Friday, December 18, 2015

Innocence of Children vs. Crankiness of Old People

Excitedly, I pointed the standard-sized SUV toward Budget Rental. I had been held in check for three hours, since ordering the "surprise" for my six kids, renting a 2016 Ford Transit, 15-passenger van until Christmas Eve, while our SUV was in the shop, and we were finally headed there, the kids noticeably oozing with excitement over my words that something was going to be "fun."

We had purchased the SUV the year before, trading in a 12-passenger van. Our kids were pissed. Now, instead of space to stretch out and the inability to reach their siblings to administer a well-placed pop knot on their noggin, they were elbow to elbow, never satisfied with the seating arrangements. Almost daily, one of them yells out, "Daddy! Why in the hell did you sell the van!!??"

We pulled up to Budget Rental, left the kids in the SUV, and walked in. Mohamed was there, and saw us walk in, a huge smile flashing across his face.

"Hi, Kristine!!!!! Oh...hey Joe."

Mohamed has managed this joint for the four years we've been renting from him and knows us well. We've crashed a few of his cars, kept one or two of them for an extra day or two, returning it to a whisper and a wink from the guy, never charging us another red penny. He's just the most delightful rental human ever to walk the earth.

"I've got your van in the back. It's the all new European style body and full of gas."

He led us to the back, handed us the keys, foregoing the walk-around, and waved goodbye.

Kristine and I jumped into the van and drove it around the front, stopping right behind our SUV. The kids didn't notice we were there until I threw open the doors and with a stern and angry voice, I yelled, "Get out!!!"

Slightly amused, they noticed the van.

The next ten minutes contained the loudest noise the city of Burnsville, Minnesota had ever heard. It was as if my kids were handed tickets to a two-week trip to Disney World. They danced around the van, squealing with delight, picking seats, and screaming.

After finally getting everyone situated and buckled in, I headed over to Taco Bell for dinner. I tried to dampen their excitement, telling them the nature of it came from the benefits of a large vehicle for a large family, after being squished into a crappy smaller vehicle, and that other humans wouldn't understand.

They would have none of it.

Busting into Taco Bell, six children swept up to the counter, talking all at once,

"We got a new van!!!"

"Just for a week, though!"

"It finally fits our family!"

"No more fighting until Christmas!"

"WHERE'S MY IPAD!!!!!!!!!!!?????????"

"Shush, Fred!"

The cashier behind the counter blinked and smiled, appreciative of kid cuteness, but not understanding what all the excitement was about. I ordered the food and sent the kids to a table in the corner, hearing them telling every single customer they passed, about the good news.

A few minutes later, I made my way over to them and sat down. Surveying the crowd, I caught a pair of glaring eyes, sending evil vibes my direction. Turning my head slightly to the right, I stared into the burning hot coal eyes of an elderly woman, holding a handful of playing cards. Noticing I was looking at her, she whispered inaudibly to the other woman across the table, shaking her head at my children.

I laughed, breathed a breath of satisfaction, and winked at the woman, sending her into a tizzy.

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