The Relaxing Holiday?

Whoever dubbed Thanksgiving “The Relaxing Holiday Before the Christmas Rush Begins” knew not of what he spoke. At least not at my house.

FIVE DAYS BEFORE: Made space in refrigerator for holiday food by throwing out anything unrecognizable. Raked leaves away from house and fence line. Pulled up dead zinnias and dragged to brush pile. Tried to remember if sheets on guest room beds were clean. Put off dusting and vacuuming until tomorrow.

FOUR DAYS BEFORE: Hauled rotten food to dump. Proceeded to grocery store for turkey and duck. Laundered guest room sheets just in case. Backed lawnmower out of shed to mulch up leaves only to hear it sputter and die. Discovered it was out of gas. Discovered there was no gas in gas can. Took can to gas station and filled it up. Returned home to discover it was too dark to mow. Put off dusting and vacuuming until tomorrow.

THREE DAYS BEFORE: Cleaned guest bathroom. Filled mower with gas. Chopped up leaves. Gave top of refrigerator its annual wipe-down in preparation for very tall and compulsively clean brother-in-law’s arrival. Put off dusting and vacuuming until tomorrow.

TWO DAYS BEFORE: Returned to grocery store, along with everyone else in the Upper Cumberland. Bought sugar and flour. White potatoes and sweet potatoes. Green beans. Butter (lots). Extra soft drinks. Extra coffee. Extra tea. Extra milk. Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix. (Yes, Mother, I know you’re squirming in your grave over that last item. But at least I bought cornbread, not white bread, mix. And planned to pass it off as dressing, not stuffing.) Put off dusting and vacuuming until tomorrow.

ONE DAY BEFORE: Returned to grocery store for cranberry sauce. Knocked cobwebs off porches. Cleaned hall bathroom. Mopped kitchen floor. Abandoned all plans to dust and vacuum.

THE BIG DAY: Cooked. Set tables. Cooked some more. Laughed and talked and had tons of fun with a house full of loved ones.

ONE DAY AFTER: Discovered dishwasher was malfunctioning. Stacked dirty dishes on all available counter space until handyman George figured out how to fix it, which he eventually did. Loaded it up and turned it on. Put off deciding what to do with turkey and duck carcasses. Emptied dishwasher and refilled with more dirty dishes. Scrubbed stickiest sections of countertops and mopped stickiest parts of kitchen floor. Emptied dishwasher and refilled again.

TWO DAYS AFTER: Continued with dishwashing. Pulled vacuum out of closet (finally!) to clean up leaf mulch tracked in after Thanksgiving backyard football game. Put off dusting till another day. Ditto trying to decide what to do with turkey and duck carcasses.

THREE DAYS AFTER: Discovered that fowl carcasses were becoming foul. Lifted the platter they were on and headed to garbage can only to have them slide onto floor before reaching destination. Scrubbed counters. Mopped kitchen floor. Collapsed in front of TV and fell asleep immediately so still don’t know if Eli Manning beat Aaron Rogers.

FOUR DAYS AFTER: Prepared for return trip to dump. Perused leftovers in refrigerator and discovered one Cool Whip bowl filled with untouched cranberry sauce and another filled with barely-touch Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing. (You were right, Mother.) Tossed both in garbage can.

FIVE DAYS AFTER: Worked up courage and went upstairs. Stripped sheets off guest room beds. Gathered up four dirty coffee cups, one half-empty wine glass, and 300 soggy towels. Headed downstairs. Ignored fact that kitchen floor was so still so sticky I had to walk across it on sides of my feet to get to laundry room.

Ahhhhh…Thanksgiving. The perfect time to relax before the Christmas rush begins.

(November 2, 2012.)

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