This year, however, I am not looking forward to it. No, I'm not much looking forward to it at all. This year, in fact, for the first time, I am afraid. Very afraid.
And it all started out so innocently.
Turn the clock back to this morning, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Charlie's dad and step mom were in from the East Coast, and were going to be visiting his brother in northern California, so Charlie had decided to go spend Thanksgiving up there since he doesn't get to see much of his dad. My brother had pneumonia, so I didn't expect him to be up to the Thanksgiving Day thing, so that left me, Mom, and Dad.
Mom's sick (bad cold), Dad's sick (the whole heart thing kicking up, you know), and I'm sick (101 degree fever and some kind of ick virus). In short, none of us were in any shape to even face the prospect of shopping for a turkey, let alone actually cooking one and all the trimmings. They had said it would be fine with them if I just went and had Thanksgiving dinner with sushirob and banshree, while Mom and Dad would just go out to eat.
With all the worries about Dad's heart recently, though, I felt like I really wanted to spend Thanksgiving with my parents, even if it wasn't the traditional dinner we were used to. We decided to go to Claim Jumper, so I was going to call and see if it was possible to take advantage of their new "limited reservation" policy. I pulled up their website, and there, in large letters, it was spelled out:
Holiday hours: Thanksgiving Day - CLOSED.
What? CLOSED? The Claim Jumper, home of the six-layer chocolate cake and eclair the size of a regulation football? Home of the sandwich roughly the size of a gallon jug of milk? Home of big giant food items and tasty goodness -- CLOSED? On Thanksgiving? I couldn't believe it. Still, there it was, staring me in the face.
I called my mother.
"Hey, Mom, it's me," I greeted her. "Hey, um, Claim Jumper is closed on Thanksgiving."
"What? CLOSED?" she asked. "Are you sure?" She obviously couldn't believe it either.
"Yeah, I just saw it on their website when I went to get the number to call for reservations," I told her morosely.
"Well, maybe the local one's not closed," she said in a typical display of optimism. "I'll give them a call and find out."
"Okay, Mom, bye."
"Bye bye, honey."
I went back to work. A few minutes later, the phone rang. It was Mom.
"You're right, they're closed," she said. "Who would have thought? I just can't believe it."
"Well, so now what do we do?" I asked her.
"Hm," she thought about it for a minute. "What time does your Dad get home?"
"I'm not sure ... he was leaving around eleven, so maybe he has a one o'clock class?" I guessed.
"No, I think it's a noon class," she replied.
"Well, why don't you try him at the office?" I suggested. "Maybe you guys can work something out."
"Okay, I'll do that, honey. Bye!"
As a side note, I should point out that I really don't go looking for things to turn into quests. All I want is to buy a pair of jeans or change a lightbulb or make sushi rolls at home -- or go out to eat somewhere for Thanksgiving.
Apparently, these sorts of things are too much to ask.
I went back to work again, this time for an hour or so. By this time, Mom had talked to Dad, and they'd decided to go to a nice little restaurant called "Mimi's." The only reservation available on Thanksgiving was at 5:45, so Mom went ahead and took it, just in case.
"Good thinking," I told her.
Now, at this point, it hadn't really been a great day for Mom. Earlier, she'd has a bit of a falling out with her sister, which, along with already being sick, really hadn't put her in the best of moods. Add to this that we were going to miss out on the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and eat out at a much later time, things were just sort of adding up on the scale of irritation. You know how you get when you're tired and don't feel well? Like every little thing just grates on your nerves a little bit more until you feel like one big chalkboard? I think Mom was getting to that point.
But it was okay! We'd decided on Mimi's, and that was great. It wouldn't be the perfect Thanksgiving, but we'd all be together, and it was pretty much settled.
"I really don't like Mimi's," said my brother, who was, after all, planning to get together with us for Thanksgiving.
This did not bode well.
[to be continued here]