Johanna’s parents are the kind of people that have heaps and gobs of love to go around and will smush it all over you, too, if you happen to wander into their house, family or not.
(They are Helen and Don Johnson – even their names are epically cozy.)
When Jo found out I didn’t know what to do with myself for Thanksgiving, she insisted I come up to Massachusetts to have dinner with her family.
“You have no idea how excited everyone is.” she told me, but it wasn’t until I got there that I believed it.
Me, Johanna, Jesse and her friend Teresa all piled in my car for the drive up, and burst into her family’s house late Wednesday night with our luggage, immediately sprawled ourselves all over the two floors of their house, and made ourselves cozy.
(At some point I asked her parents if they minded a slew of young people draped all over the couches in their den, and her dad laughed. “We love it!”)
Another wonderfully named couple that came for dinner: Jan and Pam. (They explained which one was which, but I had started drinking early on Thursday – what?! It was a holiday! – and I can’t remember.) Jan (or Pam) is the pastor of the church Johanna’s mom is the deacon of, and that Johanna’s grandma goes to, because the Jesusy people FIND ME ALL THE TIME.
I told Pastor Jan (or Pam) that it is on my Life List to become a member of a spiritually like-minded community, and – because I’ve given up worrying about how I come across to Christians once I realized the good ones like me anyway – I blurted out “But I’m an atheist, so I think I’m kind of screwed!”
She promised me I wasn’t and gave me a whole list of suggestions of places to try. That’s… another post for another time. But it was a good talk.
Jo’s parents have a sweet dog who, on Friday morning, slipped into the guest room, picked my bra up from the floor where I had chucked it right before climbing into bed, and deposited in the very center of the living room, right in front of Don Johnson himself.
It was a good Thanksgiving.
“There I was, up to my elbows in dog food, hoping to make him love me.”
I wrote that two years ago as the beginning of a story I was going to tell, and never did. Now seems like a good day to post it.
When Rob got Matty (shortly after I met him) he inherited a gigantic dog food container. It belonged to his sister, but she’d started to cook for her dog and didn’t need it any more. There was a scoop with it that he stored in the container, and sometimes he’d forget to take the scoop out before he filled it up with new dog food, thus burring it under fifty pounds of kibble. One time he did this right before a long shift at work when I was scheduled to feed Matty for him, and he called to let me know I should just “eyeball” the food because the scoop was way at the bottom. I, being ridiculously in love with him and hopeful that I could win his love back, thought I would reach in and get it, and then he would be so grateful that he’d love me, marry me, and I’d get to have his babies. Love is not a rational thing.
The smell was awful because the dog food was fresh (and this was back when Rob was buying the cheap stuff which is horrendous), but I dug deep, wiggling my fingers through greasy kibbles, all the way to the bottom. I was half way down when I stopped and realized I was being crazy. “Let him get his own scoop,” I thought. “He’s not going to fall in love with me if I do this.” I pulled my arms out and washed them off, fed Matty and stormed out of the apartment totally pissed at myself.
Clearly it was the right move.
And so, on this day when everyone is saying what they are thankful for, I am thankful that I have Rob (and Matty, and now Leeloo and Tino!) and that he usually remembers to take the scoop out first before he pours in the dog food now, and that if he doesn’t, he gets it out himself. I’m doubly thankful that I don’t have to resort to levels of ridiculousness to feel like I’m blipping on his radar. I’m also thankful that he’ll walk to the store that’s six blocks away, in the rain, past the one right around the corner, because they’re the only ones that have the right kind of pie tins; that he’ll go to the store again to get the one thing I thought I had for baking, but forgot, even though he asked before leaving the first time, “Are you sure you have everything?” and I was all, “Pshh! Yeah!” I’m thankful he takes the time to be way affectionate through it all, even when I’m crazy making five pies, and that he deals with my blasting of Christmas music a few days earlier than I promised I would (I tried to hold out until Friday, I really did, but I was baking and it seemed so apropos!).
I’m really, really thankful that we get to live together for always. It is awesome.
From Time Out New York:
Bowery Mission, which just celebrated its 130th anniversary last month, serves Thanksgiving meals from Monday 23 to November 27. Volunteer slots for Thanksgiving (7am–7pm) are filling up, but operations director Matt Krivich urges walk-ins to drop by anyway. If you really want to lend a hand, he says, bring fresh-baked pies, of which “there are never enough.” Ain’t that the truth. 227 Bowery between Rivington and Stanton Streets, Manhattan (bowery.org, 212-674-3456)
I perked up when I read this. I love baking for Thanksgiving but we celebrate at Rob’s parent’s house, and they keep kosher, so stuff from my not-as-strict kosher kitchen can’t contribute to the table. I’ve been bummed for a while that my pie baking prowess never gets to shine, so now I plan to spend Tuesday and Wednesday baking up a storm. If you want to bake a pie, too, go for it! Spread the love.
My in-laws keep kosher, and kosher = no butter near the turkey, and by “near” I mean “in the same meal, anywhere”. So everywhere you’d normally put butter at Thanksgiving: on potatoes and veggies and so forth, there was none. Just lots of margarine. Both Rob and I forgot about this and stuffed ourselves at Thanksgiving, and then again last night, with leftovers.
It’s not pretty around here. Scientists are going to discover a hole in the ozone over Brooklyn and pinpoint it right above our apartment. Universe, I apologize.
Rob is worse than just gassy, he’s full-on sick. All he’s been able to accomplish since last night is sweating, moaning, and sleeping. In between, he’s making this house almost uninhabitable. The dogs have started to run out of the room after catching a whiff. That’s bad; I once had to physically restrain them from rolling around on a dead frog.
My perfect kitchen has a Smeg refrigerator. There’s a showroom in Manhattan, and every time I walk by I stop to admire them.
This two minute Wallace and Gromit cartoon features a yellow one. I think I’d like a yellow one myself. Or maybe red, or orange. Or pink!
Inspired by SugarFang.
Flannel pajama pants. Supportive brassieres. The sound of three dogs crunching kibble. Matty hugs. Dances with Leeloo. Spooning with Tino. A husband that handles stuff I can’t. Chocolate ice cream. 24 hour bodegas within walking distance. 24 hour fried chicken places within walking distance. A washer and dryer. Friends who are mere blocks away. A big ass television. Netflix. The new recording studio. An expecting friend. Pea soup. Facebook. Ugg boots. Owning a camera. Rob’s beard. Not being in a wheelchair. The “for free” section on Craigslist. Books. A subway map on my iPhone.
hm… what else?
To be continued… (in the meantime, add your own!)