Sunday, December 01, 2019

A Thanksgiving Miracle And The End Of An Era

Well, I don't know how you all feel about the quietness at this here blog lately, but I just opened it up and read my last post and OMG I MISSED ME.

That is so weird. I mean, I'm with me all the time. But I missed me here. I don't know what that means. Other than you are going to continue to be subjected to my news (or, really, lack thereof) for the foreseeable future.

Good lord, I love this place.

Let's catch up (drawing up a chair). Let's see, last time we talked, it was mid-October and we had just returned from vacation in Bar Harbor (pouring myself a drink - orange juice, anyone?) and I had had the life-changing experience of actually cutting up a butternut squash before it rotted and making it into soup.

Which no one (including myself) liked much...

So you all were stuck with that cliffhanger for 6 weeks, I guess.

Fall finally happened
I was worried about how I would manage to prepare Thanksgiving dinner while working full time, but it turns out that raising 6 kids actually teaches you to multitask pretty well (who knew?). I already had a week-long cooking schedule laid out, because I always worked under the assumption that someone would come down with croup or something equally dire that week, so I needed to be prepared. Even as the kids got older and no longer did things like contract a major illness right before a holiday, I stuck to that schedule, because it worked.

And then Rachel (who is 17 and apparently did not get the memo that croup is only for young kids) came down with the dreaded virus. I had to run her to the doctor on Monday and listen patiently as the doctor gave me all sorts of not-needed advice (hello? 6 kids, all who had croup repeatedly) so we could get the coveted 24-hour dose of steroids that would allow Rachel to stop choking on her own phlegm and, well, BREATHE.

It worked. Only Rachel coughed nonstop all week. To the point that she and I ended up at Urgent Care at 10 PM on Thanksgiving night. Awful, right? I packed enough knitting to last me 4 hours, because c'mon, an HMO urgent care visit on a holiday is a serious investment of time. I also steeled myself for the fact that we were likely to pick up some other lovely holiday ailment from one of the other sickies in the waiting room.

And here is where our Thanksgiving Miracle happened: we walked in and no other patients were there. NOT ONE. We saw the triage nurse within 2 minutes, the doctor in another 5. Lung x-ray, 10 minutes later. It was unbelievable. I didn't even get to knit. And no stranger got to share his flu with us.

You know, I'm typing that and it still seems like a dream.

Random photo of my hand-knit sock collection
So, Thanksgiving! 4 kids (well, offspring - one of those "kids" is 28 now) were home, plus the next-door neighbors with their 3 kids. These neighbors have shared Thanksgiving with us for a number of years now, but I'd always worried they did so only because I asked and they felt obligated. I pictured them discussing whether they could say they were going elsewhere and then be quiet enough (remember, we share a wall) to convince us they weren't home.

So this year I decided to leave them alone and not torture them with an invitation, until Brian came home from college and said, "Are the neighbors coming?" And I said, "I don't know if they really want to" and because we grownups couldn't seem to communicate adequately, he and their same-age daughter took matters into their own hands and we all had Thanksgiving together as usual.

Brian's the emotionally intelligent one, remember?

Also, let's note that they didn't seem to mind that they were having Thanksgiving with Typhoid Rachel, who coughed all through dinner and then headed out to work at Best Buy, because she's a trouper. Of course, they barely blinked an eye when one of their then 4-year-old twins (I still don't know which one) managed to split the back of his head open in our basement and needed stitches. My neighbors are unflappable, is what I'm saying.

Oh, and I survived working during Thanksgiving week, although I did take some unplanned hours of vacation time on that Friday, because I came down with a migraine in the afternoon and couldn't understand words anymore. I considered quitting altogether, but then I came to my senses and took an Excedrin and lay down for a couple of hours instead.

So I think I'm still employed. Not sure, actually - I guess I'll find out tomorrow, though.

Before Thanksgiving (we're working backward here), Susie and I paid a long-overdue visit to IKEA, where we picked up (drum roll, please) an entire set of matching dishes. Two sets, actually:

This makes me insanely happy

I regret not having a before picture. Suffice it to say, our cupboard for the past 25 years was full of mismatched dishes, a look which might have been charming if said dishes weren't all chipped or scratched or just plain ugly (I'm looking at you, mustard-yellow plates I picked up for I-know-not-what reason). Thanksgiving was coming, and I wanted things to look normal for once. Also, Susie wanted pasta bowls.

She's the youngest. We've discussed this.

So now, every time I open our cabinet, I enjoy the beauty of unchipped, shiny, matching dishes. Totally worth the $50 or so it cost me, I'm thinking. And Susie - Gen Z foodie that she is - spends her time elaborately plating all her meals and taking pictures, because all our food looks way better on these new plates.

It's true.

We also picked up a new duvet cover set for the guest bedroom, only it ended up in my bedroom instead:

This also makes me insanely happy
What can I say? I'm a simple person. If you're looking for something more exciting than croup and new dishes and bed linens, you'll have to read somewhere else.

Reaching all the way back to October, Halloween happened. Folks, this was the first year we haven't had a trick-or-treater in the house since 1993. "Don't you want to go out and get some candy?" I asked Susie, a little wistfully. "Your siblings didn't give up trick-or-treating until they were 15!"

"No, it's dumb," she-who-used-to-be-adorable said. And that was that, the end of an era. I even had to pack all the candy bags by myself. The one bright spot was that our trick-or-treater numbers in the neighborhood finally started climbing again, with 58 costumed cuties showing up at our door.

I still have our costume bin in the attic, though - just in case. Hey, those pirate capes sewed by Auntie Kate should fit some future grandkids just fine, right?