What I Did On My Christmas Vacation
|So... this was our low-key Christmas. We (the family, that is) agreed that the gifts would be of a fill-the-stocking nature, since the big gift we are all giving each other is a family trip to Las Vegas sometime next year. So, it was therefore going to be an easy, stress-free trip home, right?|
It all started on Wednesday, when I got a text message from my brother, asking when Kris and I were leaving for Pittsburgh. Since he and Janelle were not due to fly from Philly to Pgh until Monday (the 26th), I thought this was an odd question. However, I am used to oddness from Tom, so I told him we were heading out Thursday whenever Kris got home from work. And then I asked why. Apparently, Janelle and her mother were having some issues, and they wanted to see about getting out of there before Monday. Did I mention that they were in NJ, about an hour from Philly, and that I am in MD just outside DC? Being the amazing big sister that I am (and a massive sucker), I got in the car at shortly after 7PM and headed up to rescue them. I pulled into her grandparents' place (Very sweet people, and not at all the source of the friction) at about 20 minutes after 10. We loaded their stuff in the car, and Tom got behind the wheel for the drive back to Bowie. We stopped at the Wawa for some caffeine, and got on the road.
It was awesome to finally get to meet Janelle (Oh, yes, I hadn't met her before this, since she and Tom live in California), even though she dozed off partway home. Tom and I got to talk, which we don't do all that often. He told me more of the saga of their trip to NJ, which all started with landing in the Newark airport and going to pick up the rental car. Tom gave them his license and credit card, and that was when he found out that his license had expired. He has moved a couple of times in CA, and never remembered to send in an address change. So, no car. Hello $200 cab ride. (And I did NOT know this when I agreed that he would drive the return trip to MD)
We were on Route 3, just outside of Crofton, and therefore about 10 minutes from the house, when we passed a police car that was about to turn onto Rt. 3. Tom was (amazingly enough) doing the speed limit, so no big deal. A minute or two later, the red and blue lights start flashing in the mirror. Tom pulls over, and we are a little worried, since he does not have a valid license at the moment. The officer comes up to the window, and says "You weren't doing anything wrong." (At this point, Tom and I are both wondering why he pulled us over) He continues, "I ran your plates, and found that your registration is suspended." This is news to me, since I drive that car just about every day. Apparently, my car was due for an emissions test, and I never got the notice. So, it went past the due date on the test, and they suspended my registration. He had to ticket Tom, but told me that as long as I get it taken care of before the court date on the ticket, he would be willing to drop the ticket at that time. All in all, a little freaky, but the officer was really very nice. He could have been a real jerk about it and towed my car, but he didn't. He also did not notice that Tom's license was expired, which was a big "whew!" moment.
So, we get home, and I get Tom and Janelle settled in the guest room. It is now 2AM, and Janelle has an 8AM flight from BWI, so we needed to leave the house by 6:15 at the latest to get her there. My alarm goes off at 5, and I drag myself out of bed, get ready, and we get in the car and take her to the airport. Happily, that went really easily, and she didn't have any problems.
Tom and I come home, and find that Kris has decided to play hooky from work, which means that we can get on the road to Pittsburgh much earlier. We still had a couple of errands to run, so Kris got dressed and we headed out to Target, etc. Tom decided not to tell my parents that he was coming early, but thought he would warn my mother that Janelle had to go home early to work (which was why she flew out of BWI that morning). So, he calls her from Target and tells this story that he was still flying in as planned, but that Janelle would be leaving from Philly for San Diego instead of coming to Pittsburgh. She tells him that she will probably call to let me know that, since Kris and I were supposed to meet her that weekend.
We finished our errands, and were having lunch at DuClaw so that we could fill the growlers to take home for the weekend when my cell phone rang. It was Mom - telling me that I was going to have to wait to meet Janelle. I was of course terribly disappointed at this news, or so she thought. (Thank you, theatre degree) We hit the road at about noon or 12:30, excited at the prospect of completely surprising my parents with Tom's early arrival.
We were on the PA Turnpike about a half-hour from home when it happened. Kris was behind the wheel, and the red and blue lights appeared in the mirror once again. He was clocked going 80 in a 65MPH zone. (Now, I am the first to gripe at him about speeding, but I honestly don't think that he was going 80. 70, maybe 75, but not 80) I am panicked, because I am afraid that the Trooper is going to know that the registration on the van was suspended. (Yes, we were in that car - Kris's heat is broken, so it wasn't really an option) He was not apparently able to do that, and he was nice enough to write Kris up for "Exceeding the maximum speed posted" rather than a specific speed, so the ticket was less than it would have been.
We made it to my parents' house, and Tom stayed in the backseat of the van while Kris and I went in. We asked them to help us get a few things out of the car, and they both put their shoes on and went outside. Kris opened the side door of the van, and Dad spotted Tom. Mom was in the garage, not really wanting to come outside (It was cold!). So, Dad says "You'd better come out here and grab something." Mom was not pleased with him, until she got over to the car and realized what he was talking about. She said later that the first thing she saw was Tom's shoes, which are these red Michael Jordans, size 14, and are pretty distinctive. She couldn't figure out why we had his shoes. Then she looked up and saw him and thought for a split second that it was a dummy, until he grinned at her. She immediately flipped out and started asking me "Where did you get him? Where did he come from?" It was awesome. She and Dad were both completely surprised and were thrown off a bit for the rest of the evening. =)
We had a great weekend, and a really lovely Christmas with the family, although we did miss my cousin and her husband and son, who stayed in California this year. And we managed to avoid getting pulled over on the way home last night. I'll be going to the emissions place tomorrow morning to get everything straightened out.
I did get some knitting done on my legwarmers while we watched the "Christmas Story" and Law and Order marathons on Christmas Day. I'm about halfway through them, and I should have them done before New Year's, I hope.
Hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday, and will be having a wonderful New Year, too!