It was a good Thanksgiving, all told.
My parents arrived Tuesday evening so they could get up early Wednesday for Family and Friends Day at the kids’ school* and left Saturday morning, a little after I left for work.
Here are bits and pieces of what happened between:
This is all Watson’s fault. She’s the one who introduced us to Munchkins, a sort of role-playing, monster-fighting, flippin’-hilarious card game with warriors and levels and cursing and running away and really, really odd weapons.
She has expansion packs and different versions—Pirate Munchkins, SuperMunchkins, Zombie Munchkins, etc.—and we all played a couple of hands with Mom, Dad, and Janie while Sunny pulled all the Fairy Dust Expansion cards out of the discard piles and made up stories about them.
The game itself is hard to explain, but these quotes from our evening might give you some idea of what’s involved:
“But . . .but you have a chicken on your head. And I smell.”
“Do you really want to ask your aunt or grandpa for help, sweetie? Or will you ask your devoted mother, who loves you very, very much and will kill that horrible monster for you for only two, tiny little treasure cards? Because I will be glad to underbid those mercenary people over there just to keep you safe. You know that, right? Sweetie?”
“No! No, no, no—remember the first rule of Munchkins: any dispute must be followed by a loud argument, which we’ve just had, followed by the owner of the game threatening to take her cards and go home unless she wins. And that would be me.”
“You are home.”
“Then I will go downstairs.“
“I did it! I did it! I have won the Fruitcake of Destiny!!!! Oh . . .I think I just wet myself.”
“Okay,” I said, rummaging through grocery bags. “Mom and Dad may have forgotten the cheddar and the eggnog, and the baby carrots, but they did remember the diet Pepsi, so at least I won’t be curled up in a fetal position under the table by dinner.”
“You would have gone out and found some,” said my husband.
“True,” I said. “But all the stores are closed now. I’d have to find a caffeine pusher on the street corner and you know how that would go:
“Hey, man, all I got is 24 ounces a’Coke, maybe a little Pepsi Zero, y’know? The Man’s been breathing down my neck hard, lately.
Yeah, yeah . . . Wait, is this &(@$%ing root beer? I know you ain’t pulling this $#!& with me, punk—Paagph! did you cut this with Sprite?! I will &(@$% you up!”
Which is when my husband and Watson started muttering something about an intervention . . .
“You have to stir it constantly,” said Watson.
“I am. Sort of,” I said. “I’m just letting it relax a little.”
“Why don’t I do that for you, honey,” said Mom. ” If you’re getting tired of all that stirring that you really do have to do.”
“I have made this before, you know,” I said.
Mom held up her hands and backed off. “Okay, okay.”
“I’m not bothering you with all this noise, am I?” I asked Watson, rattling the whisk around the saucepan like a troupe of six-year old tap dancers.**
“No,” she said. “You’ll have to do better than that to bother me.”
“Hey, Watson . . . Watson!” I lifted the whisk. “I’m not stirring it. I’m not stirring it. I’m not stirring it. I’m not stirring it . . .”
I am flipped a bird that is not turkey and start humming the Jeopardy think music . . .
“Honey,” said Mom, eying Dad as he reached for the last roll. “Remember, you’re having cake.”
“You’re right,”he said, pausing only a moment before securing the roll and the butter. “I am. This is my one chance to pig out and I’m going to do it.”
“Spoken like a man who bought a large amount of Prilosec this morning,” I said.
“Mommy,” said Sunny. “I don’t want to eat this.”
“Since when do you not like turkey?” I asked.
“Since this turkey.”
“Right. Then have some mashed potatoes. Or your veggies.”
“But they’re too hot.”
Five minutes later. “Try them now, honey. you can’t just have a roll for dinner—you’ll be hungry later.”
“But they’re too cold. Can I have another roll?”
Watson, eyeing the mountain of interlocked clean dishes my Mom left in the drainer: “Looks like I’m gonna be playing Jenga.”
“Oh my God, look—look! I found the lid to this bowl and it fits! It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle!”
“Hallelujah! Here’s the rest of the green beans. Do it again.”
About ten o’clock, while I’m brushing my teeth:
“Mommy,” said Sunny, rubbing her eyes. “I’m hungry.”
* Jane aced a spelling test for the first time in fourth grade! Her best attempt (for a given value of the word) to that point was a C-minus—Watson and I couldn’t tell if she had test anxiety, some kind of block, or a severe case of Don’t Want To. But she buckled down all week, memorizing five words a day. I couldn’t be prouder of her for trying so hard. We were there when she took the test and every time she wrote down a word, she giggled—she knew she’d nailed it.
**I still have flashbacks from Jane’s last recital.