November 29, 2010

Eat & Shop til You Drop

Four days off from work and the only time I left my house was to fight the crowds on Black Friday. That's quite a departure from most weekends, let alone, Thanksgiving break. I'm one who is almost always on the go, but this year I had plenty to keep me busy. I'm happy to report it was a very productive four days off.

Our first few Thanksgivings in Vegas, I spent in Chicago, it was always nice to be with the family back home for the holiday. But fares are no longer the deals they once were, so I've stayed put the past few years. The first year, Frank and I were solo so we went to a buffet. The one at Fiesta, it was free or maybe half-price. Either way, it was far too costly. It was just terrible. The next year, I was determined to try to cook, it couldn't be worse than that buffet. Could it? The turkey was tasty, but everything else was a complete failure. Last year, I tried again, and had many successes, but eliminated mashed potatoes from the menu; they never had a chance to be my downfall. My confidence grew, and early on, I decided I'd like to host Thanksgiving, this year. We invited Frank's family, and my mom joined us, too.

My Thanksgiving started by baking sugar-free chocolate chip cookies, then I prepped the bird, and got it in the oven by 9:15. I cleaned house, set the table, and showered. Once one o'clock rolled around, time ticked by in a hurry. The next few hours were a complete blur. However, I did manage to prepare a beautifully cooked juicy turkey, savory sausage stuffing that hit the spot, creamy mashed potatoes, garlicky broccolini, flavorful pearl onions, tangy cranberry sauce and yeasty rolls. My mom threw together a tasty parmesan salad to make our meal complete. Everything was a success -- it was such a relief! After dinner, I kicked back with the family we drank wine, shared many laughs, and we cleaned them out of quarters (playing LRC and screw your neighbor). It could have only been better if I had my whole family together. But goodness, I can't imagine preparing a meal for that many. Ten took a lot of work.

I did talk to my sister and my favorite boy. First, I had a voicemail from them. I wish I knew a way to share it. It went something like this...

Amy: We're calling to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.
Nicky: Hap.. yeah...
Amy: Say it.
Nicky: Thank you? Hap... Thank... you.
Amy: Happy Thanksgiving.
Nicky: Happy Thanksgiving.

Poor kid was confused.

He still was when I talked to him later. He got all tongue tied again with his wishes. I then asked, are you going to eat turkey, today? "No, it's for Thanksgiving", he said. Today is Thanksgiving, I reminded him. All I got was crickets. Still, it made my day.

About eleven, my mom and I sat around the table browsing sales ads. It was time to plan our attack. There was nothing that I had to have. Mom wanted a TV and other goodies from Target. They opened at 4am. This meant I got to sleep until 3:30. Believe me, I needed it.

My mom has handicap parking, this has been a huge advantage previous Black Fridays. Not this year, everyone got a super early start. There was no parking. Period. The line to enter the store snaked around the building to the rear. The longest one I've stood in to date. The coldest, too. Our coldest day of the year, and my dumb ass is standing in a line wrapped around a freaking building. The things I do for my mom. She did give me life, I suppose, I do owe her. Once inside, I found myself in another line. The slowest moving one in existence. I waited for my chance at a TV while mom grabbed the rest of the items on her list. 1.5 hours later, I'm five people from the front of the electronics line, but the TV's are long gone. I leave the line and move on to the next one... The check out line, probably the second slowest in existence. Still, both beat that 15 minute wait in the one outside. I was nice and toasty indoors. We leave minutes before 6 o'clock and dash over to Lowe's. No crowd, at all. Not that we expected one. Who puts Lowe's on their Black Friday list, besides us? The few that were there probably thought it was business as usual. Anyway, mom got her lights and I got 48 AA batteries for $6. Yes, this was my Black Friday deal. Apparently, this is why I left my warm bed at 3:30am.

We continued on and hit seven more stores before the day was done. We also stopped and had breakfast at Siena Bistro. It's such a wonderful place to recharge, especially on Black Friday. It was just what I needed.

We were back at home by 2 o'clock. I was fast asleep by 2:30, after a two hour nap, I was ready to face the mess in my kitchen. Just as I got the house back in order, Frank came home from work. He was hungry. It was time to mess my freshly clean kitchen by reheating leftovers and making turkey sandwiches. Ahh! The joys of the holiday. In all seriousness, I was very thankful in that moment. A joyous holiday, it was.


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