My Thanksgiving, 2022

My wife and I never go anywhere together for more than a few hours because of the farm and the pets. It’s not a real farm. It’s just a couple of hogs, goats, and chickens that we keep for our own use, but the animals are real, and they need food and water which means they need someone around to care for them every day.

And the pets… I think my wife goes a little overboard and it seems to me that every time one of them sneezes, scratches, or eats less than the day before, it’s another trip to the vet and another round of pills to be administered every day. 

There’s a lot to do here and going away means finding someone to do it. So when my daughter insisted that we be together at her house in Colorado for Thanksgiving, my wife shouldn’t have caved. And I shouldn’t have caved to my wife. But we caved. 

Fortunately, my wife’s childhood friend agreed to fly in to take care of everything while we were away. Despite my wife’s email, which read more like a warning than a request, she said, ‘yes.’ Our friend has some family and friends in the area so it worked out for her to be in Virginia during Thanksgiving

Our plan was for my wife to fly to Denver on Saturday. Some time later, our friend would fly in to Norfolk and I would pick her up. My son would drive to our house from North Carolina Tuesday night, then he and I would fly together Wednesday morning. The family would be together for Thanksgiving, then my wife, son, and I would fly back to Norfolk Friday evening. So far, it seemed like a good plan.

My wife occasionally bakes and decorates cakes for Icing Smiles, and she had a cake to deliver in Chesapeake before we left. We had to do that Saturday morning on the way to the airport. My wife had been working on the cake through Friday night and into the morning, so the morning was a bit of a rush. But we delivered the cake and made it to the airport on time for the flight

By some miscommunication, our friend got a flight to Norfolk for Tuesday evening – not leaving enough time for me to show her what to do. But at least we’d have a couple of hours so I could show her where everything was. That and a lot of notes would have to do.

Part of the plan was for my son and I to leave his car at the airport and leave my wife’s car home for our friend. But my son called me Monday night and said he had a slow leak and was worried his tire would go flat in the airport garage. And that’s not all. His cigarette lighter wasn’t working so not only would the tire be flat, we wouldn’t be able to power a pump to fill it.

On Tuesday morning I called Tire Choice in Suffolk and asked if they’d be able to fix a slow leak if I could get the car in at 5:30 PM. They said they could, so I made an appointment. I told my son he had to be on time because they close at 6.

Our friend’s first flight was delayed so she missed her connection. She would arrive in Norfolk Wednesday in the late morning. That meant I wouldn’t be picking her up from the airport, there would be no time to show her around, and I had to deal with the farm and the pets before sunrise Wednesday morning. I spent part of my day revising my notes for extra clarity and dividing feed up into sacks so I wouldn’t have to worry about explaining how I portion out the feed for the hogs.

My wife had the idea of my son and I driving separately to Norfolk so our friend could take my wife’s car home.

My son arrived on time, at 5:30 Tuesday evening, but after fifteen minutes the guy at Tire Choice said, “I know you had an appointment, but we can’t work on it. I can’t get any technicians to stay late enough”. I don’t want to go into the conversation we had, but it was futile. We couldn’t get the tire fixed, so we had to get the cigarette lighter working.

It was simple. A blown fuse. But we also needed a new pump because the plug was broken. It worked, but it was hard to stick in and remove from the cigarette lighter and I was worried it might blow the fuse again. That will be easy to fix but I wasn’t going to fix it that night. We went back out to get a new pump. By the time we got back it was getting late and I still hadn’t finished packing.

Eventually I finished packing, but that didn’t matter because after a short night of sleep, rushing to get the farm animals fed in the dark, getting the pets fed and medicated, and doing last minute checks to make sure the house was ready for our friend, I left my bag at home. I knew it before we were even on the road for five minutes, but there was no time to turn back.

My son was also a bit tired when he followed me in through the airport parking gate. This was his first time driving to the airport. He didn’t notice me reaching out for a parking ticket, and after I got my ticket, he followed me in so closely that the bar didn’t come down between us, and never got a ticket for himself.

That was our trip out. After that, everything was, for the most part, fine. 

We had a pleasant Thanksgiving. My wife, daughter, and son-in-law prepared a lovely meal, and we noshed on leftovers for breakfast the next morning while playing pool in my daughter and son-in-law’s basement. I even got to play technician and helped fix a problem with their sound bar. 

Forgetting my bag was nothing a quick trip to Walmart couldn’t make up for, and I got to spend three days without my laptop, which was probably good for me.

Our scaredy-cat dog peed upstairs because he was too afraid of our friend to come downstairs to get to the back yard. But our friend cleaned the mess and it’s like it never happened.

The missing ticket wasn’t a big deal. It only took a few minutes for the cashier to confirm ownership of the car and look up the license plate, which was recorded when we arrived. They only charged us for the three days. I had expected a penalty to make up for the inconvenience, but there was none. Kudos to Norfolk Airport Parking.

When we got back, there was more hay left over than I was expecting, so our friend unintentionally put the goats on a bit of a diet, but they don’t seem any worse off for it.

All in all, it was a good Thanksgiving for us, and I’m thankful for that.

11/27 – I removed the line about watching the word cup. I watched one match but shouldn’t have, and don’t want to encourage it. Qatar is awful and FIFA is awful


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