Friday, April 12, 2013

4/12/13 The Adventure Begins (badly)

The day started out lovely. We left the house right on time, swung through Krispy Kreme  a tad too early (no cinnamon bun donuts ready) but the woman in front of me paid for our car's bill and it felt like a good omen.  We got to the terminal, dad dropped us off, and we didn't even have to wait to check our bags.

We got through security quickly, but then we hopped off at the wrong terminal. As we were getting back on the next tram, I thought my backpack was looped to my rolling carry-on and when I started to walk onto the next train, when it fell, hard, onto the marble floor. 

As we  got off the tram at the right terminal, I had a momentary scare, unable to find my phone, but it was hiding in a side pocket of the backpack. 

It seemed like your typical start of a vacation with little annoyances, and nothing else.

We got to the gate and they started boarding within minutes. Yesterday, we'd forgotten to hop on and check in to Southwest's cattle call boarding style, which meant we were pretty far back in the mix. We still lucked into two seats together, window and center, at aisle 15. 

Bob snapped a picture of us with his phone before we turned them both off.

And that's when all hell broke loose. I pulled out my trusty camera to shoot a few from the window. Click. I flipped the power switch to turn the camera on. 

Click. Click. CLICK.


The thing was dead as a doornail. 

My backup battery had to be tossed earlier this year because it finally wouldn't hold a charge, but the battery in the camera had just been totally juiced up the day before and put back in the camera when the light turned green on the charger. It was good. 

It hit me that the giant "smack" of the backpack hitting the marble floor was the sound of my laptop landing on my camera and killing it. 

Bob starts to take the things apart and shake it and clean off all the contacts. Nothing.

We were taking off to Disney World and I had no camera.

It was like suddenly losing a limb and just staring down at the blank space where a part of you used to be.  Yeah, that's melodramatic, but this is my thing. It's what I do. And just like that: no pictures. 

Bob, trying to  be helpful, said about the worse thing he could've said.

"Well, you have your phone."

I tried to keep my eyes from bugging out of my head.

Three hours later, we landed in Orlando and had decided the only thing to do was get to the hotel, check in, and get a cab to Sam's to get another camera. I'd been eyeing them for awhile, and there was no way I was spending the next week without one. I might consider going without food. But not without photos. 

We took the Magical Express free service from the airport to Disney and it was very efficient. You get off the plane, walk to the bus, and they pick up your luggage and deliver it to your room. The downside is that you don't have your luggage for a couple of hours.  Of course, I'd packed the charger in the checked luggage, but I was certain that it wasn't the battery. The battery was totally charged. And it always was a workhorse after a charging, going weeks without the meter starting to get low.

At check-in, giant blow #2. 

The entire reason we had chosen to stay at the Contemporary instead of the Polynesian (another hotel we've always wanted to try) is that we had a Tower Room, hopefully overlooking the Magic Kingdom. We've wanted to do this since we planned our very first trip, but it was always too expensive. Bob's conference rate finally meant it was possible. He called and we were the first conference people to book. The woman on the phone assured him we had a Tower room with a king size bed.

The girl at check-in informed us, no, we had no Tower room, we were in the Garden View (which isn't the Contemporary at all, in my opinion. It was added on years later, little squatty buildings on the far flung reaches of the property with no view (mostly parking lot). After much back and forth, her calling the Polynesian to ask if there were any conference rooms available there (or course not) and checking with a manager (who didn't do squat) and calling several other people, we were stuck. Trek all the way to the far end, first floor, end of the last building, garden room or bust.

To say we were not in the Disneyest of moods at that point is too generous.

Truth is, she gave us the biggest of the Garden rooms in the corner, overlooking the water. It's actually a great room, huge, comfortable, and very pretty.  It took getting over the disappointment of not getting what we'd been promised and looking forward to for months to be able to see it, but then, time does its magic if you let it.


Valet services call us a cab.

The adventure continues.

The cabby doesn't seem too sure where a Sam's Club is. I've looked online and can tell him the intersection, but how anyone does much of anything on the web on a phone is beyond me. It took forever to get that much. And when we finally get to the intersection, we don't see it. He hands me his Garmin and I type in Sam's Club. It says we're .3 miles, turn right, then left. 

So we sit at this light that takes an eternity, watching the damn meter, and he inexplicably doesn't make the turn, but a U-turn at the light, instead. What? Then the Garmin starts telling him to turn back around. Yep, here we are sitting at the same damn interminable light again. This time, he calls someone and I can't place the language, so all I pick up is "Sam's Club". 


Bob loses it at this point. "What are you doing??" The Garmin is telling him to turn back around (again) and he says, "No, the Garmin is wrong. It should be back this way." 

Well, maybe he should have called his friend earlier, because that was finally right. We spot the sign just up the road. 

Of course, both of us have left our Sam's cards at home. Who needs them at Disney World?

Bob heads to the service desk to get a temp card and I head back to the cameras.

I'm toying with going Nikon instead of Canon, but only if my lenses are interchangable. 

I pick up the Nikon to check.

And the freaking alarm goes off on it.

And this is louder than a car alarm, with the lovely acoustics to really bring out the reverb in the warehouse.

A Sam's guy comes over smiling and says, "This happens all the time. It's not you."

Actually, dude, I think it is. If I don't get hit by lightening on this trip, it'll be a miracle.

They have a special on the upgrade to my Canon with an extra lens I really like and it's half of what I was expecting to pay. There's one left.

We grab it and head to the check out. 

Our cabby waited for us and paused the meter. 

So we get back to the room and our luggage has arrived. I pull out the battery charger to check the battery and unpack. When Bob puts the battery into the dead camera? It turns on. 

Yes, we spent all that time, all that cab fare, and it's the battery.

But now I have a shiny new camera that I'd been too wishy-washy to pull the trigger on, a better lens (zoom wise) and if I get a battery that will hold a charge, Sammi can take the old one with her to Europe this summer.

All's well that ends well, I'd like to think.

But I'm still watching out for the lightening.

(Park blogs to follow.)


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