Monday, December 2, 2013

The Thanksgiving Vacation Story

     This Thanksgiving my clan decided to go all rogue, and change our normal Turkey Day festivities.  We ended up going to lovely Orange Beach, Alabama for the extended Holiday Weekend and eat our turkey on the beach!!  Well, we didn't eat Turkey this year, but it was replaced with Filet Mignon for yours truly, Lunchables with Steak for Jesse, Mac and Cheese Seashells for Maddie, and Hashbrown Casserole, Golden Acorn Squash, and Asparagus for my dear wife, Cheryl.  It was the "Meal of Your Choice" Thanksgiving, and it turned out pretty good to be honest!  We had our share of events on this trip, and I want to hit the high points.  The trip down and back was noteworthy, and sandwiched in between were some interesting happenings involving children's snacks, outlet mall shopping, and a quest for a lottery ticket.  This is my version of the Griswold's Christmas Vacation, and we'll call it the Perry's Thanksgiving Vacation.....we're an imaginative lot around here.
     They say that the journey is the destination or getting there is half the fun...or at least something like that anyway.  Well, they can be right some of the time, but in this case they are wrong.  I spent the first half of our drive down to the beach trying to explain to Jesse that "Brent Muskenburger" did not play quarterback at LSU, and in fact he did not exist at all, as far as I knew.  Jesse was not easily swayed from his tale of "Brent Muskenburger" having a nice touch on the ball and one heck of an arm.  This was a mash up of Brent Musburger and Zach Mettenberger if you haven't guessed that by now.  He gets this type of misunderstanding directly from his mother, and she got it directly from her mother.  It's a vicious cycle of the misunderstood.  In other news from the misunderstood, there was the poor "Pint Size Bowlers" who were lost at sea, that we heard about on the radio as we approached Alabama's Gulf Coast.  It's extremely difficult to accurately absorb the news on the radio in my wife's Prius when you've got the Red Power Ranger taking on a Nighlok in the backseat, and the Clumsy Ninja doing his thing back there too.  Not to mention the Candy Crushin' that is going on right next to me in the passenger seat.  I could have sworn they said, "Pint Size Bowlers."  I pictured a bunch of short people who liked to bowl, but the news actually said, "Capsized Boaters."  Oh, yea.....  That makes a little bit more sense.  This car-chatter did not improve on the drive home, and we had Christmas music competing with Science homework, and a constant buzz of "Mom," repeated over and over.  Tough to think straight with all this going on, that's for sure. 
     Once the natives got restless in the backseat, and the need for gas arose we stopped over in Greenville, Alabama.  One of the few places along the route that has a nice selection of restaurants, gas stations, etc.  When we travel in the Prius the need for gas is limited, and the pit stops are normally only for extreme emergencies.  Like ole' Iron Bladder needing to see a man about a horse or the necessary evil of "snacks."  I may have written about my absolute disdain for "snacks" before.  Goldfish crackers are evil.  Teddy Grahams and Gummy Bears are the crack cocaine of the toddler to tween set.  Once you get started on these things pain will follow, that's a fact!  You cannot escape the wrath of the dreaded "Snack."  Reminds me of a time many years ago when we bought a 2 year old Jesse a video.  The video was a "Baby Einstein" production or something like that, but we soon found out that this programming was baby crack.  Jesse would absolutely throw a fit if you had to turn it off for any reason.  He was a very well behaved child, but whatever subliminal messages those "Baby Einstein" people were sending to him changed him into the kid from "The Omen."  I was scared for my life, and I thought I was going to wake up one night and he would be staring at me like Chucky from those Child's Play movies.  Anyway, back to the snack ordeal.....We stopped in Greenville to get gas and snacks.  I received a message from the wife while I was pumping gas and it said, "Get Jesse Cheetos brand cheese puffs and a water.  Maddie wants rainbow Goldfish crackers and a blue bug juice.  I want regular Chex Mix and a water."  Begrudgingly, I went into the store for these items, and of course they didn't have half this crap.  No bug juice and No Rainbow Goldfish crackers.  I thought about winging it and getting some of the cheap brand "Whales" crackers, and a blue colored drink of some kind, but I knew it would never work.  I asked the lady at the front register, "Do you have a gun back there?"  She looked at me very strangely and said, "Why?"  I responded, "You can go ahead and shoot me with it, and put me out of my misery."  Then she laughed and said, "Going to the beach with your kids for Thanksgiving, huh?"  Sweet lady.  I had to run back out to the car and arrange for some alternate foodstuffs to be purchased before we could leave the metropolis of Greenville.  Once I was back inside the store I received another message from my wife and it read, "While you're in there get me a bottle of cheap wine."  I knew where she was coming from for sure, and if I wasn't Straight-Edge I would have bypassed the wine and went to the liquor store in a heartbeat.  However, my lifestyle choice of not using any substances would prevent me from doing any of that.  We were able to escape without my wife drinking wine, and me having a nervous breakdown.  So, all things considered the trip down was a success.
     There is something special about seeing Christmas lights during the Holiday season, and seeing them at the beach is pretty cool I must say.  That was the first thing we saw as we arrived in Orange Beach, and it was very enjoyable.  While we were at the beach we spent some time at the Outlet Mall and bought some stuff.  Which is usual at these places, but the problem was that I kept setting off those theft detection things.  I was setting these things off when I entered the store, and of course everyone looked at me like I was Charles Manson or something.  I have a Titanium Jaw (long story) and I thought that was what was setting these things off.  My grand entrance to just about every store at the Outlet Mall went something like this...."BEEP" "BEEP" "BEEP" and then I would yell, "It's OK I've got metal in my head!"  The looks I got were priceless.  I only wish I could have gotten some of the responses on video.  You know the snooty women's clothes sales-girls who think they're Princess Diana or something.  I channeled my inner Cousin Eddie with my Metal Plate in my head.  Just don't turn on the Microwave!!  Also, while we were there we bought a lottery ticket.  This is a right of passage on the Florida-Alabama line.  Florida has a lottery, and Alabama doesn't.  Somebody has to win, so why not buy one. However, when you're at the beach in November the idea of "Beach Time" is very evident.  Nothing opens at the beach before 11am in November.  At least that was the experience we got on Saturday while in search of a lottery ticket.  It became a quest to find a ticket, and I was not going to give up.  We went to several places to buy this ticket.  The liquor store by the Flora-Bama was closed.  I couldn't figure it out.  Do the beach going drunk people not buy liquor before 11am on a Saturday in November?  Guess not.  We went to a gas station, and they had no lottery tickets to sell.  I began to think this was a conspiracy to prevent us from becoming Millionaires, and I continued on.  We were finally able to find a ticket deep into Florida.  Well, not really that deep, but it makes the story sound more interesting.  The results were given out late Saturday night, and I went to check our numbers.  Cheryl had the ticket buried in her purse.  The no mans land.  I hate going into her purse.  There are things in there that scare me.  I can never find anything in that pit of confusion.  She told me that the ticket was in her purse, and she knew by the look on my face that I was not pleased with this information.  She said, "It's not like I'm asking you to wade through the depths of Hell to find the lottery ticket."  I answered, "That is the perfect analogy, but I will take on this challenge like any other."  Thankfully, I found the ticket and checked the numbers.....drumroll........and we......Lost.  Oh well.  Maybe next time.
     The trip was a great success, and we may start a brand new tradition of doing this sort of thing every Thanksgiving!  There was some negative things however....As many of you know the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn was played on Saturday.  I am an Alabama fan, and just like the lottery experience....We lost.  Lost in dramatic fashion too.  It was a tough day, but that would be life.  Win some.  Lose some.  That's kinda the idea, I think.  Nothing can be too easy or you won't appreciate the good stuff to begin with, if that makes sense.  The ball bounces funny sometimes, and you just have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get right back after it.  I've been doing that pretty much my whole life.  Been knocked down quite a few times, and I always try to get back up.  That is unless I get knocked down by a child all geeked up on Goldfish crackers or something.  Then I'm down for the count.