I was adamant on not making a big to-do over Thanksgiving, because it seemed stupid to have Henry slave away in the kitchen, cooking what would essentially be three separate meals since none of us eat the same things. (Chooch mostly just eats bread, cereal, and ice cream, anyway.) But, ever since we ate at this Lebanese restaurant last week and the waitress broke my heart by telling me that they no longer serve vegetarian moussaka, having that for Thanksgiving was absolutely all I could think about. Moussaka brings back such beautiful memories of this one time I was in Greece and my Aunt Sharon was like, “You’re not going to like that” and I was like, “Bitch please” and then to be honest I can’t remember if I liked it.
So, Henry slaved away in the kitchen making my motherfucking vegetarian moussaka while I painted cat heads on the wall and then took copious Call of Duty breaks (I’m obsessed, you guys; I’m even dreaming about it now). Also, Chooch and I spent a large portion of the day watching our new obsession on YouTube: birthday party videos.
Let me back up. Earlier in the week, Chooch was watching YouTube videos on TV, which normally I hate when he does that because who wants to sit there and be forced to watch the dumb shit he likes? (Mostly stupid videos with people screaming about Minecraft.) I was reading a book, so at first I wasn’t paying attention. But then something made me look up and I asked, my question plump with disgust, “Are you watching some kid’s BIRTHDAY PARTY?!”
“Yeah,” Chooch answered mindlessly, and I proceeded to tell him how dumb he is for watching stupid shit like this, but before I knew it, I was shouting, “WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?!” and then after three more birthday party videos from the same family, I fucking knew all of their kids’ names and found myself tweeting things like, “Chase’s grandma is such a slut” and “Mike’s birthday cookies are lame as fuck.” And then I was sitting on the edge of the couch, mocking this family with such robust zest, that Chooch threw up from laughing so hard and I was yanking the Xbox controller from him so that I could find more birthday party videos, like this one of some awful girl and her awful mom who review dolls on YouTube and are both just awful human beings altogether (and of course, also YouTube famous). I was so pissed because the girl got to have her birthday party at a roller rink that was 8374028347 cooler than any of the rinks around here. Fucking YouTubers.
We even watched a birthday party video that was in some other language. French or something. Who has time to tell? And some bitch’s pool party where Diego totally had the hots for Momo. (Every time we reference these videos, Henry gives us really mad looks.)
Then Chooch found a “Taylor Swift-themed birthday party” video. And that is how we became obsessed, in all of the negative ways, with a family that goes by the SHAYTARDS.
And they’re Internet famous too, apparently, but I can’t figure out why because they’re boring as fuck. But…they’re loud. And I guess that’s all that matters? The PAY ATTENTION TO ME volume of our voices?
“The ShayTARDS!?” I cried in disbelief. “Is this really what they call themselves?!”
Chooch, still hiccuping from his puke-laughter, nodded his head. “They’re like, famous on YouTube,” he explained. “But NOT as famous as Pewdiepie.” (Pewdiepie is his ultimate mancrush.)
So then I spent the day before Thanksgiving reading about these a-holes at work and trying to drag Mean Amber down into my hateful abyss.
“WALT DISNEY BOUGHT DADDYTARD’S COMPANY FOR 500 MILLION DOLLARS, AMBER. WHY, AMBER, WHY!?”
“You’re still reading about them?!” she asked, because this was approximately three hours later.
“Yes,” I admitted. “And apparently, the leader of this stupid family is obsessed with unitards, so that’s where their awful names come from.”
Seriously, Babytard? Brotard? Princesstard?
Chooch was calling me Mommytard as a joke at the store last weekend and it was so embarrassing! And this family SHOUTS these names at each other?!
Um, anyway. Back to Thanksgiving. One of the videos we found as we fell deeper and deeper into the birthday party video rabbit hole was a BIRTHDAY PARTY MAKEOVER with two horrible brats who somehow have like 7000 subscribers and I’m like, “STOP JUST STOP.” We decided to watch this one again on Thanksgiving and tried to get Henry involved but after 30 seconds, all he had to say was, “What is wrong with you two? You’re both idiots” and then he went upstairs to take a nap or find a new family on Craigslist, whatever he does when he finds himself with 6 minutes of solitude.
Five minutes of this video was spent dotting 7 different kind of concealer under their eyes. They’re 12…how dark could their circles possibly be? Last night, I said to Chooch, “Can you imagine if daddy had his own YouTube channel? It would be so boring. Like, ‘Hi guys, sup. Today we’re going to watch NCIS together. But first, let’s take a nap.'” And then Chooch laughed so hard that he threw up all over the floor but at least he’s finally been mopping up his own puke-laughter now so I don’t really care. Puke away, young man. Puke away.
The holiday season is a really weird time for me. I’m obviously pretty nontraditional, so the fact that we didn’t have some elaborate family dinner to attend didn’t necessarily cut me deep. Sometimes I really miss my mom and having a big dinner to look forward to, but if I think back at the collective Thanksgivings I’ve endured over the years, it’s probably a blessing to my sanity and emotional foundation that this marks the fourth year of our Mexican standoff. Still, I want Chooch to have SOME semblance of a holiday, so we stopped over my dad’s later in the evening. (Also, I wanted my SHOOFLY PIE!!)
As soon as we got there, Chooch ran off with Corey. When I went to Corey’s room a few minutes later to see what they were doing, I found them watching a Shaytards birthday party on Corey’s laptop.
“They’re seriously called the SHAYTARDS?!” Corey cried in concern when I walked in. But then he quickly became obsessed with them too.
They were also ghost-hunting and taking weird selfies:
Meanwhile, I spent some time firing off questions at my other brother Ryan. I don’t get to see him too often so I don’t know much about his life. Then we talked about the summer we hosted a French foreign exchange student, which was probably the best summer of my childhood and it comes up at least once at every holiday. MEMORIES. Then my dad served up some traditional T-giving staples: turkey, stuffing, rolls, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes. I filled a plate full of all of the carbs and then hounded my dad for shoofly pie. If you were following along the saga of the shoofly, you know that my dad made a special pilgrimage to Amish Country a few days before Thanksgiving to load up on cheese, licorice, and other fine foods, including THE PIES. Apparently, my dad’s go-to bakery is called Miller’s and he gets real weird talking about it. I asked him where it is and he paused for a just a beat too long and muttered something about “back roads” and “hard to find” which is why I’m 110% certain that “Miller” is my dad’s Amish mistress.
Anyway. He cut me a slice of Miller’s shoofly pie and I took a huge, inaugural bite because I had been waiting my whole life for this (read: two years; it has literally been less than two years since I last had shoofly pie but it was in Pennsylvania Amish Country). And my first thought was, “Holy motherfucking molasses.” Seriously, it was so forceful, like someone had shoved a molasses-soaked ball gag in my mouth.
Thick, gooey, molasses. It was like a big, hearty, blackstrappy FUCK YOU to the face of all the assholes who tromp on into Ohio, sniffing around for a pie that is native to the Pennsylvania Dutch. I mean, if you’re hard pressed to understand without the guidance of a sports analogy, I guess you could say it would be like knocking on doors in Cleveland looking for Steelers fans to hug.
I felt my dad watching me expectantly as my lips instinctively curled back into a mouth-flinch.
“Wow,” I coughed through the gooey treacle. “That molasses really hits you.” But I kept forking tiny morsels into my mouth because I didn’t want my dad to think I was being an unappreciative bitch on Thanksgiving, of all days.
“Here,” he said, sliding another slice onto my plate. “Try the shoofly pie I bought from Der Dutchman.”
Yes, my dad bought two different shoofly pies because he is goddamn thorough.
The Der Dutchman version was way less gooey, less molasses-y, and had a harder crust on top. At first I thought I was going to prefer it, but then I quickly found myself yearning the tongue-numbing brutality of the Miller’s pie. It appears I had acquired a taste for it.
At first I thought it was terrible, but then…well, I still thought it was kind of terrible but I didn’t want to stop eating it. So I gladly took the extra shoofly pie home with me and struggled to swallow a slice every day over the long Thanksgiving weekend.
I think I will forever associate Thanksgiving 2014 with YouTube birthday party videos, shoofly pie, and, inexplicably, this Europop hit was the soundtrack to it all:
I feel like all we did was laugh until our faces hurt. (Or, in Chooch’s case: puked.) I was totally thankful for good humor, Henry’s delicious rendition of moussaka (the bechamel sauce, can I just face plant in a pot of it right this second?), time with my family, The Law Firm giving us two days off, and having a kid who doesn’t give a fuck about “Frozen.”
If you’re reading this, I hope that Thanksgiving was everything you wanted and that you got to stuff yourself silly with all your favorite November foods!