A war had broken out in the backseat, and there was still an hour of bumpy road ahead of us.
I pulled over and immediately the kids stopped arguing.
But I just sat there in a stupefied silence staring out the window.
"Will you look at that," I said to my children, who were still trying to wrap their minds around the fact that I had finally "pulled this car over" after years of empty threats.
"Sorry mom ... " they said in unison as they waited for me to resume my usual toothless parenting and ease back into traffic.
"No, not that ... Look at that house ... It looks like it's been dipped in glitter!"
Again the car was silent.
“Isn't it bee-eeee-aaaaa-yooooouuuuu-teeee-full?”
"Alllllll-right .... " said my daughter using her most cloying Mom's-lost-her-mind drawl. "I guess that's kinda cool."
I blinked back tears.
"Kinda Cool? Kinda Cool?!? #%^&!!!!" … I sputtered out some more keyboard characters before I had to take a deep breath and accept I was alone in my enthusiasm.
No matter how I tried I wouldn't be able to articulate all I was feeling.
Even in my mind's eye, I couldn't fathom such an impressive projection. A single spotlight planted in the ground that sprayed pinpricks of colorful light everywhere.
Just poke it into the lawn, plug it in and push a button. Presto!
I'd never seen anything like it (since I watch Netflix and missed the AS SEEN ON TV infomercials) but I knew the moment I beheld this holiday attraction (AS SEEN ON A NEIGHBOR'S LAWN) it was a bit of magic that I would willingly plunk down either my firstborn or two payments of $19.95.
There would be no ladder to heft. No roof to scale. No half-lit string of icicle lights to drive a person mad as they searched for a single bad bulb.
And best of all, there will be no neighbors tsk-tsking that summer has come and gone, and our lights are still littering our eaves.
Pry the sucker up, pack it with the tree ornaments and dust your hands of the holidays.
Now everyone everywhere could be an honorary Griswold.
Turns out my $40 guess would have won me a trip to the showcase on The Price is Right, but the store clerk was playing Let's Make A Deal.
“I've sold a bunch of these, not a single one has been returned.”
Of course, I had to buy it.
How could I turn away from a chance to tart up our front yard without risking a trip to the emergency room … or sucking up a year's worth of kilowatt hours while we count down twelve days.
This could be a game changer for the lazy and those of us who had been happenstance humbugs. With an all-weather extension cord, we too could revel inside our festive exteriors.
This starlight spotlight thing-y or-what-ever-they-call-it offers more than just tacky holiday illumination; it offers true democratization for the decorating disabled in a single – albeit potentially blinding – laser light beam.
We really WOULD be keeping up with the Joneses.
I could see it all unfold in a blaze of glory as I dragged my family out onto the lawn to witness this historic moment.
I pressed the button.
And to my utter amazement it worked.
And it was beautiful.
Dots of light danced around my house as if my retinas were detaching.
The kids oohed and ahhed with enthusiasm.
My husband even kissed the top of my head in a moment of solidarity.
This was a new beginning, alright.
“Next year, I'm getting another one!”