Sunday, November 30, 2008

Catching Thanksgiving fever

With all the planning and preparation to do for having both of our families here for Thanksgiving, my wife Kara and I had no time for downtime, which of course means that we’ve been engaged in unintentional germ warfare for the past two weeks. Well, really, Kara’s been engaging in germ warfare against me, the innocent bystander in all of this.

“You shouldn’t use that straw. I’m sick,” she said last week, pulling her soda away from me.

“I have the immune system of an ox. I don’t get sick,” I replied.

“You shouldn’t say that. You’ll jinx yourself,” she said.

“I never get sick, ever, ever, ever,” I said, grabbing her soda and swigging heartily.

About two days later, I was wearing thermal underwear, a hooded sweatshirt and my winter jacket, shivering and sweating on the living room floor, wondering how Kara could have done this to me. She clearly should have reminded me to knock on wood, which might have shaken the germs off the straw.

People will tell you that dogs have a special ability to sense when people are in distress. As I lay on the floor with a pillow from the couch under my head, moaning and begging subtly for sympathy, our puppy Memphis came over to me and quietly, with an almost human-like empathy, vomited on my pillow.

Perhaps as a sign of how writing this column has damaged my brain, my first thought was actually, “That would have been funnier if she’d done it right on my head.” Then she stepped squarely on my eyeball as she wandered away. Dogs have such a special way about them.

My mom would have advised me to take Airborne tablets, the Wonder Placebo that my family swears by, to avoid getting sick, despite the fact that Airborne has never been proven to do anything other than consume dollars, and that the company that produces it has lost multiple lawsuits this year, at least according to Wikipedia, the internet’s best source for quasi-reliable pseudo-information. In any event, once you have a cold, everyone knows that the only thing that really provides relief is a strict regimen of Dayquil and whining, with the Dayquil being optional.

But with our house soon to be converted into a makeshift Airbed City, full of eleven family members and two dogs, the time for whining about microbial mischief is drawing to a close, and the time for figuring out how to turn on the oven is upon us.

Having both of our families together for Thanksgiving sounded, and still sounds, like a wonderful idea, but we’re butting up against the cold reality that Kara and I have absolutely no idea how to put a Thanksgiving meal together. I suspect that the reality will seem even starker once we fully understand how, exactly, the stuffing gets in there.

When she realized the enormity of the task at hand, Kara wrote down everything that needed to be done and emailed it to her mom for guidance.

“Did you just send me a Thanksgiving spreadsheet?” her mom asked.

Apparently, ours is the first generation to employ Microsoft Office in the preparation of Thanksgiving dinner. Seeing an opening, I tried to work the PlayStation 3 into the mix as well, but Kara doesn’t share my technological vision. My destiny appears to be much more intertwined with that of the vacuum cleaner.

Thankfully, Kara’s parents are coming a day early to help us prepare, and all of our parents are bringing their own homemade dishes, so there is yet hope for pulling this thing off. Now we just need to clear enough space on our kitchen counter for all of those airbeds.

You can give thanks that you’ve reached the bottom of this column at


  1. Well, I have to say, Mike, I think you're going a bit far suggesting that there's anything "quasi" or "pseudo" about information we get from Wikipedia.

    It's my understanding that everything you learn from there is 100% bona fie, and how do I know? Because I read it on...

    Never mind. AHEM!

    Great post as always, glad you're feeling better.

  2. Hope that you all had a very happy Thanksgiving and may I congratulate Kara and yourself on finally reaching, and surviving, that milestone of adulthood...the holiday family get-together. The fact that you're all still alive to tell the tale shows a remarkable strength.

    P.S. Hope everyone had fun and that you're both soon feeling better.

  3. JL -- Great comment, as always. You are the man. Honestly.

    Loon -- Ha! Yeah, it was quite a milestone, and the three pounds I gained are a testament to its success. Hope you had an excellent one, too.

  4. Isaac Perlson12/03/2008 11:26 AM

    My daddy says that your Thanksgiving hijinkx and years of mind numbing video game playing have led you to completely lose the ability to understand the art of verbal communication which I find strange seeing as though you write a pretty funny column.

    PS. It would've been funnier if Memphis ralphed on your head though It was funny how she walked on your eye. My dog, Lou, steps on my balls alot but that's OK since they haven't dropped yet.