I was pondering about Thanksgivings past. I am SO grateful they are gone, and I can enjoy the holiday tomorrow ALL DAY AND NIGHT!
Back in the day when I worked for a very large pharmaceutical company which shall remain nameless, I worked a lot of hours. I mean, a LOT, especially around year-end closing time, as I worked in Accounting. We had 52 international affiliates to close at the end of November, and then the Parent Company at the end of December. We started doing prep work in October, and finally would finish up with everything end of January. During that time, we would work 80-90 hours a week. Seriously. I hear that company has changed their ways since then, but back in the cave men day when I worked there, we used a stone tablet to mark our numbers down. I remember the day we upgraded to an abacus, how exciting! Then we were granted ONE computer, to do all 52 affiliates. Can you kids just imagine? I kid you not. We did a lot of manual calculating, on calculators with tapes, so we could double check our numbers when things didn’t add up.
Anyway, moving on. I was newly married and moved into our home. My father had just died, and my mom didn’t feel too festive. So I was happy to take over the Thanksgiving holiday, and invite ALL the relatives!
What was I thinking? I barely had time to sleep, and here I was hosting a holiday that was VERY labor intensive. My husband at the time traveled a lot, so he was no help.
I remember that first year. What a nightmare. I worked until 9 pm the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and then hit the grocery store on the way home. All the turkeys were frozen! When I got home I put the turkey in the sink with cold water like they said to defrost it. I had bought the biggest turkey they had. I didn’t realize how long it would take to thaw out. So I started cleaning the house, polishing the silver, ironing tablecloths, setting the big table, setting up extra tables.
I was up all night. When you work 90 hours a week, your housekeeping goes to shit. I put the turkey in the oven in the morning. Everybody came over, we were having a good time, until it was time to take the turkey out of the oven. My mom was going to do the gravy, so she was helping me take the stuffing out of the bird. I said, for such a big turkey I couldn’t fit much stuffing in! My mom then gasped in horror and pulled out the bag of guts, or giblets or whatever you call them. I had no idea I was supposed to remove it, it was my first turkey rodeo, lol. Anyway, she said, shhhhh, don’t tell anyone, it’s ok. And we served a delicious feast! Everyone stayed really late, eating and drinking.
Unfortunately, I had to be back at work at 6 a.m. the next morning, and we worked until 2 a.m., which was usual. And yes, Saturdays and Sundays too.
Now, you would think I’d get smart and tell people that while it was fun, I just couldn’t do Thanksgiving anymore. Or Christmas, because it was even busier then. Or New Years. And by the time Easter rolled around, I was half dead. Oh, and then I enrolled in grad school. 2 classes a semester, which meant 8 hours a week of class time, plus about 10 hours of week of group meetings, plus homework.
However, I was a gluten for punishment, and continued to host Thanksgiving every year. But I finally got smart and prepared way ahead of time, and did my Christmas shopping etc. in the summer. When I finally graduated, and got a different job internally that didn’t require as many hours, I wondered what to do with my time! I think I work better under pressure. If I have nothing to do, I get lazy. No more nightmares of holidays past.
But this year? I am glad to be a lazy slug. I think I deserve it, after all the health issues I have had the past couple of years. I make the desserts now, and go across the street to my sister’s house for dinner, with other neighbor families. And at Christmas I go to my brother’s house, next door, and bring appetizers or veggies or something. My SIL is a great cook and baker, so we eat like kings and queens.
One more reason to be grateful this holiday season!