Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Week Diary: A Whole Lotta Stuff(ing) Going On

I wish I could think of something profound to write right now, something to make people leave those "So glad I found your blog;  thank you for changing my life" notes in the combox, but alas. Actually, to be honest, while people have been glad to find this blog -- which makes me glad -- it's just as well that they don't tell me that I've changed their lives, because please. At your own risk, folks. Etc.

Anyway, the world is safe enough today, because all I'm about to write is a little catalog of what's going on here, after which I may sign off for the rest of the week.

What is going on? 

1. Housecleaning, a.k.a. dust reassignment. Dust. We in this house don't have to return to it, as we're enjoined to remember on Ash Wednesday, because we're already there, every day. But for the holidays, I do like to move it around a little, in defiance of our collective mortality.

2. College Girl coming home. Tonight! Her plane gets in at 7! Dust in her room especially rearranged in honor of the occasion, and little spider squatters asked to vacate the window frames. She wasn't going to come home at first, because friends of hers are staying on campus over the holiday and they had plans, but as the semester wore on (and on), somehow those plans began to pale a little in her imagination, the call of the hometown to sound ever more clear and sweet in the mind's ear. Doing some emotional cartwheels even now. Tonight! And there are already clean sheets on the bed!

3. Grocery shopping. I've already done the bulk of it, which would be the turkey. It is a bulky thing, crouched like a plastic-sheathed gargoyle at the bottom of the fridge. I had been thinking of brining it this year, but then a friend related to me her turkey-brining experience which was this:  Nobody had told her that soaking the turkey in salt water to moisten it would kill the pop-up timer function. So she cooked it and cooked it and cooked it and cooked it, waiting for the timer to pop up, and the result was . . . not moist. So now -- the other decisive factor being that I don't have a stockpot big enough for this particular poultry-themed gargoyle -- I'm thinking I'll play it safe.

Meanwhile, I still have to buy cornmeal and celery for the stuffing, nutmeg and allspice for the pumpkin pie, frozen pie crust because I'm a total failure as a pastry chef, Brussels sprouts because I think we can all agree on that for a green vegetable (I'll do them roasted, with some balsamic vinegar), wine and other festive libations, and . . . I'm sure some other stuff, which I probably won't have thought of until my eyes fall upon it in the store. We already have about eight thousand sweet potatoes, because I bought several bags of them on sale last week, and then friends with a garden brought us another load of them in a garbage bag on Saturday. What's for dinner tonight? Um, I'm not sure, but you can bet it will include sweet potatoes.

4. Think of what to feed people tonight and tomorrow (see above). This is the great trap of the holidays:  forgetting that people also require meals on days that aren't holidays. Thus on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the fridge is full to bursting, and still there's nothing to eat except oatmeal.

5. Go to choir practice. Normally we take off the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, but not this year. I have coerced us all into doing an Advent Lessons and Carols service on the third Sunday of Advent, which means no rest for the sick and tired of Advent music already, baby! Not to mention Christmas! Work work work, ye slaves of music! Sing, minions, sing! And getcher Wednesday cookin' done before you come.

Oh, and also we have to think about the organ, which is really and truly dead. The repairman came last week (it has been pointed out by some in the music program that this terminology is telling:  Appliances have repairmen. What we have here is essentially a louder Maytag), and the organ played nice for about fifteen minutes after he had left, after which point it subsided again into random spontaneous foghorn effects and sounds of drowning. This you really don't want. When the organ sounds continually like one of those moments in a movie when the action is about to segue into a flashback -- googlygooglygooglygooglygooglygoogly -- what may be the lasting effect upon the congregation which hears it? Who can tell. We may lose a lot of people to the Unitarians this year  . . . Meanwhile, email conversation among members of the music committee is starting to involve puns on words like "rank" and "stop." So you can add urk to the list of organ-related sound effects.

6. Prepare to sing at a wedding this weekend, possibly sans organ (see above). Hear organist sweat audible bullets -- ping ping ping/googlygooglygoogly -- of blood.

7. Eat. Sleep. Hang out. But first, get schoolwork done today! Yesterday was halfway a wash, because although we'd done all our seatwork (math, grammar, spelling, handwriting, independent reading) before we went to YMCA Gym and Swim, we'd counted on the afternoon to do our "basket" of reading for combined subjects (catechism, poetry, Russian folk tales, math, Old-World history). Instead we went to the Cookout Grill with five or six other families and hung out there for two hours:  a table of boys playing with Lego, a table of girls quietly drawing with pens on napkins, a table of mothers yakking away about . . . stuff. It was fun, but we had to do our basket reading after dinner last night. Today I'm planning to do a big push with a lot of basket reading, to hold us for the rest of the week, after which the shorter folk have to clean the upstairs bathroom.

8. Breakfast. Today. Right now. I can put it off no longer. But I think I've covered everything from this moment forward, until Sunday when we have to

9. Put College Girl back on plane. And be a little depressed on Sunday night, driving home.

10. But that we will not think about now. To say goodbye we must first say hello, and that is enough to power us through the day.


PS:  On a graver, sadder note, I am offering all my days this week, with their piddly little trials, for the sister of one of my dearest lifelong friends. She was hospitalized for a flare in her colitis, but has contracted a viral lung infection and is now in critical condition in the ICU. Please pray for Kris and for all her family, for whom life is feeling very particularly and immediately fragile this week.


Margaret said...

Will pray for Kris!
And we also plan to welcome home college girl for the same short time span, except you'll have the night, ours arrives in the morning. Then I must also thank you for the reminder that people need to be fed at other meals!!! God bless you all, this Thanksgiving and always! Love, Margie

Erin said...

Would you believe I read pt 2 and started to cry with happiness for you!{{}} Guess I'm getting emotional waiting for my girl, only 17 days till she is home, hasn't been home since Easter! May you have a wonderful, wonderful time with your girl{{}}

Sally Thomas said...

Since Easter? Oh, Erin, I know you miss her! Mine had been gone only since mid-August, and we've all been turning ourselves inside out with excitement. She got in last night in time for a late dinner, and it is very good to have her home.

Margie, thank you for the prayers for Kris and the good Thanksgiving wishes. Back atcha! And enjoy your weekend with your girl. (meanwhile, I'm making my final grocery list for today, with NO idea what people are going to eat between now and 2 pm tomorrow . . . )

Anne-Marie said...

We'll pray for Kris.
Our college girls are all home, too.
A happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Sally Thomas said...

The same to you and yours!