Too Much Food

Thanksgiving crew in Palm Springs

Thanksgiving with Rich and Tara again, but this time at their place in Palm Springs. Unfortunately, I have to work Wednesday night so Mike and I don’t leave until about 12:30am. I wanted Mike to drive, but now that I’m home and wide awake and see him sleeping on the couch waiting for me, I figure I should (besides, this means he has to drive back – the drive back is always worse). I packed all day before work and left everything by the door. I didn’t want to forget anything. I had my list, checking everything off as I went. I know, it’s only one day, but I always forget things, and I’m making two dishes tomorrow so I don’t want to leave behind any ingredients. We quickly eat a couple grilled cheese sandwiches and we’re on the road.

I’m in a great mood, excited for the holiday. About an hour into the ride, I lose my mind. I can’t believe I forgot something. I mean I can, which makes it even worse. Just proving my forgetfulness. I left my shirt for tomorrow hanging in the closet because I didn’t want it to get wrinkled. And there it stayed. Ahhhhhh I’m so dumb! I literally freak out. Like, thank God there wasn’t a camera on me because I would be so so embarrassed. Mike of course tries to calm me down, but nothing he says will keep me from cursing myself. No, of course I didn’t bring anything else to wear except a T-shirt for bed. “I’m sure Tara will have something.” What if she doesn’t?! God, I’m so stupid! “Lindsay, it’s OK. It’s not the end of the world. You’re not sick, or dying. Everything will be fine.” This does make me feel like I’m being crazy. But I’m still so mad at myself. A car zooms past me on the left side. I’m already going almost 80, so he is flying. Soon after, a motorcycle goes by me even faster, easily passing Fast Car ahead of me. Jesus, he’s going so fast. Weaving through the traffic (there’s not much traffic, but I’m actually surprised at how many people are on the road this time of night). We drive in silence. I’m trying to calm down and make it OK in my mind. The cars start slowing in front of me, and soon we’re stopped dead. So much for no traffic. We’re stopped behind two massive trucks so I can’t see what’s the hold up. It’s not for long, and we’re eventually moving. As soon as the truck to my right passes me, we see it. The motorcycle lying on the side of the road. Who knows where the guy riding it flew to. Now I feel really stupid for getting upset over a shirt when this guy may have just lost his life. Scary.

Marcus and the million dollar knife

We finally get to Rich and Tara’s around 3am. They left the door unlocked for us and we quietly creep inside. Birdie hears us and starts barking from the bedroom. She’s so cute, even her bark is quiet. Mike hasn’t met her yet. I’m so excited for him to meet her in the morning! We have the room with two twin beds. I feel like I’m in a hotel. I make Mike slide over so I can sleep in the same bed as him. I’m exhausted. He of course falls asleep before me.

Mike set his alarm for 9am, just because that’s when football starts. We both wake up before that. I want to sleep but I can’t with Birdie out there! Mike tries to leave the room. Wait! I want to be there when you meet Birdie! He waits, and we open the door together. I can hear Tara egging her on. “Who is that, Birdie? Who’s in that bedroom?” She’s at the door wagging her tail like crazy, like she can’t control her body. We both give her excited hellos. She’s moving all around and then lays down like she doesn’t know what to do. It’s the cutest thing. I love her.

Rich is at the grocery store, and Marcus is still sleeping. The three of us sit in the living room and catch up for a minute. Mike is quick to interrupt. “OK, tell her.” I tell Tara about the shirt problem. She must think I’m crazy. I am. But yes, she’s sure she can find me something to wear. Tara stands and shows me her profile. “Look Lindsay, I’ve got a little something here.” Yea, a little baby bump. “I tell Rich when I meet his friends to tell them I’m pregnant. So they don’t think I’m pounding beers every weekend. ‘Hi, this is my girlfriend, she’s a freshman in college.'”

Where will we fit the turkey??

Marcus wakes up and Rich returns from the grocery store. We drink coffee (yes, please). And I eat one of Tara’s chocolate chip pumpkin muffins. We lounge around and I meander into the backyard (it’s gorgeous out) to call Mom. “Oh, you’re down there already? I was just about to call you but then I figured you were still driving.” I recount my terrible night (it already doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore). They’re having a very small Thanksgiving this year. Sarah is spending it with Jeff’s family and Court is in Florida for field hockey. So it’s just Mom, Dad, Stephen, and a couch-ridden Christine (she just had surgery for a torn acl). “Yea, we’re not doing too much.” She then lists all this food that she has out now, throwing away each item as if it doesn’t count as food. Geez, Mom, that’s a lot. “Yea but I didn’t make a lot of each one, so as soon as it’s gone, that’s it.” OK, Mom. So are you not having a turkey? “No, we are. Just a turkey, and stuffing, and mashed potatoes and green bean casserole because that’s Chris’ favorite. And of course pineapple pudding. And I tried a new cranberry sauce recipe. Did you know they have flavored grand marnier? I put some cherry grand marnier in it.” Right. four people. That’s not a lot of food at all.

Eventually I shower and get ready for the day. And now it’s time for a glass of wine. This sucks that Tara can’t drink. I wish pregnancy didn’t last so long. I offer to help with some food prep, so Tara names me her sous chef. Only because when she asks, Marcus and Mike sit silently staring. I get to work cleaning and cutting fresh green beans. Then it’s time to make pineapple pudding. This is so simple to make, and so delicious. The bread I left out doesn’t feel stale enough, but it will have to do. I try to get out of the way so Tara can do everything else she has to do. Rich leaves (again) to pick up Regina and her boyfriend from the airport. Marcus jumps into the kitchen to cut some vegetables. He picks up this ridiculously expensive knife. A knife you could only have as a gift (and it was – a wedding gift). He makes a joke of being too intoxicated to be cutting anything with this knife. Tara stands close by. “You want me to cut? I’m sober as a pregnant person.”

Rich returns with Regina and Bobby. I immediately get her a glass of wine. Someone has to drink it with me! Now Rich leaves for a third time – this time with all the guys – to get more beer. The girls stay behind and talk about all the boys. When they get back it’s almost time to eat. Regina helps in the kitchen, trying to get the food ready, but she’s running into the same problem I had earlier – we don’t know where anything is. She picks up a spice. “What is this? Is this like west coast pepper? With a different name?” I read the label. No, that’s cardamom. A different spice.

Tara and my niece, Birdie

The seven of us sit down and feast. Everything is so good. Tara wants to know what everyone’s favorite is. I can’t decide. You know I can’t believe I’m saying this, because I don’t even like green bean casserole, but this one is so good! “Yea. You told me that last year, too.” Of course I did.

After dinner I feel like I could pass out. I do. Wish I didn’t, because I wake up an hour later all groggy and tired. I head back to the kitchen to make chocolate chip pecan pie. I’ve never made this before so I hope it turns out OK. In the meantime, I put out the chocolate chip cookies I made earlier this week. I don’t have an electric mixer, and I only have one baking sheet, and controlling the temperature in my oven isn’t really possible, so it took almost all day to make one batch of cookies. It was worth it though, because everyone loves them! Yes!

Tara, Mike, and I take a ride on the golf cart. She made a plate of food for the security guard at the front gate. He’s not as excited as either of us figured he would be. Maybe we weren’t the first people to drop off food. At least Mike is thoroughly enjoying the ride. He stands on the back, yelling as we ride over road bumps. Everyone is dead when we get back. We lay around watching a movie, not really paying attention. I’m full, I’m drunk, I’m tired. It’s Thanksgiving. That sounds about right.

*Jason Mraz

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