Well, we have finally put the carbs down at our house.
There are only so many times in a row that you can heat and reheat the mashed potatoes and stuffing and dinner rolls, before your brain kicks into the place God intended for it to exist all the time, as it says, “Please. Feed me a salad, and FOR THE LOVE! Skip the croutons on it!”
We had a very nice, very quiet Thanksgiving with Mam and Pa, as everyone else in our extended families left town for all their turkey-eating needs this year. Hubs wasn’t daunted by the fact that the crowd at the dinner table would be smaller this year; he forged on ahead and bought an eighteen-pound, organic turkey from the Hutterites. He shopped for the brine ingredients like he was a five-star chef in Paris, and soaked that dead bird in a bright orange bucket from Home Depot, right in the privacy of my refrigerator, for nearly twenty-four hours.
I believe the word you’re looking for is CLASSY. The Home Depot bucket took bird-brining to a whole new level of playing.
And then… Hubs smoked that chunky turkey on the Traeger, and lo!
The people ate it, and they proclaimed it to be one of the best culinary delights of their entire breadth of days.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen an eighteen-pound turkey in action for a dinner party of four adults, one fifteen-year-old and a preschooler who has committed himself to only eating dinner rolls throughout the entire Thanksgiving weekend, so help him Lord, but it amounts to a hefty portion of meat.
Had we been prairie settlers or even Native Americans from centuries ago, our hunting would have been done for the season with that one overweight beast. As it is, our freezer is now full of turkey, so that we can thaw some out come March, when we’ve fully recovered from our tryptophan naps and carb overload and think to ourselves, “Why doesn’t anyone ever cook a turkey in the dead of winter around here?” ‘Round about the time of St. Patrick’s Day, we’ll be saying, “Turkey noodle soup, here we come!”
On Friday, I’ll admit that we had a bit of a mashed-potato-and-gravy kind of hangover, but we pushed through with some adventures we’ve had on our bucket lists for a while.
Namely, to take Thing 2 to the theater to see a movie.
Hubs and I have always been great Pixar fans, so when we saw that The Good Dinosaur had arrived on the big screen in Small Town, we decided to just go for it. The West was never settled by folks who hung back, too afraid to risk hauling a rambunctious three-year-old into a movie theater.
To say that he was overwhelmed with the sugary choices, that were miraculously right smack at his eye level, would be the biggest understatement of the year. He told the girl behind the counter that YES, HE WOULD LIKE ONE OF ALL OF THEM. Or even six of all of them. Apparently, he thought it was Trick-or-Treating Gone Wild.
What he ended up with was a kid pack. Long ago, when the boy was a tot, the kid pack came with popcorn, a soda and a small bit of candy. This weekend, the candy had been replaced with the fruit-flavored chews that are one step above a fruit roll-up. Thing 2 was unimpressed, because WHERE WERE THE MILK DUDS AND THE M&Ms AND THE TWIZZLERS?
Hubs caved and bought him a package of M&Ms, which turned out to be a good move, because Thing 2 dropped his entire package of fruit chews on the floor beneath his seat, three seconds after I had opened the package for him. Although he was fine — JUST FINE — with eating them off the floor, I had other thoughts and played the bad cop for FOOD OFF THE FLOOR.
In case you are wondering, the band-aide on his arm is covering a make-believe wound, because Thing 2 enjoys dolling himself up with bandages like he’s a wounded vet from the front lines in Vietnam. When people asked him what he’d done to warrant a Paw Patrol band-aide on his arm, he promptly informed them that a big bee had stung him and made him bleed.
Clearly, we need to work on our lying, because big bees usually hibernate when it’s three degrees outside, which is where we were at this weekend.
The first hour of the movie went very well, because our preschooler was mesmerized with the enormous screen in front of him. I’m fairly certain that he was also scared to death to make an erroneous move, because he wasn’t sure if doing so would prompt his parents to take the giant, family-sized box of M&Ms away from him.
During the last forty minutes of the movie, utter boredom settled in with Thing 2, and he was DONE. He hung upside down in his seat, and… at one point… actually fell out of his folding chair and smashed his cheek on the seat in front of him, where he gained a real bruise that could have benefited from a bandage.
It also startled the woman sitting in that chair plum to death, because it’s not every day that a small body slams into the back of your rocking movie theater seat and thrusts you forward so quickly, that you spill popcorn everywhere.
Be near her, Lord. She had no idea what hit her.
All in all, Hubs and I declared the movie a success, even though the short cartoon BEFORE The Good Dinosaur started had a scary monster in it that was nearly Thing 2’s undoing.
Thanks for that, Pixar.
After the show, Hubs and I walked with our small boy downtown, where all of the shops were open for a special night of hometown holiday shopping. Santa and Mrs. Claus were scheduled to show up to hear the hearts’ desires of all the kids, so we put ourselves in line to talk to him about getting a giant firetruck and a real combine.
Because I have a picture of the boy sitting with Santa Claus every!! single!! year!! of his entire life, I quickly texted him and said, “Leave your posse. Get over here and stand with Santa and your bro!”
The returning text simply said, “Mom!!”
Please read that as it was written… with an enormous amount of disgust, a wrinkled nose and an attitude of SERIOUSLY?! I’M FIFTEEN, AND YOU WANT ME TO STAND WITH SANTA CLAUS?!
I fired one back, “Do it for your brother!!”
The boy showed up.
And do you see the VERY FAKE wrapped presents, which are just there for decor purposes?
As soon as Thing 2 had informed Santa that he’d like a giant firetruck and a real combine, he hopped off the bearded man’s lap, raced behind the red chair, grabbed the biggest box, and ripped the wrapping paper off, as he hollered out, “Thank you for my present, Santa!”
The other two hundred kids standing in line all stared at him, like OH, NO! HE’S CROSSED A LINE! HE’S GONE WHERE NO CHILD HAS EVER GONE BEFORE! Their eyeballs were huge saucers in their heads, and their mouths were open O’s. Thing 2 and his utter bravery had left the other children in line speechless.
The present grabbing and unwrapping literally happened in a span of one nanosecond, so the decorative package was pretty much in tatters by the time I managed to process what was happening and jump behind the chair myself (also in front of two hundred other children and their laughing parents).
I’m pretty sure that Thing 2 hates Santa now, because WHAT’S THIS BUSINESS OF WAITING UNTIL DECEMBER 25th FOR PRESENTS? WHY DIDN’T THE OLD FELLOW DISH OUT THE GIFTS TODAY?!
The circle of trust has been broken; Santa let him down.
After we’d recovered and gotten our jackets back on, Hubs and I strolled back out onto the sidewalk and pretended that we were a perfectly normal family, who’d just had a perfectly normal visit with Santa Claus.
And then we ran into the boy, who had escaped the Claus couple as soon as the camera’s shutter snapped and returned to his wolf pack.
Teenage boys always seem to think that a cup hot cocoa or a steaming latte will keep them warm, in lieu of scarves and wool hats and fires built in garbage cans. They’re just entirely too cool for excessive winter gear, when they’re not on the ski slopes.
The rest of our holiday weekend wasn’t quite as exciting. We laid low. There were televised hockey games and football games and episodes of The Last Man Standing, that made me laugh out loud. There was housework and laundry; toilets were scrubbed, kitchen drawers were cleaned out, and I put the Whirlpool washer to the test of HOW MANY LOADS CAN YOU CHURN OUT IN ONE DAY?
Well, we’re back to normal. The turkey that we didn’t freeze for later has been eaten, mainly on white bread with Miracle Whip, because I dare you to say that a post-Thanksgiving sandwich can be made any other way. I’m pulling out all the culinary stops tonight and making pigs-in-a-blanket for dinner, because nothing says I LOVE MY FAMILY as much as a hot dog, wrapped in a Pillsbury crescent roll.
Four days after Thanksgiving, a blanketed piggy totally eclipses an eighteen-pound turkey, when that has been the highlight of every single meal since.
Y’all have a blessed evening.