Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Just Call Us The Griswolds From Now On
Ah, the first married Christmas. When little girls picture their first Christmas with their spouse, they imagine festive holiday dinners, hanging some beautiful "first Christmas" ornament from a fragrant evergreen, opening a box with a kitten inside, wearing a collar that happens to be a diamond necklace. What they perhaps don't picture is food poisoning/China buffets/minor car accidents/unexpected blizzards. For some reason, that doesn't make it into Martha Stewart photo shoots!
Our first Christmas began promisingly enough, with a trip to the only fancy restaurant in my hometown for a reunion with my high school pals. Don't we look cute? Don't be misled; we spent the whole dinner gossiping!
The next morning, Sean and I grabbed a couple burgers at a local chain restaurant, scarfed them down and headed to my mom's home in Kentucky. All seemed well, until four hours later, when Sean suddenly popped off the couch while we were watching "Miracle on 34th Street" and declared he didn't feel well. I don't know if it was the burger or what, but Sean ended up feeling sick to his stomach and a little pukey for the remainder of the trip. The poor thing had to spend the whole visit lying in bed, while we opened presents. I felt a little lost without him by my side, but I made a new friend:
My step-nephew Spencer! He and I got plenty of bonding time in while Sean rested.
On Christmas Day, we got up and traveled 2 hours to my grandmother's house. Sean still felt awful, but she managed to convince him to eat some soup. Then my dad and stepmom broke the news that they hadn't managed to make it to the grocery store in time, so we'd have to eat out for Christmas. That left us two options: IHOP or China Buffet. So we enjoyed a Christmas dinner of General Tso's, fried rice and those sugar puff donut thingies. The China Buffet, by the way, was packed. Everybody was living out their "A Christmas Story" fantasies.
When we left the buffet, we found a fresh slick of snow and ice had covered the road. My dad lives at the top of a steep hill, and because Sean was still sick, I was driving his car. Here's a tip: If you are driving a little coupe with power steering that is much lighter than your own car, and you're staring straight up an ice-covered hill, and you know you lost a little momentum when you hit a pothole as you made the turn, just don't even bother trying to make it up the hill.
Because if you do try, this will happen. We started to slide backwards and in my fear, I tried one last thrust of the acceleration even though I KNEW that was the wrong thing to do. All that did was accelerate our pulses, because we started to turn and I knew we could easily soon hit a small retaining wall, or worse, tip the front of the car off the side of the hill. I threw up the emergency brake, and stopped the car, leaving it blocking the road and got out, waving my hands and screaming, "I'm done! I'm done with this!"
I had no traction on my stupid stylish boots, so my dad and Sean did the dirty work of getting the car straightened and down the hill. I had hit the retaining wall, leaving a dent in Sean's bumper, but CHRISTMAS MIRACLE, it was gone the next morning.
We left to head home, which is an eight-hour drive, and near the middle of the state, started receiving alarming reports from friends and family about the snowstorm that was drenching the East Coast of Virginia. Newport News received about a foot-and-a-half of snow, and when I checked the traffic cameras for our exit, I couldn't see for the snow on the lens. Needless to say, we stopped in Charlottesville overnight, exhausted and ready to be at home.
When we did get home, we arrived to half-plowed secondary roads and I ended up working from home for two days. When we finally went out to clean my car, it looked like this.
We can already look back and laugh about our haphazard first Christmas. No kittens or spiral hams, but plenty of misadventures worthy of a "Vacation" movie. Needless to say, I've decided we aren't going ANYWHERE in January.