Florida – September 2011

T-2 – getting there (part 1)

Saturday 17th September

Ideally, I would have liked to have started a 24-hour journey to the other side of the planet having been fully rested and with batteries already fully charged. Alas, it was not to be this time around. People often say that they ‘need a holiday’ but never has it been truer for us than this time around. We’ve just come through several weeks of absolute madness with pressures piling on me at work, home, and with dealing with Joey’s diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome and all that this entails. And so with full foreknowledge of our epic sojourn to the East Coast of America, do you think we could have rested up a bit ahead of setting off? No such luck. We were in full-on activity mode right up to literally just hours prior to setting away from the house this morning.

I like to think of myself as someone that is fully prepared for any eventuality. Indeed, I’m a complete anal-retentive arse when it comes to preparing for things like holidays – no really – and it would be very rare for me to have left a single stone unturned. With such a busy time leading up to this trip, however, I did manage to miss just one little detail. We are planning on bringing back with us very much more luggage than we are taking (my haggling with United Airlines on this matter is a subject that warrants it’s own blog entry entirely!) and I had ‘assumed’ the just putting the roof racks on the car would suffice to accommodate all the bags after we touch down back in Melbourne but it became painfully clear when we set off this morning that the one car just isn’t going to cut it given, as it barely accommodated the luggage that we are taking with us, much less anything else on time. This means I’ve going to have to send out a plea for help in the hope that someone will be able to help collect our hoards of Disney purchases when we return in 3 weeks from now. I don’t feel comfortable asking people for help generally but I fear we’ll have no choice in this instance. I wonder who will come to our aid.

We’ve been very much looking forward to this trip for a while now, obviously, but there’s bitter sweetness in that the 24-hour journey with two children in tow – one of which has Asperger’s Syndrome and can be a bit of a handful even when at home and in familiar surroundings – is going to be truly gruelling and there’s little we can do but to just suck it up. Still, we have managed to prepare ourselves as much as we could by putting into place tactics and strategies for dealing with the kids. We have a full change of clothes, including pyjamas, for all of us and several not-yet-before-seen toys that we’ve stashed away in our carry-on luggage. We’ve also brought a laptop, 2 iPads and an iPod touch with us to help keep the family amused for as long as possible. The iPads have also been topped up with numerous movies and Pokemon episodes so there’s a few hours there that we can accommodate. Despite all of this, however, it is definitely going to be a gruelling trip and I fully expect that both Sandy and me will either want to put our heads in a gas oven or we will want to commit ritual suicide by the time we reach the West coast of the United States – with still another seven or eight hours of torture ahead of us. As they say – things will get worse before they get better.

None of this, of course, peers into the not too distant future of the actual holiday itself, and I’m fairly optimistic that we will actually have a really good time on this holiday. Everything that could be done has been done. The holiday villa is all booked and paid for, the rental car is large and will be waiting for us at the airport and we already know the Orlando terrain, having visited the numerous theme parks repeatedly previously. We have all the theme park tickets already purchased and waiting for us and I’ve even brought the sat-nav – fully loaded with the very latest map of North America. All that can get in the way now … is the weather, and there’s little we can do in that regard.