We all have our holiday traditions—eyerolling, drinking, overeating, and vowing next year will be different somehow are popular ones—but looking back, I seem to have acquired a new Thanksgiving tradition: blogging the recap.
Hey, life of a blogger = no secrets, right? Well, I’m not going to give you the blow-by-blow, but there were some… moments.
ME: (coming in from a trip next door) Ugh, those fences are terrible at night.
HIM: They’re not any better in the daytime.
ME: Ya-huh, because in daylight you can at least see where the gaps are and the gates—
HIM: Have you tried using your eyes?
ME: —and avoid the crazy old men in lawn chairs!
HIM: … lawn chairs?
ME: Oh yeah, they’ve decided their new seasonal thing over there is “perpetual summer” or some shit?
HIM: Well, you do up your holidays…
ME: I stick with the ones that are actually happening and seasonally appropriate! It’s practically Christmas—I think—and they’re out there with a goddamned slushie machine!
HIM: … What flavors?
ME: (commits eyeball murder, which is a new crime I invented out of necessity)
HIM: (calmly sips Coke, unaware of demise) So did you at least get—
ME: NO, because I took the wrong things over and I was so embarrassed that I just left.
HIM: Well… (shrugs) … It’s not getting any brighter.
ME: (plots death of ten thousand paper cuts)
And then I woke up.
Cliché, I know, but seriously! I woke up and thought holy shit, that was a weird and mundane dream but also what a typical conversation filled with him being an unreasonable asshole! And so I rolled over to grab my phone—I needed to note the conversation, of course, but also it was Thanksgiving and I needed to check the time so I could plan my lie-in before dragging 23 pounds of turkey out of its brining bucket and starting my long-ass day of cooking.
The clock on my phone read 2:23pm.
I snapped awake like one of those horrible morning people and screamed for Husband.
Who then had to listen to the saga of both dreams as soon as I realized I didn’t actually have my phone in my hand and the light was still coming in through my east-facing window. The actual time was 8:41.
One of our Thanksgiving traditions is my son always names the bird. Some have called this morbid, but I think it honors the bird he used to be and connects us with our food on another level. Plus, it excuses the fact that I’m going to talk to it anyway—damned thing is the size of a toddler and I’ve got to bathe it, brine it, bathe it again, do some secret treatments I will impart to only one person before I die, rub it all over with oil, season it liberally, and roast it ‘til its skin is crisp and its muscles turn juicy and tender. It’s all just too personal to do in complete silence—silence makes it feel creepy and gross, somehow.
Anyway, Offspring named this year’s model Gerald. No, he has neither seen the movie nor read the book. His logic was, and I quote, “he looks like a Gerald; he’s too big to be a Jerry.”
Gerald was prodigiously prepped, stuffed, and roasting at 500°F when this happened:
OFFSPRING: That’d be cool. Think Dad would let us?
ME: … Huh. I hadn’t thought about him. Good question. (yelling) Hey honeeeeeeey?
HIM: (from upstairs) Coming! (comes downstairs, turns left, fucks off)
ME: (to offspring) Where’s he going?
ME: (calls out) Where are you going?
HIM: (from other side of the house) Oh, you’re in there.
HIM: (pops into parlor) Who let you out of the kitchen?
ME: (flays him with eyeballs, resurrecting dream crime but with a twist)
OFFSPRING: Ooooh… (hands up, palms out, quickly mimes that he has never met this man and disagrees with everything he says)
HIM: (quickly) I’m sorry!
HIM: I love you!
Because our kitchen was designed by satanic forces, we have the smallest oven I’ve ever seen. We didn’t even notice it when we bought the place, because it didn’t occur to us to ask, “is this a standard-size range?” Why would it not be? This isn’t an apartment, and the kitchen is not tiny. But no, in addition to making sure the cabinets don’t go all the way up (don’t get me started) they put in a tiny oven that barely holds the turkey with nothing else in there and only has one big burner up top—the other three are small.
But replacing it is a major project, because cabinets, countertops, flooring, etc. And it’s not even the point of this post—the point is that Thanksgiving dinner represents a feat of timing and planning and dimensional optimization on my part, and one that is marveled at by everyone who has seen that tiny oven.
Which is why Husband was taking his life into his own hands when—upon finding me sweating and exhausted in a kitchen (I’d just wrestled Gerald out of the oven and put in the carrots and sweet rolls) full of prepped veg and covered trays—he looked around and said:
“I’ve got time, haven’t I? I mean, you just started.”
You guys, he said this in the room with the knives.
But! He was also the one to pour me glass after glass of chef juice (some people call it wine, I guess) so I’ll probably keep him. At least through the holidays.
And, if we’re listing the nice things he did on Thursday, he sat with me while I made the obligatory call to my father.* Which I was going to tell you about but I’ve just deleted that whole bit. You don’t need to read how that went—you’ve got your own shit going on, and if your family is awesome… please adopt me?
Like I said, Husband was there and at the end of the day I was reminded why I keep him around.
HIM: Happy Thanksgiving!
ME: (smiles) You liked it?
HIM: I know you feel unappreciated while you’re in the kitchen, but you’re what I’m most thankful for.
Cheesy, but exactly what I wanted to hear.
* I’ve not spoken to him since my birthday this year (sent a card on Father’s Day, but Thanksgiving cards aren’t really… I mean they make ‘em, but it’s not traditionally a card occasion, is it?) Technically, I haven’t spoken to my father since nine days after my birthday—he didn’t call on my birthday, you see, but nine days later. And even then, it wasn’t to apologize for missing my birthday, but to bitch about the state of our student loans. I had to remind him that I’d had a birthday. I was… upset.
So, even though I never look forward to calling my dad, this call was going to be especially loaded. Hell, he was going to be especially loaded; I’d put off the call until after noon, which meant he’d be three sheets to the wind. But, I had to call. Not because he would be sad if I didn’t—if he wanted to not be sad and lonely in his old age he could have not treated me like crap, you know? No, I call for purely selfish reasons: I want him to be the one who’s wrong, about everything, always. And if he can forget the day his only child was born, I only even the score by neglecting even one “family” holiday. Not. Gonna. Happen. He’s getting an on-time card, call, or gift for every fucking one until the end of time.