The Mrs. went through the house this morning at about 5:30 AM waking the slumbering and calling them to prepare for departure. The family rose from their slumber post haste, got dressed, and got to the airport, thanks to my early-rising mother.
The airport process went smoothly, even though I was totally uninformed regarding the new airport security procedures (our honeymoon was the last time I flew - nine years ago!). Thankfully a flight attendant was in line behind me and walked me through all of the things I needed to do. I wasn't searched or groped by TSA agents, but looking back on the process I think I dodged a significant bullet. I didn't realize it until after the fact, but the shorts I had chosen to wear today recently had the zipper tab break off. The zipper still works fine, but there's no tab to hold on to, to pull the zipper up when need be. To remedy this situation, a few weeks ago I found a thin piece of metal with pointy ends that I was able to stick through the zipper and bend the metal around it, creating something I can grasp with my fingers in order to zip my fly. I hadn't even thought about the potential ramifications for me if that quick fix was discovered at the airport. I can't imagine a piece of thin, pointy metal would be welcome on airplanes, considering that they won't even let you take a nail clippers on board anymore. Especially when it could be construed that I was trying to smuggle the pointy metal onboard via the zipper on my shorts! Nevertheless, I went through the metal detector and set off no alarms and raised no suspicion. I think I'll credit God for blinding the "eyes" of the metal detector and letting me through without any repercussions.
Our nervousness about our kids' potential bad reaction to flying was unfounded. They loved it, and had no problems whatsoever. Ferg loved looking out the window, and Han commented, "I like that ride." I, on the other hand, remembered why I don't like flying. It's strange. I tend to get all excited every time I fly, and I love watching the speed and power with which an airplane takes off as it leaves the ground. But then, after about five or ten minutes of flying, I'm ready to be done. The novelty of it wears off on me pretty quickly.
We landed at Orlando International about five minutes ahead of schedule and proceeded to ride the shuttle to baggage claim, where Betsy and I split up: she to baggage claim, and me to go pick up our rental car. The rental agent told me to go into a specific lot and just pick any SUV I wanted, and that the keys were already in them. I found the key, alright, but it was nothing like anything I had ever seen before. In fact, it wasn't a key. I knew that some models had switched to this type of ignition system, but I'd never used one before. I kept putting the device to the steering column, thinking that some kind of electronic signal would be conveyed and the car would magically start up. I finally had to approach the lot attendant and admit my ignorance. Turns out the key needs only to be somewhere in the vicinity of the center console, the break needs to be applied, and a button pushed in order to start the engine. So off we went in our Dodge Journey.
The weather in Orlando today has been a pleasant and dry 90 degrees. Not too bad, considering the weather back home is over 100.
We arrived at the Ramada Westgate at around 3:00 PM, local time, and The Mrs. and I proceeded to take a nap. The kids were supposed to nap too, but I think they were too excited and just chatted with each other. We eventually awoke and headed down to the pool. Something funky about that pool water. It was bath-tub warm, and it was very salty. Hopefully not "people salty." Hopefully there was just an abundance of chlorine that gave it the weird flavor.
The Ramada Westgate is located on what I'll call "Disney Rowe." The theme parks are not far away, and every other structure and building on this street sells Disney T-shirts and tickets to the parks. Lots of money to be made on that, I imagine.
We ended the night early, and I'm the only one who is currently awake as I write this. The kids are both asleep, and The Mrs. slumbers peacefully beside me. Tomorrow we're going on a beach adventure, which should truly be an adventure, since there are no beaches near Orlando, and we have no idea where we are going.
NOTE: see this page for daily pictorial updates from our trip.