But, I don’t FEEL 50?!? Pam’s January 2013 Birthday Bash – Pre-Trip Planning Party

Even when you take into consideration the fact that people are living longer, there is no way to think of 50 as NOT middle age. This fact hit me about 3 months ago when I realized that on January 18, 2013, I would be turning 50 in spite of every stupidly death-defying thing I’ve done in my life to halt that process prematurely.

If you’ll put up with a moderately boring autobiographic sketch for just a minute, I’ll get to the fun part very soon, and I’ll soften the blow with some moderately amusing photos.

Life for me started in 1963 as the adopted kid of two great parents:

I am decently certain that is the only time my mother strapped on skis and actually ventured into the snow. If she looks cold, tired, and frustrated in the photo, she’s really doing a very good job of hiding her true emotions which ran something like “If he ever does anything like this to me again, I’m getting a divorce!”

Fortunately, dad didn’t subject mom to any more ski expeditions, and they stayed together more than 50 years. Dad passed away 7 years ago, but mom is healthy and happy and still making me crazy with relative frequency.

My dad was an only child, and his parents were over the moon when mom and dad finally were able to adopt me and they had a grandchild to spoil rotten (hooray for grandparents!). Okay, a little quiz, which one of these two couples do you think are my grandparents who were happily married for 50+ years, and which do you think were my grandparent’s friends who divorced after a year’s marriage:

(for the answer check the end of the post, aren’t I tricky?)

I wasn’t exactly the greatest “first child”. I was wheezy and fretful, and didn’t really appreciate cuddling very much. I’m darned lucky they didn’t throw me back and try again. Fortunately they got luckier with their second attempt at adoption, my younger brother was the most easy and trouble-free child imaginable.

I spent my first few years of life worrying about weird stuff like if the train ride at Knotts Berry Farm would crash and explode and kill us all:

And the rest of my time worrying whether my mom would forget her purse (she did this with relative frequency)

“Oh good grief, she’s left it on the dock, along with our lunch basket. Why won’t she just pick it up and just put it in the boat already?”

Between worrying about stupid things, getting asthma attacks at the most inopportune times, and generally being a nuisance, I had birthdays which were fun:

Honestly, could I look any more dorky? At least my momma dressed me nice.

The birthday thing continued, and I grew up to be the Good Witch of the North:

Who apparently liked to wear hooker makeup. Niiiiiice.

A few more birthdays later, I met and married this guy:

Mike, who only “drinks and drives” when operating pedaled farm equipment.

And we started doing stuff like this:

And this:

And somewhere along the way I lost my fear of life and started enjoying myself. Which was a good thing because there’s so much to enjoy about it!

Disney’s been a part of my life since I was 2. My parents had good friends who lived in Orange CA, and so a cheap vacation for us was to drive down to So. Cal from Oregon and visit Floy and Morris and spend a day at Disneyland.

Unfortunately, as a young married gal, Disney sort of took a backburner to other fun stuff until the 1990’s when we were down in LA for a motorcycle race and had an extra day on our hands. I suggested Disneyland and Mike sort of rolled his eyes. We went anyway (I can be a bit ornery when I really want something).

We had an awesome time in spite of the fact that I didn’t realize what motion sickness was and that Space Mountain and Mike don’t mix. Actually, his reaction was sort of similar to the look on my mom’s face in that first picture. Sorry about that, hon!

Well, fast forward to now (because I know I’m boring you to tears), and here I am 49 years old and the big five-o looming in the extremely near future.

Mike softens the blow a little by saying we’ll do anything I want on our January/February vacation. Wow, carte blanche! Then I get to the small print “as long as its something that doesn’t bore Mike to tears for the entire 2 weeks, and as long as we can afford it, and as long as it doesn’t involve really fancy restaurants or resorts“. What, there’s not going to be a new Lexus with a huge red bow on its roof waiting in my driveway (with no payments attached), and an all-expenses paid 2-week stay at the Grand Floridian as icing on the cake?? Well, it’s still exciting to think about planning based more on my loves than on our mutual enjoyment – since I’m essentially a selfish person at heart.

After some thought, and help from my buddies at EasyWDW.com, I decided on 2 weeks in Florida with only a portion of it visiting the House of Mouse (gasp!).

Here’s the itinerary so far:
Jan 26: Fly out of Portland OR to Ft. Lauderdale Florida. Pick up rental car, stop at grocery store, fall into bed at some no-tel mo-tel about a 1/2 hour’s drive from Ft. Lauderdale.
Jan 27: Get up waaaaaay before the crack of dawn and drive to Key West. Spend 2 days in Key West wandering around looking at cool old houses, checking out museums, and drinking. Which is why we will be walking!
Jan 28: Rinse, repeat yesterday’s itinerary, but in reverse, without the alcohol, and with a drive to Port St. Lucie for the night.
Jan 29 – Feb 1: Disney World!!! Booked at Pop Century for 3 nights with 4 day base tickets.
Feb 1 in the evening: Drive to St. Augustine
Feb 2-3: Explore St. Augustine, utilizing a similar itinerary to Key West.
Feb 4 – 6: Universal Studios
Feb 7: ??? Rest day (yea, right, I’m married to the Energizer Bunny, I’m delusional if I think we’ll have a rest day!) or we might add an extra day to our WDW park tickets on Feb 1 and use it here.
Feb 8: Busch Gardens
Feb 9: Fly home (boooo, hissssss, what do you mean 2 weeks just flew by? that can’t be right!!!)

We’ve got our outbound flight scheduled, and Pop Century booked with the 25% off discount, and I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself, so that’s why I’m doing this pre trip report! Wheeee, we’re going to Florida for two whole weeks and I get to ride REAL roller coasters and not feel guilty about Mike being bored because it’s my BIRTHDAY PRESENT!! Wahoo!!

Oh, and which ones were my grandparents? That dour couple on the left. I don’t know if they developed their sense of fun and great joy in life after the grandkids came along, but they sure had it in spades when we were growing up. Life’s funny, you know?

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