Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Things I Did on My Thanksgiving Vacation

The last six weeks or so have been a goddam whirlwind of activity and hyperspastic emotional turmoil. Not that that's a bad thing. Not that that's a good thing. As usual, life stiffens its limbs and sticks out its claws when you try to put in into a box neatly labeled "good" or "bad."

And gets all poufy-tailed and back-hackly in the bargain.
 It's just that I've been a lot more social than I'm accustomed to being over an extended period. That's exhausting for me. I'm rather a hermit. But for weeks now I've been entertaining and interacting with people, and while it's been immensely enjoyable, it's been way outside my zone o' comfort. Sort of like Gov. Rick Perry on the campaign trail, having to pretend he gives a shit what other people think.

Closer...closer...now put your neck right here, Anderson.
 It all culminated with Thanksgiving, which this year also happened to be Precocious Daughter's twelfth birthday. And which I was volunteered to host by Beloved Spouse, who incidentally ripped out the carpet in my living/dining room immediately after offering up our home as the Turkey Day feast location. At which point my comfort zone threw up and checked itself into rehab.

Now that's funny.
 I've been away from my "real" job since midday Wednesday, just returning to the office this morning. And it was a freaking relief to get away from all that "free" time. Even though the daily grind can suck sometimes, it has the benefit of being blissfully predictable and routine. We hermits appreciate that.

Crabs in glass houses...look really uncomfortable, frankly.
As I said, it's not that all the activity and socializing hasn't been fun. It's just been exhausting. Here are some things I did over the last six days - good, bad, ugly, and fortunately interesting enough to write about. Which is really my top priority, anyway. I do this all for you, my loyal Drunkards. And for the candy bars.

I sort of, kind of finished my floors.
OK, so by now you're probably sick and tired of hearing about my damn floors. I can't blame you - I don't know any of you show up here at the best of times. Be that as it may, last Wednesday night I did complete my sparkly floor treatment on the entire room. I wasn't able to get the multiple coats of polyurethane on the whole thing that are required - and still haven't, because the freakish Texas weather decided to get too cold to have the windows open - but it was perfectly serviceable. I'll get the poly down, install the spacers in the doorways, and call it a day. Except for the new paint, drapes, baseboards, and decor.  I'm totally calling this a victory, because it's my house and I can.

I cooked an awesome turkey.
The time to realize you own neither a meat thermometer nor a turkey baster is, ideally, before you put the bird in the oven. So I missed that deadline. Also, the deadline for making stuffing in time to, you know, stuff the thing. And at first I couldn't find the giblets, so I almost roasted the turkey with the bag o' organs still inside. Be that as it may, and against all odds, my turkey turned out perfectly. BAM! Moist and juicy with the skin all crispy and whatnot...mmmmm. Tip: Cut up some apples and pears and stick 'em in the gobbler's cavity - makes the meat flavorful and requires no skill except the ability to not chop off your finger (something I can just manage to do).

My sides were also amazing - I am the queen of sweet potatoes, and my gravy, as always, was to die for. Not literally. Actually, no one perished as a result of eating my Thanksgiving dinner, and if that's not what the holiday is all about, I don't know what is.

I saw The Muppets.
There was no freaking way I was going anywhere near a mall on Black Friday, because appearances to the contrary I'm just not that insane. So BelSpouse and PDaughter and I took in a showing of The Muppets. It was waaaaaaay crowded, which warmed my heart. If you like Muppets, you're OK with me. If not...

Stern disapproval.
 This is the best movie of the year. Maybe of the decade. Oh my God, allow my cynical shell to shatter into a million pieces while I tell you how much I loved this movie. I can't even tell you - just go see it. I must see it again. There should have been more Rowlf in it - I can't get enough of Rowlf - but otherwise it was just about perfect. Four words: Dave Grohl as Animal. Yes, really. Oh my God. And it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon with my family, because we are all Muppet-lovers. Not as much as me, perhaps, but I'm completely freaking overboard. BelSpouse and PDaughter indulge me, bless them. I need something Kermit-y for Christmas. And I need to see this movie again.

I did not invent a new drink...or did I?
So on Thanksgiving, I made my grandma's Sweetheart Balls. And they were delicious, because they are little nuggets of heaven that not even I can screw up. Really, make some. So damn yummy. Anyway, after I drained the crushed pineapple, I ended up with a decent-size glass of pineapple juice. And of course I had a jar of maraschino cherries, so I was able to add a splash of cherry juice. Then I poured in a shot of vanilla vodka. (Disclaimer: My definition of a shot is flexible and tends to grow the more of them I consume. This was the middle of the day, so this shot may actually have conformed more or less to the 1.5 oz. standard). It was really good. Oh, so good. My bartender sister informed me that with the addition of some coconut rum (or Frangelico, as I discovered on teh Internets), I had me a cake shot. Which was a trifle disappointing, because I thought I had finally touched genius.  I should have known better. But still, it was damn good, and I think I see the need to buy some more crushed pineapple very soon.

Unrelated aside: When I was a kid, my grandpa would pour maraschino cherry juice into 50/50, add a little sword-shaped skewer of cherries, and give it to me, calling it an old-fashioned. I loved that shit, and to this day maraschino cherries remind me of my grandparents. Wait, everybody remembers 50/50, right?

I'm dating and/or placing myself, aren't I?
 I watched the original Metropolis.
Ever since we saw the Moroder Metropolis, PDaughter has been wanting to see the uncut original silent version. So on Friday night, we snuggled up and did just that. I love this movie. And PDaughter did, too. And she was able to discuss the differences between the two versions and the complexities of the original and the social background of the story. She is scary smart, my girl. She did mention that she liked the music in the Moroder version better, and after all, who can blame her? So we listened to the soundtrack a couple of times, too. That was immensely fun. By the way, I did get my DVD of the Moroder version, but haven't watched it yet. I had a couple thousand other things to get to this weekend...

I looked at pictures of BelSpouse's colon.
BelSpouse has to get a regular colonoscopy because of his age, family history, and the fact that they scraped a big old cancerous polyp out of his intestines a few years back that his doctor still talks about. Yesterday was the day.

I've already written about my attitude toward the whole pink-ribbon breast cancer marketing blitz. How it has less to do with cancer awareness than with businesses' love of money and everyone else's love of tits. How it turns a disease into an unlikely symbol of ersatz empowerment and reduces pain and grief to pep-rally slogans. Here's the thing about me and cancer: When you accompany your spouse, the father of your child and the custodian of your heart, to the hospital so you can find out whether your lives are about to change forever, that's not empowering. When you slap on a smile and assure him that everything's going to be fine because the alternative is to admit you're so obsessed with the worst-case scenario that you can barely breathe, there's no ribbon you can wear or product you can purchase that will make it better. When you're sitting in a waiting room and you realize it's not just cancer, but the recurrence of cancer - and all the reduced odds for successful treatment that implies - that you're facing, the entire NFL with its pink cleats and pom-poms can go to hell because they're not helping. A positive attitude is for shit when you think about what will happen if your attitude gets it wrong.

BelSpouse's colon is just fine. In fact, it's in better shape now than it was when they found the original polyp because of the tremendous changes to his diet he undertook in its wake. I forced myself to look at the extremely disgusting photos of his fleshy pink insides for a long while to convince myself that what I was seeing was real. No polyps, no growths, nothing but the signs of moderate diverticulitis that led to discovering the original cancerous mass in the first place. I cried - tears of joy, tears of pent-up fear and anxiety. That's not a marketing campaign at work. That's the grace of God and the knowledge that I will go through this every time he goes through this. We go through this.

And now I'm back at work. I may just work through Christmas. I'm not sure I can stand another week of being merry.

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