Rotation of Thanksgiving guest list brings joy

NOVEMBER 23, 2017 (previously printed in The Kansas City Star)

Tom Turkey defrosting with Buds

Happy belated Thanksgiving. Are you still wearing your favorite elastic waist-banded garment? It’s amazing I used to only own one stretchy pair of poultry pants, saved for the last two months of every year, because now the majority of my closet is filled with various shades and fabrics of turkey trousers.

Normal Thanksgiving dinners growing up consisted of thawing the biggest turkey in the shop for days, waking up at an ungodly hour to turn on the oven and ensure the stuffing hadn’t fallen out of the bird overnight.

For years, it was an intimate affair with our immediate family and one set of grandparents. Never were my parents plucky enough to have the in-laws breaking bread on the same day and at the same location.

Everyone brought a side dish or five, praying that hers would be a success. However, you wouldn’t know if your dish received the four-star rating until the next year, when, and if, you were invited for Thanksgiving and asked to bring it again.

Back then, many of the same family members would join my small family of four, but all it took was one slight change of the guest list to start our annual Thanksgiving “guest swap” rolling. That’s when the holiday became a competitive sport with no holds barred.

The Thanksgiving that changed our polite formal dinner was when I was 9 or 10 years old. The past dining room table had always been covered with a table cloth, our family’s best china, the real silver, and the crystal glasses that only my mother could transport in and out of the kitchen and hand wash.

We didn’t mind, though, because no one wanted to see her break down and cry; plus, our normal chore of drying the dishes was held off that one day of the year.

As a fourth-grader, I remember when my mother, who is the queen of thinking outside the box, was trying to place enough chairs around our table. Her brother’s wife, her large family, and a priest were to caravan from Nebraska.

None of us were Catholic, but we knew deep down we should step up our formal dinner. I mean, how often do you get to have your first supper with clergy?

If we were entertaining a priest just once, my mother was classy enough to know cramped seating would be a sin. It was time to remove the net and cover the ping-pong table with butcher paper. Fancy living was about to commence.

Everyone had a fabulous time at that Thanksgiving, leaving a big impression on us all. Why should such a creative and giving family be thankful for our typical small family guest list? Since our population wasn’t increasing anytime soon, my parents pulled out the old address book and searched for friends who were alone on that holiday.

If they had impressive culinary skills, they were a shoo-in. “Let’s invite people we work with! I know short Margy makes a mean Jell-O mold.”

One year while I was in college, my parents wanted to shake up the list even more. They invited my brother and me into a room nonchalantly to mention they were crossing themselves off the list. We thumped both sides of our heads to dislodge the object, which had blocked our hearing.

Why on earth would our parents, who treasured family Thanksgivings, say they were deserting us? … The Maui Classic.

Yes, college basketball finally destroyed our family. OK, it could have happened, but instead my brother and I pretended we weren’t devastated by the news.

Over a few hoppy beverages on the back porch, we engineered a solid plan that would make the parents jealous. It’s funny thinking back that they would have wanted to choose our silly dinner over Hawaii, but we were young and pretty full of ourselves.

That Thanksgiving, we woke up to a quiet house, and before the crack of dawn I prepped a smallish bird with all the fixings for two. This was the beginning of our family-themed holidays. My brother and I enjoyed a fine dinner complete with crazy costumes, props, and framed photos of our parents placed in front of their empty seats.

If only we had thought to open the old address book, we could have thrown quite a bash while the folks were gone.


Get Your Turkey Pants Ready

Once again I was lucky to hang out with the incredibly duo, Paige Kellerman and Snarky-in-the-Suburbs, Sherry Kuehl in the KC Live! studio. Unfortunately, we only get approximately 5 minutes a month to gab about what concerns or peeves us for that month. Truly I think we need a weekly show to get out all the gems this group has.

Actually, sometimes we can’t even leave the parking lot afraid we won’t ever have another opportunity to dish with someone like ourselves (aka weird). It’s basically a Mom bitch vent session, where we lay it on the line and laugh at each other.

Our latest chat was recently on the KSHB-TV’s KC Live! morning show. We are the Mommy Panel. Kind of sounds like a feminine hygiene product, but we didn’t get to chose the name.

Introducing…the Mommy Panel talks all things Thanksgiving:


Smell me Now or Call me Later

Lately our house phone has been ringing out of control. House phone…what do you call it? Is it a Lan-line, Landline… or lamb-line? I need to look that one up. Our family is getting abused by so many callers all day long, that my normal method of ignoring calls and letting it go to voice mail is not adequate.

They call first thing in the morning, at every meal, at “nap” time (even though there’s no napping in our house, so bugger off), and my favorite – right when you are putting the kids to sleep at night.

These blood suckers are trying to get innocent people to pick up the phone quickly so you don’t wake your kids? I know it’s intentional. Jerkwads!

This is disturbing since I frequently add my numbers to the online “no-call list.” You know the one which is supposed to keep me free from these money-begging harassers and crooks. I mean gentlemen callers.

I want to know who threw me under the bus and put me on these lists. Is it every time you give money to an organization, they announce to everyone else, “Hey, this family will give you some dough! Try calling them 8 times a day and they will surely give in to your subtle tactics.”

I’m sure a handful of these calls are legitimate groups in need of donations, but my hubby and I search out the companies we want to sponsor every year. I would like to announce publicly there is no need to pimp yourself on my phone because if I wanted to give you my money, we would have. I promise we are generous to the organizations we treasure and hold dear to our hearts. If you didn’t get our money over the last 10 years, it’s a good indication to take our name out of your database.

So the rest of you…especially YOU the “Fraternal Order of Police” and the “State Troopers” – who by the threatening way that they speak to me on the phone – I really doubt you are who you say you are; leave me alone!

And if I’m wrong about this and it is you, you need to screen your calling staff because they need to be thrown in the pokey for the abusive way they treat folks on the horn. Who wants to give money to someone who aggressively guilts you and makes you feel the police will come after you if you don’t sponsor them. If you are doing this, shame on you all. It is a pitiful use of power.

On Thanksgiving this year, immediately following our meal, the phone rang. It was a 1-800-number. The sight of that on my caller ID sucked the thankfulness out of me in a flash, and I darted for that phone mumbling nothing pretty under my breath.

I snatched up the phone and curtly inquired, “WHO IS THIS?”

The man on the phone had a thick accent which I couldn’t identify. Probably because my anger was masking logical thinking.

“Stenchy?” he asked.

“Excuse me?” I harshly replied.

He repeated his question, “Stenchy?”

My anger scaled back down a bit. Obviously, this man had made an error and misdialed. How easy I could forgive someone when they made a mistake.

“You must have the wrong the number. I’m sorry,” and I hung up with the poor fellow who fails to remember numbers in order. I would hate to have that disability.

Afterward, I boasted to my large dinner party, the man was looking for a person named “Stenchy.” This of course brought great laughter; and just when we were to start playing with the name Stenchy, and how awkward it would be to be given that name – the phone rang again.

No. It couldn’t be. But caller ID showed the previous number. It was Stenchy’s pal.

This time I answered, “Hello?”

“Stacey?” (dead silence)

I couldn’t speak. Who was this person? Why would he call on Thanksgiving and how did he get my number? It had to be some crackpot, social deviant, or a scam artist.

“Who are you and what do you want?” I stammered into the receiver.

With his near unintelligible accent, he said, “My name is Joseph.”

Right…Joseph. I’m sure that is your birth name.

He then said something to me about how he hoped I was enjoying my “Holiday of Thanks” and he was with the “blah de dah dah.” At this point, my mind lost focus on everything he was saying, so I asked him to repeat it.

“My name is Joseph and I am with ‘wah, wah, wah, wah, wah…’”

Now I had attracted 11 people from the dining room, trying to decipher my call as if they could figure it out better than I could. Actually, the odds were 50/50.

So what do you do when you panic thinking someone is trying to take advantage of you? If you think I hung up on the dude, you would be sorely mistaken. Instead I hurled the phone at my hubby as if it were a hot…sweet potato.

Then the questions started from the family, so hubby couldn’t hear a thing on the phone either. He ended the call the way I should have, but as I think back on the scenario, all I can see is me throwing the phone as if it had an explosive device in it.

Too bad for the hubby though. If a bomb is about to detonate in my hands; it appears in a fight or flight situation, I’m aiming at my hubs.

I guess it is good to know that enlisting in the military would be a dangerous choice for me and anyone in my tossing vicinity. I never would have guessed I would have acted in that manner.

So what’s the moral of this story?

You can never trust a Stenchy after Thanksgiving dinner and if she throws something at you…duck!

If you enjoyed this, please look me up on NURSE MOMMY LAUGHS FACEBOOK page for some turkey turnovers, hot potatoes and a pumpkin pie martini.


Dentists Celebrating Thanksgivukkah

American Gothic2

This morning, while sitting around the breakfast table, my hubby was reading the paper, and on the front of the FYI section of The Kansas City Star, was an altered version of the famous painting, American Gothic. It was in honor of the great Thanksgivukkah of 2013.

The famous painting was altered so the woman was wearing a pilgrim outfit for Thanksgiving, and the man with the pitchfork was sporting Yiddish attire and holding a Menorah instead.

My hubby and I were discussing the significance of this rare occasion and how the last time Thanksgiving and Hanukkah were on the same day was in 1888 and wouldn’t happen again for 78,000 more years. We thought this was pretty awesome, like Halley’s Comet. (Of course we enjoy our Thanksgiving and Christmas to be on separate days, but since that wasn’t going to be happening, we probably shouldn’t have an opinion.)

So Munchkin #1 walks in and sees the picture in the paper and says:

“Oh, look it’s his dentist.”

The hubby and I stop to gawk at each other and wonder why she thinks a Yiddish man presenting a Menorah seems to look like a dentist to her. Especially since her dentist is a blonde, short woman.

Hubby: M1, why does he look like a dentist?

M1: He doesn’t look like the dentist. He is the dentist.

Me: I don’t get it.

M1: When the painter made this painting, he made the man to look like his dentist.

Hubby: (looking at me) You better research this one first.

The hubby knew I was going to run with that comment. And as it turns out, the 8 year old knew more than the parents. Again! Fact checked it at The Art Institute of Chicago.

Me: I can’t believe you are learning so much in art class.

M1: What did you learn when you were my age in art?

Me: Perspective. Just perspective.

M1: What’s that?

Me: Exactly!



Forgetting something off Thanksgiving shopping list

Every year it is such a chore trying to remember everything at the grocery store in one trip. I don’t know if Martha Stewart can even make it happen without sending some of her paid lackeys to get those few items she forgot for the big Thanksgiving feast.

Even if I have my list, cross off each item as I toss it in the cart, don’t take the chillens with me, and try not to be distracted by anything shiny or the new coffee creamers – I just. can’t. do. it.

Adult ADD?

A case of the blondies? Perhaps.

No, I believe it is just the way the frozen turkey bounces. It’s the preoccupation with my sasquatch 22 pound turkey I purchased this last Saturday morning. By all mathematical equations, poking and prodding and altering of our second fridge temps, it SHOULD be defrosted by Thanksgiving morn. However, how many years does this actually work for me? I’ll let you know when it does.

Past history: Thursday morning – I am awakened by my anxiety medication bottoming out at 5:00 and sprinting to the fridge with high hopes of a squishy turkey. As previously mentioned…this has never happened. But a girl can always dream.

Then the early bird Jacuzzi party begins. Not as glamorous as it sounds and it often creates some gag reflexes, but no one else is awake in the house and this is MY time! I don’t do anything clever or interesting, but just get that damn bird to thaw out before the first guest arrives. It’s a long, laborious process; but usually there is an overabundance of snacks and cocktails available to entertain during this time. I won’t bore with the monotony of this process. You have imaginations.

Only one year did the meal get on the table an hour later than planned. This was last year. We had moved into a new house and invited everyone over early to chat. Initially a nice idea, but listen to me…DON’T do this. Everyone who brought food, wanted to cook it at our house. One oven and 5 cooks makes for one very cranky hostess who has been up since 5:00AM and hitting the cocktails early.

This year, I have it under control. The family is coming right before the meal with their heated dishes prepared, I’m SURE my turkey will obey and desist and if not…

I have everything else under control!

Tom Turkey defrosting with Buds

**Please follow the turkey manufacturers directions on how to properly defrost a turkey. This is not to replace their advice on how to prepare. Salmonella contamination is not a laughing matter. Please use caution this holiday.

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So do you have your turkey in the bag? Or are you running around like a turkey with its head cut off like me?

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