So here we were, getting ready for a house full of people, when the toilet backed up. No big deal. My handy husband tried to fix it, but decided it was out of his skill set and went off to get ready for work while I called the plumber. The moment he was preparing to step into the shower, the storm hit. The shit storm is really the only way to describe it. Apparently when you have a severely clogged pipe, the water has to back up somewhere, and a shower is a very common place. Oh, the horror! Luckily, Mac witnessed this from outside the shower, so in the spirit of counting our blessings it could have been So. Much. Worse. But it was bad enough.
This was on Tuesday, about 8 hours before the first of eight house guests arrived. I feared the worst, but the plumber arrived and after a few hours everything was back to normal. Here is a cleaning tip (you’ll seldom get those from me): Clorox makes a splash-free bleach, which seemed like a great idea for such a big bio-hazardous situation. I scrubbed everything down in the shower then turned the bottle around to read exactly how long you are supposed to wait for maximum disinfection. It says right on the package: “Splash Free Clorox does not disinfect or sanitize. To disinfect, use regular Clorox,” or some such nonsense because I was in too much of a blind fury to take it all in. Curse you faux Clorox bleach!
So, another trip back to the store, more bleach (real bleach this time, apparently) more scrubbing, more cursing and a few tears but I got it done. I have to say, too, it helped to share this drama/trauma with my funny friends because they sent me encouraging notes. My niece Kate told me she was sorry I was going through this but she had a hilarious mental image in her head of me running around in circles in a blind panic. Heather told me to NOT use this as an excuse to feel sorry for myself and thus over-eat. She said: “Poop, you’re screwing with the wrong woman.” I don’t think this scenario is what the Beatles had in mind when they wrote, “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends,” but I thought of that song all weekend long.
I’d lost hours to the storm and its aftermath, so I mentally started ticking off things I could let go on my to-do list. Number one was dishes. I knew a store very close by that sold cheerful, pretty-ish, red plastic plates and decided I would rather spending a few minutes fetching those than dealing with 62 dinner plates. Yes, you read that correctly. Sixty-two dinner guests.
My friend Maggie is a wonder: she is the most creative, organized, wonderful cook and kept me grounded and on task when I got panicky. Other friends helped set tables, carve turkey, and kept the microwave humming heating up last minute items. My daughter really stepped up – she was so helpful and cheerful. Our talented friends even put on a show after dinner – magic, singing, sword swallowing. As my husband would say, “The perfect after dinner trick.”
So how did I do? I didn’t overeat on Thanksgiving, or on the days leading up to it. I kept healthy food in the house. I ate a nice bowl of healthy soup for lunch so I wouldn’t overindulge during the big dinner. I didn’t have any wine until supper, and not much after that. I asked for help. I let things go. I took the time to put on my new dress. Overall I took better care of myself this Thanksgiving than I think I ever have. I did take time for gratitude, and I really appreciated having the friends I love gathered in my house. I told my husband that I really don’t want to end the tradition, but next year we might actually have it catered. Progress! But not perfection: I was so very tired that I ate way too much the next two nights. I am afraid to step on the scale tomorrow. But I know that even if I have a gain I am getting through the holidays without gaining all the weight back I have worked so hard to lose so far this year. I trust myself more, and that is really, truly a miracle to be thankful for.