Holiday version one recap: The first Thanksgiving in Des Moines. The folks’ townhouse is pretty nice, wonderfully accentuated by never having to do a goddamn thing to the outside. Ever. Again.
I want a set up like that.
Everything “walls out” is maintained by the association, which means leaf blowing, snow shoveling, grass cutting, and all of those bullshit things that take up your free time are gone. Even if the place needs painting or the roof replacing, the association takes care of it.
Toilet overflows? That’s your problem, however.
But still, it means that their insurance is cheaper (they do maintain the dreaded association fee, which rather makes that point moot) and it also means that I get Dad’s snow blower, which is only two years old and has been barely used.
So the other day when the first snow fell, I spent nearly an hour getting the fucker started. The entire time I was thinking, “I could have been done if I’d only shoveled this thing.”
Back to Thanksgiving.
The usual: turkey, oyster stuffing, grilled turnips, mashed potatoes and all of the stuff that we had back at Thanksgiving in Keokuk.
The better half doesn’t know what to think about the spread. I’ve had her family’s Thanksgiving and it pales in comparison to my folks. Their turkey has no flavor and the stuffing tastes straight outta the Stouffers box. She doesn’t dig oysters, to which I recommended, “Take ‘em out then.” That’s what I did as a kid, even though the oyster taste pretty much permeates the rest of the stuffing. It is mostly dried bread after all.
But now I’m used to it…I expect it…And anything else seems off to me.
I began thinking of how good my parents got at cooking over the years. Mom especially. I still remember some of the shit that she made that passed as dinner growing up and I remember as late as my teenage years when I would by-pass whatever it was that she was making for a bowl of cereal or sandwich. Another think I strongly remember is the frequency of meals: It seemed that we were always having pork pot roast on Sundays. We’d sit down at the table (or TV trays…yeah, we were one of those families) have this shitty pot roast and watch 60 Minutes. They still have pot roast on occasion and I’m sure that most people would find it delicious. I, on the other hand, had my fill of it (everything tastes like everything else, which I guess is the concept) and can go my entire life without needing to taste it again.
The folks’ pad is somewhat smaller than their old house, but larger than I expected. Nonetheless, they’re expected to keep their cats indoors whereas they would let two of them roam inside and outside down home. Now they’re all contained indoors and Beth found herself sneezing the entire time. This led us to think that she may be allergic to cats.
One of Mom’s cats is going to be twenty next year, which blows my mind. She was found at a fairly busy intersection by a friend of mine who promptly rescued her, tied a bow around her neck and brought her to my Mom.
He knew exactly how to pull at my Mom’s heartstrings. She accepted the cat a week later and she’s been with her ever since.
She was worried how she…how all of the cats…would adapt to the new surroundings and they’re all doing swimmingly.
That aforementioned snow began on the way home, which further supports my theory that the climate has changed so drastically during my lifetime that we’re approaching the end of days. I fully anticipate a climatology event to occur within the next ten years and, when it does, Bruce Willis will have too many ruptured discs in his back to adequately provide him with the necessary mobility to save us all.
It takes a full week to get the kids back into “You’re not at Grandmas anymore” mode, which means that they both expect you to do everything for them.
A real example from after school, after the first day back from Thanksgiving break:
Ethan: “Can you zip my backpack?”
Me: (Hands full of a bunch of his other shit) “Uh, not really.”
Ethan: “I can’t do it. I’ve got gloves on.”
Me: “Are you serious?”
Ethan: (Not even trying) “It’s too hard”
Me: “Maybe you could try. If it doesn’t work, maybe you could take your gloves off, zip it, and then put your gloves back on. Did you think about that?”
Ethan: (Sighing) “Ok.”
He had his Christmas program a few nights ago which was totally awesome. If you’re currently on the fence about having kids, I would encourage you to fuck someone tonight and then have a child solely on the kindergarten Christmas program alone. No matter how well they plan it…and lord knows Ethan’s music teacher did a great job of planning and pulling everything together…a Christmas program delivered by a large group of five and six year olds is going to show evidence of being a clusterfuck. Choreography goes awry, solo parts are forgotten, delivery volume fluctuates suddenly, and the entire thing is a beautiful mess tied together with a group of similarly themed songs and the concert program you get at the beginning.
There was one kid that had a brief, two sentence, speaking part and he kept nervously pulling on his penis during the entire time he was on stage. This obviously brought great joy to me and the other members of the audience while most assuredly devastating his parents.
Ethan’s only part was to act like he was a shopper, so he had a shopping back and walked across the stage and then back again before returning to his place with the rest of the class. Callista screamed as if he was a rock star when she saw him (“Ethee!! Ethee!!”) and then distraughtly yelled for him to come back the moment he left the stage (“Ethee?! Ethee?!”).
So yeah, all of this recent shit has got me fairly sentimental for the holidays. I got the Christmas lights up (“You’re such a man when you’re putting up your Christmas lights”- Black Flag, 1984) the tree, and we all decorated it earlier this week. My three Elvis ornaments are up (Vegas era, ’68 comeback special, and mid-60’s film star) and we’ve got the four stockings up.
I’m so gay that I even have the Christmas cards done. About three dozen of ‘em went out (my wife hasn’t even started on hers, loser) and some of them have a special “bonus track” drawing. If you get one of these, hold on to it because it’s a limited edition version, if you didn’t, it’s probably because you’re family and I didn’t want to offend you. And if you didn’t get one at all, it’s because I don’t have your address, and Christmas wishes are extended to you just the same.