Friday, November 25, 2011

That Might Be Poisoned: A Thanksgiving Tale

I’ve been running a low-grade fever for a week and my younger son is a walking landmine of mucus explosion. The cats just decided to get fleas, my bathrooms are science experiments, and I have a mountain of dirty laundry. My in-laws drove two days just to visit this disaster.

But... I did what I could for Thanksgiving. Anticipating continued health challenges, I pre-ordered a cooked turkey, stuffing, and gravy. That left only a couple more sides to make, plus pies.
The perfect pie ladies, they taunt me.

It should have been easy, even if my heart wasn’t in it this year. Most of my thoughts centered around bed and more bed. I stole away a lot, making little notes, sometimes tweeting the worst of it to an anonymous Internet. Here is the rundown of Thanksgiving 2012: 
9:30 Every year it haunts me. I can’t flute my pie crust so it’s pretty. Tasty, but not pretty. I have little hope this year will be different. Grateful today that there is a new American Horror Story available for download on iTunes. It’s the little things.
10:00 As predicted, my pie crust looks like I let the 5-year-old shape it. Sigh. Tastes the same. 
10:45 Something smells wrong. Not burning. Is it possible the ceramic pie plate wasn’t safe at 450? Or the silicone crust shield? WHAT SMELLS? Someone on Twitter says it’s probably the silicone, but… if it is the shield, does that make this a POISON PIE? 
10:54 I have Googled. Many people report strange smells with silicone. Strange smells make me nervous. I hope we don’t all die from the fumes. 
11:00 I live. It is a miracle. But we’ll see what happens after we eat the POISON PIE. 
1:21 Holy crap! If you order a pre-cooked turkey, you have to check under the foil before sticking in oven. For plastic wrap. And a plastic container. The parade of smells just keeps on coming. 
1:25 This is our POISON THANKSGIVING. 
1:30 But really, if they say heat it in foil, don’t you think they should also say, but not until after you’ve removed all the hidden plastic? 
1:35 I hope this doesn’t cause stomach cancer. I really don’t want stomach cancer. (I am a hypochondriac with a particular dread of digestive diseases. I’ll spare you the "why" on that one.) 
2:50 We ate, we drank, we made merry. In a subdued, small family, WASP-y sort of way. We made politely pleasant. 
3:02 Less than 30 minutes since the kids were sooo full they couldn’t possibly eat a bite of green beans, the first snack request has aririved. 
3:03 DENIED. 
3:08 So sleepy. So very, very slee… 
4:30 Don’t want to clean up the mess. Don’t wanna. Next year we’re getting turkey sandwiches from Quizno’s and that’s that. Note: I make this declaration even on non-poisonous years. At the point when I am most certain I will never cook again, I am subdued by pie. 
5:21 Diabetic relatives = more for me = will be one of them soon. 
5:30 Pumpkin pie should be a vegetable, at least by federal standards. It’s at least as vegetable-ish as pizza and fries. Pecan, though… that’s a crime against nature. Sugar, corn syrup, eggs, and butter, cooked into a caramel filling of pure insulin-spiking pleasure with just enough pecan crunch to justify naming it pecan pie instead of sugar pie. You can’t have seconds of “sugar pie,” but “pecan pie” is a two-slice confection. 
7:00 All day, I have tweeted to my writer buddies, as well as random followers such as @nomoredarkcircles and a few shady characters who may or may not be selling pornography and/or iphones. Nanowrimo people posted their word counts, and each one was a fresh stab of jealousy. Why do I have to have a fever, children, and in-laws? Why did I have to be born American? If we were Canadian, my house wouldn’t smell like turkey and burned plastic right now and maybe I'd get some real writing done.
8:20 In-laws went to their hotel. Another thing to be grateful for: not being able to afford a big enough house to host anyone. John can do bedtime. I’m sneaking out to the office. 
8:38 I don’t think The Bravery needed to re-relase The Sun and The Moon with remixes. And I would like Pandora to understand this Truth. 
8:39 I still love you, Pandora. 
8:40 It is too late. I am ruined. Carbs, wine, fever… I give up.
I cuddled, I watched over-the-top horror featuring a mysterious rubber suit, I took three kinds of cold medicine, and then the dam broke. I let the gratitude I’d been fighting all day wash over me.

Yes, I fight it sometimes. Gratitude is always a mixed bag for me. The more I think about how lucky I am, the more I have to be aware of how fleeting everything is, how quickly blessings can disappear, and how many variations of tragedy and hardship I’ve been spared for no conceivable reason. It can be a weighty emotion, one I don't always feel strong enough to carry.

I checked on the children and wished I’d hugged my older one before bed. I wondered if the younger one would crawl in between us again, and knew I wouldn’t kick him out if he did. Damn gratitude. It always leads me to this place: the feeling that everything I hold dear is slipping through my fingers like so many molecules of water. I promised myself tomorrow I would write it all down, trying to hold on a little longer, hoping I could remember - what their smiles looked like, what their wishes were, how their bodies felt in my arms - the day I cooked the turkey in plastic wrap.



  1. I feel you on the pies, Sarah. I have a great crust recipe, but it looks like I just smush the edges together rather than desperately attempting to press them together just so.

    Your poison story was fantastic, btw. I laughed for a long time.

  2. Love your post Sarah.Sounds like a great Thanksgiving.

    I'm with you on the gratitude thing. The more you have to be thankful for the more you have to lose.

  3. Speaking of things I have to lose... How come stuffing looks so disgusting, yet tastes freakishly delicious.

    Oh yeah...butter.

    Great post, Sarah. You are one funny writer.

  4. Bacon fat adds an extra dose of deliciousness. :)


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