Friday, December 4, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015: The Hosting

While many aspects of plotting out the Thanksgiving Holiday took place weeks prior to the actual event, plenty of tasks were left for the day of and the day prior. With weather forecasts predicting snow, guests of Abode 212 opted to travel one-day early and arrived on Tuesday evening. This implied the added perk that they would be able to enjoy Mike and Melissa at home, as opposed to at The Burlington Place (courtesy of The Burlington Place being closed on Tuesday's). Mike had run a few errands in town and agreed to grab sandwiches for dinner (original plan - Breadboard. secondary plan - Subway. Original plan failed because the small business ran out of bread...bummer). Melissa's parents offered to bring chips and an assortment of breakfast breads for the following morning. And Katie offered to bring dessert. Guests and food in place, Tuesday was shaping up to be a lovely evening at home.

Upon the safe arrival of all guests (after one set replaced a tire in Buffalo AND not a single snow-flake had fallen by the time night fell...go figure), the crew spent some time chatting, catching up and enjoying a cozy evening at Abode 212. The following day would see Katie taking on a long shift at The Burlington Place so that Melissa could stay home and work out some of the Thanksgiving meal preparations that couldn't be done weeks in advance. Thus, the home of holiday-prep was filled with lounging pets, a singing father (so. much. joy.), an eBaying mother and a busy worker bee host. Melissa had made sure to get her turkey set on the booze train first thing in the morning (a salty brine of hard-cider, bourbon, cinnamon sticks, rosemary, thyme, allspice berries and plenty of chicken stock was the track for said booze train), then at home set to work on the barley-mushroom salad, lemon-rosemary rolls (THE MOST AMAZING ROLLS EVER!!!), bourbon-pumkin-pecan pie (similar recipe here), hummus, vegetable prep and of course the cheesecake!

Wednesday ended with Melissa heading down to The Burlington Place with her parents to grab a couple of beers, a pizza (specifically The Sweater: pepperoni, sausage, buffalo chicken, jalapeno, and banana peppers on garlic olive oil with lots of additional buffalo sauce drizzled all-over!), greet some favorite customers and catch-up with Melissa's bestie (deets: the art teacher from Burlington Schools, Lisa: she's awesome and the students have decided she and Melissa are besties, one student even commented that the two were an example of #bestiegoals). Following these evening pleasantries, Melissa and her parents returned home at a decent hour, whereas Mike and Katie got stuck shootin' the shit with a handful of enjoyable customers until the late, late hours of the day (a.k.a. the early hours of the morning).

Come Thanksgiving morning the entire crew of guests and residents of Abode 212 were "game-on" for grubbing. Muffins, danishes, bagels, fruit, coffee, hot chocolate and all the proper add-ins were set on the bar cart, allowing everyone to dish and booze-up (that's right, the add-ins were most definitely boozy: Rumchata, Bailey's Irish Cream and Bailye's Chocolate Cherry Cream) as they were so inclined. Mike and Katie had agreed that there were some significant college basketball (Gonzaga!) and football games to have access to throughout the day, so Mike worked some magic with the newer TV from the bar, various wires and mobile access to the BP cable provider. Thus, the afternoon entertainment entered Abode 212 as Katie eagerly and excitedly cheered for the Zags (go, Jose!) and had Melissa's parents on the edge of their seats a bit shocked at just how vocal Katie could get. Additionally, at some point prior to the holiday meal, Mike, Katie and Zuma suited up for some chilly weather pheasant hunting. Most notably, hunting provided the perfect opportunity to fall into shit-holes (litterally) and wear the dog-out just enough not to be a beggar during the holiday meal
As the mid-day hour passed, the bar cart was re-arranged and played host to various dips, vegetables, olives, pickles, crackers and chips - just enough to keep everyone from becoming hangry prior to the full holiday meal. Thus the turkey continued to roast and fill the house with delicious and enticing smells, while guests kept themselves entertained with a puzzle, phone games, texts and calls to friends and family, cuddling the pups and choosing new brews to try (since Mike and Melissa keep a nice "little" collection on hand always).
As the last parts of the meal came together: heating the twice-baked potatoes, preparing the stuffing, boiling and seasoning the green beans, etc; Melissa set the table. Of course, this wasn't just a matter of pulling down the plates, Melissa had spent nearly as much time dreaming about the perfect dining table as she did dreaming about the perfect foods to adorn said table. So it was, the table was set with the Blue Willow plates Melissa has inherited from her grandmother and great-great aunt, white linen napkins with fall-themed napkin rings and a lovely holiday centerpiece (that Mike thoughtfully picked up while in town just a couple of days prior to the holiday). With the meal prepared and the table set, guests took their seats, spent a thoughtful minute going around the table and offering up their gratitude for family, friends, health, etc. and happily began filling their plates with all the bits and pieces which so perfectly came together to comprise the holiday meal.

Food comas setting in, nobody could imagine stuffing down a slice of pie directly after the main meal. So couching up or resting on an empty bed, the afternoon was spent relaxing and continuing the earlier projects of the day; namely pup cuddles, puzzle building and a round of Pandemic. As everyone shifted just enough to free up some belly-space the dessert plates found themselves filled with tasty morsels of pie and cheesecake. Then, as daylight faded into evening, Tom and Patty headed home to their dogs and the guests and residents of Abode 212 found their way into pajamas, beds and comfy spots for movie watching.

Friday saw everyone rolling out of bed at their leisure with most opting to remain in their pajamas for the entirety of the day. Melissa threw some ribs into the roaster, to be ready for a late lunch and continued forth with her day by adding Rumchata to her morning coffee. If napping were a popular activity on Thanksgiving day, it was wildly trendy the day after. Snack. Drink. Nap. Repeat. That was the basic routine of Black Friday at Abode 212. After chowing on some ribs and thanksgiving leftovers Mike and his father took Zoe and the Dude out hunting (everyone else continued forth with the Snack. Drink. Nap. Repeat. routine). Later in the afternon, Mike made a good, hearty go at hot tubbing, spending a few hours lounging and listening to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian.

As evening set in and the cocktails got a little creamier (lots of Rumchata, Tequila Rose) and harder (9% beers, whiskey, etc); Cards Against Humanity made it's way to the living room center and had the whole abode filled with tear-filled laughter (although the subject matter cannot be repeated here...or anywhere for that matter). Having chuckled and gasped their way through the entire contents of Cards Against Humanity everyone began to move from comfy couches and chairs into comfy, warm beds for their final Abode 212 holiday slumber.

With the arrival of Saturday morning, guests of Abode 212 began packing their belongings while the regular residents set about returning to their regular routine, including long shifts at The Burlington Place. While returning to a routine can often feel like a complete drag, all who enjoyed their holiday at Abode 212 entered their routine well-fed and well-rested, shouting: bring on all that good Holiday Cheer, December!


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