odd blog‎ > ‎

A True Thanksgiving Tale

posted Nov 23, 2012, 6:32 PM by Mom Brewer-Chaparro
There was a thread in one of my favorite forums that is so good I have to share. It's a true story and I had to go back and read the updates all evening. I won't bore you with the comments added by everyone reading her tale, I will just copy/paste from the thread. If you want to read the entire thread (with pictures and comments) here's the link but you may have to join/sign in. Please be forewarned this forum is on a snark-site and some of the language and content may not be everyone's cuppa. However, if you want to see some of the worst things offered for sale online (on Etsy in particular) Regretsy is the place to go!

They didn't think I was fer serious

So hubs works out of town. Leaving me with the 4 smaller children during the week. Friday he brings home "college girl" who is moving back in because, well...her grand plans of how life should work didn't quite pan out. (hahahahaha I TOLD YOU SO...say it, say it, say Mama was right!) She's been here all week "supposedly" rearranging the rooms to get ready for her return at the end of the semester. (What this means is dragging furniture around the house leaving shit everywhere, and being on facebook a lot.)
I've been telling them all since Friday what needed to be done for Thanksgiving dinner to happen. Things like get the dinning room clean, don't make messes for me to clean up and if you want all the yummy things I make to be on the table, understand that I will not clean up the kitchen you messed up so that I can then cook a feast for you.
Essentially don't be filthy, put your own dishes ALL THE WAY IN THE DISHWASHER and get the dining room ready instead of dumping the contents of your book bags on it.
I told them last night at dinner. You all will clean the kitchen so that I can get started cooking before I go to bed. Did that happen...no.
Late last night I explained again...I'm now behind, but it can still be a great Thanksgiving, I need the kitchen to be clean when I get up in the morning so I can start. I'll set the alarm for early. It needs to be done. Was it...no.
When I got up at 6 this morning the dishwasher was empty and the sink was full of dishes. There are 4 other people in this house old enough to clean the kitchen and two who are old enough to know better than to leave their shoes on the kitchen counter.
I fixed a pot of coffee and decided today I would organize my craft space and do some laundry. Round about 9 hubs asks "What can I do to help and what time are we going to eat?"
My response "It's getting kind of late, actually don't you think you should get started on Thanksgiving dinner?"
"Yeah, what can I do to help you with that?"
"Oh, you all were supposed to have the kitchen clean last night, remember? I look forward to whatever you all plan on serving today."
They're all downstairs right now attempting to cook.
I'll keep you posted. This should be interesting. 

***************************************************
RJ, my step daughter (who is 4 years older than me) called to wish us a happy Thanksgiving. I told her what the situation was and she just laughed and laughed and asked if I was sure I wanted to eat Papa's cooking. I told her that I could live off coffee and hazelnut creamer and worst case scenario I'll make myself a grilled cheese. 

******************************************************
Apparently, they thought my pronouncement was hyperbole because I haven't spent the day ranting and raving.
After a brief fluttering of activity in which hubs loaded up both ovens with turkey and ham respectively(we have double ovens but they aren't full sized ovens they are each slightly smaller than full size ovens but bigger than a mini oven) and a furious storm of cleaning up last night's dishes and the rec room......
They fixed themselves lunch around noon and, you guessed it, the dishes are still all over the kitchen.
They've been avoiding me and walking on tender eggshells.
So hubs just comes in and says "It should be another half hour on the ham I want the turkey to stay in a little longer, so you can get in there and do what you need to do with the cranberry sauce, the mac and cheese and the rest."
"Um, even if I were going to do that....the window for all of that is gone. I was going to make pie crust this morning, it takes two hours for the dough to rest before you can even roll it out. Also, the cranberry sauce might be ready around midnight if I slid it in the fridge to set right this minute, another thing that was going to happen early this morning but didn't. It takes about an hour and a half start to finish of doing nothing else but mac and cheese for mac and cheese to happen. I TOLD you I would not clean so that I can serve. Furthermore no one has bothered to set the table and the kitchen is still dirty from lunch."
SHOCK AND HORROR!!!!!!!!!!!
"What are we supposed to do?"
"Well, there's some canned corn and canned green beans in there."
"There's no food?!?!?!"
"There's plenty of food, you just have to go put it together."
He's at the grocery store right now. I predict Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in our future.
Oh and I'm ruining Thanksgiving.
Which earned him this retort "No, I'm simply performing at the same level as everyone else around here."

********************************************
Apparently his time at the grocery store allowed him the mental space to really think the situation over.
He comes up stairs and is all "Now I understand, you thought I meant we would be eating in the next little while. Oh no, I meant that we would be eating around six or seven....we have plenty of time to get ready. I'll go get college girl and we'll get right on things. I got some canned cranberry sauce, which won't be anywhere near as good as yours, of course, and a pie and some ice cream and some rolls....Which china do you want us to set the table with and where is the table cloth?"
College girl ambles in and is all "So there's still going to be cheese cake right?"
"Um, no....once you make and blind bake the crust, mix up the custard and slide it in the oven it takes an hour and a half in a water bath and four hours minimum in the fridge to cool. You lost the cheese cake around 7 this morning. I told you that if you wanted cheese cake what had to be done."
"WHAT?!?!?!?! When?"
"Two days ago when you and your buddy were in the kitchen and I said 'If you want cheese cake for Thanksgiving you need to make sure that the kitchen is clean by tomorrow afternoon so that I can start marathon cooking.' to which you replied 'No problem, I'd do anything for cheese cake.' And since it looks like we will be eating later than expected if you need me to tell you how to make the mac and cheese just ask."
"Oh, nah...mac and cheese isn't all that important." and she left.
A few minutes later she comes back. "Okay, so how do you make the mac and cheese?"
Out in the hallway the littlest one can be seen toting the table cloth down stairs. She's tiny and it's a big table cloth for a big table so all you can see of her is her legs as she heads for the stairs saying "We got this mama, yeah we do, Papa's at the store again he said he forgot the candles."
So clearly, it has all just been a vast misunderstanding. Because they so meant to help out the entire time I just wasn't clear enough with what I needed them to do. 

*****************************************************
Well this is certainly shaping up to be a historic Thanksgiving. I haven't been down stairs yet but there was clanking of dishes earlier. So I'm guessing that the table is set and hubs reported to me a while ago that college girl was working on the mac and cheese and mopping the kitchen floor. (Don't give her too much credit I just bought a Shark steam mop, that I dearly love, that cleans like a dream and weighs next to nothing with the added bonus of being cool as all get out because you're steaming the floor.)
And, ladies and gentleman, this will be the first Thanksgiving in at least a decade that when I sit down at the table I will be freshly showered and in full make up.
Y'all, I shaved my armpits and painted my fingernails AND toenails. I feel so decadent. 

*****************************************
About 20 minutes ago hubs comes upstairs....
"I think we have it all done. This has really wiped us out. Please, if you don't mind...could you just take care of the rolls and help get it on the table...it's just the last few things."
At this juncture I believe my point is made. I'm not a bitch I'm just tired of being expected to spin straw into gold and the more gold I spin the more gold is expected with less and less straw at my disposal.
So with my make up on, but not yet my dinner clothes me and my yoga pants head down stairs to pitch in.
Where I find:
* the dining room table set
* the apple pie out of the oven on the kitchen counter (as he reported)
* the can-o-cranberry sauce opened and plated with half of it sliced for service and the other half still sitting on the plate looking like a can
* a can of green beans and corn (both unopened)and a jar of applesauce sitting in front of the microwave
* the turkey and ham (still in the cooking dishes) and serving dishes are lined up on the kitchen table, serving dishes not yet filled
I look around...I see nothing else. I turn to college girl and ask "I was told you were making mac and cheese?"
She says "Papa told me not to bother."
"Oh, really? Then I suppose there won't be rolls either." I opened the cans of green beans and corn, poured them into microwave dishes and turned to college girl
"You really should nuke those and get all this on the table, I'm going to go upstairs to get dressed."
The look on her face was priceless.
It took "all that time" and "wiped us all out" for them (working together as a team) to set the table and mop the kitchen floor (no shit, the Shark mop is fabulous it couldn't have taken more than 5 minutes), carve HALF a can of cranberry sauce and bake a frozen pie!?!
No wonder they think what I do happens by magic. It is obviously necromancy.
I am in my snazzy dress and wearing the necklace I just made from my Grandmother's marble top table. I'm about to put on my heels and head down stairs and I am pouring a large glass of wine.
And the saga continues. 

********************************************
First let's go over what the Thanksgiving menu was originally slated to be.
Turkey and stuffing
Brown sugar and honey glazed ham
Home made jellied cranberry sauce shaped in a delightful vintage jello mold
Cranberry "chutney" (My own invention, as hubs prefers whole berry, I take the left over solids from making the jellied version and put it back on the stove and add orange zest, walnuts, finely diced onion and a variety of spices along with a touch of honey and cook until the onions are soft.)
Ceremonial Mac and Cheese
Broiled asparagus with parm and fresh cracked pepper
Savory bread pudding (because I don't like stuffing)
Yellow squash and onions(the one thing my train wreck of a garden produced prolifically this year and I have a freezer full of it.)
Homemade bread with whipped butter (actual butter that I whip myself)
and there was going to be three desserts, cheese cake with a short bread crust, homemade apple pie (I do decorative crusts with acorns and maple leaf cut outs) with vanilla ice cream and lemon buttermilk pound cake made with meyer lemons.
I usually do some sort of table arrangement too. You know, go into the yard and cut magnolia leaves and such to go on top of a freshly ironed table cloth. And every item has it's own special serving dish.
That is what they could have had. All they had to do was some very simple prep work and all tasks were age and ability appropriate.
I also like the kids to dress for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Nothing over the top but at the very least "church clothes."

********************************************
Once their frozen pie and ice cream was served (I abstained from pie and poured a third glass of wine.) We began the ritual of what we are all thankful for. We go youngest to oldest.
The tiny diva recited what I'm sure she learned at school. "I'm thankful for all of my brothers and sisters and my mom and dad too." We know this was a rehearsed speech as we are fairly certain that she is in no way thankful for her brothers and we're not "Mom and Dad" we're "Mama and Papa."
Ginger boy goes next and says "I'm thankful for this wonderful meal Mama made."
And hubs and college girl's eyes about bugged out of their heads. OH MY GOD, Captain Oblivious didn't notice ALL THEIR WORK! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!
And hubs muttered "Well, yes let's stick with the myths of Thanksgiving."
Whereupon tiny diva says "Last year I was thankful for Mama's cheese cake" shakes her head sadly "But not this year."
Hubs tries to cheer her with "Well, maybe Mama can make her cheese cake this weekend."
I grinned, took a swig of wine and said "We'll see, depends on what my kitchen looks like tomorrow morning."
Oldest boy and Middle girl were also thankful for their family. He gave a special shout out to Notre Dame's football program and she named everyone in the family she could think of including cousins.
My turn.
I had briefly entertained going all out and telling them that I was thankful that I was one day closer to death and that they'd be sorry when I was gone and then there'd be no one to wash their dirty underwear and bake them cookies every morning. (Which, by the way, I do...every school morning they get fresh baked cookies in their packed lunches.)
But instead I told them that I was "Very thankful for all the lessons of Thanksgiving and I hope that we can carry those lessons all through out the year."
Hubs (by far the oldest) went last. And covering his ass like a champ he waxed poetic about the virtues of his wife for a full three minutes before oldest boy cut him short with "Papa, we get it, Mama's fabulous."


**********************************************************
Well...when I left the table last night the only dish I took with me was my wine glass :D
This morning when I got up there was not a single dirty dish in the sink nor on the counter. The dishes in the dishwasher were clean and a fresh pot of coffee had been brewed and was waiting on me. Furthermore, the dining room was immaculate.
I have an odd post holiday thing that I do. The day after every major holiday the family is usually so bloated and or glued to football that I could light myself on fire and they wouldn't notice. It's kind of eerie how they absolutely leave me alone. So I use that time to do the kind of deep cleaning that can really only be done a few times a year.
I've been in the kitchen all day cleaning. I had hubs pull the ladder in from the garage and I've been scrubbing the tops of cabinets, attacking the dust bunnies living on the crown molding (12 foot ceilings) and removing ketchup and jelly splatter from the ceiling.
Yes, ketchup, jelly and at least one meatball ricochet. Every time a new splatter appears on the kitchen ceiling I ask the children if they think that kind of thing is "normal." Then I ask them if they think that their friends' mothers have to live with jelly on the ceiling "So won't you please stop flinging food at each other."
It's usually the jelly on the ceiling moments that I regret not using my mother's parenting tactics of fear and terror. (I call her Darth Mom. To this day she can strike fear into the hearts of grown men, she's a hard woman.) But I just can't bring myself to do it. I prefer a mixture of humor and guilt.
It's more work for me but even when I'm at my worst end of ranting and raving they never doubt that they are loved. A child who knows they are loved is fearless in a way that gives them wings, it makes them bold and courageous. (I promise that's as sappy as I'll get.)
The down side to that is that fearless, bold, courageous kids fling jelly at each other sometimes. Could be worse, they could be stupid.
That and as Darth Mom always says "When you make something look easy people think it is easy." A great lot of what I do happens "off screen" and they either don't see what it took to make it happen or they just don't realize that not every mother or wife does what I do.
Hubs "knows" and tells me how talented and industrious I am quite frequently. But he's just a man, so he's prone to just expecting it and needs a kick in the pants every once in a while to remind him just how lucky he is...and that "Whatever you did to get it, you got to keep on doing that to keep it."
I did no baking today, but for dinner they got the ceremonial mac and cheese to go with the left over ham and turkey.
Ginger boy saw it go in the oven and said "Is that mac and cheese?"
I told him "Yes, yes it is."
"SWEET!!!! GUYS MAMA'S MAKING MAC AND CHEESE!!!!" and he ran from the kitchen triumphantly.
Tomorrow, since the kitchen is all sparkly, I'll make the cheese cake and probably the lemon pound cake too.

Comments