Harry freaking Potter World awaits!  The trip that my daughter, Alyssa, and I have been waiting for is just a few short days away.

I am so happy that I sired a nerd girl.

This weekend is it.  January 26, I drive to my daughter’s college in northeastern Indiana, where one of her friends will take us to the airport in Indianapolis for our flight to Orlando.  Saturday and Sunday, I have tickets to Universal Studios for us, complete with express passes.  We are staying with my friends Rich and Pam, who have a nice house in Orlando, minutes away from the park.  Our airfare was cheap, secured with my Southwest rewards points, upgraded to A boarding with a minimal fee.

Last summer, I suggested this trip to my daughter as her college graduation present.  Did she flinch?  No freaking Potter World way!  At the time I suggested the trip as a present, I had no idea if I could afford it.  When I was married, there was no possible way.  When I was not married, it was frightful but possible.  I am still not married, the idea of the trip is still frightful, but it’s reality in a very exciting way.

Did I mention that my daughter and I are going to Harry freaking Potter world this weekend?  Oh yeah, I did.

I do not fear he who must not be named.

I look forward to my first butter beer.

What house will the sorting hat give to me?

Hogsmeade will be so much fun.

This trip became a reality the day after my divorce.  As my daughter and I were lamenting the demise, we found a positive way out of the mire.  The mention of the proposed graduation gift came up and I stepped out in faith, said yes why don’t we do it, and suddenly our conversation turned from doom to Dumbledore.  My friend Rich had offered up his house in Orlando for any weekend in January.  Why not take advantage of the offer?

Suddenly, I felt like I was able to do something that I could never have dreamed of before I was divorced.  Is that terrible to say?  Maybe, but it’s true.  I was not sure that the trip was something that I could pull off financially, but by that point in my journey I had learned to see the possibilities through the blessings.  Free lodging followed by free transportation, followed by financial blessings that probably would not have existed pre divorce.  Today, this trip is already paid for and I have money to spend during our trip.

Not that other things tried to ruin my plans.  A week ago, my car broke down in what looked like a very tragic fashion.  I panicked only to discover the benefit of friendships, friends who provided a very inexpensive car repair ($67).  A tooth that a few months ago had received a root canal cracked in half, fixed at no charge by my dentist.  Almost miraculously, I have been able to put aside enough money to enjoy this trip with my little girl.

Do I sound like a guy who has come to expect things to implode around me?  I am that way, but I am learning that it is not always that way.

So, I get a weekend with my daughter.  Four days.  I expect that we will have a chance to discuss our lives as they exist now, talk about the details.  I hope that I am up to that.  I also know that we are going to have an awesome time, a chance to decompress, a chance to have the fun time we have always wanted to have together.  This is a treat, after all.

Our flight Monday is late in the day.  We are going to drive to Daytona, where Alyssa wants to show me where she has ministered to the homeless during her Spring college break the past two years.  She is excited to show me.  I am excited to see.

There is a lot to anticipate this weekend.  There is plenty to enjoy at Universal.  There is plenty we could talk about.  I am looking forward to this, a little nervous, a lot pumped.