On the day before Thanksgiving, this is what you do:
First, you get up early...and play tennis. Then, you sit down on the floor and play with the dog.
Then you get comfortable.
Eventually you get up. You run a mile with your daughter. You mention that the dog needs her walk now, but there are no takers. So you walk another mile with the dog.
In the meantime, you decide to clean the oven for the first time in you don't know how many years. You follow the self-cleaning instructions: set both dials to clean, set stop time for three hours and move the bar on the oven from unlocked to locked. After about 45 minutes you decide the smell hurts your throat, so you cancel the cycle. You let the oven cool down and unlock the door.
The door refuses to open. You figure that it wanted to wait the whole three-hour cycle, so you wait until three hours has passed and try again. No luck. You ask son (Joe) to try. He pulls hard on the door, to no avail. You set it on a shorter cycle so it can finish, and then you try again. No deal.
Then you do what any smart-thinking mother would do: You take daughter and hightail it out of there, going to Northampton to do errands and get a Starbucks. When you return, son has read about the problem on the internet, where it says to turn the power switch on and off. No luck. You decide to set it again for another three hours so it can complete the whole cycle without feeling cheated and will then hopefully feel generous enough to unlock itself.
This is where things stand now, at 10 p.m. To my credit, I did do all the shopping yesterday, except for forgetting all of my knives at the butcher shop, where they can be sharpened for free. Joe, who came home Sunday, returned and got them today.
Thanksgiving dinner will take place here, oven or no oven. It will be the three kids and me, our friend Deb and her daughter Charlotte, and Jim, my ex-husband.
Deb, who lives down the street, said we could cook the turkey there if need be. We could use the microwave for reheating Deb's stuffing and Jim's sweet potato casserole...if the microwave worked.
If we do have to make a few trips to Deb's and back, it will end up making a good story.
Thanksgiving came quickly. It wasn't too long ago that I mourned my empty nest when Katie went to college. I spent part of last year dreading her departure, only to realize, after the initial shock, that I was fine on my own. And now, suddenly, they're all back.
Ben rolled in tonight. Katie got here yesterday, and, as I said, Joe came on Sunday. Tonight we had pizza and salad in the den. At one point, everyone was talking at once. The dog, oblivious, snored on the couch. I soaked it up.
They each went their separate ways after dinner. In order to continue not getting ready, I am sitting next to the dog writing this. Next I'm going to check for last night's episode of "The Good Wife."
Then I'll gather up my courage to see if the oven opens.
Whether it does or doesn't, it promises to be a blessed day.