Final Installment The final part is a diary of the last few weeks and what has rattled through my mind at the strangest times. I don’t compare to the writings of Bridget Jones, and I’m not even going to go near a knicker comparison. October 27th Just what on earth were we thinking of taking this trip now? I mean there’s 3 children – the 6 year old will do fine, she’s definitely the sensible one of the party – the 2 year old is a maniac at the best of times, if he doesn’t get thrown off the plane within an hour of take off I’ll be amazed – the baby will be 7 months old. Whose stupid idea was it to take a 7-month-old baby, along with two other young children, all the way over the Atlantic to Walt Disney World? I know, I know, it was my idea but when I originally came up with the idea there was only two children and I couldn’t bring myself to cancel when the boy came along. Besides, everyone else said it would be fine and how could we not take him with us. So here we are, less than 5 weeks away from a 9-hour flight, two weeks in a foreign country, and a second 9-hour flight, all in the company of 3 small children. We are definitely stupid. Oh but it’s okay, there are 5 grown-ups going too. But wait. Grown-ups are useless. It’s true. Grown-ups are totally incapable of getting anything right. Grown-ups are totally inept. An example: my brother and his girlfriend came to visit a few weeks ago. They bought Steven a gift with them – a musical aquarium thing. It took 4 grown-ups hunched over this thing to get it working. Of course if we’d read the instructions first it would have been simple. But grown-ups don’t do that. That would be too easy. Grown-ups must first demonstrate their total ineptitude at doing anything. Of course Steven turns this thing on and off at will – usually at 3am I might add. So here we are 5 grown-ups who are useless, 3 small children, 2 9-hour flights, and 2 weeks in a foreign country. All less than 5 weeks away. We are totally stupid. October 31st We seriously are mad and stupid. Decided to unpack Steven’s packed stuff and lay it out in the spare room with all the other stuff that’s in there ready to pack. Even before you add Adrian’s and my clothing there is still more stuff here than we’ve ever taken before. OK time for a little pruning. Does Steven need all these jars of food? Maybe not, we could remove a couple. But wait, what if the flight is delayed? Better not take a chance. And it’s the same with all Steven’s things. Do we need all of this? Maybe not: but maybe we do. I’ve flown Virgin many times before and never been delayed – it’s bound to happen if we only pack enough food for a short airport wait and a 9-hour flight. Need to pack all of this. Maybe I should go and buy more, just in case of real emergencies. “Oh what should I do,” I say out loud at Steven. He looks at me as if to say, “all grown-ups are stupid.” I say to him, “yeah well one day you’ll be standing where I am now.” “Oh no I won’t,” he drools, “I’m not stupid enough to do anything like take a baby to Disney World.” I strap him into his car seat and pop to Tesco for just another couple of jars. At least it will be a break from continually stopping him from trying to shove a ruler into a floppy disk drive. Last night the boy pulled himself up on to his feet with the help of the sofa. November 10th How do bird’s legs support their bodies? I was watching the birds feeding outside our patio doors this morning. They have teeny-weeny spindly legs holding up their bodies. Granted, a bird’s body doesn’t weigh very much but still, I can’t figure out how these stick legs hold up the plump, well-fed bodies that appear in our garden. Some birds even hop around on one leg. I couldn’t do that for more than a minute or so. They are amazing feats of nature – we should be in awe of birds. Except pigeons. Steven is scared of Harry. Harry is scared of everything. “It’s a bit gairy” is his favourite phrase right now. Ellie has a terrible cold. And I think I have a wisdom tooth coming through at a really stupid angle. Great. November 13th Why do birds suddenly appear? Why do fools fall in love? Who wants to be a millionaire? When will I, will I be famous? Where did the 6-inch long bruise on my left shin come from? Life is an endless succession of questions that have no answers. I’ve been asking a lot of questions lately. Why are we taking a 7-month old halfway around the world? Why did I invite Harry? Has anyone ever had to post bail for a 2-year old? That kind of thing. These questions have no credible answers. I’m seriously beginning to doubt my sanity. This holiday will undoubtedly be a series of disasters each following swiftly on from the previous. Nothing will go right, from the moment we check in at the Gatwick Hilton calamity will befall us from every angle. We are destined to feature in a special one-off episode of Holidays From Hell. November 14th Am about to draft letter to employers telling them what incompetent fools they are for failing to follow their own policies and how I will be looking to them to repay the £2000 in lost wages I have incurred as a result of this. After that I will reconfirm our room booking at the Gatwick Hilton and ensure they have our request for a travel cot. Life rumbles on of course. Ellie is much better now. Adrian has decided he will not wear shorts in December even if it is 80°. I’ll sneak some shorts into the bags when he’s not looking. How does seawater get salty? November 15th We suddenly realised that Steven has never eaten in a restaurant before so we went to the local Harvester for lunch today for a trial run. Found out he loves garlic bread and he ordered pasta in tomato sauce from the under-5s menu and had ice cream for dessert. He was fine until the ice cream then he decided he was tired and needed to cry for a bit. He soon calmed down when he got a shiny spoon to play with which apparently is really funny when used to bash Mummy on the back of the hand. So it looks like he can handle a restaurant without too much hassle. I got all the Christmas presents out so we can wrap them tomorrow and realised I’ve lost the piece of paper which says which present is for what person. This could have some interesting consequences. November 18th Nothing is packed yet. And I’ve just realised that Adrian has signed all the traveller’s checks. I have no spending money. This is drastic. I turn to my trusty back-up income – ebay. I now have around $300. That should do nicely for the Christmas shop. November 21st Nothing is packed yet. The spare room where packing is done is full of laundry that needs to dry and be ironed before it can be packed. I refuse to have a drier so it’s hanging everywhere. Everything we need to buy has been bought but there’s no room to pack anything until the laundry is dry. I was awake at 3am this morning worrying about what we would do if the person sitting in front of me on the plane decided to try and recline their seat back on Steven’s head. I decided I would just slap them. Then I got up and wrote a 6 page masterful piece of literature to my line manager telling him why I think he’s an idiot. I didn’t use those exact words but when I was quoting from his letters I had to use sic an awful lot to indicate his errors. Steven climbed the stairs this morning: fully supervised of course. But he climbed them. Alone. All 14 of them. Now his is sitting on the floor at my feet trying to get the lid off my bottle of Dr Pepper. Oh great. Would you believe this? As I am literally typing these words he’s shoved the bottle so far into his mouth he’s made himself throw up. All over my bottle of Dr Pepper. He had chicken curry for lunch. I guess I’d better post this now as I don’t know whether I’ll have time to write anything else once the serious business of packing starts. I will let you all know when the packing is successfully completed. I have to phone my brother tomorrow to confirm what time we are aiming to arrive at the Gatwick Hilton so we can coordinate our check-in rendezvous. I also have to remind him he still owes me £168 for his family’s Universal Studios tickets. So this is the last instalment of the world’s longest pre-trip report you are getting. Trainee Jedi Master Breeze will watch the Trip Reports while I am gone and report any transgressions or tardiness to the Moderators and Adminstrators. I may add a few tiny details on to the end of this thread over the next week, but nothing major. This is it. This is all you’re getting. No more. Nothing. Nada.