Thursday, November 28, 2013

National Lampoon's Thanksgiving Odyssey

Most of us have seen those ridiculously over the top slap stick holiday movies featuring Chevy Chase and his neurotically abnormal family members. It is with a combination of bitter remorse and bewildered amusement I must admit  those movies evoke all too accurately the daily operations of my own crazy family.

This Thanksgiving the insanity erupted in a last minute volcano of vacation mayhem as we rushed to get on the road in time to beat the atrocious snowy weather pelting the northeast on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Having neglected to vet Shaggy, my grandma's enormous Old English Sheepdog, we couldn't kennel him anywhere. We had no choice but to make space for him in the back of the station wagon and haul him along with us for the six hour drive to our relative's house. Have you ever tried to fall asleep while a slimy dog tongue exuding a strong fishy stench drools saliva on your shoulder? It's a fun challenge. Not only was Shaggy basking in his normal dirty dog aromas, he'd also snatched a juicy Burger King cheeseburger my grandma had left too close to the edge of the counter earlier that day. Between the existing smells and the threat of a dog diarrhea explosion, the car ride was a little tense.

Oh and the looming threat of blizzard conditions and icy roads didn't help the tension. Despite repeated travel advisory warnings, my family was dead set on making the half day drive through the snow and ice. As we nervously rolled past eighteen wheelers veering dangerously close to our car, I was envisioning a perfectly browned, juicy turkey floating in front of a distinctly pearly gate.

Despite the obvious danger, there were also the haphazardly packed bags crammed between my sister and I in the back seat. The precariously perched glass bowl of gluten free stuffing threatened to crash to the floor and ruin the pathetic mush my sister insisted on having. But there's really nothing like a glass dish of stuffing periodically rolling into your lap to get you excited for the Thanksgiving feast.

Luckily we made it to the relative's house unscathed and stuffing intact, and it wasn't until the next morning that Shaggy's cheeseburger bender came back to bite him in the you know what.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Fond Fang Memories

As the holiday season looms in the chilly November future, nostalgia inevitably draws people to bust out the homemade decorations and family photos from years past. I was recently combing through my mom's jewelry collection stored in the top drawer of her dresser. The collection is chock full of old pairs of earrings and some of the first jewelry my sister and I were ever given. As I inspected the contents of tiny boxes and silk bags I couldn't help but mourn the countless broken gold chains and earrings missing their matching counterparts. The numerous pairs of dolphin-shaped earrings made me question whether I had a forgotten obsession with dolphins as a young girl. No such obsession came to mind, which left me wondering why my mother repeatedly chose dolphin themed earrings for my sister and I.

As I continued examining the jewelry collection, my mind wandered to other childhood collections. It was at this point I started searching for my baby teeth, hoping my mom had not thrown them out. As it turns out, the tooth collection was being safely stored in a jewelry box in a loose drawer on top of the refrigerator in the garage. Though smaller than I remember, the teeth made the familiar clattering sound as I pushed them around the box with my finger. They sounded like tiny seashells bumping into each other when I closed my eyes.

I brought my collection back inside and gingerly selected my favorite tooth. Ah, but it was no ordinary tooth. Have you ever had a tooth grow from the roof of your mouth? Well I have, and for the duration of it's lifetime, I had no idea it was not normal to have a tooth growing up there. Growing singularly behind my two front teeth, the rogue tooth had a mind of its own, growing in a rather conical shape with a pointed, fang-like tip. I don't even remember what it was like to have a tooth growing where it shouldn't, but I wouldn't make this up.

I DO remember the terrifying experience of getting the tooth removed, as the tooth-extracting-people realized with a shock how well my crazy fang tooth had rooted itself. Oh yes, being held down by two technicians and injected with repeated doses of numbing agent was an unforgettable event. And the gap, oooh the glorious gap I couldn't stop feeling with my tongue after the horrifying procedure was over. Despite the terrifying extraction process, I am still very fond of my fang. It is doubtful I will ever produce another fang in my lifetime, but I can't help but wonder if I have some secret mystical power not yet known to me. I've always been fond of the woods. Perhaps one day the rest of my fangs will finally grow in and I can run with the other wolves and howl at the full moon.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Trick or Cheat

It's sad to admit, but now that I am a senior in college, I'm fairly certain I have just completed my final trick-or-treating escapade. It's true, most trick-or-treaters lose sight of the magic of taking candy from strangers long before college, but I have persisted, with the help of the two young girls I babysit.

This year it was unseasonably warm, yet rainy and muddy. In anticipation of this weather, my friend and I prepared detective costumes incorporating black rain coats to shield us from the unfortunate weather. The only actual detective garb consisted of handmade paper badges safety pinned to our jackets, along with notebooks and pens we kept in our pockets to record evidence. Our costumes did look rather lame on the outside, and the mother of the girls we escorted offered to let us borrow two brief case-type bags to make our costumes more legit. The detective bag I used was a red leather purse with shoulder straps, but I think it actually may have worked against me. Since it looked purse-like, a lot of adults thought I was just carrying it to carry it. As one adult passionately commented however, "people should expect any bag at the door at Halloween is for candy." Amen. Still, my friend and I left many candy-giver-outers wondering if we were just accompanying the girls or if we were also trick-or-treaters.

On this gloomy Halloween evening, several cars were seen slowly rolling down the streets, carrying the lazy "trick-or-treater cheaters" who refused to walk from house to house, or whose parents wanted to shield them from the treacherous sprinkling of rain and occasional puddle. The girls laughed at them as we trudged up and down driveways on foot. The youngest girl in our group had decided to wear high heels as part of her drama queen costume. I knew she would suffer, but there was no talking her out of it. Halfway through the candy route she started giving in, huffing and puffing, but relentlessly exclaiming, "If I don't get more candy I'll die." And in her next breath she admitted, "I wish I had my power scooter." Instead of stooping down to trick-or-treater cheater level, we cut our losses and went home early. There was still plenty of candy to go around.