This year for Christmas we drove to Colorado to spend the week with Brinestone’s family. We headed out on the 20th and came back on the 27th. The drive out there was kind of slow because of snowy roads and heavy ski traffic around Vail, but otherwise it went pretty well. The kids were rather well-behaved in the car, and we arrived without incident.
The whole week was rather relaxed and mellow, which was very nice considering I’d just finished my stressful first semester of grad school. We mostly just sat around reading or chatting. Lego mostly entertained himself with all the new toys at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and Duplo just rolled around on the floor like he always does. One day Brinestone’s brother taught me how to drive a stickshift, and I managed the stall the car in traffic only once, which I think was an accomplishment. (I know what you’re thinking—how did I never learn how to drive a stick? Cicada asked me this once, and I asked her how she had learned. She says that her boyfriend in high school taught her how. I countered that I’d never had a boyfriend in high school, so I’d missed that opportunity.)
Then Christmas day came, which was a lot of fun. It’s very satisfying to watch Lego open his presents now that he’s old enough to appreciate what’s going on. He got a big fire truck from Santa, which was his favorite. Duplo just liked pulling the bows off all the presents.
After Christmas we all went up to a cabin in the mountains northwest of Denver. We had dinner, played mafia, and hung around reading and chatting some more. Brinestone took Lego out sledding, and he had a blast despite the cold. The next day we packed up and headed home. This time the drive was even slower. We took highway 40 home because it looked like it would be slightly faster from where we were, and though there wasn’t much traffic, the roads were snowy most of the way.
Given the circumstances, the drive went pretty well all the way until we got to Provo Canyon. Here the road was a little wetter, and as we were coming down around a bend, probably going about 50, the car’s back end started to slide. I swerved a few times as I tried to get the car under control, and for an instant I had visions of us ending up sideways across the highway and getting broadsided by the car behind us or flipping over the guardrail. People sometimes say that time seems to slow down in situations like this, but I think it’s just that so many thoughts go through your head so fast.
We did hit the guardrail, and both the kids woke up screaming and crying. I pulled over, put on my hazard lights, and said “shit” for the first time in my life. I went out to look at the damage, and it seemed that it was mostly superficial—the car had hit on the right front corner, and the bumper and fender were smashed in, with the bumper cover hanging down and rubbing slightly against the wheel. But it looked like there wasn’t any damage to the steering and suspension or in the engine compartment.
I got back in the car, and Brinestone asked me if we needed to call a tow truck. I said it looked smashed up but driveable, and then she asked if I was okay to keep driving. I said I was okay, and we started off again, this time much slower and more cautiously and now with only one headlight. The kids calmed down, and the rest of the drive was pretty uneventful. We got home right around 9:00, put the kids to bed, and watched some TV to unwind. (n.b.: the movie Click was not any good. Imagine It’s a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Carol remade as a typical Adam Sandler movie, and there you go.)
So aside from one mishap right at the end, it was a great Christmas vacation. It was nice to not have to worry about homework for a week and to spend time with Brinestone’s family. I’m very grateful to have married into such a good family—they’ve treated me like one of their own right from the start. Thanks for a good Christmas, guys.