Day 18 – Resting

Friday 31st August 2018

We had a really good lie in this morning. That notwithstanding, everyone was really quite lethargic. The holiday was continuing to take its toll on all of us. There really is a limit to how much fun and enjoyment you can take in a single sustained burst. It had caught up with us this morning. Just moving from A to B was an effort. My muscles ached from top to bottom. Neither of the kids wanted to leave the house. They had both blended in with the furniture. Joey was glued to my laptop, watching the rest of the Avatar movie he couldn’t finish before going to bed last night. I think I saw Jennifer with her legs draped over the side of a couch. She was nose deep into her iPad. Neither of the kids were truly conscious of their surroundings. Sandy and I seized on this opportunity and decided to ditch the little bundles of sapped energy for the morning. We were both just as lethargic as they were, so wherever we were going to go, it had to be somewhere that didn’t require a lot of energy. We managed to slip pass them without them even noticing.

With some effort, we eventually made it all the way to the car parked right outside the front door. Even that took quite a bit of mental motivation to overcome our bodily inertia. Our Chrysler Pacifica 7-seater minivan is a great vehicle, but I do have to sort of squeeze myself in with a certain sideways shuffle. It’s not really the car’s fault. I like to ride in a high position, so that narrows the space available for me to enter without hitting my head on the door frame.

Once the car entry manoeuvre was over (some minutes later), we sat there, slowly turned to each other and then sighed. We were entirely drained and clearly in much need of a boost of energy. Before we could go anywhere, I would have to lift my arm, reach towards the dash and press the car’s start button. I honestly don’t know how I managed it without straining a muscle. Anyway, I backed out and we were onto the street. What we really needed was a hearty breakfast. Words weren’t necessary. I went into auto-pilot mode. The trip was somewhat of a blur but about fifteen minutes later, we pulled up outside the Waffle House over near the Walmart supercentre. If we could just make it inside, we’d be rescued, and the situation could be salvaged.

Some minutes after breakfast, we pepped up a bit. Normality was again setting in. What exactly normality is here in these parts, however, isn’t entirely clear. I’m conscious of the fact we’re currently living in some sort of a bubble – an alternative reality. It’s a fun place to be here in Orlando, with all the theme parks, rides, attractions, etc., but as anyone that’s been here for a holiday will tell you, it’s not a normal everyday existence. You tend to spend more. You tend to eat more. You tend to do things just a little bit different to how you would at home.

One of the differences to how we experience life in this bubble is in the video diaries I’ve been making. I decided to have a bit more fun with that today. The opportunity to do so was in fact right at hand. After we left Waffle House, we drove the short distance over the plaza to the Walmart supercentre. I was suddenly a National Geographic wildlife photographer. This would be a perfect opportunity to witness Sandy in her natural habitat. She didn’t say much on the way over. Her eyes were locked on to the building’s front façade. I could have talked to her, but it would have taken quite a bit of effort to break her from the trance, and I wasn’t fully recovered from my lethargy yet. My eggs, sausages, hash browns and toast were still going down. Sandy was practically out of the door and making her way at high speed towards the Walmart front doors before I had a chance to switch off the car and remove my seatbelt. I tried to keep a close distance, doing my best not to trip over my sandals, but it was no use. She had scurried into the thick underbrush of Disney T-shirts by the time I was inside the building. She could be gone for hours now. I would have to stalk her. If I was patient enough, there was an outside chance she’d make an appearance in the Harry Potter apparel section sometime before noon.

It’s always an interesting experience wandering the endless aisles of Walmart. There’s very little you can’t find there. They must pump some sort of special agent through the air ducts. Your brain undergoes a distinct physiological change when you step into the warehouse building. Things that you don’t need and would probably never use just seem to accumulate into your trolley as you go around. By the time I found Sandy, her trolley was already overflowing on three sides with all manner of things. I grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her out of the trance. During a brief moment of clarity, she came to her senses. Between us, we put much of the trolley’s contents back onto the shelves and hangers. The Walmart retail nerve agent was strong today, but we were by now both fully re-energised on Waffle House nutrients and thus able to fight off the urge to spend. With a trolley now laden with a much more modest complement of T-shirts and other clothing, we made our way through the self-service checkout and back into the car. Sandy kept looking over her shoulder as we drove away. I think I even caught a tear forming.

Back at the house, I re-took my favourite position at the small circular dining room table, where my laptop and array of cables and chargers lay spread out. I picked up the GoPro to take some more video diary footage. At this point, a problem developed. Jennifer decided she didn’t want me to use her GoPro. Ever since we bought it, I have been trying to convince her to put it to use herself, but she has shied away from doing so. I’ve been asking her permission to use it myself (it is, after all, hers) and she has been totally fine with that. For whatever reason this morning, she decided that despite not wanting to use it herself, she didn’t want anyone else touching it either. This caused a bit of a family rift. Tensions flared. Voices were raised. Tears rolled. The situation escalated really quite quickly, in fact. Before long, everyone had scurried off to a different spot in the house to calm down. I went upstairs to spend some time on my laptop. About an hour later, I realised Sandy and Jennifer were no longer at the house.

During this lull in hostilities, I went back downstairs and spent some time researching options for shore excursions for the upcoming five-night cruise. I had actually done this already before we left Australia. Since I had a local SIM card in my phone, however, I took the opportunity now to call some of the vendors to ask a few questions about the excursion options. One of the operators seemed a little too inflexible for my liking, but I eventually landed on a couple of excursions that I felt we would all really enjoy.

I found myself meandering around the house while chatting to the various tour operators. Joey likes to sit in the front room, playing with his various toys on the nicely carpeted floor, with the TV blaring out loud. He has been watching the same Power Rangers shows endlessly since we got here. Even if he’s not actually watching the TV, he still insists on having them playing. I’ve tried a few times to turn off the TV while he’s out of the room, but he just switches it back on again each time. After a while, the drone of the sound effects and overacting gets a little tedious. He’s happy when he’s in that bubble, so it’s a nuisance I’m prepared to live with. Much better that he is happy than I am.

Throughout the course of the morning, Sandy and I exchanged a few irate messages about the earlier tiff about the use of Jennifer’s GoPro. Jennifer and I were also chatting via Messenger. Our exchanges were more of an apologetic nature. Sandy and I were discussing the idea that I buy a new GoPro so that Jennifer would have her own and there would be no further contention. After a lengthy discussion via Messenger, Sandy and Jennifer finally rolled through the front door. It was at this point that Sandy presented me with an early anniversary present – a second GoPro. She had landed on this ‘solution’ some time ago and had the thing in her hand all the while we were ‘discussing’ how to solve the dilemma. Sneaky! Regardless, this now meant both Jennifer and I would have our very own GoPro for recording our video diaries. Problem solved.

Jennifer wanted to spend some time in the communal pool, so Sandy took her over there for an hour or two. While there, Jennifer struck up a conversation with some kids of her age. Jennifer is quite social that way. Drop her into a group of other kids and she’ll invariably make some new friends.

By the time the girls came back from the pool, it was time to decide what to do for dinner. It has to be said that we’ve barely used the fully-equipped and nicely appointed kitchen in the house. To be honest, I didn’t see much reason to buck that trend today. I threw out the suggestion of the Golden Coral. Being a buffet, we’d have a good chance of everyone having something to eat. We organised ourselves and made our way over there. Joey was in a foul mood before we left the house. He didn’t want to go anywhere, claiming he was under the impression we wouldn’t go anywhere today. That was indeed the plan, although what we meant by this was that we weren’t going to do any theme parks or attractions. Joey had taken this a bit more literally and felt that to leave the house at all was to break that promise to him.

Joey was difficult for the duration of the meal at the Golden Coral. In fact, I requested a refund for him, anticipating he just wouldn’t eat anything. They did indeed give me the refund. In the event, Joey snuck a couple of morsels from Sandy’s plate. It wasn’t a full meal, but I didn’t really care. He would eat if he was really hungry. He ate enough to take his tablets, which was good enough for me. Sandy fed him one of the secret unikitty mini LEGO bags we bought the other day. It was enough to get him compliant enough to not spoil the meal for everyone else. A compromise but one I could live with.

One of my nieces, Jenny-Lee, had asked if we could collect some brochures, leaflets and discount coupons. She and her family are coming to Orlando the year after next and wanted to explore some of the various options ahead of time. At the Golden Coral, as is the case with many of the restaurants and tourist shops in the area, there is a rack of these coupons and things. We collected one of everything on the way out.

On the way back to the house, we stopped briefly at the pool. Jennifer wanted to check that her new friends were still there, which they were. Despite it being late, Jennifer’s pleas won us over, and I took her over to the pool area to spend a bit more time there. It gave me another opportunity to catch up on some of the blog backlog, so I wasn’t complaining too loudly.

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