Last year we hosted Thanksgiving for the first time ever, and I’d forgotten about it, but last year’s post reminded me that the process of preparing for the meal did not go entirely smoothly.

But all’s well that ends well, and it did end particularly well, with a drive-by from a cousin and his family on Friday, a beautiful fall day, and adorable little second cousins discovering and playing with each other.

So we’re doing it again, except that this year, instead of a dozen people, it will be twenty. That’s significantly more people than last year. It’s, like, 66% more people than last year. Which is lovely, except that our house is small. I am really, really hoping for decent weather, because then if people start to get stir crazy they can hang out outside around the fire bowl or take a little walk.

I’m feeling more confident about food than I was last year because I know we’ve done it before, and this year will just be the same except more-so. But the sheer logistics of how we’ll fit is a bit daunting.

Luckily, the universe is on my side. A week or so ago some neighbors purged their storage and left a table with two massive drop-leaves and a piano bench out on the curb. It will squishily fit eight, which is exactly the number of extra people I needed to figure out how to seat. I would love to have one long table with everyone sitting together, but we literally don’t have a room large enough for such a table. Still, we’ll all be able to sit down at a table somewhere, even if thighs are pressed up against each other in order to fit. Hey, thigh-pressing is what family’s all about! Okay, not really. But whatever.

The next task was pretty plates. I’m sorry, dude: it’s Thanksgiving. Paper or every day will not do. We already owned fourteen china dinner plates, some from when we first got married and more from when we put in a low bid at a church silent auction to “get the ball rolling.” I pondered Bed, Bath, & Beyond or something, but the irritating thing is that I really need plates, not entire place-settings. Then I poked around Craig’s List, and look at what I found:



Ten plates, two platters, two large bowls, two smaller bowls, a gravy boat, a vase, and four cups-and-saucers (which I totally didn’t need, but still). All for. . . wait for it. . . . $50. Pretty good deal, right? I had to schlep deep into the country, which was a pain, but still worth it to score the deal. Except that as I was driving along, I started getting nervous. I’ve always loved the sheer community-building joy of making great Craig’s List connections (the grandma who was so happy to purchase the crib I hadn’t succeeded in giving away, the older couple who were thrilled that their bedroom set was going to such a nice young family, and so on). But driving in the rain and dark, I realized that the general hostility of the country was making me paranoid. What if I was being lured to a serial killer’s lair? Cute W didn’t even know exactly where I was going! I was relieved to see a cheerful toddler in the window when I reached my destination, and the young couple selling off the china were just as sweet as could be but seemed like they were barely out of high school. She hadn’t packed the china in anything, but luckily I’d brought along a roll of paper towels so I could do some makeshift cushioning for the drive home. Which meant that I had several minutes of fussing in her kitchen, making awkward conversation. I mentioned that I particularly appreciated the china because I was hosting a big group for Thanksgiving, she said, “Oh, do you have children and grandchildren?”

Grandchildren? Grandchildren?!?!

I managed to just smile and say no. In fairness, at the rate she’s going, it’s likely that she will have grand children at my age (there was an infant along with the toddler), but still. Come on.

Anyway, I’ve now got tables, chairs, and plates, so we’re getting there! Since the teensy house will be jam-packed, I’m taking the opportunity to do all sorts of de-cluttering. That’s one good thing about entertaining: it inspires me to clean. Tomorrow’s shot, since I’ll be doing Girls’ Day Out, and then I’ll be away at a soccer tournament this weekend, so hopefully it will all come together. I’ll choose to believe that the universe is on my side. Stay tuned.

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