Friday, November 25, 2005

A Great (But Nutty) Thanksgiving

I'll never forget how Thanksgiving 2005 started...because it started at 3:43 a.m.

Very early Thanksgiving morning, I woke up after sleeping for a few hours. I was trying to go back to sleep, when I heard an explosion. As soon as I heard that sound, I sat there as the power went out. The light that I accidentally left on went out and my digital/webcam beeped like it does when I shut down my computer. I got up and saw that my mom and my sister were both awake. My mom had been up cooking while my sister also heard the explosion and witnessed the power outage. In a rare occurrence, my dad actually slept through the explosion and my mom had to wake him up to call the power company.

All of us scrambled for flashlights. My sister and I lit our way with our cell phones. After my dad called the power company, we all kind of sat up as we do whenever a power outage occurs at night. We looked out the window and saw that only our block was without power. The stoplights and streetlights were on and the lights were on across the street. Only our little area was affected by what we later found out was a downed wire. This wasn't the first time that we've had a random, non-weather related power outage. It was only a few months ago when our power went out due to a transformer explosion. Just like what happened on Thanksgiving, only our section was without power.

After a little while, we all decided to go back to sleep, especially since it was starting to become cold in the house. No electricity meant no heat (our gas furnace has an electronic ignition), so we bundled up and hoped the power would come back. It finally came back after 11:00 a.m.

Even though we were without power for a while, it didn't mean that I was not going to go to work. This was the first time that I've ever worked on a "true" holiday (as opposed to something like Columbus Day). I was hoping that it would be kind of empty and that I could get out of there before my scheduled time of 5:00 p.m. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. In fact, with a coupon in the paper, it made the store kind of busy.

From what I saw, a lot of people worked in the store today, including a lot of new temporary hires for the holidays. That may have had something to do with "cost day," the day where all associates get the managers' cost + 10% discount. You had to work on Thanksgiving for at least two hours in order to get that discount today. I bought a couple of things before I left.

Mom, Dad, and my sister all came to pick me up from work and we went straight to my grandmother's house for Thanksgiving. In addition to the usual people for Thanksgiving (the four of us, my aunt, and my grandmother), there was also my cousin and uncle from Seattle, my aunt and uncle from Indiana, and another cousin that we are starting to see more of. My cousin and uncle from Seattle have never come to Chicago for Thanksgiving, so it was certainly a blessing to see them. All told, it was the largest amount of people we've had for Thanksgiving in ages.

My mom's neat idea for Thanksgiving was to have everyone wearing Chicago White Sox World Series Championship shirts. It started after I bought the four of us T-shirts. Eventually, I picked up more and more shirts from work for everyone, although I had to pick up a mug for my uncle because my store didn't have his size. Mom and I went around passing out the T-shirts, but everyone opted to not wear them. My mom ended up wearing hers later that evening, but some of us wanted to save the T-shirts as mementos rather than wear them.

As always, there was a very nice spread of food. There were two different types of turkey (normal and one my mom smoked on the grill), ham, greens, macaroni and cheese, rolls, sweet potato casserole (with marshmallows in it), hawaiian salad, gravy, cranberry sauce, and cornbread dressing. We also had a ton of desserts including two chocolate cakes (one white with chocolate frosting and one chocolate with white frosting), sweet potato pie, cream cheese pound cake, and a cherry danish dessert. My mom made everything except the sweet potato pie we had there (although she made two a couple of days beforehand).

After we all said grace together, we started to get our food. My auntee had given us place settings and made a "kiddie" table in the living room for the four of us who were younger (me, my sister, and our cousins). It was funny to see the difference between the tables. While the "adults" talked loudly about various topics (especially politics), the four of us sat at our table and stayed relatively quiet and low-key. I had bought some Christmas music from work, but none of it was particularly upbeat. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sounded too down for us and The Nutcracker Suite got on peoples' nerves. I turned on the music video channels, but they were playing crappy stuff too. My sister and I didn't really think things through about bringing stuff as we had no other CDs, DVDs, or games apart from what was at my grandmother's house.

After we ate, my auntee brought out a word game she created that had us make up as many words as possible using the first initials of all our names. I won. When we finished the game, she showed family pictures from her digital camera and then she decided to show the home movies of my cousin's wedding from Fall 2004. That was the one I went to and blogged about (check The Best Of Year One: Part II). Honestly, that probably wasn't the best thing to show. I was hoping we'd play a game of some kind (I kept telling my sister that we should play Scene It), but it wasn't meant to be. Playing games, especially board games, was one of the fun traditions we had at Thanksgiving and I missed doing it this year, especially with the amount of people we had. It was kind of sad that we sat there and watched home movies of an event that none of us really liked but nonetheless have grown to accept. After the home movies, my aunt and uncle from Indiana left for the night. The rest of us watched a movie and after that, things went kind of downhill as we got ready to leave.

Ultimately, it was a pretty good Thanksgiving. It's rare for us to have a lot of family at Thanksgiving these past few years and I was happy to see everyone. My uncle and cousin from Seattle are in town for the weekend, so I will probably get the chance to see them again before they leave. I have to work on the day after Thanksgiving (NOOOO!!!) and it will be my first time working retail on "Black Friday." After work, I plan to see Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire with my sister. Expect a review of that soon.

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