I hoped it would go well.
Such condensed togetherness could make great memories and bonding experiences, or make us wake up Friday morning and wish we were with a crowd of psychotic Black Friday shoppers instead of each other.
But everybody was game, so I cooked, baked and packed like a maniac and we headed over the river and through the woods to a real estate owner’s lucrative investment property.
Most everyone arrived Wednesday night safely, thankfully, even though some had to contend with snowy canyon drives. One carload did get stuck and had to be shuttled to the cabin in trucks. But guys love such crisis so they can say as they head heroically out into a storm, “See honey, this is why we needed the loaded hemi V8 engine mega-cab four-wheel drive truck with surround sound and touchscreen technology.”
By the time everyone was settled, we were all starved. The best foodie family was in charge of dinner that night so we were stoked to dig in. But they informed us we had to work for our meal by playing “Cutthroat Kitchen” (Food Network reality show).
We were divided into teams and had to race through the house to gather ingredients and utensils, bid against each other to buy sabotage materials, then make something edible with whatever we got. I was skeptical at first, but it turned out to be way fun and the food was surprisingly tasty. Team #2 won with their Tex Mex Pizza, but I thought my team’s gourmet chicken cranberry alfredo pizza should’ve won.
After a night of games, gabbing and movie marathon, everyone crashed. Early the next morning, a sister-in-law was anxiously recruiting for “Tabata” workout participants. She wrangled eleven of us into the basement where we gutted out an hour of high-intensity interval training in attempt to counter the imminent gluttony.
The Thanksgiving meal was killer—every dish delish.
Then a lovey afternoon of football, pie and napping. And the rest of the weekend went like that—awesome, with just enough drama and quirk to be interesting. I loved the big and the small of it all.
Everybody playing games of Mafia, The Adams Family, Signs, The Couch Game and Dip (eat your heart out Parker Brothers). A sister-in-law curled up on the couch with all the little ones reading picture books. Talking with my 21-year-old nephew about the millennial dating scene and profiling the kind of chick I think he’ll marry. Getting facials and fancy nails from the sister-in-law who just graduated from esthetician school. Going on a walk through the new snow. Overhearing trash talk between cousins over video games. Sitting on my sweetie’s knee and singing Santa Baby for karaoke night.
It was fun.
It was family.
And it was familiar.
Upon observation of the setting, I realized I’d basically recreated the synopsis of one of my favorite flicks, Dan in Real Life. No wonder it went so well! All we were missing was a love triangle. I told my nephew to work on that for next year and I’ll book a film crew.