The year-end holiday gauntlet used to be ridiculously simple for my family, because for years we were the most movement-averse clan on the planet. I'm not talking about staying in the Metropolitan Tri-State Area. I'm saying we stayed forever put, about an hour apart. My folks were still in the house we moved to in 1977, and my brother and sister and I had had the same addresses for at least 15 years. Travel was gloriously predictable and crowd-free, and whenever you had enough, you could just get up and go.
Then, in the space of a year, we all moved. My sister and I are still around, but my brother is on the west coast, and my parents are in New England. Holidays have to be Meticulously Planned, and when we come we have to Sleep Over. And share a bathroom. And endure each other's political views while in various stages of undress.
And through this new stage of forced intimacy, we've discovered that, since we don't see each other as often, we value each other's company a lot more.
After the boys and I arrived at my sister's house on Thursday, we all got a huge case of the giddies when my brother-in-law announced he was going to deep-fry a turkey. (My sister exhibited her unending faith in her husband by roasting a back-up.) I suppose it would make better copy if I had a Darwin Award-worthy tale of combustion and woe, but everything was delicious and disaster-free. The only lamentable thing about the whole experience was that the bird wasn't as brined as I was.
If you peer through the steam, you might recognize The Moustache, in its effulgent fourth week. Today is the last day of Movember's Follicle Follies, so if you've thought about contributing to my (or any) team but haven't gotten around to it yet, today's the day.
The jury's still out on whether this thing flatters my face, but I have to say I might keep it for a while. I feel like Guy de Maupassant, who famously protested against the Eiffel Tower by eating his lunch beneath it so he didn't have to look at it. Besides, I've learned something very important about hair care. If you're comparing shampoos and conditioners, you might drop all manner of Hamiltons for the perfect, upscale blend of shea butter, neroli oil, and ylang-ylang. But after this week I've learned that nothing keeps the facial follicles soft and lustrous like a thick cloud of turkey vapor.
[EDITED TO ADD: You can find a much better rendering of the moustache here, courtesy of Bossy, who has a strange knack for bringing the sunlight wherever she goes.]