…and now we have a story to tell!

Thanksgiving 2009. The weather for Thursday looked like it was going to be okay, so we decided to go to the parade. Woke up early, which wasn’t as bad as it should have been, thanks to Piper, who wakes me up before 6AM every day just for fun. Loaded everyone in the car and headed up to Newark to pick up Andy and Carly. Then we all got on the train, which Jillian LOVES, and went to NYC. Walked up 20 or so blocks and found a reasonable spot to stand at 51st and 7th. The parade route changed this year thanks to the pedestrian walkway bullshit Bloomberg installed on Broadway. So instead of standing along that lovely wide avenue, we got to watch the parade and those giant balloons all mashed down 7th. Meh. Not really an improvement.

Jillian had a good time, though. She got to see the Yo Gabba Gabba float and her own personal Jesus, Buzz Lightyear. I am now officially old, because I didn’t recognize fully 75% of the people on the rest of the floats. I got Meb Keflezighi, Carly Simon, The Roots/Jimmy Fallon, Cyndi Lauper, and a few others, but there were a whole bunch of emaciated douchebag boys in skinny girl-jeans that I simply did not recognize yet still wanted to punch in the face.

Eventually, we all got bored, as we do, and decided to walk up to 78th and Amsterdam to the Amsterdam Ale House for lunch/beer. The weather could not have been better, and it’s always fun to wander through NYC during the holidays. Had lunch/beer, then hopped the subway back down to Penn so we could head home. Whilst on the 1 train, we were serenaded by a guitarist and accordion player. La Bamba isn’t my favorite song, but the accordion player was playing with one hand while holdingh is hat out, so he got a dollar from us. That’s talent!

Planning ahead isn’t something we do well. We can do last-minute plans like nobody else, but ask us to think in advance and you’re gonna be disappointed. So it was with Thanksgiving-night’s dinner. Freddie was put in charge of that project, but left it too late and everything was closed by the time he decided what to do. Jerk. So we were all a little bit on edge Thursday night. Good thing we had plenty of beer.

My SIL was in charge of pies for our dinner on Friday, and decided to make them here at the house rather than make them at home and schlep them back on Friday. Fine, not a problem, so we let her have at it in the kitchen. Turns out, there was a wee problem.

I have a double oven. The top one is smaller and I use it a lot for small things. Very useful. The bottom part is the larger one, and I really only use that for large things (like, say, a 22-pound turkey) or if I’m baking cookies I use them both. Now, I have had issue upon issue with this stupid oven, [sing along if you know the words] because the previous owners of our house did not take care of their shit. They put in this beautiful kitchen and promptly destroyed it, so I have had problems with this oven (and the fridge, too!) even though it’s only 5 years old.

The bottom oven? DID NOT LIGHT. I had a similar problem with the top oven last year and got it fixed (to the tune of $400). It was a bad igniter, and I’m thinking that’s what’s wrong with the bottom oven. And, to make my life super-fun, it’s a closed system, so you can’t even light it manually. Thanks, technology!! So… here we are with a 22-pound turkey AND NO WAY TO COOK IT.

I’m tired. I’m hungry. I have a cold, which means a stuffy head and an inability to smell or taste. I have PMS. I’m annoyed with Freddie because he occasionally acts like a total giant flaming gaping asshole when my family is around, so there’s that. None of these things are ingredients for a Rational Rachel, so I start thinking up ways to kill everyone in my house (ways that don’t involve A COOKED TURKEY). Meanwhile, Freddie starts suggesting things. “We can ask the neighbors!”

Oh, riiiiiiiight. Let’s ask the neighbors (not the crazy ones who think I have a geezer fetish – the other ones), with whom we have a casual over-the-fence acquaintance if we can spend 6 hours in their house. Right! Because THAT IS SANE.

That was when I gave up and took the dog out. My mom, fully aware of my capabilities when angered, followed me out to talk me off the ledge. I was pretty much ready for everyone to just shut the fuck up and eat peanut butter and jelly, but she started brainstorming with me. We could butcher the turkey and cook the individual parts. We could… grill it? Maybe? We could maybe put it in the Crock-pot? We could give up and get Chinese, which seemed like a really good idea at that point.

Then Carly suggested one of those electric roaster thingies. Brilliant! Except for the fact that we didn’t own one! Oh, BUT WAIT! Since we were having our dinner on Friday, every store in the world would be open, and EARLY! Hallelujah and we were saved. Sorta. We were hoping that we could just buy one online and pick it up in the store, thus avoiding the “will they or won’t they have it” questioning that we DID NOT HAVE TIME FOR.

Thus began the internet searching. How we would have done this 20 years ago (hell, even 15 years ago would have been a challenge), I do not know. So we checked all the usual suspects, Sears, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, even Wal*Mart… but no dice. Then I started getting crazy and checking places like Sur le Table and Williams-Sonoma. No dice. But Macy’s, dear, darling, fantastic Macy’s gave us some hope. They don’t have a buy online and pick-up in store option, but they did have an 18-quart roaster with “limited availability” in the Macy’s right near the house. AND they were opening at 5AM on Friday. Since I get up at that time with the dog, I decided that I would brave the Black Friday Macy’s and get me a roaster. God help anyone who dared get in my unwashed, uncoffee-d way.

Ma, being the trouper that she is, volunteered to go with me. I’m pretty sure her objective was to keep me from killing people.

Friday! Morning! VERRRRY early! The dog slept until 6, and so did I. Got up, took the dog out, woke Ma up and we went to Macy’s. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that busy at 6:30AM. The Best Buy parking lot was full-to-overflowing, but the mall was fine. If it hadn’t been dark out, it would have seemed like a normal Saturday. I was almost disappointed that I wouldn’t get to throw any punches, but we made our way up to the housewares section and located our roaster. There were only three of them and I realized that I needed a hand mixer because mine blew up (flames and everything!) so I stationed Ma at the roasters and went off to get a mixer.

$80 later, we were successful and back at the house in time for coffee and bagels! WOOOOO!

The turkey problem was [mostly] solved. Since it was an unknown quantity, we weren’t sure about timing and all that. We would have to wing it. And there was still the issue of side dishes. Ma was confident that between the small oven and the microwave, we’d be fine. And we were, but the timing of everything was pretty complex. And, in the end, I only used the microwave to heat one thing, not actually cook it. Because I am some kind of culinary rockstar. That Dinner: Impossible jackass ain’t got NUTHIN on me.

After 10 hours of cooking and swearing and all that jazz, dinner was served. The turkey was a little bit dry, but that is totally excusable since we had no idea what the roaster would do to it. Everything else was lovely, and I ate very little of it. I’m totally amazed that I cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner without being able to smell or taste any of it. The next day, when I was able to breathe again, I noticed that my stuffing didn’t have enough pepper in it and the gravy was a little bit salty, but other than that, it was perfect. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m amazing.

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