No, “it” isn't over. I did not change back into myself. That's not why its been a couple of weeks since I posted. I'm still in Florida. I'm still in Gabrielle. I'm just in a bit more trouble. I had hoped to post once a week or so in hopes of keeping myself sane and reminding me who I really am, but that got derailed recently by something I could never think about again: Thanksgiving.
I know right? Who doesn't like thanksgiving? It's the ultimate American holiday. Non denominational, tons of food, football. It's worth spending time around relatives just to lounge around and enjoy yourself. What you don't always think of is the fact that behind every thanksgiving dinner is someone busting their ass in the kitchen, and this year that person was me and I didn't want to do it. Blame traditional gender roles or something but cooking thanksgiving dinner was something I would never in my wildest dreams have seen myself doing, but all of a sudden I was responsible for cooking a huge variety of foods I didn't know how to cook.
I tried to beg out of it, but Dustin wouldn't let me. “You're the one who insisted that we have it at our house this year, you argued with my mom for days before she agreed to it. You' can't back out now, plus I've already bought most of the food”. So once again I was locked into a situation created by something that Gabrielle said before I was her. (This happens quite a lot, that woman has said lots of things that have caused me grief, chief among them: I do).
I figured if I had to do it, I was going to do it as simple as possible. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, yams were the menu items. Stereotypical thanksgiving food, nothing fancy or tricky. I went online for instructions on how to cook them and got up 5am Thursday to being prepping.
I was a little behind schedule when people started arriving at 9. Apparently “family thanksgiving” meant Dustin' brother, his wife and their two kids, his sister, her husband, and their three kids and my newly acquired mortal enemy, his mother Georgia.
At first meeting, Georgia seemed like a nice person. She came in the door all smiles and hugs, especially for her sons and the children all seemed to love hugging and getting presents from Yaya Georgia (I think that's what it was). She's a pretty unassuming woman to look at. Less than 5 feet tall, gray hair in a bun, a rounded shape, and a heavy Greek accent she looked quite normal for someone in her 60s. However if I had to guess I'd put her actual age closer to 200 owing to what can only be a pact with Satan.
After her initial greetings and catching up she came into the kitchen to help me cook, and by help me cook I mean passive-aggressively reminding me why she was the better person to do it. Apparently she and the real Gabrielle had argued for weeks over where to have the meal and eventually the old woman reluctantly agreed.
While she was reminding me that this difficult undertaking was what I wanted she was also criticizing, she was quite good at that. She had a criticism for everything. “You're chopping that too large. you're chopping that too small. Not enough seasoning. You're behind schedule. Not enough traditional Greek dishes. You've gained weight. My son hasn't gained enough weight. I need more grandchildren.” It is a testament to my patience that that woman made it out of the house alive after doing that in close proximity to me and several knives. This is Florida. I've seen Dexter. I think I could get rid of a body if I had too.
Whenever one of the other women would come in to the kitchen to offer to lend a hand Georgia would remind them loudly about I had insisted that I could do it myself and go off on some other obnoxious tangent that would cause them to smile sympathetically at me and go in the other room.
In a way I can see why Gabrielle would volunteer for this. To me Georgia is a pain in the ass who I shouldn't have to see that many more times but for her she has to be a presence in her life. If I had to accept that I might go past ignoring while silently wanting to kill to actively trying to shut her up. Being able to upstage her at cooking would have done just that if the Inn hadn't intervened.
I cornered Lacey and tried to talk her into helping hoping she'd understand the true nature of my plight but no such luck.
“Sorry, Mom. Grandma seems like a bitch” she told me “And besides, I'm male bonding with my 'cousins'. We're swapping sexual conquest stories These guys are so full of shit. They know nothing about the female anatomy”
“And what are you telling them?”
“Accurate info. For the sake of their future girlfriends”
So while my real significant other was corrupting/enlightening two teenage boys my fake significant other was drinking beer watching football while I tried not to stab his mother and prepare thanksgiving.
Sadly for all my effort and learning of recipes I still managed to overcook the turkey. Not burned per se but it was a nice dark brown and quite noticeably dry. That of course meant I overcooked the stuffing. On top of that the mashed potatoes were lumpy and I didn't even try the yams since I didn't know what they were supposed to taste like in the first place. The cranberry sauce was perfect because all I had to do was open a can but overall it was a subpar dinner.
Everyone at the table could tell but politely choked it down and thanked me for making it. All except Georgia. She barely touched it and spent the entire meal with a look of smug vindication on her face. Almost as if to say: “SEE. I TOLD you she was a terrible cook. The horrible woman who stole my son away makes awful food. I was RIGHT”
After everyone went home I poured myself some wine and made a secret phone call to the real Gabrielle. She wanted details on how her family was doing and I told her of the debacle dinner. She told me it was her fault for getting me into it and thanked me for my effort.
My efforts were less appreciated when I went upstairs to bed that night and Dustin was awake.
“So that went terribly” he said not looking up
“Hey, I tried to get out of it” I reminded him
“And if I knew you were just going to mail it in I would have let you”
“What does that mean?”
“It means you did a half ass job. You're a much better cook than that and you know it. You just didn't do your best. You've been doing that a lot lately. Every since you got back from Maine. Which is weird because that trip had the opposite effect on Wesley”
“Well I'm sorry I all of a sudden don't meet your standards in the kitchen anymore”
“Not just the kitchen” he mumbled
“What does that mean?”
“It's been months” he said with rolled eyes and raised eyebrows
“Oh don't even bring THAT up” I said “Go sleep on the couch”
He laughed at me and rolled over, clearly not taking that threat seriously. “Goodnight, Gabi”
Marriage is nothing like on TV.