Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Eve of Thanksgiving

First things first. I misled you, Jay - it turned out not to be Lisa Kudrow after all in the Natalie Portman film. Sorry about that - but keep reading! Who turns who may turn up next as I navigate the shivering streams of background work? Watch this space!

God, I hate Thanksgiving. There is just way too much food to be cooked. (I know, I say this every sue me.)

Meanwhile of course, my budget constraints are being a real pain in the turkey innards. I got totally screwed up last week when I had to pay a cell phone bill of $56 and change before they'd let me have my new free phone (does that make it still free, I wonder?), and that was an EXTREMELY necessary $56 which meant the difference between what I needed to get and what I could get for Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, I may conceivably be the only person who notices this - I have a tendency, faced with a head count of 11 (which it is this year) to assume that the 11 people are suddenly going to turn into 16 people (admittedly, this has happened). However, I have finally begun noticing that some things are always left over - the green beans, for instance. So for this year, I figured, well, hell, I just don't need four pounds of green beans for 11 people - most people take three or six green beans and concentrate on sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and stuffing - so I bought two pounds. (I really do usually have LOTS of left over green beans.) This, of course, now that I'm out of money, is making me twitch, and I am completely convinced that there are going to be people at my table tomorrow who are shrieking for pounds and pounds of green beans. You do understand that this has never happened in the entire history of my Thanksgivings, and I have ALWAYS had this large container of leftovers...but I remain convinced that I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH GREEN BEANS. This is making me twitch.

Our friend Shai came over last night and brined the turkey for me, bless him, and is also providing one of the stuffings (the one with meat in it - yay) and bread (and he has a friend who's going to deal with the Brussels sprouts), while I make the vegetarian stuffing for our non-red-meat-eating friend. And this year I couldn't afford the damn oysters for it (twitch, twitch, twitch). And unless someone turns up with some, the crudities are out too. I'm not too terribly worried about them (yes I am) because what usually happens by the time the bulk of the guests get here is that those of us who have been peeling potatoes and stringing beans (damn, I need another pound of green beans) have eaten the carrots, cucumber, olives and dip anyway and everything else is ready to go.

I also managed not to be able to afford the big container of heavy cream for the mashed potatoes (calorie? What's a calorie?) and to whip for the pumpkin pie, but I know damn well that the deli across the street will be open, and someone can go and get some half and half for the damn potatoes and some Reddi-whip for the pumpkin pie (my mother-in-law and I, one Thanksgiving, discovered on Thanksgiving Day that the milk was sour and used plain yogurt in the mashed potatoes and they turned out fine, so there). Unless they have proper heavy cream, of course, which seems doubtful. I got the sharp cheddar for the apple pie, anyway, and wrapped so Joshua can't get at it.

But essentially, with the good will of my wonderful friends, the basic menu will be in place with just a few missing bits that really aren't all that important (I NEED ANOTHER POUND OF GREEN BEANS!!!!), it will be a lovely Thanksgiving, thank you.

Meanwhile, my cousin Joshua has been competing for the title of most completely annoying carbon based life form in the universe. You notice I avoid the term "human being" here - this is because I'm seriously beginning to wonder. His antics this past few days have been beyond belief.

He started by deciding to do laundry, which is certainly laudable - one doesn't wish to live with someone who doesn't do his laundry. However, when it came time to DRY his laundry, he simply took my still wet laundry out of the dryer and put his in. And when I came downstairs and told him his laundry was dry, he calmly said, "Oh, I'll put yours back in again."

What? You mean, his t-shirts are so unbelievably important that they have to dry before the clothes that I wear to go to work where I actually earn some money (paltry, 'tis true, but something, anyway) instead of leeching off the government? I simply cannot believe that ANYBODY could think that they are so important in the general scheme of things. Actually, with Joshua, I can believe this - several weeks back the cable and computer went out through lack of payment (well, it was a week when my take-home was $98), and Joshua called me to tell me about this. I said, "Well, there's nothing I can do about it because I need prescriptions." He replied, unforgettably - "Let's deal with first things first." Of COURSE. My health or Joshua watching basketball. First things first.

And today he was at his absolute best. After listening to me freak out about the missing bits of tomorrow's dinner, he grudgingly gave me $21. He waited to do this until it was almost dark outside (when he had heard me moaning since 1 in the afternoon), thereby forcing me to go to the store in the dark (and cold). He also told me he didn't have any money. I am quite curious about what on earth has happened to the $20,000 he got from the government about a month ago. And just to be really charming and adorable, when I got back from the store, he told me he had just come back from spending $50 on gluten free goodies for himself from the health food store.

You know, this is just a bit beyond necessary.

Ah, well. I have got an almost 19 pound turkey. I have got the ingredients for one kind of stuffing in the kitchen. I have got white potatoes to mash and sweet potatoes to bake. I have got green beans and the mushrooms that go into them (ONLY TWO POUNDS OF GREEN BEANS!). I have got an apple pie and a pumpkin pie. The other stuffing and the Brussels sprouts will arrive (and if the Brussels sprouts don't arrive, I will take up a collection and get someone to go to the deli and get several cans of corn, which is the most successful of all canned vegetables.) And I have got lovely friends and a wonderful daughter, and if all else fails, we can cook Joshua. People will bring wine and beer and feed the cat scraps of turkey, and it will be a perfectly lovely day.

It will, please God, not be like a Thanksgiving of many years ago, when Sarah couldn't have been more than 9 or 10. I went to bake the pumpkin pie late in the afternoon of Thanksgiving Eve, and discovered that I had a non-working oven. There were something like 25 people coming the next day. So I called Sears in a panic (it being a Kenmore stove), and they promised to send someone right out. Thursday arrived. No repairman. I served everybody all the hors d'oeuvres I had made. Friday arrived. All my guests, trusting in me and Sears Roebuck, turned up again. I made pasta. In the middle of the pasta, the repairman arrived! It was, however, 9 at night. I had two fifteen pound turkeys...there was no way, unless we wanted to have a lovely breakfast. By God, don't you know, everybody came BACK on Saturday? And we finally had Thanksgiving.

Maybe the green beans aren't that important.

However, if anyone would like to drop by with a pound of them tomorrow, you'd be more than welcome....

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Love, Wendy

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