Day 32 – Rest day

Friday 14th September 2018

I awoke alone this morning. I stretched out a hand to give Sandy a cuddle. She wasn’t there. The universe was telling me something – or at least Sandy was. I think we were all still reeling from the disaster that was last night. I called iFLY, the one place that I hadn’t been able to reach last night because it was closed. Unfortunately, no GoPro had surfaced there. I even called back a second time to see if they checked the lockers, but that’s already standard procedure for them at the end of every day. That was our last hope. It seems all but certain we will never see my beloved GoPro again. The mood throughout the house was a sombre one. Oh, well. Life goes on. That’s what I’ll keep telling myself.

I popped over to the nearby Publix supermarket to pick up some milk and a few other provisions. Nobody was in the mood to head out for breakfast.

We weren’t going to do another theme park today. It was time for a break. On the other hand, Sandy was going to take Jennifer out for a girly day. I spent most of the day catching up on the backlog of blogs. I reached an interesting milestone I hadn’t seen approaching. Between them all, the blogs for this trip have now topped 70,000 words. If I were writing a novel, it would be complete by now.

As I was sorting out some photos for the blogs, I realised I hadn’t offloaded the photos from my phone from yesterday. I plugged it in and hit the download key. Something immediately caught my eye. It was a selfie I had taken of me and Jennifer at Chili’s last night. My eyes widened. There it was, bold as brass on the screen. The photo showed the missing GoPro sitting on the restaurant table. That ruled out both the iFLY and MacDonald’s restaurant as places where we could have left it. The photo proved we still had it at Chili’s. The only other place we went after Chili’s was the Universal Islands of Adventure theme park. We did stop at the photo shop there, so there’s an outside chance that it might have been left there. The Chili’s restaurant manager confirmed last night already that it hadn’t been handed in there. Maybe if I sent them a copy of this photo, it might help. Perhaps they didn’t know what they were looking for. Suddenly, a glimmer of hope was peeking over the horizon. A faint one to be sure but something nevertheless. I called Universal and spoke to the lost property office. Alas, nothing coming close to the description of my beloved GoPro was there. She did say, however, to call back tomorrow. Sometimes it takes a day or so for things to make their way to the front of the park and into the lost property office. I really don’t hold much hope but it’s worth a shot, so I’ll call them tomorrow.

Overnight, I’d received an e-mail from AirBnB, the company through which I had booked this accommodation condo. When I paid initially, there was something about a remaining balance still to pay, as though not all of the bill was charged for in one hit. I questioned this with the property owner at the time. I told him I had the remaining balance ready to pay but the system didn’t seem interested in collecting it from me just yet. He said he would look into it and I forgot about it soon thereafter. I’ve sort of had it in the back of my mind ever since, since I didn’t want to run out of money and then get hit with this last few hundred remaining dollars of accommodation charges. It turns out that AirBnB only charge a maximum of one month at a time. Since our accommodation extends for more than a month, the remaining charge is now due now that we’ve been here a month. The problem was the system was still trying to bill the original credit card. Since traveling, we’ve been using a different one that AirBnB doesn’t know anything about. A couple of e-mail exchanges and a quick session online with my bank to sort out the card details and the whole situation was resolved. Both AirBnB and the property owner have since e-mailed me thanking me for my swift action to sort out the issue.

I did a modicum of Dragon Realm Press work today. I still have a book formatting gig and a follow up from another gig to arrange. Other than that, it has been quite quiet on that front. Of course, Jamie, my business partner, knows I’m in transit and has been shielding me from things to a degree. She’s pretty good that way.

Sandy has been to the Chili’s on I-Drive armed with the selfie photos I sent her. She wasn’t far away from there with Jennifer anyway and thought it might help if she showed up in person with the photo of the GoPro. Still no luck. There was one other slight glimmer as well. The Chrysler Pacifica rental car we’re driving has Stow ‘n’ Go seating. Each of the seats in the cabin can collapse into a seat well, leaving a totally flat surface. It dawned on me the GoPro might have somehow fallen into that empty space the seat occupies when it’s down. I chatted with Sandy about it via Messenger and she duly checked it out while she was at Chili’s picking up tonight’s take-away dinner. Alas, still no luck.

Sandy and Jennifer eventually arrived back home with dinner, albeit it was now around 10pm. Sandy was exhausted from all the Friday night traffic on I-Drive. She wasn’t in a happy place at all by the time she rolled through the front door, dropped the bag of food on my lap and then slumped onto the couch.

When Jennifer walked through the door, I saw with my own eyes for the first time what they had been up to for much of the day. My sweet little girl was sporting a bright pink streak in her hair. This is something of a milestone. It’s the first time she’s ever done anything quite so bold or daring. If ever there was any doubt before, there’s none now. She’s a tweenager. Inside, I had two conflicting thoughts battling it out for supremacy. On the one hand, my sweet little daughter was gone. That was a hard pill to swallow. On the other, a feisty and independent young woman was emerging from her chrysalis. That was also a hard pill to swallow in many ways, but I want to encourage Jennifer to find her own path and to be her own self. This was my dichotomy. I want her to grow up, but I also want her to remain my little girl. Despite the raging battle inside my head, I kept my thoughts to myself and told her that I really like her new look. Whatever it is that ‘I’ might want for Jennifer, I have to let her be herself. I’m happy – and indeed keen – to be there for her in whatever situation, but I want her to develop her independence at the same time. If she wants to colour her hair or experiment with her appearance, then I’m fine with that. I will just mourn the passing of her being a little girl in my own quiet way.

I warmed up the food and polished it off. There was very little energy all around for any of us and so it was an early’ish night for us all.