If it’s the holidays, that means I am going to my yurt.
Since I don’t have a real one, I’m going to the yurt I keep in my mind to escape from my nemesis—Little Miss Perfect in the Pumpkin Patch, as I like to call her.
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday in the States, I find myself surrounded by Martha Stewart wannabes, fueled by either mulled wine or the copious collection of articles and blogs about how to have the “perfect” holiday. I’m not sure which is more potent but both seem to rev her up to frenzied status.
Bah humbug. Yes, I’m already anticipating the Christmas push that will follow this one.
LMP comes with three crucial qualities—one is too much time on her hands. The second is a distinct need to be seen as a maven at everything from setting a table to raising well-mannered children. The third? Naïveté in spades.
Because you have to be incredibly naïve to buy all this crazy advice about preparing for any holiday. If you truly followed Real Simple’s guide, Martha Stewart’s admonitions, Madame Chic’s crazy suggestions, you would collapse days before the turkey made it into the oven.
Why thank you, RS, because I do so enjoy stepping off the plane, running into people who have not seen me in 20 years and looking like the stuffed turkey. Half of the United States flies home for Thanksgiving somewhere. Maybe I could have all of my former hometown beaus lined up as I get off the plane so I could hug them? At a four-foot distance, of course, because I’ll be so bundled they won’t be able to get any closer. Think fluffy baby chick, not chic. Oh, and sweaty. Yes, lots of sweat. Because I wore all of my heaviest clothes on the plane to save room in my suitcase. As I clomp over to them in my heaviest shoes, I imagine them saying, with a frozen smile, “Why, you haven’t changed a bit. Really.”
Martha Stewart provides me with oh so “easy” menus, many of which include soufflés and layer cakes with homemade frosting. I think her “easy” button needs new batteries. It’s clearly broken.
Madame Chic chimes in with her advice to delegate household tasks to my family. Fine. But she clearly has girls. Girls who must sit and craft all day, quietly, in ruffled dresses. Because her suggestion for delegation differs slightly from mine. She suggests a family meeting at which I serve tea and cake.
Can you hear that sound? It’s guffaws from mothers of boys around the world.
Perhaps we should also have them lift their pinky fingers when they drink the tea, just to be sure any neighbors looking in the window see how civilized we are as we discuss who is cleaning toilets and picking up dog excrement.
And then I realize, I am reading advice from a woman who shouts “Bonjour” to her plants every morning. Enough said.
It’s not just well-known LMPs that chime in. There is the mother from school who, years ago, was my “partner” for the holiday party.
She was a silent partner. A silent partner who refused to return phone calls or emails and did no work. More like a non-equity partner. Who sleeps on the sofa in his office.
The night before the party, she finally checked in with me. As I told her what would be served, she was filled with helpful suggestions. Perhaps my cookies could become cookie pops. Oh, and they should be decorated. And then wrapped. Tied with bows. Each child should have his or her name on their cookie.
She then weighed in on the chocolate covered strawberries—were they organic? And the popcorn? Was it a mix of cheddar and cheese? Because plain popcorn was not very festive.
As I ignored her suggestions and poured water on my steaming head, I thought of the many methods of torture man has devised. I believe because of people like her.
She showed up the next day with a case of water. Which, as she walked in 20 minutes late and empty handed, she asked me to carry up from her car.
I’m sure you have your own nemesis this holiday season. Aunt Susie, your mother-in-law, that perky little home-schooler down the block.
Share the love, people. Drop by unannounced for a little holiday cheer on a Thursday night.
I’ll bet you my last dollar that LMP will have takeout containers or frozen food boxes in the garbage. Dust on something, somewhere in that house. And—gasp—unhung mistletoe.
Because it takes a lot of time and work to get to perfection.
Most of us don’t see what goes on behind the scenes. We just see the main act.
Ring a ding ding.