Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Holiday Recap

One of our more spirited Elgin neighbors. I counted eleven inflatables. Whoa.

Quick overview of the holidays.

We had the Ulrich side over for Christmas this year, for a grand total of SEVEN people at Christmas dinner. Hermit that I am, this was an almost-overwhelming flood of humanity. Not only challenging to my limited extroversion, but also to our modest infrastructure. We don't have enough chairs, glasses, teaspoons, or a large enough tea pitcher for 7 people at once. Sad, but true.

But fortunately, our 5 guests were very gracious and didn't grumble at all about the mis-matched tablecloths draped together to cover the dinner table/card table hybrid, the rocking chair Dad had to sit in for dinner, or the fact that you have to turn the hot water to the guest tub on and off at the wall, as the faucet isn't really up to the task.

Dad, Mattchew, Bianca, Matt, Grandpa, Mom

And it really was fun. I enjoyed showing off the bits of the house that are functional and everyone ooo'd about how much it had changed in the past nine months, so it was all very gratifying. And even without matching glassware, entertaining your family for the holidays feels so very grown up.

We had a fried turkey. The dangers associated with turkey frying had been forcefully impressed upon us by various safety-conscious friends and family, so we prepared by reading the instruction manual cover to cover, researching on the internet, and watching Alton Brown on YouTube.

We also bought a fire extinguisher.

Alton uses this complicated contraption made with pulleys and an aluminum ladder to lower the turkey into the hot oil. We didn't have the resources to make our own Turkey Derrick(TM), but in the spirit of kindred dweebiness, we made a little device of our own for lowering the turkey at a safe distance. We used one of the poles from the hurricane fence we've been slowly dismantling, drilled a hole in it, and bolted on a hook. We suspended the turkey from the hook and carried the whole thing on our shoulders, like cannibals proudly dragging their victims to the spit. Then we got on either side of the turkey fryer, and s-l-o-w-l-y lowered in the 21-lb. beast. Easy peasy!

It did actually fit in the pot just fine--the wings and legs folded in as we lowered the bird into the pot.

And here's the finished bird, prior to carving.

The final destiny of the turkey--some of the best-smelling stock I've ever made.

My biggest present was the refinished hardware for Dottie, Greg, Ezekial, Flossie, Ethel, and Poindexter (our new/old doors). Dad went through a painstaking process to strip, clean, and polish the hardware, with lovely results. Compare to how they looked when we first bought them. The steel plates and knobs turned a pretty, satiny goldy-grey, especially the one in the middle, which had a little bit of brass plating left on it.

The Edwardian plates that go on the closet doors (that is, Flossie, Ethel, and Poindexter) amazed us all by transmogrifying into gorgeous solid brass. (Check out what they used to look like.) Fancy! Fortunately for us, the crystal knobs that we had chosen to go with them were also solid brass, so they match beautifully. We're really looking forward to installing them, but it isn't going to happen right away. We need to refinish the doors, have them cut to fit the frame, and have them installed--so we need to find a reliable carpenter for the job.

Dad was particularly pleased with the smooth mechanism and heavy-gauge brass used in the locks for the closet doors. I can't wait to find out whether or not they are actually mahogany.

In the same category of major house aquisitions, Matt's bday/xmas gift to me was this awesome Tiffany reproduction lamp, which goes really well with the paint job in the dining room. In addition to a very intricate stained glass shade with waterlilies, the lamp also has this nifty flowy voluptuous art nouveau stand (with eggplants? or gourds? we're not entirely sure) and a tiled base in the prettiest shade of green. The whole thing is very serene and lovely and watery and cool.

Our lovely new lamp. To the right is Matt's gourd art, Henri #1

With the fancy-pants chandelier and the table runner and potted plants, doesn't the lamp give the illusion that we have Arrived?

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