Thanksgiving 2022 (part 2)

I was pretty sore from the turkey bowl by the time I got home, and knew I was gonna be sorer in the morning. That, I suspected, was my first taste of what being 30 feels like lol. I took a long hot shower and sat down in the living room to watch a little of the Giants playing the Cowboys. Jacob even came in to watch some of it with me. Matteo may get into baseball when he can keep score, but he’s got zero interest in football. He doesn’t even want to throw the football around with me and Jacob, so I reckon football’s become my and Jacob’s thing. It’s good to have some time with them individually, and Jacob’s a pretty insightful person to watch a football game with, even if he’s never played a full-contact game (you can imagine what Maya would say if I suggested he start playing tackle football.)

Then it was time to get dressed and go over to Joyce’s so we could drive to Thanksgiving dinner together. Leslie, Thom and Ethan were already at Adam and Allan’s when me and Joyce got there. They were sitting in the living room, sipping sparkling cider (Ethan got his in a plastic cup instead of a champagne glass) and nibbling on the very good charcruterie board (like they call cold cut platters these days lol) Adam and Allan had put out.

Based on the past two years, though, someone was missing: the court-appointed nurse whose job it was to keep an eye on Leslie to make sure she didn’t harm Ethan the way she was doing a few years ago. Joyce told me on the way over that Allan had told her the court had decided that Ethan no longer needed 24/7 supervision. They still get a weekly visit from a nurse, who checks Ethan out from head to toe every time, and they get surprise visits from social workers at all hours…so Child Services still has a pretty close eye on Ethan, even if it’s not a live-in nurse anymore.

I took their not having to have the nurse to be a good sign, and the fact is that they all looked dang good…I think you can even say that they looked like a normal family…or that people would think they were an normal family if they met them for the first time. Ethan is crazy about sports…you name a sport, and he knows how all the local teams are doing. He’s a Clippers, Kings, Rams and Dodgers fan. He’s gotten a lot more into baseball since I last saw him…so he had plenty of questions for me about the game and why the Dodgers fell apart in the playoffs. (He’s not as mad at the Dodgers as I am…but it’s close lol.)

It was a relief to seeing them doing so well. Leslie was even enjoying some of the cold cuts. They’re good people, I never doubted that, but they’ve been through a lot of bad shit together. A lot of families wouldn’t still be together after what happened with Leslie and Ethan. It says a lot about them that they still are.

Also early among the guests to arrive were Raul and Esteban. Esteban came up to me and the first thing out of his mouth was:

“Ok, Cazador, this year we’re getting you on the show. No your people calling my people…we’ll fix a date tonight and you’ll show up. Even if you are a TV star.”

“How did you know my Spanish ball player nickname?,” I asked.

“What? Cazador? Dude, it’s just hunter in Spanish. It’s not like some obscure nickname like…I dunno…heartthrob.”

“How’d you know that one?”

“I read your blog, man. You must have written twenty times that was your nickname when you played pro ball. You complain about it…but you obviously liked it.”

It was about then that Keaton arrived with his date, Mrs. LaSalle. He cleans up good, and this time I was sure that he had product in his hair. It looked a lot less messy than it usually does. Maybe because he had an elegant date for the evening.

Mrs. LaSalle’s still walking with a cane (I guess once you start using one you get used to it), but she looked great to me. (Joyce: “never a hair out of place…although that may be a wig.” Me: lol.) Everyone got to like her by the time dinner was over. She’s just that kind of a person with the quality of making people like her. (Joyce: “it’s called charm.”)

So far I knew everyone who was there. Of course I knew Ryan when he was the next to arrive, but I this was the first time I was meeting the roommate he moved in with when he left the sober living he was at. Adam, of course, wasn’t going to let the roommate be all alone on Thanksgiving, since, from what he said, he doesn’t have any family left anywhere (he explained that he’s an only child of an only child so he doesn’t even have cousins on one side), and had nowhere to go.

“I’m Hunter Block,” I said, extending my hand.

“Miles Keyes,” he said. “I know you. You’re on that show Ryan watches.”

Another straight guy who wouldn’t be caught dead admitting that he sometimes watches At Home With Maya, I thought lol. But he seemed nice enough. I’d say he was about my height but a lot thinner, probably 150 pounds. He also struck me as a little nervous; maybe that’s why he looked like he didn’t eat a whole lot. Oh yeah…Joyce wants me to put in that he had “sad grey eyes”. I’ll trust her on that, just like I trust myself when it comes to guessing people’s weight.

“Can we eat, Uncle Adam?,” Ethan asked after the adults had talked a while more and almost polished off the charcruterie board.

“Not yet,” Adam said. “Count the number of guests?”

Ethan counted around the room.

“13,” he said.

“And what is 13?,” Adam asked.

Ethan seemed stumped.

“It means bad luck,” said Thom, walking over. “Your uncle doesn’t want to have 13 at table. So there’s another guest coming. Or is it more than that?”

“It’s a couple,” Adam said. “You can’t have 14 at table either.”

“How come?,” Ethan asked.

“What happens if someone gets up to go to the bathroom?”

It took Ethan a minute to get it. I have to say that I didn’t get it immediately either.

“Oh…it leaves 13 sitting at the table.” He smiled the way kids do when they get something.

“So we’re going to be 15, Heaven help us” Adam said. Turning to me and Thom, because we were the closest, he added “it took every last leaf we had to put in the table…and we’re lucky that we have a dinner service for 16 that we inherited from Allan’s grandmother.”

Just then the doorbell rang. Allan went to open it.

In walked a woman who looked about 35, wearing black slacks and a sweater with a turkey on it. It was kind of like an ugly sweater, but themed for Thanksgiving, which, if you ask me, is pretty lameass.

“So sorry we’re late,” the woman said to Allan, “but Amanda had a tantrum and wouldn’t let us leave her alone. Kevin said that the only thing we could do was bring her with us.”

I could see on Allan’s face that he didn’t want a child who threw tantrums as an uninvited Thanksgiving guest. Ethan’s well-behaved, and he’s getting older too. Although this child had to be old enough to be left by herself…which made it seem odd that she’d still be at an age where she can have tantrums.

“Kevin’s getting the car parked. Your street doesn’t have a whole lot of spaces.”

“We are having fifteen for dinner,” Allan said, a little defensively. “That makes for a lot of cars.”

The door was still open, and the woman’s – I didn’t know if he was a husband yet (although I did find out subsequently that he was) – husband came in.

Carrying a yorkie, who was wearing a black tutu…and a sweater that matched the woman’s.

That explained the age puzzle. And the look on Allan’s face.

Remember that in Adam and Allan’s house there’s never nicknack out of place. They’re interior designers, and their living room is kind of like their showcase. They redecorate it every couple of years to keep it up-to-date. It used to have white couches you were afraid to sit on (I’m still super careful about sitting on Joyce’s white couches lol.) The new couches are covered in a sort of a Chinesey pattern, and, like everything else in the house, are utterly immaculate.

I think I know something about living with dogs, and one thing I can promise y’all is that there’s no way to keep a house immaculate when there’s a dog living there. The Sharpmans have a housekeeper and another woman who comes in days to do most of the heavy cleaning. Maya can get pretty fussy and start cleaning, too. So we have no shortage of people cleaning, and the house looks great, as anyone who’s seen the show knows…but Gechitzik still makes messes inside, whether it’s forgetting himself and doing his business, or getting into the trash, or throwing up…or any of the things that go with a dog. Dog owners are used to that kind of thing…but Adam and Allan with their quiet and (literally) sober lifestyle aren’t dog owners.

All I could do is think of something Robert said a few weeks after we got Gechitzik: “people who say their dogs don’t piss and shit on the carpet are people who don’t walk around barefoot.” Trust me, he’s right lol.

For the time being, the dude (Kevin) was carrying the dog (Amanda). He looked the same age as his wife (I still didn’t have her name by that point, but it turned out to be Nikki), and like he went to the gym a lot, which isn’t the same thing as looking like a jock. He was just slightly taller than me, making him 6’ and 175#.

“I knew you wouldn’t mind if we brought Amanda,” Kevin said. “She just didn’t want to be alone on Thanksgiving. She’s so well-behaved, you won’t even know she’s here.”

I’ve never seen a dog in a tutu before, but I couldn’t imagine that a dog in a tutu wasn’t going to be so well-behaved that we wouldn’t know she was there.

Kevin put the dog down on floor and disconnected her pink leash. The first thing she did was run up to me, probably because I was the only dog owner (or person who lived with a dog) in the room. She kept sniffing my pants before she saw the couch and jumped up on it.

“Um…Nikki,” said Allan, “could you not let her on the furniture? We have a rule about that.” (Joyce: “I love Allan, but I think the rule he meant was that no one is allowed on the furniture” lol.)

“Oh,” said Nikki, “so sorry. Here,” she continued, “I’ll sit on the couch and my little fur baby can sit on my lap.”

I gotta admit that I was with Allan on that one. Gechitzik isn’t allowed on the furniture back at the Sharpmans, and I think it’s a good policy.

So is not feeding the dog from the charcruterie board. Or so I would have thought…but Nikki clearly thought she knew better. I know what happens to Gechitzik when he gets his paws on spicy people food, and, as the person who walks him, I’m also the one most involved with what comes out the other end. It’s not pretty, let me leave it at that. I have heard that mixed breeds can have very sensitive stomachs. Ok, Amanda looked like a purebred yorkie…but, still…dogs should eat dog food.

“We can go to table, if everyone’s ready,” said Adam, coming out of the kitchen. This was the first he saw of Amanda, and I could tell he was about as pleased as Allan was to have an unexpected canine guest. But I gotta hand it to them, they didn’t make a fuss. It was, for example, very tactful the way they collected all the charcruterie plates so Amanda couldn’t get to them. They didn’t say anything; they just looked at each other and the plates were gone in under a minute.

With all the leaves in the table so it could seat 15, it barely fit inside the dining room. In fact, Allan at his head of the table was basically sitting in the foyer. There were place cards for everyone (Joyce had done them, so she had to have known that Nikki and Kevin were coming, but she didn’t let on to me), which was a really nice touch, and made it much simpler to get so many people seated.

2 thoughts on “Thanksgiving 2022 (part 2)

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