Since I entered the dubious realm of what is called adulthood, and
by that I mean having to work along with taking up the duties of
being a parent, Thanksgiving became my favorite holiday. All jokes
aside about families eager to come together and celebrate the bonds
of kinship, Christmas starts losing its meaning once the great lie
that is Santa is revealed to the wiser young ones. And by wiser, I
mean those kids who had probably already knew the deal but kept their
mouths shut since they didn’t want to endanger the Golden Goose of
mom and dad desperate to keep them happy.
Even those short years afterwards, while the now enlightened
children still have enough innocence that the average adult can
tolerate their presence, Christmas becomes increasingly problematic.
The true symbols of the season like the insanity of Black Friday
shopping and the time consuming preparation involved in decorating
and travel make it something to dread like going to the DMV or a
prostate exam. Do not hate me and do not send any hate mail, you know
I am telling truth. In all honestly, we all have relatives we
literally cringed at the thought of spending time with during
Christmas and this says nothing about the bottled up resentment at
having to spend money for presents on those assorted fools.
For a great many people besides me, Thanksgiving has become
the one refuge of sanity situated between the bastardized Halloween,
whose only purpose is to support the Chocolate/Sugar Industrial
Complex and the insanity that is hyper-capitalistic Christmas. Sure,
you are liable to see those very same relatives that you secretly
hope were adopted because you hate the idea that your own kids might
share any genetic material with them. But at least the tension is
reduced after dinner because everyone just wants to stumble into the
living room and sleep as they process all that hormone-laden turkey
bubbling away inside their digestive tracts.
At my house Thanksgiving has become so laid back that it actually
irritates my wife that the kids and I have seriously recommended we
just buy one of those gigantic frozen pizzas and serve that up for
dinner. My wife, raised in a true Ozzy and Harriet suburban
environment, is almost programmed like a robot to perform certain
functions when it comes to the holidays. Among them, are the very
duties I’ve been bitching about like searching for that perfect
gift for our kids and her nieces, along with whatever she discovers
for herself along the way.
But does that mean daddy can run off to the sporting goods store
and buy him that five hundred dollar kayak? Only if he wants to
include the two hundred dollar tent attachment, and then proceed to
make it his permanent residence. No, dad has to be happy with his new
underwear and socks and if he is lucky, just maybe mom might be nice
to him once the kids have gone to sleep. Whatever the case,
Thanksgiving is the one holiday that allows me to relax and enjoy the
company of my family without having to put up with a lot of crap.
Well, this year turned out to be a little different.
This sad tale actually began two months ago when my wife embarked
on a home renovation obsession that is even now still gathering
steam. We’ve had a contractor rebuilding the room over the garage
since the middle of October with completion scheduled around the
middle of December. All jokes aside, the room very much needed
rebuilding and the contractor’s work is literally fantastic. In the
coming weeks though, different contractors will replace the
stove, the kitchen counter tops, and redo the cabinets all through
the house. Not only that, the carpet all through the house is being
replaced and we will probably have the person fixing the fence
damaged from the recent hurricane also replace the worn planks on our
This does not mean I sitting back and sipping a
sophisticated mixed drink watching the guys do their Bob Villa
impersonations. No, my wife has a whole list of tasks for me that
while time consuming aren’t that hard. I actually got the first one
done last Wednesday and it was painting the master bedroom.
One problem though, while I noticed that the new paint color was
almost identical to the old, once the room was finished I frankly
couldn’t tell the difference. In one way that was good since that
meant I didn’t spend several more hours going over spots where the
old color bled through. On the bad side, once my wife inspected the
newly painted room the look on her face suggested she just might come
home with another couple of gallons of a color that will stand out
more. Which means my happy ass will be doing it all over again.
While Thursday was a true day of rest, for reasons I can’t
explain my wife talked me into going shopping Friday morning. The two
places she wanted to hit were the local Best Buy and the nearby
Target. At first, my intention was just to sit in the car as she and
my daughter navigated the belated hordes inside those temples of
cheap imported goods. But when my wife vaguely suggested that we
might buy another, bigger television as she headed for Best Buy I
decided to accompany her inside since she has a bad habit of buying
beat up display models because, “they are great deals.” On a
previous trip to another one of those types of stores, she bought a
surround sound system that had been used as a display model for over
When the clerks packaged it up, they couldn’t find the
instructions so they went online and printed them out. A nice
gesture, but after my wife brought it home I spent several hours
following those instructions trying to get it to work. At some point
I finally discovered the clerks had given us the printout for a
completely different model totally incompatible with the junk that by
then was scattered all over the living room floor.
However, at least I ran enough interference Friday to prevent a
similar occurrence. Once that was done, I snaked my way through the
crowds and retreated to the car like a beaten dog. I did have enough
foresight to bring a book to read in the car and enough sense not to
go with my wife and daughter into Target, which looked even more crowded
and insane than Best Buy.
Unfortunately, I repeated my mistake the next day. Saturday being
the day before my birthday, we all went out to eat a nice lunch.
Curiously enough, the local Home Depot is about two-hundred yards
away from my favorite Chinese restaurant and after we were all nicely
satisfied, my wife decided she absolutely had to go look at carpet.
I’ll just say that while I usually enjoy walking around hardware
stores looking at all the cool stuff, those next three hours were
tough to endure. I will say this, the Home Depot lady in charge of
carpet earned every cent of her pay those long grueling hours.
My wife and daughter are going to London, England sometime in
2017, the exact date is still up in the air but one is thing for
certain is that I will not be traveling with them. The cost for just
two people is outrageous and besides some fool has to man the fort
and keep our two dogs from peeing all over that new carpet. Long
story short, other than a few short and cheap wife-approved trips,
I’m not going to get a real vacation in 2017.
However, given the soul crushing and time consuming nature
of all these home renovation projects, I must admit I am
reconsidering my threat to whip out my own credit card and purchase a
trip to someplace in the Caribbean with my departure date the day my
wife and daughter return from London. My general idea is to call the
house as I sit my happy ass on the other side of the airport TSA line
and tell my lovely spouse I will bring her home a souvenir from
whatever warm, sunny beach I find myself visiting. Yeah, I’m going
with the "it’s better to act then ask for forgiveness than
wait for permission that will never comes" route. Whatever
happens when Thanksgiving 2017 comes we should all have some wild
stories to tell. Hell, maybe my lovely spouse will even agree to
pizza next year.
This reminds me of the great dishwasher deal my wife found at Lowes this summer... If I had written about the details of the trials and tribulation of getting that dishwasher installed, I probably wouldn't be living right now.
Your schedule sounds exhausting. You're fortunate to have people making those demands of you and your time, though. Being utterly alone is not all it's cracked up to be.
Sorry you had such a frustrating weekend. I agree, you deserve a week in the Caribbean as a Christmas present. And the kayak for your birthday.
Thanksgiving is my second-favorite holiday - no gifts, no greeting cards, no pressure. It's all about the food, and I do enjoy cooking it. The only family around is our youngest son, so it's quiet. No pesky relatives.
I've always managed to ignore the commercial frenzy of Christmas and to enjoy the same happy wonder and excitement of Christmastime that I felt as a kid. So Christmas is still my favorite holiday.
And please tell me I understood this wrong... the stuff about redoing the kitchen. You're not attempting to do this before Christmas, are you? Because if you attempt that, you'll probably be googling "how to cook Christmas dinner on a hotplate" in a few weeks.
Sage: Yeah, I think I know where you're going on the dishwasher. In fact given my wife's need for perfection I insist that an major appliance be delivered and setup by the professionals. That way I avoid any possible screw ups. The best example is the garbage disposal I installed several years ago. I bought the thing, but not all the secondary stuff like plumbers putty and the new plastic connectors since the new disposal was a different size. Long story short, I ended up making several more runs to Lowes to get the stuff I needed to complete the mission.
Nasreen: My schedule is a true pain. But it allows me to avoid the worst aspects of dealing with my coworkers.
Pixel: Oh no, the kitchen will not be done until the last of January. Actually the counter top guy has cashed my wife's check but not yet put our house on his schedule. I don't think that guy understands my wife is an attorney.
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