Thanksgiving Curry

I almost had such a great post for today.

So, last time Miss L was here-- almost a full month ago, on Dan’s surgery weekend-- she asked me what the plans were for Thanksgiving.

“Well, I think you & your dad are going camping,” I said.
“Oh. So are you and Miss G going to Tucson?” she asked.
“Nope, she’s going to Florida with her dad, and my folks are going to Denver for Thanksgiving.”
“Oh! Well... what will you do?”
Be blissfully, blessedly alone for four whole days.
“I'm writing a novel,” I said.

After Dan drops her at the airport, he comes home and says, “Miss L doesn’t think it’s right for you to be alone at Thanksgiving. She wants to stay here and cook.”

“I-- what?”  No. No, no, no, no.

“Yeah, she asked me what my favorite dish is and said she wants to make it for Thanksgiving. So she’s making curry.”

Oh god. And I can’t say no. You can’t say no to your stepdaughter wanting to spend Thanksgiving with you. Crap. And I hate curry. He knows I hate curry. It is the only food I will not eat, other than “meat” from McDonald’s. I’ll have to somehow choke it down; I can't hurt her feelings. There is just... no way out of this. Or-- wait.

“Well-- if you guys are staying, I’d rather make traditional dinner. What about leftover turkey curry the next night?” While I go to a write-in somewhere.

“Oh, great idea! I’ll run it by her.”

The next week, he says, “Oh, I talked to Miss L about Thanksgiving. She’s really looking forward to cooking with you.” He’s all lit up.

“Cooking... wait, what?”

“Yeah, I suggested making turkey curry the next night, but she really wants to have curry as one of the side dishes on actual Thanksgiving.”

“Honey, that’s kind of a hassle. Curry is really involved, and our kitchen is ridiculous. There’s just not room for both of us to be cooking such different meals in there. If she wants to help with regular Thanksgiving dinner, that would be great. And then she can take over the kitchen the next night for curry. It would be so much easier for both of us.”

“Oh, well. I guess that would be easier. Okay, I’ll talk to her.”

[Disclaimer: Okay. Lest you think I am a total, total bitch for not wanting to cook Thanksgiving dinner curry with my stepdaughter, let’s discuss my kitchen. And, to a lesser extent, curry. My kitchen is galley-style, flanking two parallel walls. There is literally 26” between counters; I have to stand off to one side to open the oven all the way. In addition to the tight quarters, our crappy stove has three working burners, of which I will need four: gravy, potatoes, cranberries, and stuffing. Plus the oven. It’s already a challenge to cook Thanksgiving dinner in there without adding a whole extra person needing at least one entire counter and a fifth burner. And the curry? Miss L’s mom’s family is from Sri Lanka. When she says curry, she’s not messing around. This is hours of chopping, mashing, peeling, prepping, simmering-all-day traditional curry.]

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, which is the day before her flight arrives, Dan says, “Well, Miss L couldn’t decide which curry recipe to make, so she’s doing two.” Ha ha! Two! What a delight. Dan is pleased as a full tick.

His cheerful oblivion is the last straw. I flip. Dan flips back.

He’s pissed that I’m not excited to have them here for the holiday. I’m pissed that he can’t understand it was important to me to write over the weekend.

He doesn’t understand why the curry is a problem. I remind him about the three burners, the 26 inches. I remind him that I don’t let anyone help with making dinner because two people in this kitchen is way too many.

He throws up his hands and says “You two have just built a wall! A WALL!” and I say “Oh my god, you think this is personal?” I tell him it has nothing to do with my relationship with Miss L, that I would feel the same way about Miss G wanting to make one (let alone two) really complicated dishes on that day. Let there be no mistake, I tell him, I am genuinely touched that Miss L thinks I shouldn’t be alone at Thanksgiving, and I am willing to figure out a way to make this work. But it’s still a pain in the ass.

Let's skip ahead to the grudging compromise portion of the argument in which we decide to take over his parents’ kitchen a few houses down; they’ll be out of town. Will Miss L feel exiled if we send her to cook down there? Possibly. To avoid this, Dan and I decide that I will cook regular dinner down there, and she can take over our kitchen here. Bonus: with no one home at the other house, I can bring my laptop and get the alone time after all. Win, win.

Except. Oh, right. His folks are installing new flooring, so all the kitchen cabinets are sitting in the backyard, along with the kitchen sink (and not in the metaphorical sense). So... maybe I can... wash the turkey in the... er, bathtub?

And wait-- okay, where do we eat? Load up plates at the other house and cart them back to our house and eat? We can’t eat at his parents’ because the dining room table is now holding up the microwave and pretending it’s a kitchen counter.

And is Miss L familiar enough with her dishes that she can gauge what time they’ll be done, so we can eat everything at one time?

I ask Dan all these questions. He suggests finishing the flooring real quick and getting the sink hooked back up. I say, “Installing kitchen flooring and a sink while I’m trying to make Thanksgiving dinner is the only thing that will make this day more ridiculous.” He says I’m a Negative Nelly. I say he skips right to the magical unicorn dust happy ending without any practical sense of how we get there.

Put us together and we break pretty close to even. This is why we’re good together.

I figure... okay. We'll figure it out. Whatever. Plus rinsing the turkey out in the bathtub and the whole curry thing will make a good blog entry. The only thing I’ve done this month is write, think about writing, or avoid writing. And once, dressed up like a fairy. God knows I could use some material.

So, I put my grouchies to bed and got ready to take discreet anecdotal notes.

And then. Miss L had the temerity to show up with a giant ziplock bag of frozen curry she already prepared at her mom’s house, thus neatly preventing any drama or interesting stories arising out of Thanksgiving day dinner.


Maybe next year.


Ha ha, whoops, is it Sunday already?

The blogging gods are conspiring against me.

Yesterday I hit the Phoenix Faerie Festival with my mom and sister and little Peep, planning a winged photo vignette for today's post. Only the damned photo uploader is on the fritz, probably to punish myself and all other procrastinators.

Anyway, here is the lone photo that would load: Me n Peep.


Guess they weren't kidding about the soul-eating.

I thought NaNo would be a background thing, just something I was doing along with many other things. Writing 1600-some words a day isn’t that much for me, not really.

I was so wrong. It’s taken over my life, and I’m not even halfway through.

Unopened mail stacked up on the front table. Kitchen floor un-mopped. Unbalanced dinners, served way past dinnertime. It's embarrassing.

The writing itself? The whole thing is a blur. I’m disorganized. I forget where I am. I’m almost positive I described a particular plot point not once, but three times now, just in different places.

It’s ridiculous. It’s not much more than I usually write in a day. It shouldn’t be so pervasive, thinking about it constantly, or so complicated to stay focused and keep track. But more than that, it shouldn’t be this fun.

So, disclaimer: there’s about a 93% chance the rest of this month’s posts will be about NaNo and very little else. I’ve become a pod person. On the upside-- it’s only for 16 more days.


*That* door there.

The family cleared out of here on Wednesday and the rest of the week has been far too quiet. Playing with Peep was the perfect balm to soothe the chafe of husband-nursing.* I loved her little “That door. That door. That door there.” followed by a serious finger grab of nearest willing adult and beeline for whichever door caught her fancy (we have several in our house, and each one leads to a new adventure... actually I think ‘that door there’ might become one of my regular metaphors). Once outside, she’s all chirpy and happy. Not that she’s unhappy inside, just that outside is always better. She’s a delight.

Spending time with Peep reminded me of Miss G at that age-- not because they’re similar (Peep is way less bossy, for one thing)-- but just the feeling of entering the world of a toddler, speaking their language, every moment so purposeful. There is no wasted time with kids that young; every minute is spent teaching them something new or learning something new from them.

No wonder I loved it so much.

*Pretty minor. He’s already out camping this weekend.