Sunday, December 1, 2013


It’s been a doozy of a holiday…  I’m still not finished catching up with myself, but some things just need to be captured for posterity.  So here’s a brief photo album.

To start, the farmers from which we ordered turkeys this year had a puzzlingly small crop.  Instead of being awash in giant birds, we found ourselves pondering the preparation and distribution of an 8-pounder and a 4-pounder.  If we weren’t friends with Carl, I’d have accused him of trying to foist off a chicken on us!  Still, we thought ok, that will be enough turkey for everyone, but no leftovers.

Then I got a voicemail: “Hi Alison, we’ve got three more people coming.”  So, in spite of my careful planning to avoid it, I found myself here on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.


Please notice that cart that has more than “just a few things we forgot.”  I was staggered to realize that a great portion of these shoppers were doing all of their Thanksgiving shopping on this day.  Had they only recently received the memo that Thanksgiving was on its way!?

Anyway, with a lot of patience, and joy at finding a large selection of unfrozen turkey breasts, the experience wasn’t that bad.  Once back home, I dunked it into the providentially extra brine that Miss Chef had left over from the other two birds.  Then finally, Mom and I turned to our day’s assignment: pies.


That’s pumpkin, apple and pecan.  We used pre-made crusts, so other than cutting up a lot of apples, it was pretty easy.  I did figure out that crimping the edges on the single-crust pies is easy, and was rather proud of how much nicer they can look that way.

Now, earlier that day, we’d noticed that the kitchen sink gurgled when Miss Chef was in the shower,  She reported that the water had backed up, but it drained afterwards, so we didn’t think about it too much.  We went about our day, pulling our pies out of the oven and doing our best to work around an overstuffed refrigerator.

Thanksgiving morning, after Miss Chef was well immersed in the preparations of turkey and green bean casserole, Mom and I both discovered clogged toilets in our respective bathrooms.  And, since it was Thanksgiving, you know it couldn’t possibly be a simple fix.

I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say that it was very fortunate that we were guests rather than hosts for the big meal (we celebrate with friends who have a much larger home, so we bring turkey and dessert, and they take care of the rest.)  Also, we made very liberal use of the facilities while we were there.  But aside from our “little” problem lurking back home, Thanksgiving itself went wonderfully.  We met some new people, spent time with good friends, and had one of the best meals we can remember.

And then came Friday morning.


Yes, that’s a backhoe, digging up the section of sewer pipe that had cracked after one of our rugged holly bushes poked and wriggled its roots through.  We spent over 24 hours without being able to flush (though Miss Chef bravely drained some water out of a main access, so we were able to do some judicious hand washing and tooth brushing.)  Fortunately, we are friendly enough with our neighbors that we were able to make a few pit stops in their house Thursday and Friday.  I haven’t quite figured out what would be a sufficient “thank you” gift for such hospitality!

Although our bank accounts will be reeling for a few months, we were happy to have the problem fixed and toilets flushing by Friday afternoon.  When the plumber delivered the diagnosis, I assumed we’d be looking at another day of work, but the backhoe showed up less than an hour after we opened our veins signed the papers, and the repairs were made rather efficiently.  I am still exceptionally grateful to have ready access to a fully functional bathroom in my very own house.

Saturday was mostly taken up with holiday shopping and some overdue chores.  By Sunday, the house was back together—bathrooms cleaned, dishes done, laundry getting caught up.  So Miss Chef and I decided it was time to try to rouse some holiday cheer.  Though neither of us was feeling at all Christmas-y after our budget-busting Thanksgiving, we got ourselves a tree and set it up in the living room



Yes, the tree is bare.  No, we’re not giving up on the rest of the process.  This is just as far as we’re going for now…because we’re waiting to see how that mixes with this:


We had McKenna out on the dog run when we brought the tree in, and when I carried her back inside, she mostly seemed intimidated by it.  She stood on top of her cat tree and teetered as if she were going to jump onto it, but never launched herself.  She did some sniffing from the floor, and even played a bit with the tablecloth…but after four or five hours, she has mostly ignored it.

We are going to leave the tree undecorated until next weekend, just to see if anything changes once McKenna has become more familiar with it.  Like Rosie, her initial nervousness invariably gives way to curiosity, so I expect the cat to investigate more closely in the coming days.  However, I’m sure the fun won’t really get underway until we’ve hung shiny, trembling baubles all over it.  I have visions of coming in the door after work to find the tree lying on the couch, with water and ornaments all over the place.  As I told my parents, “We are walking fully open-eyed into potential disaster.”

On the other hand, there is always hope that the end of this story is anticlimactic.  It certainly would be nice if our Christmas were a bit less traumatic than our Thanksgiving!


  1. So lucky you weren't having guests!! Why does stuff always break on holidays?

    And now I want pie. (Our Thanksgiving was over a month ago, and Christmas is far away. Well, far away in terms of pie.)

    1. Well, you could always practice your pie-making for Christmas. Or cookies--cookies are good too.

  2. Oh! No! What an adventure to have on a Holiday...If you didn't know where your pipes where, now you know and to not plant a tree on top. I learned the same way ...

    Looking forward to reading the adventures of the cat and the Christmas tree...

    1. Yes, I am actually glad to know where the pipes are now. And we may be able to prevent future root problems at another joint if we keep up with it.

      So far McKenna has only taken a few exploratory swipes at the tree. I know the decorations will be a game changer!

  3. That cat will be in that tree.

    1. No doubt...and you can be sure you'll hear about it here!


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