethought that we weren’t going to be visiting any theme parks today, we still, somewhat inexplicably, got up at around 09:00 this morning. The kids kept themselves entertained in their bedrooms, with each of them parked in front of the TV. It’s fairly unusual for the kids to keep themselves occupied in their bedrooms in the mornings and so this was a bit of a bonus today in that neither of us had to occupy ourselves with tending to them.

Even though we’ve been to the supermarket on at least one occasion, we’re still not fully equipped at the house to ensure a full breakfast and so we gathered ourselves, somewhat slower than we’ve been doing, and headed out for the morning. Our ultimate destination would be Walmart, Target & Publix but we first stopped off at Denny’s, as this was the arrangement following yesterday’s family debate in the car. Whereas Jennifer ate pretty well on previous breakfast jaunts, today was Joey’s turn to do so without any encouragement from either of us.

With breakfast having been dealt with, we made haste over to Wal Mart to continue to do our bit to bolster the US economy. Earlier in the morning, we did a bit of tallying of our ready cash and concluded that we are enjoying a burn rate slightly in excess of what was anticipated. At this rate, we will run out of cash before the end of the holiday but this is a contingency that I planned for and we have a reserve of Australian Dollars for just such an eventuality. We would have taken this back with us had it not been necessary to eat into it but it was there for the spending if needed. On this trip, we are not making any use of plastic but are instead relying on good old fashioned ready cash. I think the reason for the higher than expected burn rate is due to the a couple of very specific reasons. We had an initial burst of spending when we engaged in some retail therapy early on, which included an initial walk through the supermarket and a few things like purchasing mobile phones and so on. During these first few days in the them parks, we’ve also been pretty accommodating to the kids’ whims with regards to buying soft toys and other Disney paraphernalia – particularly in light of their birthdays. I don’t believe we’ll sustain this higher than expected burn rate for much longer and I would anticipate the next couple of weeks to be less of a burden on the wallet. At this point, I’m no anticipating having to send sandy out on the game but well see how the rest of the holiday progresses.

Between us, we picked up a few bits and pieces for the kids at Walmart. Some new clothes, shoes and a few other bits and bobs – not to mention yet another toy each for the kids.

After a brief ride over to the nearby Publix supermarket, I stopped in at the same ticket office where we collected our previously purchased theme park tickets. This time, I was shopping for some tickets for the Kennedy Space Centre, which we plan on visiting a week or so from now. In doing so, I shaved around $5 off the posted entry price for each of the four tickets purchased.

With that out of the way with, we wandered up and down the endless isles at the Publix supermarket and duly filled the shopping trolley with pretty much a bit of everything. The nice thing about American supermarkets is the range and choice of things on offer. The average supermarket here tends to be at least double the size of the average Australian supermarket and this is largely due to the fact that for each and every product, there are a plethora of variants, flavours, sizes, etc. to choose from. Generally speaking, supermarket shopping here is also easier on the wallet.

Whilst we were out and about and just generally relaxing, we called Patti, a very good friend of ours, and arranged for her to drive down from Palm Coast to visit us today. We finished off our shopping spree and headed back to the house so as to be there for when she arrived. She was delayed on the road due to what she described as such a huge downpour that she had to stop driving until it subsided. With no other pressing engagements to worry about, I put the kids into their swim clothes and let them spend some quality time in the pool for a bit. After around half an hour of this, the rain from the weather front that Patti had been contending with must have caught up with us here in Kissimmee, as it started to rain progressively harder until I decided that it was time for everyone to evacuate the pool for safety reasons.

When Patti did finally arrive, she was toting her three-month-old Grandson, which was a real treat. We spent the remainder of the afternoon just chilling out and catching up before we collectively set out for Dinner. We were initially in search of a Chilis restaurant, as this was one of Sandy’s favourites but the directions I had picked up earlier in the day from the guy at the ticket office had led me astray and we ended up at an Applebee’s instead. As this was also a favourite of Sandy’s, that was OK too.

Dinner was great and we rounded off the evening back at the house, after somewhat of a delayed arrival back, due to the two cars getting separated en-route and one of which ended up going the wrong way up HWY 192. This was one of those occasions where both Sandy and me having mobile phones really came into its own, doing much to relieve what would otherwise have been a very stressful situation. We bad goodbye to Patti but not before arranging for us to spend the night at her place in Palm Coast over the course of this weekend. We would also enjoy Patti and Ben’s company towards the end of next week, when they plan on spending a couple of nights here with us at the house and a couple of days at the theme parks with us also. We’ve also agreed to be the photographers for Patti’s Grandson’s baptism this Sunday afternoon so that’ll be a nice diversion for us.

Before going to bed, I called Carlos, our very good friend and Paediatrician that we used to live a couple of doors down from in Jacksonville, to make arrangements to spend some time with them this weekend. Much of our agenda has been tentative and dependant on their availability to accommodate us visiting them but recent events, that I won’t go into here, have resolved themselves somewhat to the point that they now have some clarity as to what’s what for them over the next few days and we were finally able to solidify our mutual plans. We will be travelling up to Jacksonville for the weekend and we’ll see them certainly on the Saturday and, if all goes well, we hope to be seeing them on the Sunday also. Patti will be putting us up in Palm Coast on the Saturday night but we’re not entirely sure whether we’ll be staying there on the Sunday night or whether we’ll be coming back down to the house again ready for a water park visit that we’ve pencilled in for Monday.

With the weekend at least now sorted, our thoughts are now turned to the first of our two planned visits to Epcot for tomorrow. This will be a full theme park day and we have a character dining reservation all booked for tomorrow at 18:20. The characters will be Chip & Dale and Pluto, which I know both kids will really enjoy so we’re looking forward to that. We plan to be at the turnstiles by 10:00 but we’re not sure yet if we’ll eat breakfast here at the house or go out to eat. That’ll be determined by what time we get up in the morning. At just 23:08 as I type this, it’s going to be an early end to my day, which has generally been quite a relaxing one all throughout. May there be many more to come.