Who the F@#$k Is Supposed to Wash All These Dishes? Or How Much Being A Grown-Up For The Holidays Can Suck

My grandmother made holidating (yep) look easy. I, on the other hand, frustrate easily, which is not a helpful quality when Martha Stewart is giving you napkin-folding advice.

Nov 26, 2012 at 12:00pm | Leave a comment

You guys, where are the magical holiday elves who come out of the IKEA woodwork and clear all the dishes, find all the matching tops to the Tupperware, scrape away all the left over mac and cheese, wash all the pots AND pans, Swiffer the dining room part of the living room, wipe a makeup remover over your face, then tuck you into bed at 10 pm? I think they died of exhaustion when I turned 30.

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Who's supposed to tackle this? Me?

Like how Tinker Bell and her girls were born when the first sweet baby Jesus laughed or whatever, the holiday clean up fairies all died when I first said, "Hey let's do Thanksgiving at our house this year." See, when people say the holidays are really about the children, they're not talking about the blissfully ignorant wonder of Santa and the fun part of colonialism. Nope they're talking about the clean-up crew because once you've stacked up enough years, you're officially tall enough to ride this ride we call being in charge of shit. 

Take last Thursday, also known as Thanksgiving, for example. I thought it'd be pretty easy. We were having dinner at 5 pm, which is pretty late and which would, in theory, keep me from waking up in a panic at 5am. Oh, how wrong I was.

My boyfriend was handing the entire turkey, which, again, IN THEORY, should have made the entire rest of the day a total cinch. Not so. Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays in which the dish to guest ratio is like 5:1. Meaning I had to also cook baked macaroni and cheese, green beans, Brussels sprouts, dressing, pot roast and yams. Just multiplying the ingredient measurements was making me nervous because, hello, math. 

Add to that: cleaning the house, making sure I didn't look and smell like a troll when people walked through the door, washing my dog Miles so his pungent Pug cologne wouldn't accost anyone and spraying a decorative group of squash with gold paint because I forgot to buy flowers. Perhaps I was doing too much. But my grandmother made holidating (yep) look easy. 

I, on the other hand, frustrate easily, which is not a helpful quality when Martha Stewart is giving you napkin-folding advice: "Fold a dinner napkin in half diagonally both ways, pressing to crease; press all folds as you go." What the fuck are you talking about Martha? You can't fold something diagonally "both ways." I was about to ball up each napkin and call it the Fuck This Fold when my boyfriend took over with one of those soothing voices reserved for the perpetually annoyed. 

Somehow everything came together. LIke when I had to pour "weird milk" (Lactaid) into the macaroni and cheese because I threw away the evaporated stuff prematurely and didn't want our guests seeing me dig through the garbage (also why the open kitchen/living/dining room plan was created by the devil). People ate, people drank, people laughed and people went home. 

Which brings me to the dishes. Remember when you were a kid and the day after the holiday was always bright and shiny and clean -- most of all clean? Not so in our house. I'm just not there yet. After everyone was very helpful putting away food, scraping plates and so on (my very own fairies), I couldn't imagine doing much more. Of course, my man was already in bed when I climbed in mumbling something about loading the dishwasher and tying up the trash.

"I don't know how you do it," he said sleepily. Shit, me neither.