The brine, the rug(s), getting lost and a grateful heart

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”
― Oscar Wilde

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(the blasted turkey sitting in it’s brining bag in the basement refrigerator)

Last Sunday afternoon I accompanied my husband to Lowes as he was in need of some bolts and caulking. I love going to Home Depot and/ or Lowes as there is always something that catches my eye..a new plant, some bird seed, new rugs. . .and that’s exactly what I had in mind—some new throw rugs for the kitchen as the existing rugs are in a word–nasty. They were cheap and have not withstood life in the kitchen of a cookie.

As my husband headed off to the nuts and bolts aisle, I casually mention I’ll be heading over to look at the rugs, catching up to him in a minute. “What?” he irritatingly asks / states— as in ‘oh no, we don’t need rugs, we’re not here to spend a bunch of money, no, no, no. . .’ —Of which I reply “don’t get bent out of shape, I’m just looking” (please note the inflection that is used by a wife who say’s she’s “just looking”)

I cruise the carpet aisle spying the giant rugs hanging vertically from the massive warehouse ceiling. Hummm. . . I pull a couple of the throw rugs and runners out of the their cubbies, laying them out on the slick concrete floor. . . Hummmm. . . I read a couple of descriptions, pull my phone out for a picture or two. I roll everything back up, putting the little rugs back in their appropriate bins before heading off to nuts and blots where I find my husband studying the various sizes of cement bolts.

As he finds what he came for and we begin heading back the direction of which we had actually entered this massive warehouse store, making our way to where the check out counters are located, I causally state that “I need to run back and check the prices of those throw rugs again”–I can actually feel his eyes rolling back in his head as I cut off for the rug section again.

We meet up at the check out. As we are leaving, pushing out his buggy that now has a
2 x 4 dangling precariously out the front, I causally throw out that “I just may come back tomorrow and get those little rugs for the kitchen.” Note the use of the word “little” strategically placed in the sentence. Silence in the resignation of new rugs.

Monday afternoon I happily return home from Lowes with 3 new throw rugs and one runner as I’m more than ready to move out the stained existing rugs. I sweep, mop, and sweep some more before laying out the new rug pads. Next I gingerly roll out the the new runner, smoothing it in to place then I lay out the 3 smaller rugs strategically placing each in its distinct place–one by the cooktop, the refrigerator,and the dishwasher—the three places I spend the majority of my life.

I step back admiring the colors. “Oh dear! Are they too busy?” I ask the cats. Percy immediately goes over to the runner and lays down. I take that as a sign of approval. Once my husband get home from work I clock him to see how long it takes him to notice, that is, if he notices at all. 2 minutes. Not bad, I’m thinking. And even better, he’s complimentary, he actually likes them. Relief.

Fast forward to Tuesday. I think I’m going to be really smart, I’m going to spread out this Thanksgiving cooking business over the course of two days verses making myself crazy by doing it all on Wednesday. Piece of cake, I’ve got this! Dad and Gloria have agreed to come for Lunch with our son and his fiancé coming in that evening— I’ll be cooking and serving in shifts, but at least, everyone will be here, albeit in intervals.

Last year I thought I’d mix things up a little by brining my turkey. I’ve never had a problem with my turkeys being too dry, I just thought I’d do something a little different, as brining does seem to be the vogue thing to do. Impart a little flavor and try my hand at something new and different.

I prepared the solution–a couple of gallons of water, ice, salt, spices, salt, apple cider, and did I mention salt? I get the 5 gallon brining bag in the sink, place my 20lb bird in the bag and gingerly pour the giant black kettle of solution into the bag. I seal the bag, heaving the now massively heavy bag into a roasting pan to help balance it as I prepare to carry it to the refrigerator in the basement.

I take maybe 5 steps from the sink when suddenly there’s a snap then a sickeningly slurping sound erupts, followed by the glug, glug, glug of 3 gallons of liquid cascading out all over my wooden kitchen floor, the new runner and 2 of the smaller new rugs. “NOOOOOOO!!!!!!” I scream for no one but me and the cats to hear, sending them running. I’m paralyzed for if I move, more liquid will flow. “NOOOOOOOOOO” “AGGGGHHHHHHHH” Surprisingly I don’t cry. I’m in a panic!!

The wooden floors, the rug!! AAAGGGHHHHH!!! Towels, I need towels! I run to get every bath towel we own. I proceed to sop up all the liquid before it destroys the floor. I pick up my new, now saturated rugs” – — did I mention that it was 34 degrees outside and pouring down rain. I run outside in the cold rain, throw the rugs down on the oh so wet driveway, pulling out the garden hose to wash off the salty solution now soaking into my new rugs. Any one driving by most likely thought I’d totally lost any brain I had.

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(waiting for the runner to dry out)

I lay the remaining towels, now down to beach towels, in the garage, dragging my now heavy soaked rugs in from the rain, laying them on the towels, layering other towels on top and proceed jumping up and down attempting to “blot” them dry as best as I can on a pouring down rainy day. Did I mention it was 34 degress?

Back inside I continue sopping up the salty solution, mopping the kitchen floor, more towels. Not to mention how many times I now had to run the washing machine. The damn turkey (please forgive my language, it just seems appropriate at this moment in time) is still sitting in the brining bag waiting for transport to the basement sans the brine. I pull out another jug of apple cider, pouring it over the turkey, reseal the bag and drag it to the basement. I eventually bring the rugs inside to the laundry room where I drape them over the dryer and washing machine and the heat vent hoping they will dry out by Thursday.

Fast Forward to today, Thanksgiving. The rugs are back in place, a little wavy and a bit shimmery, even after vacuuming, as the salt seems to now be ingrained. The oven is full of delightful dishes offering up heavenly aromas. The stove has simmering and bubbly pots of savory goodness. The table is set, Round I may begin.

The phone rings.
“JULIE?”
Hey dad are y’all almost here? Dad yells into his cell phone as if I’m on another continent and the connection is poor.
“NO, WE’RE LOST AGAIN”
Ugh, are you kidding me? They got lost last time. They’ve only been coming here to this house for the past 14 years several times a year. Gloria is not one for the interstate–an hour’s drive takes her 3 hours as she likes to go by way of Tennessee to get to our house.
“Where are you Dad?”
“THE SAME BAKERY WE STOPPED AT LAST TIME”
“Tell Gloria to stay were y’all are and I’ll be there in just a bit”
I cut off the oven and everything on the stove, grab my keys and off I go. I find them sitting in the parking lot of an empty bakery and just like the commercial, I roll down my window and holler, “FOLLOW ME”. . .

We won’t talk about Dad sneaking a drink of his favorite libation, of which he’s not supposed to have, and then of him practically falling asleep in his plate, but at 86 I can’t scold him too badly. Or of him biting into a chocolate turkey and breaking his partial. Or of the hour drive here which takes them 3 hours and yet they refuse for us to come pick them up.

We won’t talk about round 2 when our son and fiancé came for dinner and of how he and his dad got into a fuss over money and school at the table. We won’t talk about my husband dreading opening his business tomorrow as the madness known as “black Friday” brings him such discontent. Or of how hard it is to run a business and not conform to being open on holidays and on Sundays as nothing remains sacred in this country. We won’t talk about the things that worry us as parents for our children or as grown children for our aging parents or of how we will manage to make ends meet for them as well as for us and of what the new year will bring to the business.

There’s so much not to talk about and yet there is so much that needs talking about. . as in my being so so grateful. . .grateful for the fact that I still have my dad, that he and Gloria still manage to visit despite getting lost; that my husband who has worked so very hard to make his business survive given our country’s economy, keeps tirelessly working to make it a go; that I was able to retire after 31 years of teaching to “tend” to this family of mine; grateful that our son can attend college and that he will be taking the LSAT next weekend; grateful that I can have food on the table which is lovingly prepared to share despite brining disasters; grateful that there could be new rugs; grateful that I have a family, for good or bad, who loves and supports one another the best way it knows how.

So on this day of reflection and of Thanksgiving, with the clear knowledge that God has blessed me and that He has blessed all of us beyond measure, it is with a grateful heart, I say AMEN!!