Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Here's what happens when you procrastinate

1. You invite your family to your house for Thanksgiving dinner.

2. You plan a menu for a simple, elegant, home-cooked meal, one that will fit nicely alongside your write-a-novel-in-a-month schedule.

3. You keep adding dishes to the simple, elegant, home-cooked meal, until you have a menu that resembles a mash-up of Martha Stewart's place and the Golden Corral buffet.

(This menu includes: roasted turkey with made-from-scratch stuffing, mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, cranberry relish, pumpkin pie, apple crumb pie, roasted carrots, spinach in browned butter sauce, cheesy potato casserole, broccoli-cheese casserole, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, banana bread, shrimp cocktail tray, cheeseball and crackers, and cranberry-champagne sparklers.)

4. In the meantime, you plan your grocery shopping and cooking schedule with the kind of organizational skills that are usually reserved for invading small countries.  The night before Thanksgiving, you begin to think that you may have gone a little overboard with your culinary aspirations... but you put your panicky emotions to the side, finish baking the banana bread, write a couple thousand NaNoWriMo words, and get to sleep.

5. You wake up fresh on Thanksgiving Day, start speed-thawing that darned turkey in the sink, and get going on the food, sticking to your schedule as if a shuttle launch will be taking place in your kitchen.

6. You realize that this experience would make a terrific blog post once completed, so you start documenting it all with your trusty camera: the night-before table, covered by dishes labeled with their future contents; the angsty confusion on your face when you realize you used a green post-it for the carrots and an orange post-it for the spinach; and the preparation of each piece of the cuisine, from the apple crumb pie to the broccoli-cheese casserole.  You resolve to type the blog post after you can sit down with satisfaction and a belly full of leftovers.

7. By the time your reinforcement/assistant chef friend shows up for happy pie-baking fun-times, you're actually feeling full of holiday cheer and not at all panicked.  The food comes together nicely, nothing bursts into flame, your family arrives more or less on time, and you get a few nice pictures of the bountiful table both before and after everybody sits down to eat.  ABBONDANZA!

8. Now about that blog post?  The very thought of writing about all the food you just cooked makes you a little queasy.  You decide you'll type it up after you finish NaNoWriMo.

9. Blog post?  No, silly, you have a grad school term paper due!

10. ...Blog post?  You tell yourself you'll get through a few more pre-yuletide obligations first, and then you'll sit down and draft something delectable.

(three and a half weeks later)

11. You FINALLY sit down to write your perfect pictorial Pilgrim-plumper spectacular!!!!!  And then you realize that all but three of your photos from your epic culinary victory got accidentally deleted three days earlier.  All you have left are pictures of you making dinner rolls while the dog looks amused.  And the rolls didn't even rise that well.

Learn from this, kids.  Don't procrastinate!  Or all you'll have is a picture of you barefoot in the kitchen and a dishwasher full of memories.

Happy Holidays!