Lights, Camera. That’s All…

Lots of fun today, kittens…

First, my darling daughter and I went for breakfast.  Mommy and the boy had some things to attend to and I wanted to get some coffee.  It was just to be a quick run through the drive-thru.  However, I had one drive-thru in mind and my daughter had another.  “Sweetheart,” I said as we drove away from the house, “Does Whataburger sound good?”  I love their sausage.  “No.  McDonald’s,” she replied.  She said this with such conviction that I was actually afraid to even broach the subject a second time for fear of reprisal.

After we got home, the kids went with their grandmother (Wilma) and our Aunt Jane to see their sisters Lisa and Pat for the afternoon.  My wife headed out for more Black Friday shopping.  Have I mentioned that her Christmas shopping is basically done and this is just a sport for her?  She’s a twisted freak-o but I love her to death.  Later in the day she would regale me with stories of how she made $80 at Sam’s Club.  The secret?  Let’s see…  I think it involved signing up for a one year membership at $100.  This membership can and will be cancelled exactly 364 days hence for a full refund.  By signing up she received a $40 gift card for immediate use in the store.  Furthermore, we apparently have decent credit because she was offered a card linked into the membership with a pretty good limit which, if used this weekend, would merit the holder (my wife, still with me?) a $40 discount on her purchase.  This actually seems a lot more straightforward than a few years ago when she involved me in purchasing $50 worth of crap stuff at Bath and Body Works for the privilege of being about to buy a gift bag for $25 which was actually valued at $200 and came with several gift cards in it.  Does any of this make any sense?  I thought gift bags (being as they are GIFTS) are supposed to be free.  I’ve clearly got a lot to learn.  Anyway, I was instructed to go to the Gap if I was interested to purchase pretty much any clothing I needed as they had a 60% off sale today.  I thought about it.  I haven’t been inside a Gap store in a few years.  I get basically the same stuff at Old Navy for half the price.  But I went.  I must not have the same touch as my wife because I came home with two (2) pairs of jeans and $85 less in my wallet.  In fairness to me, they are awesome jeans and I’m not even into “Oh, I gotta’ have my hot jeans.”

Me and Grady. The years have been kinder to one of us.

Late this afternoon we took the kids and went out to meet up with our good friends, the Dan and Nicole.  You may remember that Dan and I went to school together and have, providentially, remained friends over the years.  We had a beautiful dinner.  They picked up the check (much to my dismay, though he did wish me and my daughter a happy early birthday as he snagged the bill so I’ll excuse it).  I’m still wondering how on earth he looks so much better than me given his complete and utter lack of hair and considering my flowing golden tresses.  And he’s older, too.  I mean, he’s like three weeks older but still.  My point is that God has blessed us with good friends and we’re so happy to see them this or any other time we can.  Also, they adore my kids so you know they’re good people.

And finally, the lights…  Yes, the Christmas season comes early in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.  There are numerous neighborhood and municipal light shows that take place beginning right after Thanksgiving and last year we missed some of them because we were too busy.  Tonight we decided that wasn’t going to happen.  All of us were going and we were going to make the most of it.  All of us, by the way, included everyone mentioned in this story so far except Dan and Nicole.  The number of people required we take a larger vehicle.  Time to bust out the rockin’ Astrovan!!!  Yes, my late father-in-law’s utilitarian 1980’s era wannabe conversion van was on its way over by the time I arrived home from dinner.  Wilma went and got it from her house.  Guess who had the pleasure of driving it?  Boy, you’re smart.  It was me!  We drove to Grand Prairie, a town about twenty miles from us, and proceeded to drive through the entrance to the park.  By the way, if you’re thinking you’d like to do this I’ll warn that it is $30 per car and I think that only covers 7 people.  We had 8 in the car.  My wife called out “Quick, Rita, duck!”  No, no, dear, I’ll take the bullet.  I’ll duck.  Hmm, not such a hot idea when you’re the driver.

The beginning of the Light Show.

So the lights…  We started out down the two mile, $30 trek to see the dazzling lights of Joe Poole Lake.  They were cool, nothing to write home about at first — the usual assortment of jingle bells and toy soldiers and the like.  Lisa was with us.  She and I bantered about .  “Where’s that Christmas music?” she bellowed from the back seat.  “Lisa, shut your mouth,” I responded.  The usual, friendly stuff.  More than once she inquired of that music.  Truth is that that damn Red Shoes song was playing and I just wasn’t having any of it.  “Oh, the radio’s busted,” I would say to her.  She wasn’t having any of that.  None of us had been drinking.  I noticed that rockin’ Astrovan’s headlights were still on despite the fact that the rules of the track required they be off or at least in parking light mode.  Except, I couldn’t figure them out.  A lady behind us pulled her giant F-150 around and motioned to us that they were on.  I hadn’t noticed.  She looked into my vehicle, fixed her gaze on me, and mournfully mouthed “Jur lites!  ¡Ay!”  A tear rolled down her cheek.  She was clearly distraught and also clearly insane.  I pulled over and got out of the car to investigate.  “Christmas music!” cried Lisa.  “Lady, you are this close to a Jersey beatdown!” I barked back as I fixed the lights.  Then we drove off.  In the far back seat my son was retelling his current favorite story to my sister-in-law.  “Aunt Kris, do you know the story of Corderoy?”  Actually he’s in this phase where he substitutes the word “ca-ca” for just about anything.  You guessed it “Do you know the story of… Corde-ca-ca?”  “I want some Andy Williams or Bing Crosby!  Ooh, how about that really fun song about the red shoes?” interjected Lisa.  “Lisa, as long as that song doesn’t play, I won’t have to kill you and you can resume your life free to pursue of path of religious fulfillment.” I shot back.

Bringing my tired little girl into the house. The joys of life!

The best part of this “show” (apart from mine and Lisa’s conversation) was the mid-point where we were routed through a parking lot.  In this lot travelers were permitted to park and exit their vehicles for a $10 fee.  We were not sure if that $10 covered just one’s exit from a car or not.  There was a building where patrons could purchase hot chocolate and get pictures with Santa (for another fee).  In other words, if we had parked and I stepped foot onto the asphalt would the Christmas display police track me down for my ten bucks?  Anyway, back on the beaten path we finished by driving through what looked like a car wash on crack.  And like that it was over.  I didn’t feel quite so let down because it was very cool, if not epilepsy-inducing.  We stopped at a Starbucks for peppermint coffees and headed home, Lisa still muttering something about music.  “Hey, how about some of that White Christmas stuff?”  I slammed on the breaks in the middle of the George Bush Turnpike.  Aunt Jane almost gave us her impression of a crash test dummy.  “What do you want?  What?!  WHAT!?!?!”  Unfazed came her reply: “Do you know that Yoko Ono tune?”  I gave up and the rest of the ride home I belted out Yoko’s Christmas anthem like the best of them.  I don’t know that particular song but I imagined that it might sound like a cat gargling razor blades with his tail in a blender set to “holy hell that hurts my ears”.

PS: Love you, Lisa…


2 responses to “Lights, Camera. That’s All…

  1. I had a stroke just watching it! Seriously, what caused it – the lights or the Eagles?

  2. Pingback: Galveston 2014: Day 3 | Harvey Millican: Raising Your Kids Without Lowering Your IQ

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