Ah, my first Thanksgiving since shaking off the yoke of my terrible relationship. Freedom! New beginnings! Mashed potatoes! Nope.
In true Amy Blair form, the night before Thanksgiving was cold and rainy, and I was at the local courthouse with two tired little kids in tow. I’m not going into the details of what happened, but suffice it to say it was an appropriately grim beginning to the Thanksgiving weekend.
The holiday itself began in unalarming fashion. The kids were maniacs, but I got everyone fed, packed, the car loaded, and we managed to hit the road relatively on time (a minor miracle with my ultra demanding one-year old who never lets me put him down, and destroys the house in protest if I attempt to do anything not directly related to his immediate need for “up”). The drive to my sister’s house in New Jersey was uneventful. I hit a drive-through Dunkin’ Donuts and got myself a disgusting/incredible minty mocha holiday sugar bomb for the road (no regrets), and both of my children fell asleep in the backseat. I listened to the radio and sipped my nightmare beverage and thought, damn, we have got this shit. There wasn’t even any traffic.
After a few hours at my sister’s, dinner was served. The whole family gathered around the table, dishes were being passed, wine was being poured, and my brother-in-law was digging into the steaming bird with a carving knife. All was as it should be.
And then my one-year old projectile vomited all over me.
I quickly got him out of his high chair, dripping puke, and carried him into the kitchen where he immediately vomited again and then promptly slipped in the barf, leaving us both essentially covered head to toe in spew.
My mother and sister thankfully cleaned up the mess in the dining room and kitchen while I cleaned the baby and myself. By the time I got him to bed, everyone was done eating and I took a plate of cold leftovers to the couch. After my sad little solo meal, I went downstairs to check on my older son. And this is where this story really goes off the rails. I found my sister’s cat laying on the floor, breathing very heavily and generally looking miserable. I called my sister down, and at first we thought maybe he was choking on something because he couldn’t seem to breathe. We tried to do the Heimlich on him and we were literally googling “cat Heimlich” to try to figure out how to clear his airway. When that didn’t work, the cat rapidly went from bad to worse and we realized, holy shit, the cat was dying. My sister began calling around to try to find an emergency animal hospital that was open on Thanksgiving night. While she was doing this, the cat went underneath the couch. I lay down on the floor next to the couch to pet the cat and try to comfort him while she got her shoes and looked for the cat carrier. With my head on the ground in front of him, he seized, spattering blood all over my face. We got him into the cat carrier and my sister and nephew ran out with him, but he was gone before they ever got to the hospital from heart failure. I changed into my pajamas and started my second load of laundry. There was no dessert this Thanksgiving.
In the morning, I packed up the boys again to drive back home, apologizing profusely for the disaster of a holiday that everyone said was not my fault (although I’m truly beginning to feel like I am walking around with a curse on me).
The baby didn’t vomit anymore, although he continued to have diarrhea all weekend, at one point smearing it all over his highchair after sticking his hand down his diaper after a blowout. YAY.
Then, on Sunday morning, the snow arrived.
After being cooped up on Friday and Saturday with Mr. Poopy Pants, we decided to head out early for some groceries before the snow picked up. With a frosty dusting of snow in the air and no idea when we would be able to do it again, I spontaneously decided that we should pick up a Christmas tree on the way home. I can fucking do this, I told myself.
We picked out a tree while my one-year old ran around the lot screaming and knocking down trees and generally scaring the shit out of me. As I paid, the guy helping us asked if I wanted him to cut off some branches around the bottom. I had no idea what he was talking about and the baby was melting down and I answered no. This was, I now realize, the incorrect answer. After I got home and got all the groceries in and somehow Bionic Woman’d the tree off the roof of my stupid giant vehicle and got the tree inside (all with the insane baby running around and scaring the shit out of me and screaming “up” and then throwing a tantrum because I’m carrying a goddamned tree instead of him), I came to realize the tree would not fit in the stand because the guy did not cut off the extra branches around the bottom. My bad.
I apologize for the terrible quality of this picture, and also for my hippie peace wreath in the window, but this is the only photo I took of my very sad tree listing dangerously, right before the kitten jumped headlong into it and it came crashing down into the couch.
The storm continued to rage on throughout the day and overnight. On Monday, school was closed and my ex insisted on picking up the kids anyway. I shoveled the stairs, the sidewalk, the paths, the driveway. Later I shoveled them again. Rain was intermingling with the snow, and the snow was soggy, and icy, and heavy as shit. I shoveled until my sad, weak shoulders burned and my back ached.
On Monday night, after a shower I finally crawled into my warm, cozy bed at 9:00pm, beyond excited to just read for half an hour before passing out. My pajamas were clean, the sheets were crisp, and the duvet was fluffy. I could finally sit down and relax and I never wanted to move again. I flipped on the bedside lamp, opened up my book, and then…my new kitten shit underneath my bed.
And that’s the end of the story. Oh, except I had to shovel one more time on Tuesday morning. And then I went to work, and I was the first person there, and our property maintenance guy forgot to shovel the back steps. I thought I would be nice and just shovel them off really quickly rather than bother him. Of course, I smashed my knuckles into the icy railing and wound up with a super bloody hand.
And the moral of this story is: fuck my fucking ex.