Oh, y'all, my kingdom for a cruise.
More specifically, a cruise that sets sail Nov. 21 and doesn't return until Jan. 5.
I'm not without a soul. I love the holidays as much as the next gal. Food, festiveness, parties, presents, decorations, drinks: what's not to love?
Family is what's not to love.
Stop giving me that look. Stop it right now!
You tell me that your grandmother's politics give you reason to be thankful. You tell me that your mother-in-law makes the season merry. You tell me that you catering to your brother's new wife's gluten-free diet is why the Pilgrims sailed across that ocean blue or why Little Baby Jesus came out of that virgin vagina.
Yeah, that's what I thought.
Look, I love my family. I do. But if I had the choice to assemble my family from people on the street, I guarantee the group I would amass would not (intentionally) consist of a meth manufacturer on parole, a former prostitute, a hoarder who once tried to murder her husband with a pair of car keys, an Evangelical holy roller, a full-grown woman who refuses to drink anything (and I do mean ANYTHING) other than Pepsi or Sprite, and a septuagenarian who has a composting toilet on her deck so she can crap in plain sight of the golf course frequented by "hoity–toity sons of bitches."
THAT is my family, y'all, if you also added a literal dozen of nieces and nephews, a few more siblings, a couple extra grandparents, a passel of cousins, some random in-laws, and my parents.
And guess who is the nincompoop who agreed --- nay, volunteered! --- to host this shit show for Thanksgiving?
I'm the nincompoop.
Because apparently I have amnesia when it comes to a) family events and b) how I feel after family events.
The last time I hosted a holiday, no less than three people cried. Let me clarify: three adults cried. I'm not counting the kids. They all cried. All of them. I don't know why. They just did. They're kids. That's what they do, I guess.
Anyway, last Thanksgiving, my grandmother hid the drinks and hollered, "Are you telling me I have to love my children?" Her daughter (my aunt) found the drinks, got wasted, and during a game of Scrabble actually said out loud, "I don't think I'll cry at my mother's funeral."
So, you know, this is the shit I have to look forward to, except that this year I have to supply those drinks... and the turkey and the potatoes and the veggies, dips, pies, cakes, casseroles and centerpieces...
Anyway, I decided I'd be hospitable, no matter how great the cost, because, as I said before, that's what you do when it comes to family. You love them. You extend your smiles, forced or otherwise.
My first step was to create a private Facebook group for my family, so we could have a online information center. I crafted a signup sheet for side dishes. I posted directions to the lodge we rented to accommodate our collective girth. I created an activity committee, a decorating committee, a crafting committee, and a cleaning committee. And then, I posted a fun little poll that was intended to light-heartedly encourage people to get pumped for the upcoming Thanksgiving celebration.
The poll posed this question:
"What are you most excited about for the Great Thanksgiving Hoopla of 2016?"
The answer selections I provided were as follows:
- Games, because I am a winner.
- Pie. Duh. Always pie.
- Thanksgiving photo booth with props.
- Nothing. This group is stupid, and if I choose it, I will be waterboarded at Thanksgiving.
Are you ready for what happened, y'all?
My cousin (hence referred to as Cousin) got on and posted something snarky. Then my grandmother (hence referred to as GramGram) got involved.
Behold the (actual word-for-fucking-word) Facebook conversation that took place:
Cousin: Does the waterboarding option have to be water or can I substitute with another beverage?
Me: I will urineboard you if you keep this up.
GramGram: Did you just say you would piss your pants?
Me: Not exactly...
Cousin: HEY EVERYBODY, BEKAH PEE'D HER PANTS!
Me: No. That's not how this works!!! It's just waterboarding...with urine.
GramGram: Bekah. I do not know what that means. I do not know what water boarding is
Me: It's a type of torture where somebody puts a rag over your mouth and nose and then pours water over your face. It simulates drowning. Bush okayed its use in Iraq and Afghanistan as an "enhanced interrogation technique." So, basically, I'm telling Cousin that I would fake drown him in piss.
GramGram: I want to do things appropriate for my age. A rocking chair. Tea, pie, turkey, fire in the fireplace. A debate
Me: Okay. A debate. Cousin, you and GramGram must now debate the ethics of waterboarding at Thanksgiving.
My Husband: In this economy?
GramGram: Do all yer wild stuff when I am not around
GramGram: I don' want my picture taken I look like hell I look old my teeth don't fit my boobs are not pointy my hair is thin
My Husband: Ok
GramGram: I don't want to dance because well it's none of your business why I don't want to dance
Me: Well, now I don't want your picture taken now, either...
My Husband: We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
'Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance...
GramGram: You can tell dirty jokes if you want to that is acceptable
My Husband: Dirty joke of the day-- a little boy fell in the mud.
GramGram: A good start
Cousin: And now You Can Dance If You Want To is looping in my head. Might as well pop on a 10 hour version of it on youtube.
My Husband: You're welcome
Cousin: EZ top 10 songs ever.
GramGram: Can we talk about mycorrhiza fungus an what it does?
...1 whole minute passes...
GramGram: No? Ok.
Cousin: What's Mycorrhiza Fungus and what does it do?
GramGram: Yay. I will bring all my books!
GramGram: I just found out fungus decomposes stuff
GramGram: I did not know that
GramGram: You know I am happy knowing somebody is interested
Cousin: Yeah, dude! How did you think all the dead stuff got recycled back into the soil?
GramGram: Never thought about it before. I just cleaned house washed clothes
GramGram: If it wasn't for fungus all the poop in the world would just stay where it was fungus is magnificent.
GramGram: I graduated in 1959
GramGram:I want somebody to tell me if drinking milk really is good for a person somebody debate that and let me listen.
GramGram: Ok I am serious I knew nothing absolutely about microbes. I want to know what you you guys knew about microbes that I didn't
Cousin: Well I been drinkin milk since I was a born and I ain't dead yet!
GramGram: I watched Cowspiracy, now I am not so sure. But I drink it everyday in tea I am addicted.
And that's where it ended -- with "Cowspiracy" and a tea addiction.
So, that's what I'm going to be doing this Thanksgiving: debating the benefits of a crap-decomposing fungus and the microbes in milk. All while cooking for this thing. And paying for it. And dreaming of that cruise.
(That's me being so happy thinking of the cruise.)
I really want to go on that cruise.
(That's me being so sad that I don't get to go on the cruise.)
Help me, y'all.
Help me, please.
True story: Life would be super swell if we all embraced our OMG side instead of living a Facebook-friendly existence. So, let it out. What's the weirdest thing your family has said and/or done during the holidays? How much are you anticipating and/or dreading your upcoming family get-togethers? How do you cope? I've heard pot is good. I think I'm going to bake it into a pie. Pumpkin pot pie. YUHESSS! Anybody got some recipes for that? But, no, for real... anybody got some recipes for that? ;) Feel free to disclose details. You're safe here.
Side note: This piece originally appeared in an online magazine where I serve as managing editor. You're getting it a couple of days before the Live Into Beauty community does, because I love y'all so much. But, in about 48 or so hours, meander on over to www.liveintobeauty.com and check out the really cool stuff we're going to have. Or, you know, go there now and read the already really cool stuff we have up right now! Mwah!