Vacation Over - Life Goes Normal

Wow. What a long week that was! I took my wife, my three kids and my Mom to Orlando for a week to go to Walt Disney World.

We stayed at the Nickelodeon Hotel which is just down the street. It's very family / kid oriented and it was a lot of fun. They have 2 GIANT pools and huge slides. The kids had a blast.

Ironically, the TV in our room didn't work very well. I say Ironically because it's the Nickelodeon Hotel and I work for a cable company. There were also no kid-safe plugs in the outlets which was a problem because Andrew Jr. loves to unplug things. He disabled most of the phones and lamps in short order.
We went to the Magic Kingdom on Tuesday even though it was cold and windy. I heard later they closed the gates at noon because it was so crowded. It was VERY crowded. Fortunately for us, we managed to get in a few rides in the morning before it got insane. I forgot to put on sunblock and my forehead got burned. It sucks but I should know better by now...

We went to Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday and it was torture. It was fascinating for me - I get goosebumps when I see that giant Saturn V rocket. It's a testament to the power of the human mind and the courage of the human spirit. The toddlers didn't get much out of it. Sitting through an IMAX movie with them turned out to be too much to ask. The Shuttle Launch Experience thing was kinda neat. Caroline (9yrs old) loved it.

We found a little Seafood place in Port Canaveral called Rusty's and had good food. I forgot to gas up the Van before we headed back to Orlando. It was a bad move on my part. The fuel light came on once it was too late to turn around on the BeeLine Expressway. I knew there was a little town called Christmas, FL but I had never been there. I was desperately hoping we would a) make it there and b) there would be an open gas station. Fortunately for me, we got there and they was a station open. I was really really worried though...

Late Thursday night my 3yr old (Maggie) started complaining about a stomach ache so we took here to a Doc-in-a-Box type place and saw a doctor. We got back to the hotel about 1 am.

Friday we got packed up and headed out. We took a detour through Celebration, FL and then got on the highway. We stopped at a service plaza a few miles later for a bathroom break and heard a horrible grinding noise coming from the front left wheel. I was not a happy camper.

I got the Safety Patrol guys to jack up the van and take the wheel off. They said the problem was not the wheel bearings or the CV axle so I found a repair shop nearby and we piled back in the van and drove a few miles. They got the van up on the lift, popped off the tire and took the cover off the brake assembly and... PING! A piece of metal falls out. They pick it up and show it to me and it's a wheel weight! I had new tires put on the Van a couple of weeks ago and when they balanced the wheels they didn't put the weight on properly and it FELL OFF into the brake assembly. They were nice enough to put everything back together and not charge me anything!

Fortunately, the rest of the trip was fairly uneventful (except for the huge storm we drove through) and we got back in good order.

I'm sorta looking forward to going back to work on Monday... :)

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