Friday, November 25, 2022

Worthy of a special dinner

Yes, the photo above is my dinner, and yes, it’s Thanksgiving in my native land, but the two aren’t actually connected that tightly. Most years since I moved to New Zealand, I’ve had, at most, a turkey sandwich for lunch on Thanksgiving, but those products don’t seem to be at supermarkets any more—or, at least, the two closest to me don’t stock it (I checked). So, I bought a small frozen “turkey breast roll” (by the same NZ company that used to sell sandwich turkey), and figured I could slice up the leftovers for sandwiches. I only bought it, though, because it was at a super-special price at Countdown. Otherwise, I’d have skipped it this year.

I also bought some orange kumara (sweet potato) for a curry I make (because the red/purple skin kind is too hard to peel). I also made “stuffing” using some of the bread I made last weekend, and I had some frozen green beans. The turkey roll didn’t make any juices, so I didn’t make any gravy (and I’m out of the mix kind). Still, it was very nice (even if the turkey tasted a bit more like chicken…).

If the whole thing hadn’t been spur of the moment, I could’ve had the family round, but my house is a tip, with the lounge filled with lots of bits and pieces from my projects outside. My dining table has been buried for weeks.

So, I told myself I had to completely clear the table so I could have my “special” dinner sitting at the table like a (somewhat) civilised adult. It took me a couple hours because I dealt with the stuff on the table, and didn’t merely move it somewhere “for now”. I now have my table back, which is a good start, if a small one.

Today, then, was really about making small progress, and also giving a nod to my heritage. As it happens, the last time I did any sort of Thanksgiving dinner was six years ago today; Facebook “Memories” reminded me, and that I made roast chicken (Nigel didn’t like turkey).

All of this came after I had an emotional crash earlier today. I’ll talk about it eventually (because I think the topic deserves it), but the gist is that I had a demand made of me that was, at that moment, the “last straw”. I’ve been trying so damn hard to make progress around the house, outside in particular, and it’s been extremely difficult for a lot of reasons. Today I felt as if it was all pointless, that I was shoved back a hundred miles from the start line. Crushed, I was also livid, and I found myself swearing profusely if, say, an inanimate object fell over in the middle of me doing something.

I talked myself off the ledge, and I was aware that Nigel could always do that—but even more aware that none of this stuff would be happening if Nigel was still here.

The point of the story, or it’s connection to my pseudo-Thanksgiving dinner? First, I was able to experience and then move past a bad time today, and that my determination—or maybe it’s stubbornness—made that possible. Second, even after a terrible awful (nearly) two years (which followed another bad year and a half), I can still confront adversity with my usual “Oh yeah? Watch this!” attitude. Even when low points come along, I can still push past them, and that’s something to be thankful for, which makes it worthy of a special dinner, regardless of the date.

Tonight, because of or despite everything, it was more than worthy.


Roger Owen Green said...

Mostly I love these stories because you adopted the language: "My house is a tip." We in the States would say "a mess" or "a disaster" or the like.

The other thing is the thing you only alluded to. Something like that happened to me. I needed to get some info to X in the organization by the 21st so he could get it to Z by the 25th.
On the 15th, Y, also in the org, asked some of us to check out a messy file cabinet and, ideally, give his intern something to do. Oh, and Y is leaving the organization.
So I spent an hour going through the files when X saw me up there. On the 16th, X complained that I hadn't gotten to the other project - if I had time for Y's task, why didn't I have time for X's? Because Y's was more time-sensitive. I still got X's info to him on the 21st,, as promised. I got a bit put out.

Arthur Schenck said...

For the benefit of anyone reading these comments, a "tip" is what Americans call a "dump", a place where you take rubbish to be buried in a landfill (though in NZ cities they're usually called a "transfer station" (or, more formally, a "waste transfer station" because the rubbish is taken from their to the actual landfill site. Transfer stations also have areas to drop off garden waste, and to drop off both that and rubbish, people have to pay fees. Dropping of most recyclables is free, though.

Having said all that, I just can't imagine Bette Davis surveying my house and declaring, "What a tip!" It just doesn't have the same oomph, partly because, to me, "tip" has always seemed gentler than "dump". Whatever it's called, my house IS a mess and disaster, too.

It never ceases to amaze me how the actions of others can cause lots of consequential, if not always directly related, reactions.