Spreading Christmas Cheer with Christmas Lights

I know it’s been a little while since I posted anything. I have to admit I lost my travel humor somewhere on the Island of Lost Baggage in the last few weeks of 2016. Luckily, there is nothing like traveling with family over the holidays for that humor to show back up in your Christmas stocking.

I was lucky enough to travel with my sister, brother in law, nephew, niece and son, for the first time all together, to Maine to see the rest of our family on Christmas Day.

Now I have traveled enough to realize that 4 adults, 2 kids in car seats, 12 bags of various shapes and sizes and a stroller, were going to be slightly more than a Fiat could handle. So I called ahead and spoke to a fantastic manager at the National rental desk and arranged for a much bigger car to be available when we arrived.

We made it across the country, from CO to ME, quite smoothly actually, and poured out of the plane ready for the 3 hour drive to my parent’s house.

I left the boys waiting at baggage claim and ran to the car rental office to pick up the vehicle and bring it around to load up the crew. The rental car staff were ready for us and handed me the keys to a shiny new Tahoe.


I pull up to the curb just as the boys start rolling out the first of the bags and we start loading up.

I will admit I have never solved a rubiks cube. But I am pretty good at puzzles.

After the 3rd time of rearranging bags and realizing there was still a bag and a stroller sitting on the curb, I turned to my brother in law and said,

“This is not going to work”

“No. I do not think it is”

This is how I find myself running back to the rental car office, saying “Please don’t hate me, but do you happen to have an even bigger car?”

I have to give them credit. They barely even gave me a funny look before they start scrambling to see what else they may have. They really were two of the best customer service folks I have had the pleasure of working with. Within a few minutes they have the keys to a shiny new Suburban available, the vehicle switch is made, and I am back at the curb to start re-loading.

Shockingly, it was still a bit of puzzle solving to get everything in this massive boat. We do it, but we have used Every. Spare. Inch available. Good thing as I don’t think they rented out buses.

But we are all loaded up and ready to hit the road!

We get on the highway and decide we all need food to make it through the rest of the drive. We see a sign for a rest stop with a Burger King and that’s where we head.

It’s Christmas Day, so there are not many people in the drive through line. Just one car in front of us. But still we sit there for about 5 min before that car moves and we pull up. And we still wait about another 15 min before the guy is ready to take our order. In fact, I have to gently ask him if he has forgotten about us in order to prompt him to take it.

I realize an order for 6 people might be a little bit confusing, but it takes about 3 repeats for us to be at least 50% sure the guy has gotten it right. And when we pull up to the window, he still gets 3 of our 5 drink orders wrong.

After straightening out our drinks, he asks us to pull around the corner and park to wait for our food, as it will be a few minutes for them to grow the veggies and butcher the cows.

We pull around the corner and park in a spot parallel to the curb. And directly facing the drivers side of  a little Hyundai parked in front of us.

Now I realize that our lights are shining directly into the drivers window, and I turn the knob all the way in the opposite direction, assuming this will turn the lights off.

It doesn’t.

So I turn  the knob back and forth a few times trying to find the “off” position. No luck. Finally, I settle with it back on what I assume is the parking lights position at the least.

It takes about 30 seconds of the annoyed and irritated looks the driver starts shooting us, to realize that the lights are still not off.

“Dude, I’m trying to turn them off” I say, turning the knob a few more times.

(My sister points out, much later, that all this knob turning has done is continually flash our lights at the poor fellow, probably, most definitely, only increasing his irritation)

The guy throws a few more less than friendly looks in our direction, then suddenly he digs up a flashlight from somewhere in his car and starts flashing it in our direction.

This has the effect of a lightening bug flashing in the windshield of a 747.

“Dude, that is not going to bother me in the least. Flash away”

Of course at this point we are all laughing.

“I really can’t figure out how to turn them off” I say, flicking the knob a couple more times.

“I don’t think you can turn them off in some of the newer cars. They’re all automatic” my sister adds, helpfully.

The guy gives up on the flashlight after a minute or two, shoots us a couple more less than friendly looks, and then slams his sun visor over across his window.

“That should help. Then just don’t look over here and it won’t bother you so much!”

“I wonder what he is even doing, just sitting there anyway?”

We continue these musings for a few minutes, and then the guy has a flurry of irritated activity behind the wheel, throws his car in reverse, and hurtles back out of his space.

At first, I think he is going to back up beside us and start something.

He doesn’t.

Then I think he is going to turn his car around to face us and shine his lights into our car. Which I was actually already laughing about, since the lights from his Hyundai would have probably shone directly under our Suburban.

He doesn’t do that either. He tears out of the parking lot and disappears.

“That was weird. I wonder what he was even doing just sitting there?”

“I don’t know, but we obviously ruined his Christmas!”

“I think we successfully ruined his entire year!”  I flick the knob a few more times.

“I really can’t figure…. Oh. Look at that. I found the “off” spot”


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Hyundai dude…





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