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Old 03-12-2013, 04:35 PM   #1
bumbershoot
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The "too many resorts" trip, Feb 5-20, 2013

Last year we started planning a trip along with my extended family who live in Florida. They wanted to go on their second 3 night Disney cruise, and convinced us to try it as well. If we're going to Florida for that, we're going to do other things, too, and so the complicated points&cash calculations began.

We (me, hubby-Robert, and son-Eamon) were going to have Robert's mom with us, because she's been kind of bored since her husband died in 2006, and said she always wanted to go on a cruise. We made plans based on her being with us. So we booked flights coming in Feb 5, with the cruise starting on the 7th.


BIG LONG story about semi-related stuff starting now:

Well, on Labor Day weekend, MIL started having what would be a series of 6 strokes/TIAs/"ministrokes" over the course of 2 months. With the first one, she lost half of her vision in one eye (something the people at the hospital didn't even notice). With the third one, which was pretty big for a "mini" stroke, she started losing memory. They called them "mini" because after about 12 hours at the hospital, which is just about the amount of time it took for them to fully evaluate her and start the process of admitting her (so much for "time is brain", a cute saying about strokes that the hospitals here couldn't care less about), she would come up out of it and SEEM fine to the trained, but not-knowing-her, eye.

By the time she had her last one, she was ready to lay down and die, she had forgotten a lot of what had happened in the last couple years, and she was scared. She no longer trusted or liked me (she had only started feeling positive about me in the last 2 years), which was a problem since I'm the at-home one in the family and I was the one who was helping her the most. But the instant I left, she was questioning (anyone who came by) why I asked all those questions, why I needed this that and the other thing, why I wanted to know her financial information (so I could try to find resources for her, to help her, and I didn't want to see her bank records, she's the one who threw them across the room at me!). She knew that people SAID she liked me, and she could say "of course I like you", but she didn't feel it anymore.

The strokes have never been figured out, and two happened literally on days she was released from the hospital because they thought she was fine. Over the course of a couple months she was checked out for all sorts of things, and everything was negative. She went on warfarin. And at that point, NO ONE felt comfortable with her going on the cruise or on a plane or being anywhere away from her doctors.

So, once she admitted that she didn't care to go anymore, we canceled her cruise.

BIG LONG story over....


Well now we had that money available, and at about the same time I noticed a higher level of room open up on the ship, so we upgraded. And we lengthened the trip and changed some relaxation-times into park-times.

Our airfare going to Orlando was set, but then United started messing with the flight times. DH had been scheduled to fly with MIL on a flight with a nice long layover, so she didn't have to rush. DS and I were scheduled to fly out earlier, with the thought that we would snag the rental car and pick them up, minimizing the fuss for her.

But now that long-layover flight was less than an hour between flights, and it was way later, and it just stopped making sense. Luckily DH has "status" with United and we were all flying on his miles, and we were able to move things around so we were all flying on his original flight.

So now we were getting in after midnight on the 6th, instead of the evening of the 5th. 2 nights of a hotel stay for really just one day in town. Not as nice as it was going to be!

Short stay in Orlando, then the cruise. For some reason we decided the time to hit Universal was right after the cruise. I'm not totally sure why, really. But it was decided. Then we would come back to WDW, and by the weekend after the cruise we needed a 2 bedroom villa because extended family would come back to town and stay with us (cousins are fun!). But the 3 of us didn't need, and our points didn't stretch enough for, a 2 bedroom the whole time. So we had to move around before and after.


All of this ended up being, over a period of time:

Feb 5 fly

Feb 6 land after midnight, go to Port Orleans Riverside, sleep, play all day, sleep

Feb 7 cruise

Feb 8 cruise

Feb 9 cruise

Feb 10 disembark, go to Hard Rock Hotel (the one onsite Universal resort we haven't been to yet) and have fun at Universal

Feb 11 Universal

Feb 12 Universal most of the day, then move to 1 bedroom at AK Kidani

Feb 13 Kidani, have fun at WDW

Feb 14 WDW

Feb 15 play at WDW, and later move to 2 bedroom at Saratoga Springs Resort, family arrives

Feb 16 SSR, no parks

Feb 17 SSR, no parks, family leaves late that evening and we keep the 2 bedroom just so we have a home-base for them.

Feb 18 Move to studio at VWL, play at WDW

Feb 19 VWL, WDW

Feb 20 WDW, fly home.


Then family changed it to leaving early-early on the 18th, and we would move resorts and hit the parks early-early.

At the last minute (pretty sure we were ON the cruise) they remembered that Monday was a holiday, and there was no need to leave early-early. But they don't have WDW passes right now and had no plans to get them.....

Well, we would deal with that later.



In the meantime, that's a lot of moves. We have done split stays before, but this was pushing even our boundaries. However, we couldn't make it work otherwise. The POR stay was through hotels.com using free nights. We are onsite people at Universal and we have APs there and WANTED to do Universal. We wanted 4 days minimum in the parks at WDW, but during the time family would be there we wouldn't have that, etc etc. We tried to lower the number of resorts, but just couldn't work it out.

Oh well, we'd work it out somehow, later.


And then a bit before the trip, DH hurt his achilles. The orthopedist he went to said it would be OK with rest, and refused to give him a boot. Even though he could not rest it (part of his commute is on foot every work day!). Even though we had this trip coming up. No boot. Now if it had been me, I would have gone back in a week later when I had had no rest and insist on something being done. DH didn't. "He said it would be OK and that I didn't need a boot".

The change in gait from the achilles problem caused a knee problem. The change in gait from that caused a hip problem. That caused him to call from work and beg me to buy him a cane. Not another appointment with the orthopedist, but just a cane.

The cane then caused upper back problems and didn't solve anything but the potential for falling down.

I nearly begged him to say it was OK for me to rent him a scooter, but he was vehemently against it. We try to listen to each other and not force each other into things, but I told him that I was researching it and would have money budgeted for it, the instant he said OK.

He packed scads of ibuprofen. Neither of us takes much by way of drugs like that, so they hit us hard, but he felt that was his only option. Just couldn't take the time off to go back to the orthopedist, especially because the ortho said that he would be fine. "Yes, but he said you would be fine WITH REST and you haven't had any". No good answer to that, but no appointment was made, either.

Oh, and even though he requested the time off something like 9 months out, and routinely reminded his boss in person about it, and had it on the calendar for all to see all that time, a month out his boss (who is normally quite awesome and fabulous and kind) started squawking about the timing of the trip and the length of the trip. His department does travel for work and "travel season" was approaching, and they were nervous that they would need him but he would be in Florida. This caused him no amount of stress, and it managed to make me feel guilty for planning such a long trip (ignoring the fact that he has a lot of vacation time, has to use it, and we've already done 3 long trips like this already!).


And that's how we screeched up to our trip.


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Last edited by bumbershoot; 03-12-2013 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:27 PM   #2
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:55 PM   #3
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Woohoo, welcome!


I was just coming back to throw a few pictures up. Didn't want to be too horribly boring. Boring is fine, horribly boring is fine...too boring is fine, but not *too horribly boring*.

Wow, that was boring.

Well we successfully got into Orlando late at night/early in the morning on the 6th. Either on the second flight or immediately after getting off the plane at MCO I lost DH's Kindle that doesn't really belong to him, but rather to work (he works for amazon). It's a sensitive subject; makes me go into an anxiety attack, and his boss isn't too happy with me, but it's the one whoopsie he's made (letting me take it on a trip) and I hope his boss doesn't hold it against him. My offer stands to replace it though.

Later we discovered that Robert had lost his Active Link. That's a little device/activity monitor sold by Weight Watchers. You buy it and you pay $5 per month for the account, and they don't have a lowered price for replacing a lost one. We know he had it getting off the first flight and on the second, but he had a really hard time getting off the second flight (people were really really rude, he had chosen to sit in the window seat, the second plane had much smaller seats and rows, and he was rather injured) and it probably popped off of his pocket when struggling off of the plane.

What a great start!


We got to the luggage carousel and a porter magically appeared. Since we had, apparently, packed for a season-long safari, we definitely needed him and his cart. And since we were taking Magical Express for the first time, it was nice to have a guide through the airport. He also snagged us an empty elevator since no one wanted to be in there with his cart and all our bags.

The bus is the bus, and it was late and we were tired, and I barely remember any of the ride. We got there and pretty much had to wake up a bell services person. Checked in with some issues (booked through hotels.com and of course online checkin was only working in fits, and so they didn't have DH and DS's names, and had managed to lose our CC info). But that was taken care of, and the Bell guy took us noisily over to our room. The golf cart was noisy, his luggage cart was noisy, and he was extremely talkative, especially given that we were walking by rooms and it was after 1am.

We had booked a Royal Riverview room, I had requested a corner room I believe, and that's what we got. 2nd floor, corner, in Parterre building, basically one of the closest rooms at Riverside to PO French Quarter.














I don't know why this picture was taken (this is Robert's camera, and Eamon kept snagging it), but it's spooky, isn't it?




Very first thing we did was turn on the TV to see Stacey. Quietly, of course. It was late! But we HAD TO see Stacey.


There was an adventure of finding bottled water because Robert hadn't been able to get distilled water for his CPAP, and the closest machine decided to eat our money (lobby concierge kindly gave that back the following day). We ended up buying a ton of water, which cost the earth, but it was COLD and tasty!

After that we did our best to get to sleep. The light-up effects in the Royal room headboards is nice and all, but if you've stayed at renovated-Disneyland Hotel, you're ruined forever. The DLH headboards are so much more lovely IMO. But it was still neat and sweet, and Eamon fell asleep almost immediately. Long day.
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:55 PM   #4
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Me too! I always enjoy your reports!
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:01 PM   #5
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Hi appleorchard! I was reading your report the other day and tried to share (with DH) the part where you ran into your friend/coworker with the same name, and he got really confused..."they both have the nickname appleorchard? I don't understand." And I'd even prefaced it with "she doesn't use real names in her report, so that's not really her name". Silly guy.

Silly guy's in Russia right now, and Eamon has been shockingly self-directed with homeschool work today, so I've been a posting/reading fiend. Even more so than usual.
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:06 PM   #6
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:42 PM   #7
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Feb 6

Ms Michele! Yay! How is Scotty doing? Any news? How is your cold?





We tried to sleep in the next day but wow is that ever so hard to do at WDW! We made valiant efforts, though. Stacey was put on the TV almost immediately. Pictures were taken of our surroundings.





That corner room was our room. So I guess we weren't THE closest to the next resort, but our building was the last one down that way.




It's just so pretty to my eyes.





We went for a walk! Robert went very very slowly.



















I figured out later that, as far as I can tell, the whole series of buildings/storefronts you see in those pictures is connected, and you can walk all the way through inside. And it's sort of the "back side of main lobby" as well.


We had lunch at the Mill, which is a really good (IMO) food court.

I don't take good pictures of food, I always get it way too close, so I'm sorry.

They have a "create your own pasta" station that I liked. You get in line and when you get to the CM you tell them what sort of pasta you want, what sort of sauce, and what things to put into the pasta (there's a list). They put the "mix-ins" into a to-go box and label it with your number and what pasta and sauce you chose. They put it to the left of the chef. When the chef goes to make it, the chef grabs a nice clean pan, and makes your food in your pan. I LOVE that. Makes it so much safer for allergic people or people with disdain for mushrooms or meat or whatever. Everyone gets a clean pan, and as long as the chef reads the box, there's really no chance of mess-up. Then the food goes back into that same box and it's handed over. Oh and each clean pan seemed to have a clean spatula as well. You can watch them, so if you're nervous you can make sure and catch any mistakes if they happen.

So here is my penne with alfredo, broccoli, garlic, cheese, and I think mushrooms.




The guys ordered a cheese pizza. Robert and I both got side salads.





I like the space of the food court, and the people we ran into during our POR stay were just lovely. We got to see a teenager signing her college paperwork while her family excitedly made a big deal over it (as well they should!). It seemed to be for a sports scholarship specifically, which is even cooler.

And I engaged a nice man in conversation which I started about if his scooter rental company was good. He could see Robert's cane and the pain he was in, and nearly talked Robert into a scooter. The man was a man "of size" like Robert, and so totally understood the embarrassment factor in not wanting to be on wheels. Robert's problems were actually because he was doing the Couch to 5K program, and while his heart and lungs and muscles love jogging, it turned out his tendons aren't quite ready. But he worries that people will say, and I quote him, "fat guy in a scooter" and be rude about and even to him. I have probably ranted about one too many posts on the Dis, and made him think thoughts he might never have thought before.

Oh that's not true, he's had enough rude comments in real life by strangers, doctors, and his mom, to let him know that body size is something people just feel OK commenting on, no matter how it might hurt or even damage a person.

I think if we didn't have the cruise the next day, he would have ended up renting a scooter. And he would have been HAPPY, though he couldn't bring himself to imagine feeling happy on a scooter. Poor guy.


Eamon saw a lizard scurry from the path into a bus. Here's a closeup he took.




And here is the bush that the lizard was in, and he's actually in that picture. Nature has some amazing camouflage!





Robert was wiped out after our lunch adventure. He simply wanted to lie down and sleep. At the end of last year we bought DVC Premium Annual Passes for an amazing price, but Robert's the DVC owner (I'm not on the account and don't have a membership card) and we had ordered them in his name. There was a phone number on the voucher, and he called over and arranged to let me pick up mine and Eamon's, because we wanted to go to Epcot. Why? Why would we leave poor injured Robert, or why not just swim? Because we love the School Bread at Kringla Bakeri og Kafe. So we figured we would go on in, get some to go, and it would be fun.

Well, we did just that, it worked out wonderfully, and it was indeed fun!


I'll come back and tell more of the story and post some more pictures later. Right now we have to go to the YMCA so I can jog and Eamon can do Gymnastics!
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumbershoot View Post
Hi appleorchard! I was reading your report the other day and tried to share (with DH) the part where you ran into your friend/coworker with the same name, and he got really confused..."they both have the nickname appleorchard? I don't understand." And I'd even prefaced it with "she doesn't use real names in her report, so that's not really her name". Silly guy.

Silly guy's in Russia right now, and Eamon has been shockingly self-directed with homeschool work today, so I've been a posting/reading fiend. Even more so than usual.
You're brave. I don't share anything from the DIS with DH; he doesn't even know I'm writing this lol.

Russia! I've always wanted to go to Russia. A few years ago I decided to look for a medical mission trip to Russia, and ended up going to Romania instead. So I've stuck with Romania. If the Romania hadn't been first alphabetically, I never would have ended up there!
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:28 PM   #9
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Hi Molly! He is okay I guess. He just really hope they figure out what is wrong with him. I felt so blessed when it wasn't prostate cancer I didn't consider other possibilities. I have poured myself into writing my book so I think about that.


Your pasta looked so good! Oh my I think I would really enjoy that. One of my favorite vegetables and cheese? That's a win win to me!


I understand how R feels. I am Pooh sized and when I was stuck on my wheelchair I lived for the moment to get out of the chair. People even if they mean well can be really cruel and hurt your feelings. Both of my grandmothers used to tell me I would be so beautiful if I was thin. Way to make a teenage girl feel good about herself and insure that she just wants to crawl into a whole and eat away her sorrow ladies. Sorry I couldn't help myself. I hope that R finally gave in when you came back.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:47 PM   #10
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loving the trip report so far!
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:39 PM   #11
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You're brave. I don't share anything from the DIS with DH; he doesn't even know I'm writing this lol.

Russia! I've always wanted to go to Russia. A few years ago I decided to look for a medical mission trip to Russia, and ended up going to Romania instead. So I've stuck with Romania. If the Romania hadn't been first alphabetically, I never would have ended up there!
Oh yeah, he knows all. I got involved in message boards when I was planning our wedding, because my mom was gone and my friends all felt bored of the whole wedding thing (plus, their moms had planned their weddings and they didn't understand my agita over what colors go together and what music should I have). Then it was cruisecritic.com for our honeymoon. Then baby -related message boards when we realized we had an Insta-Baby on our hands when we got home from the honeymoon. etc etc.

He's just not allowed to join here. I'm not always the most popular girl around here, and he gets highly protective of me, and I have banned him from joining b/c it would be embarrassing if he charged in to defend me.

But he's got his "anythingbutipod" message board to make him happy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kaoden39 View Post
Hi Molly! He is okay I guess. He just really hope they figure out what is wrong with him. I felt so blessed when it wasn't prostate cancer I didn't consider other possibilities. I have poured myself into writing my book so I think about that.


Your pasta looked so good! Oh my I think I would really enjoy that. One of my favorite vegetables and cheese? That's a win win to me!


I understand how R feels. I am Pooh sized and when I was stuck on my wheelchair I lived for the moment to get out of the chair. People even if they mean well can be really cruel and hurt your feelings. Both of my grandmothers used to tell me I would be so beautiful if I was thin. Way to make a teenage girl feel good about herself and insure that she just wants to crawl into a whole and eat away her sorrow ladies. Sorry I couldn't help myself. I hope that R finally gave in when you came back.
I hope they figure it out, too. I'm not sure where you've written about it, so I'm flying blind here...has he seen an endocrinologist? Sounds like he has a group of weird symptoms, and hormone stuff causes weird symptoms, so I wondered about that.

Yes, the old "you'd be so pretty IF" comment...people are so lovely, aren't they.

Spoiler...he was feeling a bit better by the time we returned, and he had so much ibuprofen in his system he felt he didn't need a scooter. I get his worries, too...maybe I wasn't quite proportionate to him, but I wasn't tiny last year and the 5 years before that, either, and I get the idea of not wanting people to think you're on the scooter BECAUSE of the weight. I totally empathized with him. But I KNEW that he would be so much happier if he wasn't limping around; if he could just scoot around from place to place with so much less pain.


Quote:
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loving the trip report so far!
Wow, thank you!

ETA, do I see a Minion in your picture? We have Minions in our house, too.




I walked and jogged a total of 4 miles! Exciting stuff. Came home and corrected E's writing work (he suddenly started writing paragraphs! amazing!), made dinner, relaxed with the kidlet. DH just called and he's heading out to breakfast but called to say goodnight.

Now it's late-bedtime for E; I hope to be back with more pictures.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:51 PM   #12
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No, there hasn't been an endocrinologist involved yet. He had a urologist because they had thought it might be his prostate. What that has to do with lack of balance I have no clue. I won't bore everyone with all of the details I will tell you that I camethisclose to throttling his Dr when she told him; "sometimes we are just sick for no reason." I was a bit snippy and called her on it. At that point she relented and did a CT scan and got him a referral to neurology. That usually takes several months. He had the CT scan that day and neuro called yesterday for tomorrow.

I am glad that he felt better. Ibuprofen is one of those things that works best once it has built up.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:19 AM   #13
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Michele, he rides a bike quite a bit, yes? Has he considered seeing a sports-focused physician? I know that my brother had to finally track down a sports-oriented physician to get his teensy tiny hernia diagnosed. Everyone else just said "well of course you have pain, you're a runner".

And I wonder if a sports-focused GP could see if there's a link between bike, whatever was going on that caused the prostate concerns, and, weirdly, the lack of balance?

As usual, it's just thoughts that came to mind! Ignore at will.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:25 AM   #14
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Michele, he rides a bike quite a bit, yes? Has he considered seeing a sports-focused physician? I know that my brother had to finally track down a sports-oriented physician to get his teensy tiny hernia diagnosed. Everyone else just said "well of course you have pain, you're a runner".

And I wonder if a sports-focused GP could see if there's a link between bike, whatever was going on that caused the prostate concerns, and, weirdly, the lack of balance?

As usual, it's just thoughts that came to mind! Ignore at will.

I sent you a pm.
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:49 AM   #15
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E and I decided to go over to Epcot, which meant the bus. I don't know what bus stop we went to ("what bus stop to use" is a hot topic on the POR boards) but we must have just missed an Epcot bus, because we cycled through all the other parks before our bus came. Met a nice family while waiting.

Got to the park, and walked towards bag check. Epcot is just so weird-looking to someone who didn't grow up with it. Even just entering the place.





Non-existent lines...




E took some pictures, too.








The first place we went was Club Cool. We have never been there before, and figured that we should check it out for Robert. They have a few that are really good! I love the ginger ale, though I can't remember what country it was from. The South American fruit one is tasty. We tried the Beverly (a bitter drink from Italy) and knew that Robert would actually like it.

We managed to ride the new Test Track too, using the Single Rider line. I love that he's so brave and we can save time by doing that. He loved the new ride. I really disliked it. I had heard, or thought I heard, that it would be Tron-themed. And then that just sort of disappeared. But what it looks like is that they got 3/4 of the way through the Tron theming, and then just gave it up. It's still the same track testing thing, but WEIRD. They pretend like they are testing the car you created...but since they could potentially have 6 individual parties-of-one, all of whom "designed" their own car, riding...how could they be testing each car? It's just silly. The only part I like is the outside part where you go nice and fast.

But that part isn't so fun when you're outside the building, watching the structure SHAKE every time the cars go by overhead. Yikes.


Then we went on to the World Showcase, so I could buy another glass and silver bracelet in the Mexico pavilion, and to get Norwegian pastries. E had control of the camera.

















I've never noticed this particular structure before. How embarrassing.




I got my bracelet; red to match a little sweater I had for one night on the cruise.

We got pastries for that evening and extra for the morning, and it's good to know they will box it all up to go and put it into a large souvenir bag.

On our way out we stopped at Club Cool again, and got a few little cups of Beverly to put into an empty water bottle so Robert could try it.

Found the bus, got on a bus (it was *right there*! the driver saw us and re-opened the door! it's a WDW transportation miracle for us!). At this point the sun had set and the bus was packed (the problem you have when you get on a bus that was about ready to go), so we just got off at POFQ and walked "home".

It was a really nice walk. We went through the pool area and out the gate to the pathway, then walked along the path. There's a funky bridge-crossing involved and then we were on the correct side of the bridge and at our building. Robert had only just woken up.

Leftover pizza from lunch and the Norwegian pastries were dinner. We decided to go check out the big pool which has a name but I just called it the big pool.

It was rather cool! Now...there's been a very recent tragedy at Pop Century involving a teen boy and swimming after the lifeguards were gone, and now I'm feeling like maybe every parent there at the pool *along with us* was a bit neglectful, maybe, possibly, not sure...but we let E go in the pool and play with several other similar-aged children, and we didn't keep an eye on him the whole time. The pool was very busy, he had a pack of children around him (and he was part of the pack of course), and we figured it was OK. I felt totally fine about that decision, and there's part of me wondering about that now, given this sadness that just happened to a family on vacation. Anyway, that's what we did then.

I spent some time in the hot tub as did Robert; Robert spent some time in a hammock. And he would let you know that if you are having pain that pretty much goes from ankle to shoulder, hammocks might be nice when you are IN them, but they are a pain and a half getting back out.

As we left the pool there was a panic because not only had Eamon decided to bring his wallet to the pool, but he didn't tell us, his saved-up $50 in cash was in his wallet, and he had left it...somewhere. He took it out because he didn't want it to get wet.

I mentioned that the people we met at POR were really nice...when E and I rushed back, the kids had seen the wallet and had given it to their mom. The mom was easy to find and she was just looking in it to see if there was ID. She was glad we showed up, because it saved her a trip to the front desk. LOVE her! So that was a panic, but it was solved.


Got back to the room, called to make sure our DCL transportation stuff was fully set up and we knew what time they would pick up luggage and what time the bus would pick us up, did another round of packing and repacking, and eventually went to sleep.

Last edited by bumbershoot; 03-13-2013 at 03:52 AM.
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