Our entire Christmas was planned around our trip to California this year. About a week before we were supposed to leave on our family vacation, the Nissan totally conked out, leaving us without a vehicle big enough for our family to make it across the plains. Much to our chagrin, the dealership told us that our 2005 Nissan Pathfinder needed an entire new transmission, a new radiator, and a new heating/cooling system. As luck would have it (and believe me, luck is normally not with us), the entire repair was covered by our extended warranty which was set to expire in 1,000 more miles. Merry Christmas to us!
We planned to take off Monday (21st), but the repairs weren't done until late Tuesday night. The minute the repairs were completed, we loaded up the car and headed off towards Mesquite in a giant snowstorm. Our luggage didn't fit into our already packed car, so we loaded all the suitcases onto a luggage rack on the back of the car and covered it all with some painter's plastic to protect it from the snow. Unfortunately, it turns out that painter's plastic is not waterproof -- at least not the cheap kind I bought! We unloaded all of our stuff at 1:30 a.m. into our hotel room, only to find that all of Cali's and Aaron's clothes were soaking wet. I stayed up into the wee hours of the night doing laundry. What a fantastic start to the vacation.
The next morning was looking up. The sun was shining. We reloaded the car and headed towards Vegas. Unfortunately, Aaron forgot his sunglasses and has very sensitive eyes. I could've offered to drive, but instead, I opted to lend Aaron my $5 pair of WalMart sunglasses so I could take a nap! I couldn't help laughing and pointing at him a bit before I fell asleep.
We arrived in California in record time. That new transmission really got us there quickly. We shoveled down a piece of lasagna at Grandma Sue's house and got back in the car to head to the Melodrama in Bakersfield. Carol Sue and David bought the ENTIRE family (their 4 children, spouses, and all of the grandchildren) tickets to see A Christmas Carol, and 2 other Christmas collections of stories and songs. The most entertaining part of the evening was watching a "drunk" Santa, and a woman singing a version of "Twas' the Night Before Christmas" in Spanish while thrusting her hips and telling semi-obscene jokes. I loved watching the kids' faces while all of that was going on! The cousins had a great time sitting together, but started to get tired during the 3rd hour of the performance!