Comic Book Wednesday
Every Wednesday, comic book stores release the new issues of comic books. Chris is a big fan of many different books and didn’t want to miss the opportunity to further his collection, so he found a store nearby and asked me to take him Wednesday morning. I was happy to oblige and get some good father/son time, so I asked the nice lady at Google how to get there and we took off at around 11.
It was further away than I thought it would be, 20 miles, and with every mile I became more anxious about getting back home to get us to Universal. I was worried that people would feel short-changed, but no one ever texted or called about it. Everyone was absolutely content, but I’m a worrier nonetheless.
Chris new exactly what he was there to buy, and so he made quick work of it. While I was waiting, I chatted with the guy at the register, perhaps the owner.
“So, did you see the tropical storm?” he asked, with a smirk.
“I’m from Oklahoma, so I wouldn’t call that a storm. I can’t believe they would give a name for a rain shower.”
He chuckled and said, “Yeah, those weather guys make a big fuss over it to get everybody scared. Real Floridians don’t pay attention until it is a category 4 hurricane.”
We laughed over our kindred attitude.
We had other missions in our trip. We needed swim trunks and some new sandals for me. I struggled to navigate to where I wanted to shop and by now my anxiety level was a 5 our of 10. We found a Kohl’s, but the trunks were too expensive and there were no suitable shoes; however, there was a 2 for $20 on men’s tank tops. I got Star Wars and Chris got Superman. They ended up being a great purchase because they looked good and kept us cool, but still no trunks and shoes. I decided to adjust the sandals I was wearing (they had been uncomfortable) and found that that’s all it needed, so I crossed it off my list. We found our way to a Walmart and found $15 shorts and mission accomplished.
By the time we got back, it had been 2 hours. And of course, nobody cared…perhaps even noticed!
Hogsmeade and Hogwarts
The first rumors about this attraction were in 2003. The park opened in 2010. So, I’ve been anticipating this for a long time. Diagon Alley didn’t open until 2014, which we’d already visited the day before. The biggest promise was that i would be able to fly on a broomstick with Harry Potter. Entering the park, my excitement level was at a mania, but I tried to stay cool as much as possible. I have a way of wearing people out.
On the way, we stopped for Dippin Dots and sat under the shade at a patio bar and a nice fellow took this pic for us.
We made another stop on the way at a Christmas store. Alli just wanted to step in for a few seconds. With a little trepidation, I joined her. I didn’t want to get my Christmas gears a turnin’. The place was dark and lit with Christmas lights, and of course it smelled like Christmas. I let go of my worries and took a deep breath. It was really nice; just a little bit of Christmas to tide me over. We stayed for only 10 seconds. That was enough!
Hogsmeade is a wonder. It is a snowy village with peaked roofs and many shops and the famouse Three Broomsticks tavern where we ate lunch. When we were waiting in line for lunch, Alli saw that the host was named David, and she concluded at last that all white men were named David. She has had so many white Davids in her life. We ate fish and chips, meat pasties, and drank pumpkin juice. I was the only true fan of the pumpkin juice. It was like drinking autumn.
Next was the Hogwarts ride. We thought we’d save time by taking the singler-rider line as we had before, but I began to notice that the other two lines were going much faster. I began to express my dissatisfaction with this choice and Jenny began expressing her dissatisfaction with me. Eventually, though it became abundantly clear that this line was not the way to go with this ride. But the line was enjoyable. It was air-conditioned and there were sights to see along the way. Other than the line going slow, there was only one problem: there was a loud-mouth guy.
Lot’s of people are loud, but most are not loud mouths. This 40-something was belligerent, mouthy, attention-seeking, volatile, and big. He was a head taller than everyone in his group which he denominated. When a guy cut the line he shouted, “Hey! Yeah you! I see what you did! Everybody look at this guy. Wave your hand so everyone can see you! Yeah! You thought you were going to get away with this that!” All in a southie Boston accent. It made me very nervous to be in such a small space with so many people and that guy.
I won’t give away the secrets of the ride, but it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. It was the closest to flying I may ever get.
The Dragon Challenge
Next up, David throws a little fit over a ride. I wanted to ride the dragon roller coaster but, Chris needed some water. Now, some how I got it in my head that to get Chris water would mean to miss the ride. It was a moment of insanity. You don’t need the ugly details, but it ended with me storming off to find the water, which took all of 2 minutes and then returning with everybody to get in line. At that moment I realized that I had gone temporarily insane with Harry Potter fever.
The line was in a cave tunnel which seemed to get smaller and smaller and darker and darker and LOUDER and LOUDER, and we got quieter and quieter. Jenn began looking for exits and I began to wonder how people could stand to be so loud in such a small space. At one point I said to Jennifer, who teaches 3rd grade, “Do you think these people understand the concept of “inside voice”? Can you do something about it?”
The ride was a thrill, but by the time we got to it our nerves were frazzled, and worse, it turned Jennifer’s stomach pretty hard. She very nearly lost it by the lockers. But she’s a tough gal, and we moved on.
The Elder Wand
Our last stop was the gift shop in which my Harry Potter glee went into a fever pitch. There were sections for each theme of the park and the Harry Potter was the largest. I don’t remember the last time I bought something for myself more valuable than swimming goggles. I feel very uncomfortable with it. I buy for my family, not for myself. But something sorely tempted me.
There was a display of wands and a older woman with a mysterious twinkle in her eye attending them. I approached the display and began asking her about the marvelous wand replicas.
“Which is your favorite character? Each wand goes with a character in the book.”
I asked her to show me Professor Lupin’s wand. It was strange and wonderful. I asked for Harry Potter. Then my wife asked me which one I wanted.
“Harry Potter’s of course!” I exclaimed.
The the woman, with a sly smile picked up an extraordinary wand and said, “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather have…the Elder Wand?”
It was by far the most alluring wand not just because of the story, but because of the artistry of it. I began an inner debate. It wasn’t cheap, but I had plenty of money for it and the decorative mount that went with it. I decided that if I still felt the same way in the morning that I would buy it!
On the way home we rented The Peanuts Movie, and I bought some ground chuck to make Salisbury steak smothered in onions, mushrooms, and brown gravy. It was a hit.
The movie was a little more of a kiddie show than I expected, but it was very enjoyable. We were all asleep soon after except Alli who was up until 1am.