On New Year's Day we drove to Wichita. Believe it or not, we left our home here in Lawrence at 6:15 in the morning! (I actually woke up at 5 o'clock to shower and dress, hearing the first part of NPR's Morning Edition live for the first time since leaving Korea where it comes on at a reasonable hour--in the evening.) The plan was for Maxine to sleep most of the way, which she did. Unfortunately, she spent the first 20 or 30 minutes awake. This was unfortunate because we had planned to stop at McDonald's for breakfast, and didn't want her to be awake for that. We figured that if she's awake, she'll want to eat, which will make her more awake, and make a three hour drive seem more like three days. So I didn't get breakfast until Emporia, about an hour and a half out of town.
And just let me say this about McDonald's: their food may be bland and predictable as well as fattening, they may be grinding American food culture into the dirt with a steel-toed boot, and Ronald isn't funny, but they make breakfast sandwiches that you can eat in a car without making a mess.
The most stunning thing we experienced in Wichita was a visit to the most impressive display of Christmas lights that I have ever seen. The following is a quick video, about 15 seconds total, comparing The House with the house next to it. If you have a slow internet connection, don't even bother, just skip to the pictures below. If you have a beefy internet connection, check the following post, which is nothing but a video tour of The House.
Maxine was a bit impressed, but no more so than she has been by hundreds of other things in her short life.
Horyon was impressed.
I was impressed.
I swear, these people spent more on their electric bill in December than I made working at Wal-Mart. AND they managed to out-tacky Wal-Mart!
Allow me to draw your attention to some details that you may have missed while struggling to keep your intestines from jumping up your throat to strangle you:
1. Santa in a Box. 2nd floor. Clear crystal box, like the one the bad guys used to take away Superman's powers in the second Superman movie. Insures that Santa is unable to reach his sleigh, with is not very well lit.
2. Snowman Sentry. 3rd floor, right above Santa. Further insurance that Santa will not leave the premises.
3. Electric Nativity. 3rd floor. Complete with Electric Heavenly Hosts.
4. Life-size Snowman and Snowchildren in Snowglobe. Right foreground. Fan-blown artificial snow inside the globe looks much nicer than the dirty snow on the ground outside.
5. Glowing, Ghostly Candy-Canes (G2-C2). Scattered across foreground. Well over ten feet tall, these G2-C2s not only provide low-level illumination, but the ambiance that can only be found when surrounded by insubstantial peppermint candies.
I am tempted to point out everything of interest to you, but as with the "Where's Waldo?" series of books, the fun lies in finding the details for yourself.
And lastly, I will leave you with a link to Square America's Christmas Spectacular, part of a site that is dedicated to web-publishing photos from the days when photograph pictures used to be mostly square. Some bizarre stuff in there. An interesting glimpse into the past, if not your own specific past.
It may be late, but I hope you all had a good holiday season, whether Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or just a winter vacation.