A Thanksgiving Deconstruction

Thanksgiving at The Fanganini’s went pretty much as expected. The whining, kvetching, and resentful feelings were kept, pretty much, under wraps. (It was difficult for me to keep quiet, but I reminded myself that I’m a grown-up and this bullshit only happens once a year!)

The turkey got cooked, the potatoes got mashed (In my early Christmas present— A Kitchen-Aid! Thanks, Mom!), the yams got baked, the green bean casserole was thrown together, and the cranberry sauce was, somewhat messily, liberated from it’s tin can (As, I’m sad to report, was the gravy—- I tried, Martha, I really did, but in the end I just could not serve that lumpy, greasy, tasteless mess that the homemade gravy turned out to be!)

Fangette not only seemed sincerely appreciative of her mother’s efforts in the kitchen today, she even helped in making the hovel ready for company. She and I, in a show of mother-daughter solidarity, did some Honest to God purging. (Mostly involving Fang’s stuff— how many Mets sweatshirts does one man need?) As we sunk our teeth into the chocolate chunk macadamia cookies we baked as reward for our Thanksgiving Eve efforts, we engaged in a little man-bashing, a bit of trash talking. Poor Fang. He didn’t really stand a chance. He was a good sport. He innately understood the importance of this bonding experience. He took one for the team. My team. Who says there’s no such thing as a Thanksgiving miracle?

My parents came and went in their usual whirlwind and flurry of activity. Anyone wondering if they ought to address their child’s borderline ADHD need look no further than my father. Even at 67 he cannot sit still. The minute he gets somewhere he’s itching to leave. I thought I was going to have to administer a muscle relaxant to hang up his coat— that’s how firm a grip he had on his outerwear. He asked me no less than five times in thirty minutes if his coat was in the hall closet or my bedroom closet. (Can you say OCD?) For the record, he had watched me like a hawk as I hung it up— in the hall closet! He watched me as if there were some gypsies on the driveway. Gypsies with whom I had entered into some sort of back alley black market L.L. Bean coat stealing operation.

Before any of you sit there shaking your heads at the poor, old, possibly senile, gentleman who just wants to keep track of his possessions, you should know that he has been this way for as long as I’ve known him. For many years this behavior drove me round the bend. But, I’ve matured. And, more importantly, I now have a willing cohort in my efforts to point out his ridiculous behavior. My daughter and I had more than a few laughs today as we taunted him about the nonexistent gypsies roaming the roads of Bergen County, New Jersey scavenging for the Men’s XL L.L. Bean pea coat in black that, as everyone knows, is the missing piece in their collection. Once they get it, they’ll be that much closer to taking over the world. From their caravans. We promised him that the cat was protecting it (the coat, not the gypsy caravan). Everyone knows that cats and gypsies are sworn enemies. He seemed, in some strange way, satisfied by this.

Where, you may be asking yourself, was Grandma while all this possible coat-napping was afoot? Having a back spasm. No doubt a result of dragging the damn Kitchen-Aid up the stairs! (Hey, she’s the one who was desperate to get it out of her house— it was supposed to be a Christmas present, for crying out loud!)

In what defies description (and I’m looking at it right now— trying to come up with an appropriate description), my 46-year-old sister showed up today and passed out Christmas cards. I know. You are probably saying to yourself, “What’s gotten into JavaJ? Too much turkey? Passing out Christmas cards should not be a difficult to describe activity!” And I would agree. In fact, I wouldn’t even be mentioning something so mundane as the annual passing out of Christmas cards if they had not been photo cards. No, they are not budoir shots. If only. They are pet shots. She has two 2-year-old cats. Okay. She likes her cats. If they were just pictures of the cats (even better if she could have gotten them to sport Santa hats, reindeer antlers, or some other festive headwear) that would have been fine (and just borderline sad and pathetic), but, no, the cards feature a picture of her and the cats in a pose best described as romping. You heard me. Romping!

I asked her who had taken the picture. (Come on, you would have asked her, too. How could you not?) I knew what the answer was going to be before I asked, because she doesn’t have anyone else in her life, except for us (and I know I would have heard about it if Fangette had been involved in this picture-taking extravaganza). Sure enough, I was right. She had taken the picture. Again, confirming my suspicions that this was no spontaneous shot. No, siree! She had to drag out the camera, put up the tripod, wrangle two fairly young, energetic cats (unlike the 13-year-old arthritic feline who lives in my house and will allow you to wear him as a stole for hours on end so long as you continue to pet him in that place under his chin that he likes oh-so-very-much), frame the shot, set the timer— you get the idea. It was complicated! The fruits of all this labor now enjoys a prominent position on my refrigerator door. “Wishing You a Very Meowy Christmas!” (I swear. That’s what it says, which may, on some level, outshine the picture itself—a picture of a 46-year-old woman frolicking with cats.)

And before you go all, “OMG, JavaJ, you are sooooo mean!” Let me just tell you that if I had created this gem of a holiday card, my sister would probably be looking into turning into a billboard. She, at least, would have it posted all over Facebook in a matter of minutes. So, I don’t really feel like a bad person. (I wasn’t going to post the picture of the card, but Ross over at Drinking Tips for Teens is evil and he MADE me do it!— honestly, I cannot believe he is allowed to coach a basketball team made up of impressionable youth!)

The minute her Aunt left (after she insisted on doing the dishes— she may be loony, but she’s at least a helpful loon!), my daughter and my mother (taking a short break from regaling us with what that crazy couple, Coco and Ice-T, are up to— “She wants a baby!”) immediately encouraged me to find the cat and take some shots for our potential holiday card. Unfortunately, (or fortunately) I was unable (and unwilling) to extricate the cat from beneath my daughter’s bed. I did take a few pictures today. While not nearly as action-packed as my sister and her kitties, I think this one has potential!

All in all, it was a good day. I enjoyed my kid. My husband was helpful. I had more than a few laughs. And my family, well, they certainly make things interesting! Plus, if I do send a picture of shrimp on my Christmas card, folks will have less to say about my wacky sister.

I just may have to take one for the team.

photo credit (cat as turkey): tumbler.com
(Christmas card): I won’t say, on the grounds it may incriminate me!
(shrimp): me

13 thoughts on “A Thanksgiving Deconstruction

  1. […] Related posts: My Celebrity Crush A Thanksgiving Deconstruction […]


  2. Love hearing about your day!


  3. javaj240 says:

    I put it in after I had originally posted this… at the urging of another blogger. LOL.


  4. As I was reading, I was dying to see the Meowy Christmas card…and then I noticed it out of the corner of my eye…all tiny and small!! I’m glad I didn’t overlook it! That thing should have been huge, front and center!! Hilarious!!


  5. Ad-libb3d says:

    Cats and gypsies. Holy crap, you’re hilarious.


  6. ethelthedean says:

    I am a blinkin’ broken record over here but seriously lady, you are SO FUNNY. I dig your fam so much. Between your dad, sister, daughter I am in tears over here.

    Do you read David Sedaris? If you don’t YOU MUST. Something tells me you would really jam to his stories.

    Have a brilliant weekend Ms. Java! And never change!


    • javaj240 says:

      David Sedaris is my idol. His family is crazier and more dysfunctional than mine, and that’s saying something (obviously)!

      If you like David Sedaris, you should try Sarah Vowell (“The Wordy Shipmates” is my favorite!)


  7. rossmurray1 says:

    As a Canadian, I’ve often wondered why American Thanksgiving is so much more fraught with drama and tension than our October celebration. I’m convinced that it’s because the holiday’s just too close to Christmas. Or maybe it’s because Americans take their emotional cues from reality TV. Anyway: we win.

    Also: you absolutely have to post your sister’s card.


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