The Front of the Queue Harry?

Mar 21 2011

We are now truly in the groove over in Jacksonville, with treatments flying by and the treatment plan clear in our minds. We’ve also got pretty use to life around Southside and the daily routine of going into the Proton institute, as well as the great weather that has welcomed us since our return to Florida in late February. It should have been an easy week but again it was a mixed bag.


The daily routine continues with Hayley and I having some fitness time in the morning, taking in turns, either going to the gym or me hitting the streets for a run. As mentioned last week, the zoo highlighted that Florida is not only home to the famous Alligator but also Panthers and big ol’ Bears. Katie at Proton mentioned that she saw a Bear crossing the highway, “over on Butler” yeah, where we live, “Oh no, it was down towards the beaches”, yeah, where we live!!! I’m actually now at the stage of breaking Roger Bannister’s four minute mile as I run past the woodland area that hugs the road around my route. Hey, I could always run downtown and get shot instead! Hayley is also battling through the pain caused by her orange shaped ankle and continuing her gym time. She is pretty determine, I’ll give you that.


The treatments this week were pretty run of the mill; accept for them running late most days. The girls do love going there as one of the team, Steve, drops in every day to ask “Do you wanna go for a ride?” and “We gonna go fast?” I don’t know what health and safety would say about it, but when Camille’s time comes, he takes both girls on the bed right down the corridor to near the waiting room and then runs back pushing their trolley in front of him. It’s like a scene out of The Naked Gun with people walking out of doors and tossing files of paperwork into the air as a hospital bed with two giggling little girls nearly flattens them in their wake. They love it and it’s really helped Camille get enthused by her daily routine. When they reach the treatment room with a handbrake turn and a screech, Lucia hops off the bed and Hayley follows Camille in to “huggle” her whilst they put her under. Then for Lucia, it is school work time; my how she enjoys that time of the day, with Hayley and I looming over her. It is a real struggle to get her focused on doing it, I admire anyone who can home school.


We’ve been down to the beach a couple of times now and Ponte Vedra being our favoured spot. It’s beautiful and with the weather being mid-eighties most days, it’s ideal for settling out on the sand for a while. The problem is with the beach over this way is the little critters that are present to spoil your fun. Lucia and I were in up to Lucia’s waist this week when I noticed right next to her a 10cm in diameter jellyfish bobbing around, I quickly grabbed her and pulled her out of its way. Now, I don’t know whether all jellyfish sting, but I’m guessing they are not good for anything else so they probably do. A waiter at a local restaurant said that they always come in the summer, and there are normally a lot of them. We also saw a fisherman catch a Bonnet Head Shark from the beach; granted it was a real baby, but the mother must have been close to it. He did also say that the Bonnet Head is not normally aggressive so swim away, but you do wonder don’t you?


My case in point occurred at the weekend when we went to Universal Studios in Orlando for two days and the girls went with us on Jaws. Lucia had been so excited about going on the Jaws ride that from the moment we arrived she was asking when she could go on it. It’s at the back of the park, so she was getting even more frustrated that we had to go on other rides before we finally got there. We had an added bonus of being local; we were able to get two days in the parks and stay at a Universal hotel (the Hard Rock Hotel in our case) for a reasonable price. The good thing about this is, that not only is it a top class hotel, but you can walk to the parks, the Harry Potter area is open early to you (although we didn’t make the earlier time) and you get an express pass for nearly every ride, meaning that you skip straight past all of the queuing public to the front of the lines. That worked so well for us; we were able to every ride that we could and we didn’t get into the parks until midday on the Saturday.


Lucia is a massive fan of all thrill rides; she went on everything she could, from the massive drop of the Jurassic Park River Adventure (twice in fact) to the crazy fun of the Simpsons and MIB rides. I went with her on the new Harry Potter roller coaster and she cackled the whole way around. However, Camille is not so keen on the quick rides and prefers the more sedate tootles through storybook worlds. Camille especially liked the Dr Seuss world in Island of Adventure as we recently purchased The Cat in the Hat for them as a bedtime story. Camille’s day was made when we went to see Barney the Dinosaur. After the twenty minute show, we were told to stay behind and taken by some weird fella called Peekaboo to meet Barney; so off we went and got a photo opportunity with Barney himself. Camille was so happy.


In all fairness, Camille wasn’t particular happy for the latter parts of the first day and most of the second day and just wanted to go in most of the shops. I think the tiredness of the treatment is now starting to hit her and during day two she fell asleep in her buggy and stayed there for a good hour or two. That wasn’t a bad thing for Lucia as she got to go on all of the rides that Camille couldn’t or wouldn’t go on. When we first arrived at Island of Adventure we walked straight around to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as we thought it would get busy and my word it was. The main ride there is in the Hogwarts School building and had an hour long queue with no fast pass available and Lucia was even too small for it. After Camille fell asleep we ended up back where the ride entrance was and we got Lucia to measure herself just in case; alas she was still too short. The queue was still over thirty minutes long and we couldn’t expect Lucia to queue that long and then have to sit in child swap while we enjoyed the ride, so we were about to leave when a very helpful attendant sorted us out with an express route to the front of the queue. I am glad that he did; the ride is awesome. Hayley went on first and came back with a big cheesy grin on her face so I knew it was good. You sit in a harnessed seat and then swoop into the air like you are on a broomstick, following Harry Potter and Rupert around Hogwarts and other darker places. If you are going to Universal, it’s worth the wait.


Finally, we did have some news from back home this week that left me feeling a bit empty. My friend Ruth passed away. I don’t know if any of you grew up in a small community where all of the children did everything together; your first day at school, middle school and high school. Every day after school or in the summer holidays would all be spent together. Ruth and I grew up in a small village where there were probably just twenty of us around the same age, perhaps ten of us in the same school year. I remember someone saying once that we all have that kind of friendship that it doesn’t matter how long it goes without seeing each other, whenever we do meet up it’s like we’d never been away.


I won’t talk too much about Ruth as many of you probably never knew her, but one memory I have is when we were at middle school during the 1992 General Election. We held our very own elections and as my father had been a Labour councillor I took on the role of the Labour candidate and Ruth was the Liberal candidate. The Tories and the Greens were the other two candidates and were filled by two of the more popular guys in the year. I took the reasonable approach of attacking the Tories and the Greens with a smear campaign and left Ruth’s Liberals untouched as I didn’t really see her as a threat to me winning. When it came down to it, Ruth won by a landslide; her well presented, friendly speeches won over the entire year. All I can say is, you had a great campaign Ruth.