Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving, oh, my stars!

Is Thanksgiving really on Thursday? THIS Thursday? Oh, my stars! (I am certain Martha has never once thought this same thought.) Of course I haven’t even begun to think about what we are going to do for this Thanksgiving. And by we I mean me. In my immediate family I am the planner of all things holiday, creator of all rituals, orchestrator of all family memories. My husband only has one brother (a subject for another day) and his father is no longer with us. Apparently their holidays were spent dirt bike riding, camping, and going to Vegas. Call me nutty, but none of these activities seem synonymous with holiday rituals or lasting memories. They certainly aren’t the stuff that Hallmark holiday commercials are made of—or what I want my girls to remember about our family holidays. And so, here we are, less than a week away from Thanksgiving, and I find myself starting to stress, just a little…oh, I’ve got the basics down: food, fall ornamentation, family, friends. But, as they say, the devil is in the details…

I have a bunch of recipes that I usually make on Thanksgiving. Not all in one place—no, that would be too easy. I will have to hunt the kitchen cupboards, high and low, to locate them all to remember what it is exactly that I need from the store. I have a bin full of Autumnal décor that I strategically place around the house—not the bin, but the décor. (The bin is strategically placed in the attic, which is strategically placed over my head, which is symbolic for how most of the holidays are for me.) I usually have the kids help out with various parts of the holiday preparation. Two years ago Joy decorated paper-bag turkeys. Last year Marlo helped me cook. Yes, she’s only a little over a year, but she helped me cook last year, at two months old. How did we pull that off? Well, the night before Thanksgiving when I get most of my Thanksgiving preparation done, not wanting to leave things to the last minute, of course, she decided that I couldn’t put her down and that my husband was not an authorized holder. Therefore, I made a dinner for 12 with her in the Snuggli. Her job was to make sure I didn’t rush through anything. (Who needs to rush? There are 24 hours in a day and sleep is for the—birds? turkeys? the weak?) My husband’s (very important, self-appointed) job was to sit on the couch and watch TV, being mildly supportive in a distracted sort of way—unless taste-testing was involved.

Is Thanksgiving really on Thursday? I suppose I better get a grocery list ready. My husband will probably relinquish his hard-earned groove on the couch, in a touch of guilt over not really helping out at all with meal preparations, and offer to do the shopping for me. Now, while this sounds generous and helpful, it’s really a dubious offer at best. For, while I appreciate not having to leave home (usually after 10 pm so the shopping can be done sans children), not having to make the 25 minute drive to the store and 25 minute drive home, and not having to bag the groceries myself, I categorically do not appreciate having to make a detailed shopping list that includes the brand name, the size and/or amount, the aisle number, and shelf location, the 52 phone calls it takes for him to get through the one-hour excursion, nor the 17 missing items, nor the 8 unauthorized substitutions. And while this sounds thoroughly ungrateful, which it is, it is also completely justified because after basically doing the shopping trip with him—just not at the store—he thinks that this absolves him from any further involvement, except for the eating part, of course.

So, I guess once I resolve the shopping issue and the menu and the guest list…all that’s left is the cooking, the cleaning, the decorating, and the holiday-inspired touches (that usually come to me at the 11th hour), right before my 1.5 hours of sleep and (hopefully) a shower before any guests arrive. And hopefully I will get it all pulled together in time to make it a memorable occasion…tasty, beautiful, Martha-esque. Next week I’ll let you know how it goes…and I’ll submit photos so you can tell me what you think. Just avert your eyes from the kitchen mess, the remarkably life-like man-shaped couch cushion, and the little fingerprints that decorate my home. It may not be the next Thanksgiving cover for Living…but I am thankful for every moment, every memory. I have a lot of work to do…Thanksgiving is Thursday. This Thursday. Martha Stewart, eat your heart out!

Posted by The Editor for Busy Body.

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