A lot of things have happened. I had to work very hard--we all did at my office--to account for the holiday. David Blaine, the idiot, escaped from the big ol' gyroscope over Times Square. We saw the Macy's parade for the first time this year; it wasn't a big deal, really, but now we can say we did it. We would have felt stupid not seeing it, since we were in NYC for once. We saw Happy Feet and were surprised at how sad it was in parts. Jimmie Johnson won the championship, damn it. It would be very fair and mature to acknowledge how hard he's worked and how he's earned it, but I understand now why my grandma can be so mean about it. Fairness and maturity are no dang fun whatsoever.
But the main thing that happened was Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, my mother, brother, and I are all angry at various members of our extended family. Throughout the past year, they have been very snide and judgemental towards us and our mates. We decided to boycott the extended family celebration, even though (and especially because) the three of us are considered the family's best cooks. We've already heard that there have been complaints about the food and that we have been missed. We're not sorry. Next year, maybe they'll be as happy to see us at the table as they are to have us serve them at the table, or at least have the good grace to pretend.
So L'Ailee and I hosted a "chosen family" Thanksgiving at home. About half the people in attendance were immigrants, some of them fairly recent, which added an interesting flavor to the celebration. I mean that quite literally--they brought dishes for us. For some people in attendance, it was actually their first Thanksgiving. An atheist Japanese guest, a friend of L'Ailee's, asked who she would thank; L'Ailee, who is also atheist, told her to thank the cook. Of course I liked that philosophy!
My brother and his wife were able to fly up from Orlando. I was happy to have him there for many reasons, but the main one is that he's become a master at turkey preparation. He loves to eat turkey, so he's gotten terrific at cooking it. I cannot stand touching raw meat! So I let him make the turkey while I made most everything else. L'Ailee had patiently served as my guinea pig for a month while I tried, saved, and scrapped new recipes and re-learned old ones. People seemed so amazed that I can actually make a pie crust, but my step-grandmother (my paternal granddaddy's second wife) has a way with flour and shortening, and I learned to make biscuits and pie crusts at her side. Like her, I wow people with those and can let them carry everything else for me if I choose. But the roasted green beans seemed to make everyone happy, too. Dorkfish says they're a lot like TGI Friday's "green bean fries"; I wouldn't know.
We maintained a family tradition--daring each other to drink something vile for money. A few of the immigrants wondered whether this was a Thanksgiving tradition; we had to explain that it was actually started by mine and Dorkfish's generation in our family. We went with a mixture of mushroom juice (exuded by my sauteed mushrooms during cooking) and the artificial vanilla extract my SIL had bought at the store because she didn't know any better. The vegetarians were just thrilled to be included in the fun! L'Ailee's best friend and one of my co-workers ended up each drinking a cup of it, and splitting the $320 pot we'd generated, and being very sick. My co-worker told everyone in the office about it, and I've been having to explain it all morning.
Dorkfish and Mrs. Dorkfish had lugged an airbed up to NYC. I don't know how they got it on the plane, but they were glad to have it. Apparently they don't find the couch as comfortable as we do. We had to move furniture around to accommodate it on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights. I'm also grateful the Dorkfish is strong.
Just because my extended relatives weren't there doesn't mean there wasn't a fight. Oh, no. This begins the part that I'm not proud of, so you can just click away right now if you want, but you probably won't. L'Ailee would much prefer that I share her brilliantly articulated theory about what really happened to poor Alexander Litvinenko, but she knows how to get her own damn blog, and this is mine.
You see, I've been losing weight again, after a few months of holding steady. And I inadvertently heard L'Ailee say to a friend of hers, when she didn't know I was in earshot, "Yeah, Jayelle's been losing weight. But it's not fair. Her bras are getting loose and her waistbands are not." Now, that's been my complaint, too. I don't like that trend one bit, and will even gain the weight back if that's what it takes to reverse it. However, I didn't like L'Ailee making note of it to someone else.
So I did something stupid and immature. L'Ailee grew up with alcoholic parents, so she's sensitive about excess drinking. She won't touch me if I've had more than two drinks. I usually drink that amount or less, because my maternal grandfather was an alcoholic and because I just don't think it's a good time if I have to be plastered to enjoy it. But on Thanksgiving night, I decided to sample new cocktails. I had about five drinks. Dorkfish was surprised. L'Ailee shot me very disapproving looks. When we finally got everything cleaned up and went to bed, she made Marge Simpson noises.
After two years of living together, we still bathe together every morning, and we're usually quite happy to share a bathroom. Friday morning was tense. For one thing, we got up wicked early because L'Ailee wanted to shop. I metabolize alcohol a bit weirdly, too--it wears off quickly at night, so I hardly feel the effects, but I'll get hung over in the morning. Apparently it's got something to do with how it mixes with my Lexapro. (I told y'all I was being stupid.) So I was very hung over on Friday. L'Ailee wasn't sympathetic.
"That's what you get for drinking too much," she chided. "By the way, you could have had sex last night, but you decided to drink a lot instead."
"Oh, that's okay," I retorted. "You think I'm ugly anyway."
She looked genuinely shocked, upon reflection. "WHAT?"
"I heard you yesterday!" I parroted the conversation back to her. She told me I had no right to eavesdrop. I told her she had no right to say things like that about me, especially since weight's never been a problem for her. This will surprise you, but we did not bathe together that morning. Instead, we took turns taking Marine-style showers, with the shower curtain closed. One of us showered while the other sat or stood outside it and defended her position. It was not a peaceful way to begin the morning, let me tell you.
We usually help each other get ready. But L'Ailee decided quickly that there was no way she was letting me near her scalp with a razor, which was probably for the best, so her head stayed fuzzy. She went to do my hair, and...well, let me explain this to the guys who've only ever had short hair. It's no fun to have an angry woman wield a comb through your long, thick, tangled hair, believe me. It hurts like crazy, and you feel like she's gonna snap your head clean off. So I refused to let her touch it. "It looks like a bird's nest," she sniped.
"Well, that's just perfect. Goes with the rest of me."
"Will you drop it?!"
"Why the hell should I?"
So we were glaring at each other and shoving each other away from the mirror. I felt like a sea cow--a tired, angry, hung over, stupid, grudge-holding sea cow. Dorkfish and Mrs. Dorkfish were concerned when they saw us. We told them to never mind us. We studiously ignored each other as the Dorkfishes served us breakfast. And then we all headed out to the stores in Manhattan. All this, and it was just starting to get light out!
I didn't feel at all like shopping. I wanted to cry and break things, and I certainly wasn't interested in trying on clothes or fighting pushy New Yorkers or getting anybody anything nice. L'Ailee, meanwhile, was trying to make herself feel better through retail therapy. The Dorkfishes were enjoying their day out. Another thing I'm a touch ashamed of, but it was a nice gesture--we stopped in front of the Fox News studio so we could hold up hastily-made signs saying "Hi, Mom! We missed you at dinner yesterday!" Dorkfish was feeling considerate, and we knew Mom would be watching the Fox and Friends morning show. She celled us immediately after she saw us. She loved it, so it was worth acting like we supported Faux News for a few seconds.
That sort of lightened things up. L'Ailee and I giggled about appearing on Fox. We wondered whether other viewers would recognize us as a couple, and thought it would be lovely if some social conservatives did. After all, they watch Fox to get away from things they disagree with.
L'Ailee leaned in, whispering urgently. "I am so sorry. I know your weight is a sensitive subject."
"I'm sorry, too," I whispered back. "You should be able to talk to your friends. I know I'm not perfect."
"I think you're so beautiful. I want you to know that."
"I worry, you know. I get really insecure. It's not what you think; it's what I think. That's my problem, and it shouldn't be yours."
We held hands and acted coupley again. When we got home, L'Ailee told me she had something to show me in her attic-turned-sewing-room. I never venture there. The steps are narrow and creaky and scary, the kind of thing only a skinny gymnast can feel comfortable on. I went anyway.
I still don't know what it was L'Ailee wanted to show me; I only know we made up there. ;-) She thought it would be a good venue for making up, since it was insulated and out of the way and she had lots of fabric there. She thought the Dorkfishes wouldn't hear us. Apparently, however, the sound properties of the attic had exactly the opposite effect. As the Dorkfishes explained to us with the reddest of red faces, the sounds were loud and alarming and reverberated throughout our little house. We were, of course, embarrassed.
"We still have a lot to learn about interiors," L'Ailee noted.
"That's why we have to go to school for it," I said. "Could you imagine if [our most prudish relatives] were here?"
"I think they'd be in the ER right now," my SIL said.
"I think they have something else to be thankful for, and they don't even know it," Dorkfish concluded. We were all smiles as we took the cab to the airport Friday night.