Of Burnt Gravy and Fake Trees

It feels like I was just sitting around, minding my own business, when…WHAMO!…the Holidays were upon me.

Okay, I wasn’t just sitting around. I was hauling ass on the bonus room. I painted the bottom six inches of the walls so we could get in the trim so they could instal the carpet so we could have guests for Thanksgiving. Having so much to do construction-wise took a lot of the pressure off the menu planning. Oh, wait, there was no menu planning. I made what we always make because I had neither the time, nor the will, to make anything tricky this year.

I did the usual: turkey slathered in salt pork, green beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yadda yadda yadda. I made an eye-watering amount of stuffing using Jeannine’s recipe. She was a friend of ours in Hong Kong, the only person I knew at the time who cooked, and I have made it just like she did ever since. Most of our personal Thanksgiving traditions came from our time in Hong Kong. We would have HUGE dinners with all our friends. The biggest involved roasting the second turkey in our neighbor’s oven. Looking back at how tiny our kitchens were, I can’t believe we pulled those off, but they were some of the best Thanksgivings ever.

Mabel, paternal grandmother extraordinaire, made some two-turkey extravaganzas as well. I would have never thought to try two turkeys if Grandma hadn’t done it with regularity. Hey, it was a big family.

One traditional component of the meal was missing this year: the gravy. I had enough drippings to bathe in this year, and in a moment of complete stupidity, burnt the gravy. Now, you might think that it isn’t possible to actually burn gravy. You would be wrong. I had added the flour to begin the thickening process and burnt the crap out of it. Millions of little charred floaty bits made it not only unfit for consumption, but ungodly smelly. And, much to the chagrin of my Boy Scout DH, I was not prepared with canned gravy in case the unthinkable happened. It was a dark, sad day. My brother in law tried to make it all better by proclaiming the turkey was so juicy we didn’t need gravy, but I knew he was full of shit. Yes, the turkey was divine. But gravy is not loved for moistening the turkey (though that doesn’t hurt). It is loved because it is the sauce of the Gods, and if there was a way to have it at every meal most of us would have it at every meal. We, however, would not be having any on the one day it was practically illegal not to have it because I was a stupid head. I will have to live with that bad decision forever: I’m sure the DH will never let me forget.

You don’t even have time to take in the enormity of burning the gravy before you are in the  season of the Fat Man. Time to break out the Christmas decorations.

Last year we had a real tree for the first time since the Terrors were born. It was a disaster. The first night it fell over because the Terrors only decorate a clump on the front of the tree. We lost some ornaments, though luckily none we cared about. In light of that experience, the DH was a little, okay a lot, concerned about our spankin’ new wood floors. So even though we live in the land of the Christmas tree farm, we are now the not-so-proud owners of a petroleum-based tree.

I know, I know, it is a sin against the Christmas gods. But what can I say…if the DH ain’t happy no one is. It wasn’t worth the fight. Rest easy though, Christmas got her revenge. The only “tree” left at the store was not pre lit and we had to put every individual branch on the dag pole. Nightmare.

It’s up, though I haven’t fluffed it yet. Not only did it not come with lights, but I don’t have any to put on it. The DH doesn’t understand how we could have three tubs full of lights and still not have enough for the tree, but there are lots of things the DH doesn’t understand about me and Christmas.

Of course the Rookie is DYING to put the ornaments on (translation: he wants to put up two ornaments and then complain that putting up the ornaments is boring). But he can’t do that until I get the lights on, so I will have no choice but to go back out into the retail hell that is Christmas shopping season and hope that all the lights haven’t sold out.

‘Tis the season…




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