This was the first day that I was supposed to see my relatives. My brother,his wife, their four kids, and my parents were all in town, by pure coincidence. (None of them live there, though my brother does have a timeshare in Orlando.)
Shortly after I made up my mind to get up, my father called. My relatives, not being from Orlando, actually spent time sleeping, same as me.
It turned out to be good that he called me then, because I couldn't find the piece of paper with his phone number on it. After some misadventures with the phone (First, the downstairs one ran out of battery power. Then I couldn't find the paper with the phone number to call back. Then my father called back but I couldn't get to the upstairs phone before the answering machine kicked in. Then my father got cut off on the second ring when he attempted again. Third try we finally got back in touch) I got directions to their resort.
The drive out was fun, although Orlando has annoying toll roads. In New York state, I remember only one toll road -- a major highway, I-5, maybe? There, you stop at a tollbooth when you get on the highway and get a ticket, and then you pay again when you get off. So you can go 200 miles and only hit toll booths twice. In Orlando, it seems like every highway is a toll road, and none of them issue tickets. They just stop you every four miles and make you pay another fifty cents or a dollar. Gah. Very annoying if you're going very far. The route I took to get to the resort involved two different highways but only one toll per highway, so at least that one wasn't too bad.
When I reached the turn-off for their resort, I was so proud of myself for not getting lost. It doesn't take much for me to be proud of myself when driving. As I pulled into the parking lot, though, I started to think "hmm, this doesn't look like registration". It wasn't -- the first building was sales. The actual rooms were way at the back, another mile or two down the access road. But I made it at last, more amused than anything else by the unusual gaffe in my father's directions. (My father typically gives great directions.)
Seeing everyone was a little strange. The last time I visited with my brother's kids, back in 2002, they were all startlingly enthusiastic about me, like I was the best aunt EVAR! It got almost wearying trying to give everyone a fair share of my attention. But this time, I got to their hotel room and everyone was rather listless about my presence. I'm betting on a combination of "more excited about Orlando and attractions than people" and "worn out from the Orlando attractions of the previous day".
Sunday had been my oldest niece's birthday, and she wanted to go to Dicovery Cove and swim with dolphins for her birthday. They had a videotape of the experience, which looked pretty cool. Entrance is by reservation only, as is the "swim with dolphins" part (you can go to Discovery Cove and just look at other stuff). If you do the dolphin-swim, each party gets their own dolphin and trainer for half an hour. The dolphin does tricks for the group, and each person gets a ride on the dolphin (which is apparently quite fast, as the dolphins will swim at a good clip while the passenger hangs on to a fins) and gets to kiss or hug the dolphin. They got a photo of my niece kissing the dolphin -- so cute! Had I told my parents earlier that I'd be coming, I could've joined them. But I'm not sorry to have had a quieter Sunday with my friends. :)
My relatives all planned to go to Sea World, except for my mother. Since I'd arrived around noon, my brother suggested that we se what time Sea World offered discount tickets for late arrivals. He called the hotel concierge and was told that admission prices were halved at 2PM. So we decided to go out for lunch and then head over to Sea World.
Lunch was at a Bennigan's near the hotel. When the waiter took our drink orders, most of the group ordered root beer floats, including my mother.
When it came, my mother told me, "It always drives your father crazy when I do this. Have ice cream -- which is a dessert -- before my meal."
My father grinned and admitted, "This is true, but it doesn't take much to drive me crazy." My father has these peculiarly fixed notions about food, like not eating dessert unless you've eaten ALL of your dinner, and what foods are "good" and what foods are "bad". It's all based on 'the rules' when he was growing up, I think, and though he knows they're not very rational and although he is, himself, usually quite rational, he's never really shaken them. But he's quite good-humored about it, which makes the whole thing amusing.
I told them Lut's line on the subject: "Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first." Until I met Lut, I'd never heard that line before, and never heard it spoken by anyone else until the game on Saturday, when playfuleye used it. Guess it must come from somewhere--darned if I know where.
After lunch, my father took my mother back to the hotel to nap, while my brother drove me and the rest of his family over to Sea World