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talking turkey

This is what I'd like to think my Thanksgiving dinners will look like...

This is what I’d like to think my Thanksgiving dinners will look like…

I have a bit of a confession to make:  I haven’t really enjoyed Thanksgiving for a long, long time. But I think that’s about to change.  In fact, I’m sure of it.  But  I’ll get to that…

For the 8 years that I lived down South, Jabba and I never made it back home for Thanksgiving.  We were both teaching and Thanksgiving Break in academia is basically a 5 day weekend.  Getting a flight for the busiest travel holiday of the year is a very expensive venture – especially when adding in The Kid and said 5 day weekend.  Traveling by car on aforementioned 5 day weekend with said Kid is almost too time consuming.  At the end of it all, Thanksgiving is essentially about one dinner with the family.

To make a long story short, we had agreed that traveling for Thanksgiving was a waste of time and money.  That, and I think we were both okay with the idea of having our own family Thanksgiving dinner.  After all, you could eat turkey and watch the Detroit Lions lose in spectacular fashion on national TV anywhere.  Besides, we could always see the families at Christmas.  We would always come up for Christmas – my mother wouldn’t take no for an answer to that.  At least, not until I had to work on Christmas, but I digress.

Last year was kind of an odd turkey day for me.  Sure, I was with the family, but I missed The Kid – as he was with Jabba.  I lived, of course. alcohol helped.  Besides, it’s still just one dinner on one day. It really wasn’t the end of the world – or even a bad day for that matter.  But this year is already different.

...but they'll probably look more like this.

…but they’ll probably look more like this.

Thanksgiving  is, at least in theory, a day to reflect upon all the things that we are thankful for.  It is a day for family, friends and feasting.  For the first time in a long time, I truly feel  like I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

UPDATE: 11/29/13 3:19 P.M.

The auteur, 1B and I made the trip into Leroy’s house for
Thanksgiving dinner.  It was, of course, my first Thanksgiving with The Auteur and the first time 1B got to meet my mom, LeRoy, his wife, kids and in-laws.  Things went much better than I expected. Not that I expected anything bad to happen; I just assumed that there would be some first-time-you-meet-people awkwardness.  I was a bit anxious because I wanted everyone to hit it off, which they all seemed to do just fine.

Late last night/this morning The Auteur told me what a good time she and 1B had at my brother’s.  She even said that 1B told her it was “the best Thanksgiving ever”.  Maybe that was 1B just being a kid and speaking in hyperbole but it was definitely one for the ages.  It was very casual, very laid-back.  Very real.  Very sincere.  There were no bombshell announcements or shocking revelations like you see in movies.  There was no pressure nor any underlying subtext. It was family enjoying each others company and a great meal together.

I have so much to be thankful for; sometimes I think far more than I deserve.  I have The Auteur – a truly remarkable woman who loves both me and my son – flaws and all – unconditionally.  I have a family for whom I would lay in traffic – and I know would do the same for me.  I have my health and my job – albeit a crappy paying one.

Now I have to stare down a proverbial 400 lb. gorilla called Christmas…

Not a Disney World Dad, but that’s okay.

Nine days ago – the date of the so called Mayan apocalypse, I flew down to Charleston to pick up my Son. When he got to the airport, we were both psyched to see each other, but I was a little apprehensive at first. I hadn’t seen him in four months. And even though we spoke everyday, his voice sounded different. what if he was different? what would I do if he didn’t like all the Legos I bought him for Christmas?

Much to my delight, his stay in town was great! I had a few plans in mind during his stay – a Lego engineering exhibit, a movie or two – none of which we did. Although I was disappointed that we didn’t do anything “fun” we spent all of our time together. He was just happy to see me and he was psyched because it was Christmas. I’ve heard and read people saying don’t try to be the “Disney World Dad” and they’re absolutely right. Most of the time we were together, we watched TV, played with toys, video games, had a snowball fight, colored, and just hung out.  It really was about the quality of the time we spent together, doing the kinds of things we haven’t been able to do together – living so far away.  We also paid the obligatory Christmas visits:  my brother and my uncle’s houses for Christmas eve and Christmas Day respectively. Getting snow on Christmas Eve was just icing on the proverbial cake. I could not have asked for anything more.

Last Thursday, I made the trip back to south to get the Boy home for his South Carolina Christmas. Sis came along for moral support – that and we had talked about making a little side-trip after dropping off my son. Saying goodbye was tough, as I expected it to be.  He and both cried, but we made a deal to see each other more often in the coming year.  Surprisingly, the STBX was civil.  I wouldn’t go as far as to say she was polite, but my time at the Old House was a little easier than I expected.  While there, I picked up what I hope is the last of my things from the old house.  That part wasn’t really hard; but I just want that part to be over so i can move on.

We spent 2 days in Daytona Beach at an ocean-front, called, I shit you not, The Mayan Inn.  For an ocean-front view, the place was ridiculously

Okay, they botched the whole end-of-the-world thing but left us a decent hotel on Daytona Beach.  Well played, Mayans.

Okay, they botched the whole end-of-the-world thing but left us a decent hotel on Daytona Beach. Well played, Mayans.

inexpensive.  Despite some bad reviews online, I thought the hotel was fine.  Sure, it could have used some minor touching-up, but I’m not really picky on hotels, especially those on the beach.  In this case, four walls and a roof would have been more than enough.

I suggested the road trip to Sis.  She suggested Daytona – as she had been to the area a few times.  We basically just hung out, hit a few of the local bars.  Mostly we just wanted to get away from this God-awful winter that just hit Michigan.  I figured I would need a day or two to just relax after dropping off my Son.  This side trip was just long enough for me to clear my head and get motivated to get back home.

Tomorrow is, of course, New Year‘s Eve.  I for one, can’t wait to stick my foot up the proverbial ass of 2012 as we bid it adieu.  2013 could be a worse, year I suppose, but that is difficult to imagine. I’ll be attending a house party to usher in the new year.  Several people from the social club should be there. At first, I was absolutely psyched about the party – hoping to maybe meet somebody there, maybe even hang out with Red & SHG.  I was even considering getting a ticket to a club’s NYE party that is within walking distance, just to hopefully run into them – or anyone else for that matter.  Right now, I just hope the house party doesn’t suck.  I’m trying to remain upbeat while not setting my expectations too high.

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