When All Else Fails, Be Thankful.
It is almost Thanksgiving. My favorite time of year. My favorite time to gather family and friends together and count blessings. Can you hear the sappy music in the background as you read this? If you’re not hearing it, stop for a moment. Close your eyes and find you some sappy music. Got it? Now start reading again.
This year thirty-ish people are coming. Can’t you just picture all of the smiling faces gathered around the table? The turkey and dressing are cooked to perfection. My sister, Kristi, brings her new brussel sprouts dish, which to everyone’s amazement is actually quite delicious. There’s the traditional Patty’s Fruit Salad we all love even though no one knows who the heck Patty is. Perhaps Pearl, our incredibly large dog, will even don a festive fall bandana. She will of course be on her best behavior, along with all the relatives who will also be on their best behavior! The rye grass has come in and is a beautiful green with bright orange pumpkins scattered here and there. The weather will be mid-70’s with just a hint of cool breeze–perfect for dining outside. Lunch will be served at straight-up 12 noon.
Ahhh. I am giddy at the thought!
I love the preparation. The planning of the menu. It’s the only time of year I really enjoy cooking. I love decorating the table. The details–I love them. It just makes me happy.
More sappy music.
Usually at this point in the countdown to Thanksgiving, I enjoy my morning coffee with my notepad–making my to-do list. I brainstorm with my husband on sleeping arrangements to accommodate overnight guests. I love little details–oh wait–I think I already said that. Silly things, like a small bowl of M&M’s in the bedrooms, along with a bottled water on the bedside table. I’m thinking about writing each person’s name on a little pear and placing it at their table setting. I need to get a few more plates this year since more people are coming. I bought burlap for the tables, but I’m still working it out in my head. At this time in the game I’m usually planning which day I will do my grocery shopping and which day will be my baking day and which day I will wash sheets and towels. Ahhh…..wait! What is that?
Stop the sappy music. Something is interrupting my lovely scenario!
Why, you ask?
BECAUSE I CANNOT HEAR MYSELF THINK!
Wait, what did I say?
I CANNOT HEAR MYSELF THINK!
As I write, my house is being systematically stripped of its exterior. The sounds of wood being ripped off, piece by piece. Nails–holding on for dear life because that is their job–being ripped from old wood. Quite like fingernails on a chalkboard.
And when it stops for just a second, I can hear the happy whistling of a worker, as if to say, “Ha! Let’s see you pull together a ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ now”!!
Things are literally falling off the walls from the pounding. Not joking. The big metal “D” for Dana that hangs on my bathroom wall. Down. The stained-glass window that sits inside another window. Almost down and saved just in time. The plate hanging on the wall rattling a warning to rescue it before it’s too late. I’m coming……
This typically overly-organized girl is having a crisis.
ONE WEEK BEFORE THANKSGIVING!
Y’all. “Help”, she says weakly.
Surely you don’t think that I actually planned this mayhem.
Well, actually we did plan it–my husband and I. People don’t just show up at your house and start ripping it apart for no good reason. We planned it for October, which got pushed to the first of November and then landed right where we find ourselves today–ONE WEEK BEFORE THANKSGIVING.
It started at 8am yesterday morning, and it continues. I can’t see the end. I have almost single-handedly finished off a full pot of coffee this morning. Now I have the jitters. When I peek out my windows, this is what I see.
See what I mean?
I’m sending out an APB to all my guests to remind them to get a fresh Tetanus shot before coming. All I need is for half of them to contract lock-jaw. That could really put a damper on the festivities.
I just finished off the Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, and it’s not even noon yet. I didn’t even bother with a bowl. Just took the lid off the carton, found the chocolate syrup and poured it right in the carton. Ate every bite and stopped just short of licking the carton clean.
I think I might be losing it.
Pearl needs to go outside and frolic, but all the gates in the yard are open. She seems to scare some of the workers. Grown men. I’ve never seen anything like it. So she’s stuck inside with me. Whining. Incessant whining. She follows me everywhere I go because the hammering and pounding are stressing her out, too. She wants some ice cream, but I fear it would mess up her system, and heaven knows that would be a mess in the house that I simply cannot contend with this close to Thanksgiving.
I just received word that the window order was messed up. I’m on the hunt for who’s to blame, and when I find them…I will of course do nothing because I’m all bark and no bite. It will be Friday before my old windows are taken out and new ones put in. Then the siding can be finished. Then the painting can begin. We should have everything wrapped up by Monday before Thanksgiving. Okay. That will have to work. My mind is working like my GPS when I make a wrong turn. Redirecting. Okay. New route established.
But wait. There’s more.
I just checked my handy-dandy little weather app. Rain this weekend. On painting days. Hello? Am I the only one who checks the weather forecast? Just me and my friend Nat. She does, I know. But the fella who is painting my house? Uh-uh.
So the most recent update goes like this.
Painting Monday, Tuesday and done by Wednesday.
The day company starts to come.
THE DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING.
Honey are you reading this? Can you hear my cry for help? I need a hug.
Now I’m laughing. Because I want to cry. My husband is not laughing, though. He just wants to go somewhere–anywhere but here I think. He’s the greatest “fixer” of all, but this is…. just is what it is.
So here’s what I think must happen. Maybe I need to let the M&Ms on the bedside table go. And maybe the pears. You know the ones I was going write everyone’s names on for the table? Yes those. Maybe I should release the idea and save the idea for another Thanksgiving. Or share it on Pinterest and maybe someone else could use it this Thanksgiving and I could live vicariously through their Thanksgiving.
And here is another idea–I mean with it being Thanksgiving and all. Maybe I could just sit down in the middle of the dust and noise and just give thanks.
For this old, old house and for God’s provision that has poured down and allowed us to make some much-needed repairs. For my husband who works long hours to provide for our family. For the workers who work right up until Thanksgiving to make sure the job is done. For the family and friends that are traveling to be with us and who couldn’t care less if we were having dinner in a tent. For the freedom we still have to sit down at a table, join hands and give thanks.
Hey. I think I just wrote myself down from a ledge. To some degree anyway.
This Thanksgiving will come. I don’t want it to go without being thankful. There will always be a crisis of some sort to be reckoned with. Sometimes silly ones, like mine. Sometimes overwhelmingly serious ones. They are all around us.
My heart knows the only real way to deal with it is this.
Give thanks. Always. In all things.
Sometimes my head is just late coming to the game.
So in the midst of this life, let me say to anyone who has taken the time to read this:
From my currently broken-apart house to yours….
Happy, blessed Thanksgiving.
Wait. You can’t hear me? Yeah, well there’s all this hammering going on…