Parents will tell you that one of the big faux pas of holiday (or birthday) gift giving is presenting small children with toys that make noise. Though I am not a parent, I can now confidently state that another gift faux pas is giving toys that make noise to grown men who have too much time on their hands. This includes, for example, a life-sized Star Wars light saber that whooshes and zhooms and shrieks whenever you hit something with it. Give such a toy to a man who grew up during the Star Wars heyday--and give it to him on a day so rainy and windy that leaving the house is not really an option, given that the beach is off limits and everything else is closed for Christmas day--and you have a volatile situation on your hands. This gift might qualify as Worst Gift Ever in the history of Lunchboy and I will have it on the record that it is Not My Fault. Lunchboy's mom bought it for him and even she is beginning to regret her generosity. Suffice it to say that the light saber might end up living in Florida because I can just see the glee in the eyes of the TSA agents at the airport when they lay eyes on such a device. They'd throw us in the clink and then go play with the light saber in an empty plane hangar, a la George Michael.
Christmas in Florida is an adjustment, even more so than Christmas in LA was. Until today, when the skies opened up and a mini-hurricane rolled in off the Gulf of Mexico, it's been sunny and 85. The sun and heat are wonderful. But it makes all the fake snow in windows and wintery Christmas shlock even more incongruous. Then there's the sprawl. And the radio stations that play bad Christmas music 24 hours a day. Did you know that those stations existed? Because I didn't and there have been moments in the car with Lunchboy's mom, who loves bad Christmas music and keeps her radio tuned to those stations non-stop, that we have both allowed blank smiles to spread over our faces while we both secretly and very silently fantasized about throwing ourselves from the vehicle.
In addition to the festive holiday atmosphere, we can chalk up fun stars for the following memorable moments during this trip:
1. Lunchboy comes down with the stomach flu the day after we arrive and is unable to leave the couch, except for emergency trips to the loo
2. Lunchboy, valiantly but feverishly attempting to help his mother move a 200lb television, drops said TV on his foot
3. Lunchboy's mother and sister, whom I like very much, watch a record-breaking 5 hours of plastic surgery-related reality TV
4. Number of trips to the mall so far: six