I said I would buck up. Now I can say that I tried--am still trying. But perhaps I was just a fish out of water?
It pretty much went down like this:
We listened to The Hobbit in the car as we drove. Nothing makes the time pass like a good book!
Good thing since 14 hours of driving left us still to contend with the scores of cars that swarmed the four Disney exits on I-4 like so many shiny roaches on a dirty kitchen floor.
We avoided the “tournament recommended” hotel with its $35 breakfast and stayed in a house with friends. Money saved, privacy, our own pool. It doesn’t get better than that!
Good thing, since the road to our neighborhood looked like a Las Vegas strip with spinning and flashing neon signs that, instead of “Flamingo” and “Riviera,” read “Gift Shop” and “Barbeque Buffet.”
We took the whole family to SeaWorld for a fun-filled evening of aquatic entertainment. Featured events included the Manta rollercoaster, the dolphin show, and the shark aquarium. Gareth and Olivia had a blast!
Good thing since it required a multitude of sharks and dolphins to swim dumbly in the maddening circles of captivity for our amusement.
Olivia got picked out of 30 people to reenact a wand pairing at Olivander’s in Harry Potter’s Wizarding World. The wand selects the wizard and when one selected Olivia, it made her trip!
Good thing since the wand that selected her cost $30 and I’d already paid $85 for her ticket into the park.
We arrived at Universal Studios early on the busiest day of the year and lined up for Olivander's before the wait topped 90 minutes.
Good thing since the park reached capacity later that day, creating 2-3 hour lines and the uncomfortable feeling that we belonged to a frenzied mob.
Gareth’s team did well in the tournament. I watched as he scored the tying goal in a game against an arguably superior team. As a defender he doesn’t score often, so it was a bonus that I was actually there to bear witness.
Good thing since, well, you know how I feel about soccer tournaments. A little familial glory can go a long way for an ornery mom like me.
On our last night, we gathered with friends for dinner, grilling Portobello mushrooms, eating out-of-season salad and drinking more than our share of wine.
Good thing since I ate only French fries for dinner the night before (SeaWorld special), a pop tart for breakfast that morning (rushing to beat the crowds at Universal), and butter beer and onion rings for lunch later that day (a la Universal Studios). A discerning vegetarian has no business foraging in Orlando, FL. Nosiree.
Happily, we spent a lot of time with my brother and his kids, ending the week with the cousins playing together for a rejuvinating afternoon on the beach: the sand between our toes, the breeze in our hair, the bright cool sunshine overhead.