It's 3 AM. The Bananna Bread and the sourdough bread is in the oven. Dr. D' came home from work tonight asking what I was fixing for Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow. What?Didn't he tell me NOT to fix a turkey the other day? Now he's asking about a turkey? Thank God I didn't listen to him. (sneeky grin.) It's okay honey, I tell him. Then the damn phone rings--
Here's how my day went. About 4 PM I decided I should go out and hit a couple of the major grocery sales. Pick up some stuff we would eat over the next week and get out of the house. So I headed out to the local Italian deli Giuseppe's for a sandwich and to add to my stash of meats, wine, cheese and Italian coffee for my latte's. I have my essential stash for holiday survival.
Life is good, so I decide to hit the local Big Lots to check out the holiday decorations which we need to buy for Dr. D's office. 30 minutes later and $20 lighter, I've picked up some gift bags, some decorations and other crap we will use over the holiday's. However I did not find the Salton Expresso machine Dr. D. wanted to give someone. The store manager says, it won't be on sale until Thursday. (They're open 8-10 PM. Jeeze.)
Next I head across the street to the local Ralph's and pick up on the groceries. While stolling the aisles I run into one of the neighbors who is a new bride trying to fix her first holiday dinner for the family. She has my sympathy until I see she's loaded to the hilt with several pages of new gourmet recipes, fresh off the internet. (Oh G*d!) Only thing is: She rarely if ever cooks. And.. she's in a panic. The recipe for Candied Yam's calls for 3 vanilla beans-- she can't find them. When I help her spot them, the price $11.35 nearly knocks her over. (It nearly knocked me over too!) I tell her while trying to pick out my aluminum foil, "Substitute a couple teaspoons of real good vanilla and bank the $9. No one will ever know the difference." She's about as greatful as she can be-- I tell her while tossing in the 2-12 packs of Coke into the cart, "No problem. Call me if you get stuck." (My mom would have been proud.)
But it turns out she isn't the only person I know the store today-- and nearly everyone's having some type of cooking question. What the hell am I? Julia Childs or what? Oh! That's right, my folks cooked in our own place for 40 years, I'm supposed to know how to cook! (Just don't ask Doug-- okay?) So I field questions like a tech support call on Windows while I try to remember everything I'm supposed to be getting-- everything from Pepsi, to TP is finally in the cart. I finally get out of the store and head to my next store:
Vons via the Hallmark store to pick up my ornament order. Patty the manager is in a happy mood today. Business is good today. We chat for a while and just as I'm about to head out the door, she calls me back into the store to give me a shopping bag full of Hallmark ornaments and goodies. Why? Because the owner whom I'd helped write a business plan several years ago, had just opened her 5th store. She had left it for me as a surprise. And-- I was.
But the funny thing is after over 14 years being in Diamond Bar and always feeling alone or disconnected from the community, for the first time I'm feeling more connected and appreciated. It feels pretty damn good.
Finally inside Vons around the corner I waltz through the store picking up the rest of the list, and still get stopped by several people I know. This is getting to be funny. I should have set up a 900 hotline or a Lucy Office in the meat department. At $5 a hit I could have paid for the cart of groceries in about 30 minutes. Finally has I throw the last two cans of coffee in the cart, I barrel for the check out.
Victor the store manager is playing checkout guy tonight. He sees me and it puts a smile on his face. (I'm beginning to think I've got a happy glow or something.) We chit-chat about business, customers and the holidays as he rings me up. When we get to the total, he looks over my purchases and says... "Mary Lu, where's your turkey? We owe you a free turkey." Huh? "Yep, you purchased enough stuff, we owe you one." In the next minute I explain, I don't want a turkey now, but he tells me I can't have a raincheck. Drat! So I end up going back to the meat department looking for the smallest turkey in the store, when the Cliff the Meat Manager spots me and hands me a nice small 12 lb Butterball. "Sorry Mary Lu, Victor called back. This is the smallest one we've got! Happy Thanksgiving girl!" I thank him and finally make it to the door.
As I finally start driving home, I wonder what is Doug going to say or think when he see the bird in the 'fridge. Oh hell, tell him the truth. We won the turkey lottery. No big deal.
Then he comes home and asks what I'm fixing for dinner tomorrow. (grin) Now he's off the phone, I point him to the fridge and hand him the Vons reciept for the free bird. "Honey, I've got good news and bad news. The good news is, I'm glad you got the turkey. The bad news is we need to drive out to the pharmacy because they forgot a delivery. The better news is-- I'm taking you out to dinner tonight vs. tomorrow."
Good! I'm too tired to cook tonight after all the shopping today! (grin)
At dinner tonight I tell him about my day-- and for the first time in years I'm pretty thankful things have started to look normal for living in California. Southern California, that is.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. Gotta go the timer's going off!