Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Debra-- Thanksgiving Schedule

I'm sure many of you have fabulous, festive holidays in which the fun never stops.

We have holidays that create memories (i.e. the holiday doesn't seem like fun until sufficient time has passed and the day becomes a memory). Like the holiday we were all seated at the table and waiting for the turkey. Mother stubbed her toe on the way to the table from the kitchen. The bird shot off the platter and hit Daddy in the head. (From that point telling Daddy to "Get Stuffed" took on a whole new meaning.)

I've lost count of the Christmas trees viciously attacked by kitties strong enough to break the fishing line tying the tree to the wall. Hey, after the first decorated-tree-as-etch-a-sketch-performance-art, you always tie the tree to a wall. We use rope now and pretend we have a rodeo theme.

We had green stuffing one year. The top came off the sage. So, I guess that counts as a festive Thanksgiving! If you discount the weeping and wailing. We love my mother's stuffing and seeing green...well, it was a good thing Christmas is a do-over for Thanksgiving.

Really, don't you think Thanksgiving was invented so we could do a dry run for the big Christmas meal? Although, because of our experience with memories, we don't get too bent out of shape. The family grades on a curve and appreciates that we do both these big meals at our house. So, here's my schedule:

11-1 Find the vacuum.

11-2 Curse the vacuum and take to repair shop.

11-3 Begin negotiation of the date(s) and time(s) for the "official events" while coordinating approximately 12 family units on hubby's and my sides of the family.

11-8 Give up and say we'll have our Thanksgiving for my family on a day that is not Thanksgiving. (We don't actually care.) All are welcome.

11-9 Pick up the vacuum and curse dog hair. Take vacuum back to repair shop. Try not to take offense at the laughter.

11-12 Answer phone call from repair shop. Buy new vacuum.

11-13 Leaf through shiny, pretty magazines at all the pretty tablescapes, snort derisively at people who must not live with cats if they put turkey feathers in their centerpieces, and then get out the construction paper turkey the kid made in third grade and tape it to the front door.

11-14 Attempt to get a final count for our dinner. Plus or minus 5.

11-15 Consider rehiring a maid.

11-17 Vacuum.

11-20 Decide that only the "public" spaces and the guest bathroom need to be really clean. Vacuum.

11-21 Decide to find some activities for the little ones.

11-22 Make sure my son got the memo about our plans. Vacuum. (I have a German Shepherd-Husky mix, which is the generally accepted champion of shedding.)

11-23 Buy a turkey and more peanut oil. Fight usually reasonable people over the last 2 cans of fried onion rings for the Gawdawful green bean casserole that only 2 people eat but who cry if we don't make it.

11-24 Recover from shopping. But vacuum.

11-25 Knit sweater from dog hair that has accumulated since vacuuming.

11-27 Go to two Thanksgivings that aren't "ours." Begin fast-thawing the turkey.

11-28 Go shopping and buy a new turkey platter. (I broke ours 2 weeks ago. Seriously. This one is $ 149.99 at Williams-Sonoma. Ha!)

11-29 Clean until the last possible moment and then wait for catastrophe that will become a fond memory.

11-30 Wonder why we need a maid when the house looks this clean.

Do you have a maid? Do you want a maid? Do you clean daily? Weekly? Or just when you can't find your way to the kitchen?


amy*skf said...


Do I want a maid? Of course, then I can feel guilty over not cleaning my own house.

I've already sent out the e-mail--we invite both sides to our house every year, because we got tired of trying to remember whose house we were going to which year--

Are you coming?
What are you bringing?
Here are suggestions.

We bully people into bringing stuffing and side dishes and desserts and alcohol, we make the turkey and mashed potaotes and gravy.

Everyone is welcome...as long as they bring something.

Playground Monitor said...

Oh my Lordy. I've laughed til I hurt. We live at a distance from our parents and other family members, and one kid is 5 hours away in grad school while the other is 2 hours in the opposite direction with a wife and toddler. I usually play it by ear. I'm going to fix a turkey and a ham, stuffing, Gawdawful green been casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry-orange relish and rolls whether it's just the DH and me or whether all the kids come home. It's just a matter of throwing a few extra taters in the pot and adding another can of green beans to the Gawdawful green been casserole. I know #2 son is coming home from college. #1 son is still up in the air since they have 3 sets of parents to divide the holidays (and the grandbaby) amongst.

We got rid of our last cat about a year ago and we didn't replace her. So please don't hit me when I say that I vacuum about once a month. I do have a cordless sweeper I use to pick up crumbs in the kitchen and den and dust bunnies on the hardwood.

I'd love to have a maid but would be hard-pressed to justify it. With just the DH and me, it doesn't get that dirty. I'll wait til I'm old and arthritic and then I'll ask for the maid.


PJ said...

I'll think about cleaning once I stop laughing. It may be awhile! LOL!

I vacuum every couple days. With a chocolate lab and a black lab-german shepherd mix who would gladly challenge your shepherd-husky for that shedding championship I really don't have a choice. Would I like a maid? Sure! I had someone come twice a month when I in corporate life, working full-time and traveling. It was wonderful! These days, I'm the one in charge of the housecleaning. It was more fun with the maid. :)

Keri Ford said...

I would love a maid to come in to dust, wipe the windows, mop the floors, vacuum that sort of thing. The idea of having a stranger fingers on my undies makes my nose curl, so I'll do my own laundry for now, thankyouverymuch.

I have a hard time vacuuming. My boy is completely terrified of it. Don't know why, but if he sees you pushing it down the hall (not even on!), he starts screaming and crying. The level of terror only gets worse when you turn it on. Tried holding while I pushed, but that only made things worse. I only get to vacuum when the hubby is home to take him to another room.

AuthorM said...

I like to have Thanksgiving because I like to keep the leftovers!

I clean weekly, with heavy-duty updates as necessary. I also spend a lot of time hollering "clean up your crap!" at the people who live in my house.

And I have tried having a maid but they never clean as well as I would if I were paying myself that amount of money, so I'm holding out for a houseboy.

Cindy Gerard said...

Deb - your Thanksgiving saga is too funny. And too true.
The entire family always gos to my sisters for Thanksgiving and then they come to our place Easter. it makes for a nice alternative to the : "Who's going to have what this year?"

and yes, - I have a housekeeper. she comes twice a month for a few hours and makes life worth living. Especially when I'm on deadline (which is ALL THE TIME) and I'm lucky to find a path to my office for the clutter. I LOVE that woman!!

Helen Brenna said...

LOL, Deb. Crazy family get togethers and dog hair. Sounds like my life!

Used to clean weekly. Now I only clean if I HAVE to, and that ain't very often!!

Helen Brenna said...

A house boy! Love it.

AuthorM said...

Helen -- I'd love it if I could find one!

Anonymous said...

I would LOVE a maid. I had one for years but can't defend the expense now.

Vacuuming - I have two dogs (45 lbs and 85 lbs). Both shed. Both bring the outdoors in with them (i.e. there are enough leaves on my floors it appears I have trees in my house). I NEED to vacuum every day. I don't but should.

Thanksgiving - yep. You nailed it. The green bean casserole. Mom's dressing. I've already had the "talk" with me...i.e. what am I bringing this year. I'm bringing mac and cheese, pumpkin pie, coconut cream pie, and mile high strawberry pie. YUMMMM

Michele Hauf said...

Fortunately, for some reason unknown to me, Thanksgiving has always been at another relative's house for a good decade now. So I've missed having to do the turkey thing. And I'm not going to mention that too loudly at any family gatherings, either, if you know what I mean.

A maid would rock. Just to do the icky stuff like mop the floor, clean the toilets, get spiderwebs off ceilings, scrub cabinets, appliances, and windows.

Oh. You mean that's just normal cleaning? Huh.

Debra Dixon said...

Amy –


Are you coming?
What are you bringing?
Here are suggestions.

That’s brilliant. So clean. So neat. So easy. I’m doing that next year.

Debra Dixon said...


"cranberry-orange relish" Yum! Do you make that? And if so, I want the recipe!

I can't justify a maid either except that I'm in the fiction business and I can motivate anything if I have to. (g)

Like you, I think there will come a day when we decide to go back to the weekly maid.

Debra Dixon said...


A lab AND a lab-GS mix?????!@#@!! Okay. You win. My best friend has labs. That hair is biologically programmed to weave itself into anything it touches. It laughs at the sticky roller.

Re: Corporate life
Yep. The maid goes on the plus side of the ledger for most Corporate America jobs.

Debra Dixon said...


I'm with you. We've never let the maid do the laundry except for washing the sheets when she stripped the beds.

Re: Your son and the vacuum
Poor baby! Maybe it's the vibration or the sound, especially if your husband can take him to another room and he's fine.

This isn't similar because, well, a dog isn't a child, but our dog was afraid so we started rubbing/brushing her with the little bristle attachment when the vacuum is off. Now you have to stop and rub her at least once every room with the vacuum ON. It's great for getting loose dirt and hair out of her coat. :)

Debra Dixon said...

Author M--

A houseboy! YES! That's what I want. They can do the heavy lifting. :)

Hey! That's what I'm telling my husband so don't be saying anything different!

Debra Dixon said...


Yeah, I'm thinking it's time to get back to a maid. It does, in some ways, make life worth living.

I just shudder at creating yet more time that people are in my house. The kid's here most of the day on Sunday (free washer/dryer, My part-timer is here 2-3 times a week. Then to add a maid to that might make me crazy.

I like just hanging out in my nice quiet house. Once the kid moved out we got used to it. Or maybe it was doing the year of the remodel that I began to hate people in my house.

Debra Dixon said...

Helen-- Yay! Let's band together and own our willingness to admit that housework is not a priority. Doesn't mean we're slobs, because slobs don't even clean when they have to. It's a fine distinction but one that I cling to.

Debra Dixon said...

Cyndi-- Yeah! Where do they hide the leaves? I go out with the dog. We come back in and suddenly it's like fall in the living room. How are they smuggling them in??

The strawberry pie sounds wonderful!!!

Debra Dixon said...


**Oh. You mean that's just normal cleaning? Huh.**

Go figure! ::shrug:: People who do that normal cleaning don't normally check the fan blades for mountains of dust before hitting the switch.

I don't dare hit the switch unless I shoot a quick look up at the blades.

Kylie said...

Deb, love your schedule :) For the past several years Thanksgiving has been at my house. Huh. Christmas took, come to think of it. But only because my husband's mom called it quits years ago and out of five kids in his family, we're the only ones who offer. Makes it easier for my family anyway.

Yes, I have a couple weekly cleaning ladies who come as a team. I believe I'm on about my twelfth cleaning person since I started.

Our house is a beast--six bedrooms so when I was still on maternity leave with the twins, and it took me twelve hours to clean the house in between taking care of them, I just looked at my husband and said, 'you can have me teaching or cleaning but you can't have both' LOL. He decided he'd rather have me teaching. We've had cleaners ever since.

And then there have been the brain dead moments when we agree to pay some of our kids to do it. Huh. Funny how boys can finish a five hour job in forty-five minutes. That arrangement never lasted long!

lois greiman said...

I'm a slob. But I may shovel out for the holidays. Was going to do so for Cindy's visit but...you know...all my time went into planning the Chippendale event. :)

Debra Dixon said...

Kylie-- Yes, great. Someone who admits that finding the right cleaning people is hard. I don't feel so bad now that another Rider has also churned through cleaning ladies! They start out so promising and then go downhill. It's like they think I won't notice. LOL!

We could never get the kid to clean. He made all his money off his report card and then was frugal. We didn't give him an allowance, but Grandma gave good $$ for birthdays and Christmas.

Debra Dixon said...

Lois-- A Chippendale event *is* hard to plan. Pecs make everything so much more difficult when constructing a seating chart. (g)

amy*skf said...

I hate to break it you all--but I lurve the green bean casserole, I think the trick is to make it with the "French" cut (slender) beans--seriously, it's verra french.

Does anyone else have to have the pearl onions in cheese sauce?

I am not a slob--but I used to be! Also, I only have one child left at home and a husband who is also not a slob.

In no way am I judging you (slob) Lois (slob) I think people who can admit they are slobs (slob) are so far ahead of the game (slob)

Seriously, people who aren't so anal are way more fun and creative.

Christie Ridgway said...

LOL, Deb!

I always do Thanksgiving, but it turns into a Wed-Thurs-Fri event since my brother and family take a long drive to reach us. I love it.

Don't get me started on animal hair! We had a few weeks reprieve after we lost our beloved lab, but then Goblin adopted us. Though she's not too terrible, being only 7 pounds.

I want the cranberry-orange relish too! Confession: I don't generally eat cranberry sauce so I only serve the stuff from the can. But Marilyn, yours sounds good.

I also do mashed potatoes as a casserole the day before so the only horrid last-minute item in the gravy which my s-i-l helps with.

Playground Monitor said...

Cranberry-Orange Relish

1 bag of fresh cranberries
1 large navel orange
3/4 cup of sugar (can use Splenda too)

Cut orange into pieces and remove seeds. Finely chop the cranberries and the orange in a food processor (for me it works better if you do cranberries and oranges together rather than separately). Mix the chopped fruit together with the sugar (or Splenda) and serve. Yum-oh!

One note: My husband LOVES this, but you can only get fresh cranberries during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. It's like they disappear overnight around December 28. So if you want this year-round, buy cranberries in November and December and freeze them. I've looked, but I have yet to find frozen cranberries in any supermarket around here.

Playground Monitor said...

Yeah, Amy. I like green bean casserole too and I always make it with French-cut green beans. No peas with pearl onions though.

My son makes a corn casserole that's good. The recipe is from allrecipes.com, which my DIL uses a lot because you create an account and it remembers your fave recipes in a "recipe box," let you make notations about them and will generate a shopping list for you to print.

Anyway, Corn Casserole

1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 (15 ounce) can creamed corn
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn
1 (8.5 ounce) package corn bread mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a mixing bowl, stir together the sour cream, butter, creamed corn, corn nibblets and corn muffin mix.
Pour into a 1 quart casserole dish and bake for 40 minutes.

Debra Dixon said...

Hey! These Recipes are great. I'm saving them for the Top Down Cookbook. :)

Amy-- Okay, you can like the GBC. I won't think less of you. Especially since you make it with the French green beans and upscale it. (g)

Christy-- We had a small dog reprieve and had only two cats for a short time and it was heavenly in terms of what the carpets looked like. But I love my Sweetie and she walks every step I do, quietly waiting to be needed. I can vacuum a little dog hair. (g)


Debra Dixon said...

Seriously. I've started a file I'm calling the Top Down Cookbook.


amy*skf said...

Marilyn you are always a font of knowledge. Tha corn casserole sounds good.

Debra, I think you're on to something--I copied the recipe Susan Kay Law had on here awhile back -- I think it was roasted squash soup.

Christie, I do the potatoes the day ahead too, that started after I was still peeling ten pounds of potatoes as the guests were arriving. I get the gravy started the day ahead too. If I could get away with cvooking the turkey on wednesday, I'd probably do that too.

flchen1 said...

Wow--I'm stuck on the $150 platter... Really?? Wow. That's so not my world!

As for cleaning, we do have someone come every other week for a once-over on the house. The rest of the time, we try to keep things not disgusting... *sigh*

And yum on the green-bean casserole ;)

Debra Dixon said...

Amy-- When I have time I'll go back and pick up some recipes because i know we have some. For now I'm going to just keep a record of them because they're always cropping up!

flchen1-- $150 bucks. Can you believe it? I don't think so. My momma didn't raise a fool !

Betina Krahn said...

Okay, Marilyn, I'm grateful to you forever for that corn casserole recipe. I love that stuff!

And I'm testifyin' to the fabulousness of the relish. I've done that same cranberry orange relish for years. . . it's a family favorite. Only, now I do it with Splenda for the diabetics in the group. My youngest son used to help grind the cranberries (he loved to hear them pop!) and the orange. Now he's seldom around on Thanksgiving and I always think of him while I'm making the reslish.

I'm having the dinner at my house this year. . . but only for 5 since several family members are going out of town to see their kids. Sigh. wish I were one of them!

Ellen said...

You are well organised for Thanksgiving, will follow some of ideas for it...