*holiday throwback* holiday lights from hell

**DISCLAIMER** Anyone related to me, please do not take this personally and instead read it as a satire

If you haven’t read this yet, you should, or else you’ll probably be really confused and pissed off. And I don’t really want to be responsible for anyone feeling that way when you’re all, “I blew up the giant Christmas tree because SHE made me. Who’s she? That damn booshy girl.”

Are you all brushed up? Awesome. Read on.

Whoever said that it was super important to have family time during the holidays obviously never really *had* a family. They had a dream.

My mom happens to be one of those people who relish in big, massive gatherings that mostly involve people we know. I say mostly because I think the older I get, the less I actually *know* some people that apparently belong to our family? Maybe it’s just me? Hell, it probably IS me…but I digress.

For some bizarre reason, Auntie, Ashleigh and Ashleigh’s two children (who have since morphed into six, I think. But it might be seven. Ashleigh wanted a girl…and said girl didn’t pop out until the sixth or seventh attempt. I think her husband *might* be fixed now).

Anyhow, the “Florida” relatives rarely made the trek to Georgia.  Prior to this impromptu visit (which probably had something to do with a Catholic function taking place in Atlanta and who wants to pay for a hotel when there’s a perfectly good bed at the Younger Sister’s house?), the last time I remember them visiting was during the sad days of my brother’s funeral.  A downer, I know. They probably should have considered returning for a happier memory that would have been stated in place of this one. I’d count the wedding, but at this point in history, there was no wedding. It was Tim + Jessica = Boyfriend and girlfriend.

The more I think about this, the more I’m starting to believe that the cosmic stars called shitballs had aligned in a straight line that first pierced through this Christmas and then pointed directly to hell (Sorry, Jesus. At least I’m not lying).

During this particular Christmas, not only did I have a boyfriend, but Jeff also had a girlfriend. We usually didn’t match up like that…I’d be all dating someone and he’d be single and then I’d start to realize “the boyfriend” was actually “the mooch” and kick him to the curb while Jeff found something resembling love in a chick. This time, we were apparently on the same wavelength. My boyfriend? Awesome and way older than me. And Jeff’s girlfriend was…also older. Older as in: if we lived any closer to Alabama, he’d be dating me. Or dating someone my age. Or something like that. Whichever way it goes, it’s gross and we’re moving on.

Jeff’s girlfriend’s name was Heather and was my age…chronologically.  Mentally I think she was stuck somewhere between 13 and 15, depending on when she hit puberty. Now had I believed in things like name-karma, I would have immediately dismissed her and called her psycho-bitch-ballerina under my breath. Jeff’s Heather turned out to be exactly like one of Tim’s ex’s, also named Heather, who decided her beloved dog was more important than things like responsibility. And groceries. And sex.

Tim, however, was apparently Mr. Sex to Auntie, who refused to give any sort of pelvic distance during their first-ever embrace and probably gave him a slight pinch on the ass whenever she walked by. Her husband? Still in Florida. This was probably the only thing that saved Tim from an unpleasant sensation in the twigs and berries, resulting from the kick of a heavily booted foot attached my my uncle (who is technically my step-uncle. I’ve never actually *met* my real uncle. Apparently he’s an asshole not worth meeting).

All of these things coming together at once – the girlfriends, boyfriends, relatives and young children – caused an explosion of excitement resembling tiny, winged ponies and kittens that flew around in my mom’s brain, knocking out things like commonsense and reality. Said ponies and kittens were apparently responsible for my mom’s brilliant plan to rent a van and take everyone to the Holiday Nights of Lights at Lake Lanier. Carpooling wasn’t an option. This was FAMILY TOGETHERNESS TIME. A carpool would probably have resulted in peacefulness and how can anyone make a memory out of a calm, serene atmosphere?

No one.

And had I listened more closely, I probably would have heard my mom mumbling all, “The kittens said it would be a good idea and the damn ponies actually made the phone call to the rental company. I had nothing to do with this. Blame them.”

And before I go any further, let me just say that these kinds of vans should really only be used for things like ladders covered in paint and probably bodies, but our van had windows, so I’ll stick with the ladders. The windows would ruin the whole secrecy bit that’s one of those important things to remember when concealing bodies.

Also? We probably should have considered the bodies, since the bottom of Lake Lanier is an entire town plus bodies.  We could have provided some excitement for everyone hanging out under the surface who are pretty much about to go ape shit all, “Dammit, Franklin! If I have to hear about how fish are nibbling on your ass one more time…”

Oh? Lake Lanier? You don’t know? Well, that’s how we do it in Georgia. Water? Lakes? No, we weren’t exactly *given* those by Mother Nature, so we made our own and in doing so, flooded a perfectly happy town because it was kind of in the way since the architect fucked up the blueprints for said lake.

Anyhow, during this point in history, my mom was still attempting to include the one person who caused her to have an involuntary gag reflex, my dad, in “family” activities, which means she basically hired a driver for free. On the day of the event, we first had to participate in the arts and crafts that go along with Christmas, like making gingerbread houses from milk cartons and graham crackers.

You thought I was kidding? Allow me to present Exhibit A: Tim with goatee + gingerbread house. He is an Engineer. I swear.

Once everyone was pretty much high on sugar, it was time to load up into the van. I say “load” because Kid 1 and Kid 2 required car seats, diaper bags and blankies while the rest of us were biting, clawing and slapping to get the seats in the back, the farthest away from Kid 1 and 2. Everyone knew a long car trip + kids high on candy = disaster.

Tim and I lost and were stuck directly behind the car seats. Mostly because I was still on my best behavior, not yet ready to show Tim my cutthroat attitude towards competitions. As in: I win. Always.

Jeff and Heather got the primo seats, which was, in hindsight, probably a bad move on Jeff’s part. Any noise tended to bounce off the back windows and was subsequently carried from back to front.  20-20’s a bitch, isn’t it brother?

My mom pretty much called shotgun before anyone even stepped into the van. She dubbed herself navigator to the “Nights of Lights” because it was impossible for my dad to successfully get anywhere by himself, seeing as that he never could quite figure out how to get his head out of his ass.

Auntie and Ashleigh sat with Kid 1 and Kid 2 and Mason and Troy removed themselves from the required family activity and found a new, magical world that had nothing to do with us called the space between the back row of seats and the end of the van. Had we been hit by an asshole (because it’s only the assholes that hit anyone from behind), they probably would have regretted their decision. Thankfully, no assholes were ever behind us during the trip from cosmic shitball hell.

Now, if you ever plan to go to the Holiday Nights of Lights, let this be your warning: There is only one way in and one way out of the park called a single-lane road that goes on for fucking ever. You inch your car along about one foot every five minutes while watching a snake of red tail lights ahead of you crawl along for miles and miles and miles. That’s really the Nights of Lights because by the time you actually get to the park you want to leave. Lights? I think I saw a snowman attacking a reindeer while Santa cowered behind a giant gumdrop. I think that means danger and we should probably leave. Immediately. Think of the children!

And by the way, fucking ever is a long ass time with two kids whose glucose levels are zero and who are now screaming like their arms are getting ripped off by savage cheetahs and only Elmo and Magic Carpet Man could cease the carnage, which, by the way, are impossible to produce shadow-puppet style. Damn you, Ashleigh. Next time, pack the whole fucking zoo instead of a few wimpy stuffed monkeys.

I offered to leave and get sustenance from the Golden Arches that I could see looming in the distance, convinced that  I could swipe a few Happy Meals and return to the hell-van before they managed to travel two feet farther than when I left.

The driver, aka my dad, aka adventure ruiner was all, “That’s too dangerous. You might not be able to find your way back to the van.”

Exactly. Anyone else want a cheeseburger?

Where was Tim?  Well, I would have invited him to escape to freedom with me, if for no other reason than to have an alibi when questioned the next day by my mom, royally pissed that we skipped out on the family togetherness. We’d be all, “We were looking for McDonald’s but we got lost, which is why we called a taxi because hell, you wouldn’t want us to freeze our asses off, would you? Why didn’t we continue on to the Nights of Lights? The taxi driver didn’t speak English and all I could remember from Spanish class was homo…which I’m pretty sure isn’t even Spanish…but it must have sounded something like home so he stole my driver’s license and then I think he must have shot me with an invisible dart because the next thing I knew I was in my bed? Alone, mom. In my bed alone. Damn.

Except none of that could actually happen because Tim was too busy sleeping – completely and totally assed out, oblivious to the decibel level that had already cracked two windows while people in nearby cars were staring at us like we were performing a sporadic surgery without anesthesia. Or they had finally noticed the cheetahs yanking off body parts.

I kept poking at him all, I’m sorry, how in the hell do you fucking sleep through THAT?

So my partner in crime was lost to the Sand Man and my dad kept doing that lock, unlock game with the doors…fuuuck.

Enter sunflower seeds. I’m not even sure how anyone wrangled them away from the front console but I think a few of the tiny miracles may or may not have been lodged in Kid 1 and Kid 2’s throat. That or they were spiked with crack, because after a few minutes of stuffing their little faces, they calmed right the hell down.

Auntie was all, “They’re not old enough to have sunflower seeds! Ashleigh! LET. THEM. SCREAM. It’s the only way.”

Ummm…don’t be an ass-hat, Auntie. I don’t think anyone – including Ashleigh – cares if they eat sunflower seeds or start puffing on a doobie. Anything to maintain a least half of my ear drums. I’ll even roll it for them. Not that I’d know how, exactly…but the point is, they’re not screaming.

The blissful silence was short lived but only because the dispute between Heather and herself started to get intense. I’m pretty sure Jeff had already checked out, so Heather was answering all of her own questions for him. I mean, at least she got the answers right? Or maybe not, because somehow kept getting angrier…at herself.

I guess all those cotton balls she ate during her tippy-toeing days finally found their way to her brain.

It went something like, “Hold my hand!”

Jeff: Wha…? Why? You’re mean?

Heather-psycho-bitch-ballerina (“Heather”): I said so. That’s enough.

Jeff: Fine. Whatever.

Heather: While you’re at it, disown your friends.

Jeff: What the hell?….

Heather: All of them. Even that weird one who thought it was funny to put dynamite into a cake.

Jeff: He’s awesome. And that whole dynamite cake was funny…we even have it on video and…

Heather: He’s an asshole.

Jeff: No, actually, he’s awesome. You’re the asshole, I think.

Heather: HOLD. MY. HAND.

Jeff: The fuck? I am?

Heather: THE OTHER HAND

Jeff: …

Heather: You know, I’m not an asshole. I’m important. So important you need to throw away your phone. Here, this is a pre-paid one with only my phone number.

Jeff: That phone is pink?

Heather: Pink’s my favorite color.

Jeff: But it’s pink?

Heather: And it’s yours. Give me your phone. What’s your pass code?

Jeff: The fuck?

Finally, my mom’s sing-song warning voice rings out all, THIS IS FAMILY TOGETHERNESS TIME!! THAT DOESN’T SOUND VERY TOGETHER-Y…

In other words: Shut the hell up or there will be consequences.

Heather: But…he won’t give me…

TOGETHERNESS, DAMMIT!

Begin uncomfortable silence that lasted until we made it to the *actual* Night’s of Lights.

Do I remember them? No. I think I fell asleep or knocked myself out with my shoe. One of those.

Kid 1 and Kid 2 also fell asleep, which had Auntie’s panties up her ass all, “WAKE UP! IT’S FUCKING SANTA!”

When they didn’t, she shook Ashleigh to semi-consciousness all, “WAKE UP! IT’S FUCKING SANTA!”

Heather was giving Jeff herself the silent treatment.

Mason and Troy were still in their fort, plotting a super secret attack on the front console to obtain the magical seeds.

Tim was still fucking asleep.

I vaguely remember someone asking if we wanted to get out and visit the Santa Shop. I’m pretty sure we all said not unless Santa is handing out packs of mixed medications including Xanax,  Prozac and Valium. He’s out? Keep driving.

And my parents fought the entire way home on how to actually *get* home.

I don’t think we spoke to one another until July, probably.

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1 Response to “*holiday throwback* holiday lights from hell”


  1. 1 franzi December 25, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    love this post! family craziness at its best!!


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