Long story short: Thanksgiving catering was a success but thoroughly exhausting.
I successfully cooked, transported, and served hot two complete Thanksgiving dinners. Actually, the first was a Thanksgiving lunch for the outlaws. The second was a true Thanksgiving dinner (albeit food redux) at my mother’s house. Thanksgiving morning dawned bright and beautiful in Southwest Florida. We started the morning lazily, knowing the rest of the day would be a blur. By dint of good planning, all of the food for the outlaws fit in one large cooler, and all of the food for my mother fit in another cooler. Everything fit neatly in the back of the Big Benz, so we launched ourselves onto Alligator Alley. The “Cars 2” DVD lulled the monsters into a stupor for the entire ride.
When we arrived in the Land of the Outlaws (a prototypical retirement community), WineGuy and the boys unloaded all the food into their condo. I parked the car and trudged inside. My MIL’s first and continual comment was, “You brought too much food.” Bitch, please, you’re lucky I brought you homemade food. I smiled and dug through her cabinets for pots and serving utensils. I heated everything in the oven and on the stove and served lunch at the appointed time. MIL set her small dining table for the 10 of us. We were crammed into corners and elbowing each other while eating off of mismatched plates and silverware. BIL2 managed to eke out a “thank-you” to me for bringing the food, but frankly the accolades and praise were entirely absent. We served; we ate; WG washed al the dishes; we visited; then we left, but not before my MIL re-iterated that I had brought too much food. I shut her up by saying, “Send it with Wonderful Nephew back to college. He hasn’t had a decent meal in months.” Score 1 for me. Oh, and BIL2 thought our departure would be a good time to instruct me to have WG end the fight with his sister, the mother of the Prodigal Children, because it’s caused such a big rift in the family. What I should have said to him was “I’ll have WG call your sister when you move out of your parents’ house and into your own apartment.” However, I was too dumbfounded to reply. So, we left.
We got to my mother’s house and unloaded her feast. Fortunately, we were too full and tired to eat right away, so we had a chance to visit with Mom for a while. That meant listening to her endless prattling about her doctors, her friends and their children. Nevertheless, the boys were excited to see Mom’s dining room table properly set for dinner — tablecloth, nice dishes and glasses, etc. — and they thanked this grandmother for doing so. I was very proud of them. Eventually, we sat down to a relaxed dinner and dessert. Once again, WG washed all the dishes; I helped Mom freeze most of the leftovers in single-serving portions. We stayed the night and took Mom out for breakfast the following morning. WG announced that he wanted to go home, and I happily agreed. We were all so tired.
Fueled with breakfast, water, and a wad of chewing gum, I drove the Big Benz back across the Everglades and straight home. WG and the boys unloaded the car. I crawled into my bed and conked out for hours. The rest of the weekend was quiet. We stayed home and watched football. I took Wild Thing and Moose to see “Hugo” (wonderful!). The following day, WT and I attended the Miami City Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker,” always a special treat. Last night, I scraped together a hearty turkey noodle soup for dinner. Moose took the rest of it to school today for lunch.
Glad that the kids went back to school today, Lilo and I had breakfast. Bye-bye to the caterer’s life and back to the ratrace.
N.B. FIL called the house last night to speak with me. He, personally, thanked me again for bringing Thanksgiving to their house and for making it a nice holiday. I might just feel a little kinder now . . . maybe.