I'm sitting here staring at a mountain of bags. Four bags to be stowed in the hold, 3 carry-on bags, one feed pump bag, one suction machine, one ventilator back-up battery (ventilator itself is in use), and well aware of the fact I still have to find space to stow one huge bag of toiletries, and one missing pair of sandals. I don't think I've worn the sandals since last time we went, October 2006.
We have 2-3 changes of clothing each, and yet we have filled three huge bags with other essential items.
Tomorrow morning we are being picked up by a black cab. Into this black cab we are going to have to squeeze two girls in wheelchairs plus two adults, plus this vast array of luggage. It's going to be an interesting experience.
It's a strange feeling, going back to Florida. Last time we went, it was to celebrate Goldy's 18th birthday. It had been something I'd wanted to do with her ever since she moved in, and I am so pleased we managed it. We had just a week, and for a good few days of that week, she was in a seriously hormonal teenage girl grump. She kept this up throughout the first day we had at Disney, until we found some Flying Carpets. The staff strapped her wheelchair into one of the carpets/carriages, and as the ride started, she went from grouchy grump to wildly excited in seconds. From chewing her hands and cross screechy "EEEEEE" she flipped instantly to flapping her hands and happy screechy "WHEEEEEEEE". She loved the Small World ride, and had a blast watching Tigger. I have a photograph of Goldy, Piglet, and I at a Character Dinner. It's a really unusual photograph of Goldy - I have hundreds where she is happy and smiling (and countless more where she isn't) - she is smiling, but she isn't just staring at Piglet and smiling, she has turned away from Piglet and is pulling on my shoulder to make sure I have seen Piglet too. She has really reached out of her world to share her joy with me - and that isn't something Goldy did very often.
Retracing our steps without her is going to be hard. I'm so pleased we made it there with Goldy; I think it would be harder going now if we hadn't ever been with her. I know that we probably wouldn't have taken her with us this time anyway - but we would have sent her a postcard, found her a new Tigger to feed her obsession, found another Cinderella to make her smile. Goldy enjoyed a lot of our holidays together, but this "Mouse Pooh" holiday as she called it (Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh to the rest of the world) was definitely her favourite. I have seven years' worth of Goldy photos, and a good 1/3rd of them come from just this one week.
So, we're going to go, we're going to have a good time. And we'll have some popcorn and an ice cream sandwich for Goldy sitting on a park bench somewhere.
The bags are packed and piled high. The girls are settled, the feed pump is on charge, and the washing machine has just beeped. Me for bed I think.
Taking the laptop with us as our hotel room is supposed to have internet access and the girls will be asleep in the evenings (I do most sincerely hope). So I may be able to update things - I almost certainly will not be able to access my email though. You can leave a comment (and tell me not to publish it if you like!), and I will respond.
Spare a thought if you will for Trina and Jophie, and for my sister in law and family; they are expecting a new addition any day (Hello, brother, if you're reading this and she's popped then let me know!).
Take care all