Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm Thankful for Curvy Pants, Clue, and McMansions

After almost a week spent at home in New Jersey I feel (and look) at least ten pounds heavier. It's sad when my gap "curvy" pants get a bit tight. (Curvy is just a kinder, gentler way of saying "Hey there, pear shape!")

This was therefore probably not the best time to cancel my gym membership, but I'm sick of nysc charging way too much when I hardly go. Now that a Planet Fitness has opened in my neighborhood I plan on heading over there instead. It'll make gym visits easier for the weekends when I don't want to leave the apartment.

But Thanksgiving is quite possibly the best holiday ever. This year it happened to be unbelievably pretty in Northern NJ. I feel like typically the leaves are all gone by the end of November so I was glad they stuck around to make things especially picturesque.

One of the other things I like about Thanksgiving is that my-mother's-best-friend-from-college's-family comes out (and yes, I really do say that in one breath, though usually I cut my losses and refer to them as aunt/uncle and cousins) and craziness ensues. Each family has three kids and, with the exception of the middle children, all of us were born within a month of the corresponding member of the other family (And the middle children are only a year apart, so really, it's all the same). We see them more than our blood relatives (which drives my grandmother nuts) and I think the fact that my counterpart Cousin Danny and I are both single has facilitated the continuing of our holiday traditions, because we're not being called away to visit other families and we're not bringing new people into the mix who would just stare gaping openmouthed at our families' collective behavior. God help anyone who marries into either family because they had better be prepared to continue participating in the following holiday rituals:

Dinner has developed a tradition whereby bad table manners dock points from a theoretical points total. At this point, I think we all end the day with negative points, but generally cousin Anthony is the worst. I get nervous about even letting him use the good china and stemware.

After dinner, once we've recovered from post-turkey drowsiness, the "kids" play a game or five of Clue, which inevitably results in the youngest sibs getting frustrated that they cannot figure out who the culprits are and repeatedly guessing or accusing people that the rest of us have long since eliminated from consideration. I won two of the three games we played this year, so suffice it to say, I had fun.

Clue is usually followed up by less wholesome entertainment, a rowsing game of Circle of Death, among the of-age cousins. The first words out of Aunt Judy's mouth the next morning are inevitably "You guys drank an awful lot last night." Which, for the record, is never true.

This year we added a new tradition to the mix: gawking at the ridiculous house across the street which is still vacant after six months.

Cousin Jess, whose tastes run to what we in the architecture industry like to call "Classic Long Island Mafioso Style," loves the house. Everyone else agrees that it is too big and too out of character with the neighborhood. My dad is the only one who has ever been inside since he went to the open house to gawk with the rest of the neighborhood. So we decided to take a closer look. And it is really bad.

Jess loves it! Aunt Judy can't understand why there are French doors leading to a non-existant terrace with panoramic views of... our house.

Personally I think the landscaping is lovely. Look, they even put in a pool!

Nothing says "Class" like a bathtub in the back yard.

But the worst of it is, on Saturday after my-mother's-friend-from-college's-family left, we noticed that there was spraypaint on the front of the house. Someone had apparently tagged it with dollar signs. So we have a social minded graffiti artist in the neighborhood. I just hope none of the nosy neighbors point the fingers at us after our minor acts of trespass.