Saturday, November 26, 2011


I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Ours, as you might expect, was interesting and unexpected.

I had been eagerly anticipating the opportunity to host the Thanksgiving feast at our house, not only because we are the only family members in town with enough room for thirteen people, but also because my Martha Stewart gene flares up whenever there is mention of a party or gathering.  After all, there are only so many occasions that allow for clove-studded oranges.

But then Joel got sick.  Like green-in-the-face sick.  And even though he was better by Wednesday morning and back his normal self by that evening, I could sense the fear in the quivering voices of my family members as they said, "It should be okay" when I asked about attending Thanksgiving in our home.  So just as I had predicted, the festivities were moved up the street to my Dad's thus far germ-free house. 

Problem solved?  Not so much.  The question of the hour quickly became the safety of my husband attending the meal in his weakened condition.  Was he still contagious?  Would we have a repeat of the Great Thanksgiving Flu of 2002?

With no way to predict the future and me unwilling to leave my husband for Thanksgiving dinner, there was only one thing to do.  I delivered the turkey, side dishes, plates and other accoutrements to Papa's house and continued to our local grocery store to purchase a chicken or any other edible bird that remained less than 24 hours before Thanksgiving.

I quickly got to work thawing the chicken in a water bath just as I had just days before, and instead of hoping for health for my family, I begged for the virus to end with Joel.  Please, please, please! 

After thawing and cleaning the chicken, I handed it over to Joel to violate with chunks of apple, onion and celery.  With the leftover apple and the orange I had hoped to use for mulled cider, he pinned fruit slices to the top of the bird and tossed it on the grill with some wood chips and a meat thermometer to gauge our temperature and keep up from over-cooking the chicken.

I saved a bit of the squash for us before contributing it to the rest of the family, but needed some sides to accompany our newer, much smaller bird.  I picked up some green beans, some stuffing and whipped up another package of instant potatoes.

 And then we waited.  And waited.  For the two hours we expected it to take, and then another two hours after that.

I got a phone call that my family was done eating over at my Dad's house and that my sister would, courageously, brave the illness that hung in the air in our home to deliver leftovers to us despite the fact that we still hadn't eaten.  Graham's bedtime came and went, and then Cael's, leaving us to constantly dole out small piles of Cheerios to keep their hungry tummies happy.  With the aroma of several pans of delicious Thanksgiving fare wafting to our noses, we ourselves picked at leftovers until we finally pulled the chicken out when it came within two degrees of the "goal temperature", only to discover that the meat inside was about two more hours away from cooked, so we quickly threw it on our grill pan and finished the job on the stove.

When we finally sat down at the table I'd decorated for just the four of us (two of whom couldn't care less) we looked wide-eyed at the spread of food on the table and realized that none of us were hungry anymore.

Photobucket Photobucket

We pushed a few bites of food around on our plates, Joel testing out his slow-cooked chicken and me devouring a small pile of stuffing simply because it was Thanksgiving and that's what one does on Thanksgiving.

And with that, the kids were off to bed and Joel and I stared at the heaping mound of leftovers from two Thanksgiving meals.  Then we looked at our normal-sized refrigerator.  And back at the food.

The next day, after successfully storing the tupperware containers of food more tightly than Jenga pieces, we ventured into Cedar Rapids well after the Black Friday rush had subsided.  Needing to get a few groceries, we visited the store and packed our purchases, along with a Radio Flyer trike for Graham's Christmas gift into the van, and then we looked back and saw Cael looking a little "iffy". 

And then Friday went from "black" to worse...


Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.