Let’s Get Real this Thanksgiving

thankfulLike many families in the U.S., at Thanksgiving dinner, we have a tradition of going around the table and saying what we’re thankful for. Generally, my response is similar every year. As always, I’m thankful for my family, health, good food and great friends. While I am sincerely grateful for those things, there are numerous other things that tend to go unmentioned and I think it’s high time I give them their just due.

This Thanksgiving, I’m really, really thankful that:

  • I’m past the stage of being woken at 3:00 am by a screaming infant who has pooped through her diaper, onesie, pajamas, sheets and into her hair.
  • I have not yet had to have a major body part replaced.
  • With email and texting, I rarely ever have to speak with another human being on the telephone.
  • The bats living in our eaves have apparently relocated, saving us $1,000 or so in animal-control costs.
  • We’ve gotten through another year without having our yard turned into an infinity pool by the neighboring creek.
  • We’ve squeezed another year out of our crappy cars.
  • My children are well-behaved and polite at school and in public and generally only act like complete shitheads at home.
  • It was slightly less hot than Hades in Atlanta this summer.
  • Ad Man has been traveling less in the last few months, though I will be considerably less thankful when he heads to the Virgin Islands for a “meeting” in a couple days.
  • It’s the most wonderful time of the year…leg shaving-optional season.
  • I have wonderful friends who hate all the same things I do.
  • Miley Cyrus is not my daughter.

I am also thankful for:

  • My beloved IUD that has kept me period-free and embarrassing-late-in-life-pregnancy-free for another year.
  • Psychotropic drugs.
  • Being old enough that I no longer care what anyone thinks if I get a new tattoo or let loose a string of expletives.
  • Binge-watching Orange is the New Black.
  • My cleaning people Digna and Erica who keep us from living in our own filth.
  • Grocery clerks who still card me when I’m buying alcohol and do it with a straight face.
  • Alcohol.
  • Clothing designers who are guilty of “vanity sizing.”
  • The scientists who did the research determining that dark chocolate is good for you.
  • Amazon Prime.
  • The teachers who educate Biggie and Smalls because neither the girls, nor I, would survive home-schooling.
  • My Orkin man because, no matter how many times people in the South refer to them as “palmetto bugs,” they’re still giant, flying cockroaches.

I hope the list of things you’re thankful for is as long as mine is this year. Happy Thanksgiving!

Holidays in Hell

Pumpkin HouseI know it sounds crazy, but we’re still in the midst of Halloween planning and decorating around here.  I just finished sewing a tiny, waterproof Marie Antoinette costume for Jacques, our beta fish, and now I have to hand-bead the gown for Smalls’s Donatella Versace costume and carve Biggie’s pumpkin into an intricate Victorian lace pattern.  After that, I will set out luminaria to light the path down our sidewalk, up the driveway, down both sides of the street and around the block.  In an effort to be culturally inclusive, I’ve also cast 100 Dia de los Muertos sugar skulls that still need to be decorated with frosting. I’d have the kids help me, but I just can never count on them to be historically accurate in their decorating.

I’m so thankful I thought ahead last week and already made the beds with our candy corn and skull-and-crossbones patterned sheets and changed out the Columbus Day throw pillows for the Halloween ones.  It’s also a relief to know that the dough for the bone-shaped bread sticks is pre-made and in the freezer with the butternut squash and squid ink pasta lasagna.  I’ll just have to pop the dry ice into our drinks at the last minute and our Halloween dinner will be on the table in plenty of time to get a balanced meal into my family before trick-or-treating begins.

I’m hoping I’ll be done packaging the handmade candy bars in butcher paper and orange and white striped twine so I can join the rest of the family for the evening’s festivities.  I’d really hate to miss it, especially since I’ve been walking around in this green makeup and fake nose with warts all day!  Ha, ha!  Oh, and I can’t forget to change out all the lightbulbs with orange ones before we leave the house.

I sent Ad Man out to replicate the cemetery from ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ in the front yard, but I’m afraid he may need help from the neighbors since I had the headstones and statues hand-carved from stone.  I’m also waiting for the guys with the cherry-picker to arrive so I can finish hanging the faux Spanish moss from the top of the maple tree out front.

Whew!  I’m getting exhausted just thinking about it and this is only the beginning of the holiday season!  I don’t even want to think about all the Indian headdresses and pilgrim hats I have to sew, the organic cranberries I have to harvest from the bog in the backyard, the creche I have to carve from that olive wood I ordered from the Holy Land and the tiny dreidels I have to sculpt, glaze, fire in the kiln and deliver to our Jewish friends.  And, Hanukkah starts early this year!

You know, every year I swear I’m going to scale back, do more with less, volunteer for fewer class parties and just say no to the holiday whirlwind.  But, I just want things to be perfect for my family.  I know the kids will look back fondly at the moments we shared gold-leafing the walls in preparation for New Year’s Eve and they’ll never forget the magic of seeing actual, authentic reindeer shit on the roof on Christmas morning.  I’m not going to lie, it is a lot of work but, it’s worth every late night spent in the kitchen or the wood shop or sitting at the loom.  After all, as they say, a neurotic, overachieving, competitive, control-freak-of-a-mother’s work is never done!

Photo via Apartment Therapy

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