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My Thanks, Half Full

Oh my gosh, how did it get to be that time of year again? You know, the time when suddenly everyone thinks I’ve somehow managed to channel Martha Stewart and will be prepared to actually cook, create or craft? Just in case anyone is wondering, I’m hopeless, helpless, and happy to stay that way!

I used to feel guilty about my lack of home-sweet-home genes, but sadly, I didn’t inherit those or the artistic genes in my family. A family, I might add, that is FILLED with artists, musicians and at the very least people who can read maps. I, on the other hand, have never been able to navigate when someone says, “You go south on such and such and then head north at the lights.” WHAT? If you aren’t telling me to go left, right, up or down – I’m in big trouble.

So it stands to reason that when it comes to festive occasions, if someone isn’t leading me by the hand – I can get lost, both figuratively and literally. My friends find this quite amusing because part of what I do at my day job is event planning. To clarify, I plan events. I don’t cater the dinner, I hire a caterer. I don’t arrange the flowers, I hire a florist. I don’t stomp the grapes, I buy the wine (although I actually think I might be able to manage stomping grapes in an emergency, especially if it meant I got to drink some)!

I’m the idea person. I have a great imagination, so I’m the one who can come up with impossibly difficult things to do and then I have someone else perform the task. I’m not mean about it. I would never ask someone who is tone deaf to sing a song, nor would I make a four-year-old set a festive table for the holidays (but watch out if you’re five).

And speaking of four-year-olds... aren’t they just the whiniest bunch of babies when you ask them to do something simple like detail your car? I mean really, where has the younger generation’s work ethic gone??

I make light of this mainly because it’s so frustrating to be a total washout when it comes to putting the ooh-la-la into the holidays. I watch in amazement as friends actually make homemade pie dough. My friends watch in amazement as I help myself to a second piece when the pie is done.

I absolutely gawk at someone who can follow a pattern, knit a sweater or figure out how to put wallpaper up so the seams actually match. After all of these years, I’ve finally come to the realization that all of my inabilities stem from two sources: laziness and impatience. There, I’ve said it! I’m lazy and impatient. And I’m not alone (although at this time of year it can certainly feel that way).

I did have a moment a few weeks ago where I felt a bit less like a freak while I was attending a potluck. I, in my usual fashion, had quickly run through Trader Joe’s about 20 minutes before the event was scheduled to begin and grabbed anything that could be microwaved to perfection within my allotted timeframe. And just so you know, while I may be lazy and impatient, even I have the good sense to try to fool people into thinking I prepared something myself. God forbid anyone else should catch on.

I encouraged everyone to sample my delicious crab cakes, managing to wipe imaginary sweat from my overworked brow. If only I’d had time to dust my cheeks and forehead with a bit of flour, I could have been even more convincing. (See how being lazy and impatient can work against you?)

Lucky for me, no one else showed up sporting the same Trader Joe’s fare, but just between you and me, I’m pretty sure a few of the other “homemade” morsels were concocted in exactly the same fashion.

Thankfully, no one asked me for my recipe or screamed and pointed at “my” crab cakes and said “Dianne Armitage, you are a big fat crab cake faker!”

And speaking of thanks, I just want to assure all of you that when I count my blessings, you are definitely among them. And if you are looking for something to be thankful for, you can always count yourself lucky that I’m not cooking for you!

Well, I have to go now because we’re getting ready to take a road trip (no maps involved) and head to my son’s for Thanksgiving. I’m already trying to figure out how to get my grandkids to do the cooking. Do you think it’s asking too much to have a five-year-old baste the turkey? I’d ask the nine year old, but she’s going to be busy handblowing the glass ornaments I’ve dreamed up for the next holiday on the horizon.