"Please don't make me go there again this year!" I begged the man who vowed to always honor me and do his best to make me happy and a bunch of other stuff I can't remember now. "I'll clean the entire house and make dinner (and do freaky things I can't write in this blog) if you just don't make me go!"
For a few seconds, it looked like he actually might be considering it. But then he must have remembered how many times he'd gotten burned on similar deals with me in the past, because he said, "You're going. Get in the car."
And thus began our trip to the House of Annual Ritualistic Torture, otherwise known as Kraynak's Christmas Tree Lane.
Those of you who have been there know exactly what I'm talking about, although you probably won't admit it because it's apparently un-American or blasphemous or something equally awful to detest Kraynak's at Christmastime. For those of you who haven't driven hundreds of miles to Kraynak's, as my husband claims people actually do, let me just give you the basics of this yearly ritual:
Pile in mini-van. Listen to kids argue over who's sitting in the back and who's sitting in the back-back. Listen to kids argue over whether we're listening to Fall-Out Boys or Hannah Montana cd. Tell kids to quit crying. Tell kids Daddy can't drive with the light on. Tell kids to quit screaming. Listen to kids argue over whose butt stinks the worst. Tell kids to quit screaming (this time louder). Tell kids we're not listening to song number 6 again because we've already listened to it 11 times in a row and Mommy's sick of it. Tell kids to quit screaming (this time really loud).
After 35 minutes, see Kraynak's and comment on how long the line is. Drive around looking for a good parking spot. Settle for a parking spot in the back of the parking lot across the street. Imagine death from hypothermia while walking in 4-degree weather. Stand in line forever. And ever. Argue over who's holding the coats because all the shopping carts are taken. Tell kids to get up off the filthy floor. Leave line 3 times to go to the bathroom.
Finally get in Christmas Tree Lane. Feign delight while looking at 25 Christmas trees that look exactly like the ones last year. Pretend to ignore people getting hostile while husband holds up line by taking pictures of kids in front of every single tree. Wait 27 minutes in line for Santa Claus. Shell out twelve bucks for sucky picture with Santa Claus.
Re-live mini-van scene from above.
Hey, it's a tradition, so that makes it joyous.
I guess I shouldn't be such a Scrooge because the kids do have fun at Kraynak's. But then again, they also have fun at home trying to wipe boogers on each other.