Every year, I dread Thanksgiving with my parents. It is not the Thanksgiving of yore, where we sat down to a table of 25, starting with antipasti at 1pm, then move on to the full turkey, broke for cards, then all the friends arrived for dessert. Those days are long gone. Sadly, most of the family is sitting at the heavenly table now and those still here on earth are far too scattered to share a meal. I alternate Thanksgiving Day with my parents and my in-laws, this year was my parents. So it was just me, the husband, the kids, and the ‘rents. Oh joy.
As always, at least once during the day, their dogs will try to eat my kids. Now, the dogs have no teeth, are completely decrepit, and literally are all bark, but my kids don’t actually know that. This means that for the rest of the visit, my daughter will cower in the corner and cry every time the dogs come near her. My mother always blames my child for the dog going nuts too, which adds to the drama.
Then there is always a visit to the Crap Closets. You see, my mom is a hoarder. She’s downgraded quite a bit since last year, but she still hoards closets filled with random junk that she buys at discount stores. Every visit, I have to help her cull the stock. Around the holidays, I always try to grab the good stuff, i.e., items that are actually shrink-wrapped, brand name, and brand new. She always tries to dissuade me because she “could use them for someone.” Who this mysterious “someone” is, I shall never know. I’ve had my eye on a box of Kinetix for two years. It’s still there. My end goal is to make sure this crap does not wind up in my own kid’s stockings. Most of it is open, used, is missing pieces, and just odd.
Dinner this year was a scene straight out of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, the bird actually steamed itself open, it was so dry. I didn’t complain, I was too busy looking around at my parents house slowly realizing that as an only child, all this crap, room after room of discount furniture, yard sale art, cheap collectibles, and consignment store stuff that they bought to fill their too-big house would be mine. There were actually fake china plates with gamboling kittens that would make Dolores Umbridge weep with envy staring at me during dinner! What the hell am I going to do with all this stuff? It’s not like the subject hasn’t come up – my mother has frequently said that if she ever gets ill, she wants me to just let her wander out into the cold woods to freeze to death (why wait til then?), so I have to plan ahead a little bit. A full day in her company certainly seems like the perfect time to estate plan.
By the time we reached dessert, where I am served my “favorite” chocolate cream pie (store-bought crust, instant pudding mix, tub of fake whipped cream), a concoction so disgusting I can barely force myself to eat it, but after almost 37 years on earth, can’t for the life of me figure out how to tell them I hate, I was ready for the exit. That was when I was hit with the piece de resistance, my daughter’s birthday present. As always, we celebrate it on Thanksgiving because it is so close to the holiday. As always, my parents bought her clothes. Usually, I am shown them beforehand and approve them. This year, I was not. This year, the box is going right back to the store. (Which store? Boscov’s of course.) Why? This year, my daughter was gifted a chocolate leopard and hot pink print shirt, with matching chocolate and rhinestone leggings. Holy shitballs Batman, she’s a mini-housewife of New Jersey! She is never putting this atrocity on her body. I honestly don’t know what makes it more offensive – the collar of sequins on the shirt or its see-through quality. For those of you who don’t see my kid on a regular basis, she normally dresses like a Mormon. She actually favors long printed dresses, or at least tunics and leggings. This is not her style. Did I mention the rhinestones on the leggings? Is she Dolly Parton now? It was just awful, from head to toe. Luckily, I was able to successfully lie to my daughter about the size of this particular garment and I can only hope that since the tags are still on it, I can get a store to take it back. Any store. Anywhere. For any price. I will pay cash money for a brand new outfit to replace this one, it’s just that bad.
Needless to say, after that debacle, we high tailed it out of there. I got one car with the kids, the crap, and the good stuffing my dad always makes extra for me. My husband got the dismantled snow blower, a gift from a gadget obsessed father-in-law who just bought the newest model. However, it was still filled with gas, requiring him to drive home with all the windows open so not to be completely overwhelmed by fumes. So while I got a quite ride home, while one kid slept and the other listed to my iPod, he got cold ears, numb fingers, and the sound of I76. Hey, at least we got a snow blower out of the deal.
Once again, I am thankful it is over. Of course, I still have Thanksgiving with his family to serve – the first one ever held at our house. We’re even cooking too, which should be entertaining. Wish me luck. The worst that could happen is that my sister-in-law could deliver my nephew in my dining room. In which case, I am definitely demanding naming rights!