Monthly Archives: November 2013

Violating turkeys and other Thanksgiving fun

I’ll never forget the first time I cooked my very own Thanksgiving dinner. (Nor will my dog and husband, who are both reminded every time they catch a glimpse of where their eyebrows used to be in the mirror).

If you’ve never done it before, boy, are YOU in for a treat. Sure, it can be a bit overwhelming, but rest assure, I am here to talk you through it.

The very first thing you should know is that there is a dirty little secret regarding the Thanksgiving turkey that no one ever really talks about. But since basic human decency has never stopped me before, let me just throw it out there:

You have to stick your hand up the turkey’s ass.

Oh, you read me right. Your hand has to go up the turkey’s behind and then pull everything you find up there out.

Why, you ask? I have no bloody idea. Something like 0.0007 percent of the population ever actually use whatever the hell is up there in their recipes. But apparently that small minority has some major lobbying power in Congress because legislation mandating that someone else deal with the “innards” before it ever gets to your local grocery store has yet to be passed.

Thus, until we finally get enough votes to defeat the powerful Gizzard Lobby, we will be elbow deep in turkey butt once a year.

Therefore, the very first thing you should do before cooking your Thanksgiving dinner is take your turkey out for drinks and a movie. A bit old-fashioned, sure, but I refuse to violate anything I haven’t first bought a cocktail and appetizer for first.

I’m a romantic, what can I say?

This should be quickly followed by a mature conversation with your significant other about who should be the one to actually stick their hand up the turkey’s ass. If you guys are anything like me and my husband, that conversation will go something like this:

Me: It should be you.

Him: Hell no.

If it is your hand that has to get intimately involved with the dead bird’s rectum, let me just say this about the experience, without going into the gross and gratuitous details:

I drew you a picture.

violating turkey

Then put the turkey in the oven.

An hour later, take the turkey out of the oven while another family member takes the batteries out of the incessantly beeping smoke detector. As it turns out, when the recipe book says you should completely cover the turkey while it’s cooking, they don’t mean with a plastic lid.

Other important Thanksgiving cooking lessons you should probably know:

A microwave is no place for aluminum foil.

If you are trying to mash potatoes with only a fork, expect to be mashing them until roughly Christmas.

If half of your turkey is burned, it doesn’t necessarily mean the other half is cooked.

Gravy should not be cooked until it can technically be classified as a “solid.”

Wine is good.

(As is vodka or, in a pinch, Nyquil).

Good luck, everybody! And Happy Thanksgiving!

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Who says cankles aren’t sexy?

Here’s a fun trivia game. Wanna guess how many times I’ve gotten up to pee while typing this sentence?

Nine.

OK, OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. But only a little. Luckily I’m a pretty fast typist or it could have been true. Seriously, as if my constant snarting wasn’t bad enough, I now have to worry about wetting myself any time I do something more taxing than breathing (and sometimes even then it’s touch and go for a bit).

Snarting

Yes, this week I officially crossed into “Nothing About You Is Sexy Anymore” territory. Also known as…(cue dramatic music)…The Third Trimester. And that’s not me being self-deprecating. That’s just being honest. I imagine from an evolutionary standpoint, the grossness of pregnant women at this stage is to keep potential predators away since said woman wouldn’t have been able to waddle up a tree to safety very quickly.

Snarting2

For example, my formerly cute little basketball belly is now an unwieldy giant sphere-like object that is constantly covered in food or dust or whatever else I happened to unknowingly rub it up against (stunned strangers in restaurants included). I now breathe like an old man who has smoked three packs a day for 67 years just from the effort of getting up off the couch (old man grunt included). As the temperatures get colder with each passing day, I get hotter, making for a nice permanent state of being in which I am always covered in sweat (Whoa! Calm down, fellas. I’m already taken).

And, of course, there is the drooling, the cankles, the giant Hobbit feet, the sausage fingers, the snoring and the eating like a linebacker. Lucky guy, that husband of mine.

Lucky, lucky guy.

(My boobs, however, still look phenomenal, in case you were wondering. They’re just…just still so awesome, you guys. Like those big water balloons I used to fill with pudding and stuff in my bra when I was a kid, only REAL).

All these changes got me to thinking though. Perhaps all of the above is why I have yet to experience one of the most common annoyances of pregnancy. As embarrassed as I am to admit it this late in the game, I have to confess that I have yet to have a random person come up and touch my pregnant belly.

No big deal, right? Except I kind of feel like it is. Because from the second I peed on that stick, all any woman wanted to talk about was how infuriating it was when people came up to touch their belly. I mean, these ladies made it sound like their swollen stomach was the Justin Bieber of baby bumps, with giant crowds of people swarming around her, unable to resist touching that sacred bubble of baby (and pent up farts). So naturally, as soon as I started showing, I envisioned this every time I walked out the door:

Snarting3

Only no one has touched it yet. On the subway, they’ll offer me their seat, but keep their hands politely to themselves. In crowded stores, they’ll say “no problem” when I apologize for bumping into them with my bump, but then throw their hands up to let me pass unmolested. While walking down the street, they’ll treat me just like everyone else walking the street.

So, I’m starting to take it personal.

I mean, what? My belly isn’t good enough for you to touch? My baby isn’t cute enough in utero to warrant even a few seconds of unsolicited awkward touching? Is it because I’m so sweaty? Because let me tell you, A LOT of pregnant women are sweaty. And they still get accosted on the street.

Snarting4

Come on, people. I’m a humorist. I make my living by finding humor in the small things of life and writing about them. So if you don’ t touch my belly inappropriately, I have nothing to write about.

And me and my baby will starve.

So be a buddy, huh? Rub my belly without asking and while preferably saying something creepy, like “he’s got such a strong life force!”

I promise I probably won’t even punch you (unless I thought it would make for a funnier post).

Hoarders on a Road Trip

Indulge me for a second, if you will. I want you to close your eyes and picture the following:

You’re driving down the Interstate, minding your own business. Perhaps you’re heading home after a long day of work or maybe you’re picking your kid up from soccer practice. Or it could even be that you’re on your way to dinner reservations with your in-laws, which you’re dreading because Phil always has too much to drink and then plays his favorite game of “Insult His Daughter’s Husband Until It’s Time for Dessert,” after which you will go home and get in a huge fight with your wife because she never stands up for you, oh no, she could never stand up to her ultra-macho, conservative father. No one stands up to Phil. Phil fought in the war, for crying out loud. And what have you done with your life, Shirley? He calls you Shirley. Just another way for him to emasculate you. Ugh. Phil. You hate Phil. So much.

Or whatever. I don’t know. I don’t know your life.

But the point is, you’re driving down the Interstate.

When all of a sudden you pass a tin can painted red that is disguised as a car (a Hyundai Accent, to be exact). Upon closer inspection of this “car,” you see the following:

Road trip 1

And for a second, all your troubles are forgotten since you can’t help but ask yourself “What the hell is going on in there?”

Well, let me tell you what the hell is going on in there. This past weekend, a man, a 7-months-pregnant woman and a neurotic dog with abandonment issues all thought it would be a great idea to take a 14-hour road trip to Ohio.

And it technically was a great idea.

In theory.

Where things went horribly, horribly wrong was on the way back.

See, the reason for the trip was so that the couple could have a baby shower with the majority of their family and friends. And granted, I’ve written in the past about how much I hate baby showers but let me tell you, it’s a whole new world when it’s being thrown in your honor. Turns out it’s just like having a birthday party, the only difference being that getting drunk, making out with someone and then crying on the bathroom floor about how old you are is generally frowned upon at the baby shower.

Now, they say it takes a village to raise a children. I don’t know if that’s true but I do know that it takes a village to afford one. And our village was EXTREMELY generous (big shout-out due here to all the future grandparents, great aunts and my 52 female cousins). This kid will truly never want for anything for at least the first year of his life (wanting a mom that doesn’t sing “Close To You” off-key before he goes to bed every night notwithstanding).

And we couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who came. However, it left us with the following dilemma:

Road trip 4

Luckily, all those years of my husband blowing off doing anything productive and eschewing socialization with actual humans to play Tetris instead paid off. He managed to get it ALL in there. Well, almost all. At one point, there was a fear of damaging the structural integrity of the car so he had to stop.

However, this meant we had to drive over 800 miles with a dog sharing the passenger seat, limited visibility out of all windows and boxes hitting the back of our heads even though the seats were pushed up as far as they could go (which was SUPER fun for the 6’2″ daddy to be).

And even that wouldn’t have been that bad if it weren’t for the fact that I am not the world’s greatest driver (for documented proof, click here or here or here) and that it had snowed the night before (Weather: If you don’t like it, you are probably in Ohio). For example, here is a fairly accurate representation of the construction we encountered (Construction: If you are dealing with it, you are probably in Ohio) within 30 minutes of leaving:

Road trip 2

No big deal, right? All I had to do was follow the signs for “Thru Traffic” since we were going, duh, “thru” the area and weren’t getting off of an exit for the next 200 miles.

But at 5 a.m. in the dark on snowy and icy roads with no caffeine in my system, this is what I saw:

Road trip 3

So I panicked and we spent the next 30 minutes trying to find the Interstate again from back country roads that had their very own banjo soundtrack.

Somehow we did it though. We made it back to Boston in one piece. Even the baby, who was squished for no less than 400 miles by a highly excitable dog. And on the plus side, I now have a new sympathy for hoarders.

I’m just dreading finding all those dead cats once I finally build up the stamina to put together the nursery.

Weight just a minute, doc

There are two ways of dealing with pregnancy.

1. Spending nine months treating your body as a sacred vessel and as such only filling it with healthy things, like kale and whatever the hell quinoa is.

Or…

2. Spending nine months daydreaming of the time when you were free to slowly destroy your body with ingredients that technically should never be ingested by a living thing. And occasionally choking down a stupid carrot.

weight2

I, believe it or not, am of the latter persuasion.

(Also, this just in, the Pope is indeed Catholic).

Yes, as it turns out, if you were not a particularly healthy person prior to pregnancy, the adjustment to the pregnancy lifestyle can be quite a shock. For instance, here was my food pyramid for most of my adult life:

weight3

And here is my food pyramid now:

weight4

As you can see, I’m still not as healthy as I could be. But it is a vast improvement. And I was actually quite proud of myself for giving up the majority of my vices (granted I still drink a little bit of coffee every morning but that’s more to protect the lives of everyone outside my uterus). Yep, I was feeling pretty good about how my pregnancy was going…

…that is, until my doctor called me fat.

OK, OK, let me clarify since my husband is reading this over my shoulder and keeps insisting that’s not what “technically” happened. “Technically” she said that…I will too use air quotes in a sarcastic manner, babe…because regardless of what she actually said it was inferred that I was getting fat…oh it was too…well, it’s my column so I’ll tell the story the way I want to…well, stop reading over my shoulder then…yes, I really am typing out my half of this argument…hell yes I’m going to leave this in the final draft…well, stop trying to edit my version of events…truth, schmuth, what I’m doing is reading between the lines, which is at the very heart of journalism…no, you’re the boogerface…I will most certainly not tell them you didn’t actually call me boogerface. I can make you say anything I want…BABE! I can’t believe you just called me ugly! How can you be so cruel!?!  I’m pregnant with your child, for crying out loud!…

Yep, that did it. He’s gone.

Anyhoo, as I was saying, at my fifth month checkup, my doctor “technically” said that since they recommend women only gain 20 to 30 pounds during pregnancy, I appeared to be “on track” to “gain more than the recommended amount” by the time I “squirted this kid out my lady parts.”*

*She may have said that last part using more sophisticated medical terms, but remember people, it’s all about reading between the lines here.

Translation: She thinks I’m getting too fat.

Which hey, I know she’s just doing her job and it’s much healthier for both mom and baby if the pregnancy weight gain is kept under control. But I couldn’t help but feeling like I should get a free pass on this one. I mean, for starters, I wasn’t overweight before I got pregnant. But more importantly, those cigarettes and that evening bottle glass of wine and the daily coffee intake of 40,000 mg of caffeine had to be replaced with something.

And all I had left was food.

And yeah, sure, “technically” that food didn’t have to include quite so many cheeseburgers but while everyone seems more than happy to talk about what pregnant women should or shouldn’t do, no one seems to talk about pregnancy being an extremely stressful time. Especially if you’re a first-timer.

You are now intensely aware that everything you do, every single day, has a potential impact on a tiny little human. If you don’t exercise enough, it could affect the baby. But don’t make yourself too tired, or it could affect the baby. If you eat too much, or eat too little, it could affect the baby. If something goes wrong with your teeth, it could affect your baby. If you get too hot, it could affect the baby. You need to eat fish so the baby’s brain doesn’t grow in crooked or whatever. But not too much fish and not certain kinds of fish or the mercury will make an arm grow out your baby’s forehead. Don’t be around too much secondhand smoke or too much pollution. Stay away from microwaves. Diet drinks will, in fact, affect your baby. As will fruit you didn’t clean well enough. And whatever you do, DO NOT STRESS OUT ABOUT ALL THIS BECAUSE IT COULD AFFECT THE BABY.

So when you have to give up all your former stress coping mechanisms, sometimes a girl just needs a steak the size of small-to-medium country to cope.

A few extra pounds be damned.