I may as well have woken up in a luxurious spa-hotel, expecting breakfast in bed, or morning tea on an ocean-view patio, sipping from real china in a froofy dressing gown, in any case a stress-free morning despite it being Thanksgiving and I was hosting, so positive was I that everything was prepped. Slide the bird in the oven, good to go, I thought, humming as I tugged on my cave girl boot slippers and pulled a knee-length sweatshirt over my head, having slept in an extra 30 minutes, because everything was so marvelously under control, I thought, shuffling cheerily into the living room, greeting relatives and five dogs, my sweet son and my husband, who handed me a steaming mug of creamy coffee. Good morning, I sing-songed, turning on the oven, loving the sunshine, the view from the kitchen window of finches and doves sharing the feeder in the front yard. Let’s get the turkey in the oven! I said, to which my mother replied, Hun, where is your roasting pan? Why, it’s right, I said, bending down to a lower cupboard, reaching, peering, asking my husband for a flashlight, probing, Why it’s right–
WHERE IS MY ROASTING PAN!
I ransacked the office, laundry room, linen closet, backyard shed, the tiny crawl space of attic, my son’s closet, closeted suitcases, the recycling cupboard, the long outdoor chest we keep patio chair cushions in.
Ten minutes later I scoured the aisles of the Albertsons a few blocks from us, discovering the last roasting pan with no rack, and the last roasting pan with a rack. I purchased them both and zoomed home, but the 25lb bird didn’t fit in either pan, even when my husband broke the rack and bent it slightly, basically just making everything worse.
TOO HIGH, THE BIRD’S SITTING TOO HIGH!
My husband assured me I was in no shape to drive, so he zoomed us to Vons. No pans. No racks. We headed East, 5 miles up Tampa, hitting every red light before reaching the posh Ralphs in Porter Ranch, which had a giant aluminum roasting pan, but no racks.
THERE ARE NO PAN-RACK SETS! WHY? WHY??? WHERE IS THE MANAGER???
But my husband insisted he could make the rack he’d broken work and with only minutes to spare for turkey-must-be-in-the-oven-time, we made it home. My husband was right: The mutilated rack worked perfectly. I stuffed the bird, draped the breast in cheesecloth soaked in butter and wine and with a final scream shoved it in the oven. Hun, my mom said, You might want to brush out the back of your hair and–take a shower.
I did, four hours later, after locating my chafing dishes, which needed washing, locating and washing the turkey platter, locating the electric knife blade holder, but not the blades themselves, locating non-electric carving knives I didn’t even know I had, washing those, pulling various dishes from the refrigerator I’d forgotten about (THE MARINATED GRILLED VEGETABLES THE SALMON FLORENTINE THE OVEN BAKED GLUTEN FREE STUFFING), and engaging in a brief, fairly aggressive game of badminton. Right before we were to eat, I quickly showered and shampooed, yanked on a dress, and, barefoot (it was mid-seventies outside), brushed my hair. I ate with a wet head. And a giant glass of chardonnay I raised for the toast, grateful for family, my badminton champion son, my hero husband, this life. Ah…Luxury.