Since crossing the threshold and traversing further into old age, I’ve begun having more frequent “episodes.” These “episodes” are often unsettling and can throw me off for extended periods of time. Generally, these episodes occur in dressing rooms with unflattering light and when I am scantily clad before full-length mirrors. They often catch me off-guard and a sideways glance leaves me saying, “What in the hell happened to me?” As I ponder the answer and attempt to justify my deterioration, I typically begin to shudder before collapsing into a pile of torment. The episodes often end with medicating myself via peanut M&Ms or life-sustaining Chardonnay. Recently however, the episodes, which have long been triggered by thigh dimpling or saggy hooters, began occurring while I was totally clothed and in no geographical relation to a full-length mirror. While yesterday’s episode did occur in a retail outlet, there was no clothing within 200 yards and no mirrors either. Rather than dimples or fun bag slumping sending me into trouble, yesterday’s trigger was a simple turkey platter. I should have expected it. The warning signs began in the wee hours of the morning, but I was oblivious. Caught up in my adrenaline rush, I was blind sighted. Thankfully, I lived to tell.
At about 6:00 am yesterday, as the men in my home snored through a few last glorious moments of sleep, my eyes popped open in horror. Tablecloth. I do not have an appropriate tablecloth. We were exactly one week out from Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year (next to Şeker Bayram – the Turkish holiday rooted in the consumption and sharing of chocolate – I think my favoritism there is, as the kids say, obvi) and all I had upon which to serve my bird were 3 different linen variations in red and green plaid. I may be a reformed Martha devotee, but the brainwashing remains. Without a doubt, serving a Thanksgiving feast upon a tablecloth clearly intended for Yuletide joy is simply a travesty. This would be our first Thanksgiving in our new home, our first Thanksgiving in which no one was working or overseas in many years and I’ll be damned if I was going to destroy it all by serving up a table full of fabulousness on inappropriate linens.
Unfortunately they disappeared. Some are still in storage in Turkey (yes, I get the irony that my Thanksgiving tablecloth could very well be trapped in Turkey) and some just seemed to get misplaced in all the moves we’ve executed over the past few years. Regardless of what once was, now, I got nothin’. Budgets being what they are, would not allow me to frolic off to Macy's and secure myself a matching apron and tablecloth from the Martha Stewart Collection. As I lay in my bed, I began to panic about the impending doom facing my Thanksgiving table. Divine goddess of large birds, guide me.
Then, as if it was a Thanksgiving miracle, the answer revealed itself. Amid the ads for erection enhancers and news of my having inherited millions from a distant relative in Zimbabwe, I received notice of the rare 3 Hour Tablecloth Sale at World Market. For three hours only, 5pm – 8 pm, 50% off all tablecloths and a $4.99 Turkey Platter with coupon. I wept.
I spent much of the day planning. Would I hold off making dinner and hit the beginning of the sale or wait until later and go sans Midget? Would the Midget slow me down or did he have an opinion worth hearing in the area of linens? I went online to evaluate my options. Prussian red or burnt orange? Solid or a festive print? And that platter? Gorgeous in its simplicity. The options were setting me a twitter.
As the 5:00 hour neared I began to get nervous. I decided to wait until after dinner and go sans Midget but what if it was picked over? What if I missed the turkey platters? Oh Lord, what if they were mobbed with other women sharing my same horror and they sold out early!!!!
The Turk and I have long shared a strange and unexplainable bond. I attribute it to having spent years completing his sentences when he can’t find the right English word, but regardless, he and I are linked. Like the Long Island Medium, he heard my cries from the other side. At 5:00 on the nose, my Turk in shining armor arrived home – an hour and a half ahead of schedule. His seminar ended early and for the first time ever, he was home early. It was an act of fate. I met him at the door, uttered, “There is a sale. Tablecloths! Turkey platters! Three hours! I have to go! Now. I will be back.” Accustomed to my bouts of crazy, he nodded and with the appropriate amount of urgency said, “Take my car. It’s warm.” How I love that Turk.
5:07 and the place was filling up. I b-lined to the table cloths to find only one other woman pawing through the selection. The tall, dark-haired woman was clutching a 3 foot turkey platter as she marveled at a row of Indian inspired linens. She looked right, then left, then leaned uncomfortably close and whispered, “You here for the turkey platter?” Realizing the covert nature of the situation, I leaned back and whispered,
“Better go now. The guy in the green apron over there told me supply is low. They’re going fast. Don’t get left behind.”
I thanked my fellow domestic warrior and followed her directions to the booty. Her tip-off was invaluable. There were only 3 left. As I secured the platter large enough to hold a 2 year old, I looked around and saw 20 other warriors in the same stance. We were an army of middle aged moms in yoga pants and hoodies with turkey platters at our sides and a need for an ideal holiday in our hearts. While it was comforting to be part of such an assemblage, it was unsettling. Ten years ago, before I underwent extensive training with the real housewives of Turkey, I would have kicked a motorcycle boot at a troop like this. I would have thumbed my nose-ring at anyone who obsessed over securing a turkey platter for 4.99, even if it was a stunning value originally priced at 19.99. I would have suggested medicinal intervention to any friend dealing with an obsessive need for appropriate table linens. Now? There I stood in stretch knits and sensible shoes clutching a porcelain treasure and wondering “What the hell happened to me?”
As I stood in line pondering my fate, suffering the pain of the "episode" and trying to put my finger on the moment it all changed (November 10, 2006 – Happy Anniversary, honey!), I wondered if avoiding this purchase would send me back to my former reality. Could beating the obsession erase the damage?
“Excuse me? How much for both the 90 inch, 100% cotton, Indian inspired, citrine tablecloth and fabulous, porcelain, full-bird, turkey platter?”
Now I’m no math whiz. I failed Algebra I, twice. But I did rock Consumer Math with Mr. Bartels back in 1988 and within seconds I knew that 50% off a $37.00 tablecloth and $4.99 turkey platter, with tax, could in no way come up to $19.77. “Are you sure about that?”
Sparky the sales boy began to get huffy. “Yes Ma’am. That’s the price. I double checked. There is a problem with the register so I did it by hand. I know it’s right.”
Clearly Sparky didn’t take Consumer Math with Mr. Bartels back in 1988. Who was I to argue? The mom mob behind me was getting restless. Ugly things can happen with an angry mom mob. Ever been to pee wee soccer?
|Isn't she beautiful, especially with the sun on her like that...|
I carried my new purchases to the car with a cautiousness I no longer even use for my offspring. I strapped my platter in the empty car seat and drove home, 5 miles below the speed limit.
Upon the grand reveal, my Turks both looked at me with raised eyebrows (which can be pretty intense when you’re talking about Turk eyebrows). Both were unmoved by my monologue about the importance of a grand tablescape. But I am undaunted. I may have lost many battles in recent years- the battle of the bulge, the battle of the sag, the battle for staying cool, to name a few, but I did not lose this battle for appropriate Thanksgiving table linens. Not only did I win, but I won with change to spare and a girth of Shopper Points to use towards my next purchase.
But the question remains, what the hell happened to me? Simply put, I seem to have been overcome with a change of priorities. But just to keep things on track, I plan to crank up some old school Metallica as I froth my egg whites and brine my bird next week. If only those leather pants still fit…