November 29, 2021

turkey fail followed by part 1: a successful dancing tale

Sometimes I do things that are dumb. I know. Hard to believe. Sometimes I'm busy and I don't take the time to use my noggin. I'll share this recent RARE brainless moment, and then it might have to become the-thing-that-we-never-speak-of-again . . .  because I'm still not sure I can laugh at myself for this one. Unless of course, you find it entertaining and you encourage me with comments like:  IT COULD'VE HAPPENED TO ANYONE (even if we all know the truth).

Coach and I casually discussed whether or not we'd serve turkey on Thanksgiving. We'd decided to stay home and enjoy the day just the 8 of us. Cooking a feast meant a lot of work for yours truly. Curly was scheduled to dance on Friday this year at Oireachtas, or to commoners like you Irish Dancing Midwest Championships.

Don't be offended. I wish I was a commoner and knew less about Irish dancing. Let me pause to imagine that kind of blissful existence . . . well, not possible. 

Anyway, I kept hearing on the news: gonna be hard to score a turkey this year. I found myself at Costco one day . . . over a week before turkey day. There were fresh turkeys for the taking, well, technically the buying. So, I bought one. My only thought:  WELL, THAT'S DECIDED. No need to come up with a different meal plan. It'd be work, but I knew what sides I'd do. I've done turkeys. They're not impossible. Plus, I had two college guys coming home. They'd be expecting turkey. 

I'm not one to disappoint. Well, on this rare date, I was also not one to ponder that even though the date on the tag said 'sell by November 28', said turkey might not last that long unfrozen in 'me fridge. I also live in fear of not making it back to the store before 'XYZ', in this case, before all the turkeys were purchased. 

You know where this is going, don't you? Ole Blondie here opened the turkey wrapping Thursday morning and decided it didn't smell all that fresh anymore. Duh. I pushed aside the ill feeling a moment later and rallied. Last minute turkey shopping, after all, waits for no guilt and WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME? hesitations. 

I called the grocery store. Fresh birds? Check. Off I went. 

At first all I saw were turkey-sicles, aka the frozen variety, and my heart sank, but alas I spied a 19.15 pounder that was indeed fresh. I shelled out another $50, hauled it home along with other last minute stuff those of us with dancers need at the last minute, ie:  the brightest red lipstick available for Curly, since she couldn't find her barely-used-for-previous competitions WHORE RED stage makeup lipstick. 

Our new, promising-not-to-give-anyone-food-poisoning-the-day-before-a-big -competition turkey, was still in the oven by the target time of 9 am. 

I outdid myself with the side dishes and desserts and my brood was extremely pleased and stuffed. Success, albeit in a round-a-bout way. *see what I'm doing here, trying to gain some ground with you all, my faithful and supportive readers, who may have lost faith in my capabilities after reading the above nonsense.

All in all we had a nice relaxing day. Coach and I took a 29 mile drive to the venue where Curly would be dancing the next morning so that I could pick up her competitor number, wristbands, and buy a program. 

Not gonna lie, it was a little distracting/irritating to have to get dance stuff prepped (shoes shined, laces changed, makeup bag organized, dress sleeves lengthened) alongside turkey prep but I've never had a kid dance on Friday of Thanksgiving weekend. We've always danced either Sat/Sun or just Sunday. Oh, how I loved getting it OVER WITH. 

I went to bed crazy early to be prepared for the long day ahead. More on the dancing tomorrow or Wednesday (look at me, all undecided about how much time I have to write vs prepare for my trip to Scottsdale with Coach on Friday. He's teaching. I'm chilling - and by prepare for Scottsdale I mean make meals for the kids and make sure everyone has a ride, etc). 

I'm going to share Curly's dancing videos here, if you're interested go ahead and check them out. You might watch one and find that is sufficient. No worries. I watched about 300 round of dancing on Friday, but who's counting? Mini and I videoed Curly's rounds with my phone from the livestream (they only started livestreaming during the pandemic, it's a perk - otherwise you could never re-watch your kid dance, but they limit how many spectators attend nowadays, so livestream it is). You'll have to excuse the sounds of Finn in the background. There's also the moment Mini forgot we were taping and pointed out the part of Curly's steps that aren't her favorite. 

Mini watched Curly's first round from home with Finn, because she had a basketball game at 11:30. She missed Curly's 2nd round because Curly danced while Mini was playing in her game. Tank drove her to the venue (35 min on the expressway - a hike) so she could be there for the 3rd round and to see the awards. We only got 2 wristbands and Coach was working. Mini sent me this photo in the morning of Finn watching the dancing. I'm glad he had his turtle toy in his mouth, or he probably would've had my laptop in his mouth. 

These clips aren't a perfect reproduction but we aren't allowed to video it live. In real life I find Irish people to be much more go-with-the-flow blokes and have-ye'self-another-pint-there types, and isn't-it-grand sorts, but the Irish dancing world is full of rules. Curly's the tall one in the dark green dress, and blond wig. Perhaps you might be wondering if I borrowed her blond wig for my blond moment while shopping at Costco the week before Thanksgiving, but alas I did not. 


Nicole MacPherson said...

Oooh, her dancing looks great!

I cannot comment on the turkey, having never made one. I remember my mom thawing frozen turkeys though, it took days to do.

Anonymous said...

I would have thought the turkey would have been fine in the fridge as well. Especially since it read "sell by date" - in many cases you have a little extra time beyond that. Plus, it would have seemed dumb to me to freeze it for what? A day or two before you'd have to pull it out again to thaw? It always seemed like a big deal to get the bird out to thaw. I think you are a victim of a poor labeling decision by the manufacturer. Rest assured, you would not have been alone in this!!

Ernie said...

Nicole - Thanks, it was so great to have a day when she felt that she'd danced great. I remember my first turkey - thinking it was going to be impossible and being pleased with myself that I managed it. Since it isn't something I do all that often, it always feels like a chore.

Ernie said...

Anonymous - I do think that the sell by day should have indicated that it would stay fresh till the 26th. Look at this, I'm feeling less dumb by the minute. I agree- how silly would it be to freeze it for a few days?

Ally Bean said...

Cooking a turkey is, in my experience, always an adventure in... trust... and hope. I hear 'ya. Glad that Curly did her best and realized it. Way to go!

Jenny in WV said...

The first two videos where there is another dancer on stage with Curly, is a pairs dance where they have rehearsed together or is it just a random person you've never met before and have to avoid running into while dancing?

I've never cooked a turkey, so I don't know anything about that process either. I don't even like turkey so I doubt I'll ever actually make one.

Charlie said...

Totally could have happened to anyone ;)

me said...

It's never happened with a turkey for me, but I certainly have lost meat and dairy products due to trusting in the fridge too firmly. It's for the best that you bought a new one - you wouldn't want to spend the weekend with everyone sick.
At least you did not find yourself standing over a turkey sickle in the basement sink - flushing hot water over it on Thanksgiving morning to get the wretched thing to defrost a bit so at the very least you could get the neck and giblets out. It doesn't mater when I defrost the thing, the inside is always a glacier.

Your daughter's dancing is divine.

Ernie said...

Ally - You are right about the adventure. I've decided to get a fridge thermometer for the basement fridge to see if that appliance is not functioning properly. We've tossed out more than average gallons of milk over the last several months. I thought it was a failure to rotate by the kids when they go down to grab a gallon. Now, I wonder if it isn't staying cold enough.

One year, I hosted. I was less than a week away from delivering my 10 lb baby boy, Tank. The turkey didn't fit in the Nestco oven (portable turkey cooking oven I'd borrowed from my mom) and I was up all night with Lad because he had an ear infection. Coach was working at a hospital at the time to make extra dough on the weekends and holidays, so he was gone. I had to shuffle what got cooked where and could barely lift the turkey into the oven. We survived the day. Barely. This was less traumatic, at least.

Yes, it was great to have Curly feel so confident in her dancing. We know from experience that once you've done your best you just have to hope the judges get it right.

Ernie said...

Jenny - You are not missing a trick. Yes, she danced with a random kid. This is a thing I didn't deal with as a kid. Back then, dancing was an obscure activity that few people knew about unless you were really Irish. There weren't crowds or huge competitions, so we just danced one at a time. There were about 168 kids in Curly's age group. They divide them into two groups in order to move the day along (still a painfully long day). They also have them dance two at a time. You can get points deducted if you slam into another dancer, but you also are expected to keep going if you have a small bump. Last year, they danced two at a time, but they taped the middle of the stage and the dancer wasn't allowed to cross off of her side because of the pandemic. Believe it or not, sometimes they dance kids three at a time. I think that is nonsense. How can judges see everything? It's always a concern if you end up randomly being paired with a superstar. The girls who danced at the same time as Curly did not dance well enough to draw the judges' attention away from her. Curly says sometimes the girls talk to their competition before they get on stage to map out which direction they head in during their steps.

The last dance that she does solo is the final round - only the top half are recalled to do this dance. It's a dance done to specific music that is set at various speeds depending on the dancer's need. That's why they can't do them two at a time. Thank goodness.

Ernie said...

Charlie - See that, I'm feeling better already. ;) I'm embracing this new angle - blaming the fridge. On my way over to Amazon to buy a fridge thermometer.

Ernie said...

me- I think our 2nd turkey was a tad frozen on the inside. The giblets came out frozen AND phallic, I might add. There was a bit of red blood looking substance mixed in with the stuffing and that has NEVER happened. Sorry for your glacier. I remember thawing birds before, but it was never a problem.

With the dance competition the next day, I had no interest in chancing serving a foul bird.

Anonymous said...

I was waiting for the blonde moment with the turkey situation, I wouldn’t have guessed that a “sell-by” 3 days after Thanksgiving would have gone bad. Definitely not your fault, and Costco will refund you for that! They’re so good about returns. I’m more of a ham fan myself, my husband smoked a turkey and I baked a ham and all of the other sides.
Curly’s dancing is beautiful. The whole time I was watching the first 2 videos though I was thinking, “WHAT IS GOING ON?!? Why are there 2 of them? They’re not doing the same steps? How can the judges actually keep an eye on both and score fairly??” So confused. But it seems that you explained that above me so I’ll go back and read that…
Finn is so beautiful! How big is he now? Feel free to bring him to me when you come to Scottsdale this weekend :) I’m sure you can count him as carry on? Or a lap child?

Ernie said...

AM - I am wondering if I should ask Costco to refund me. We did throw the bird away because Friday was our garbage day.

Yes, it might surprise people to see kids compete two at a time. It is distracting. If you mess up, you hope that one or all of the judges were watching the other dancer for that split second. ;)

Finn is very good looking. I must admit. He's been a pretty good dog and he's in behavior school, so we are working on things. I'm sure he would love to travel to Scottsdale where he would surely attempt to meet every.single.person on the plane or at the airport, but sadly he will NOT be joining us.

Kari said...

I am turkey illiterate. Last year, due to the lockdown, I had to cook one, but it was a turkey breast. I've been told that this isn't the same as a "real" turkey.

Her dancing is beautiful. I can't wait to meet up with her and compare Irish dancing notes someday. ;)

Busy Bee Suz said...

Yikes on the turkey. From what I know, there should be NO smell whatsoever, so that was a good call. I was thinking you were going to say you refroze it and forgot to thaw it out. :)

I love Curly's dancing! MESMERIZING. So, in the first two videos, she is dancing at the same time as another young lady, but they are doing different routines, right? How do they judge two people at the same time?

You mentioning a quiet thanksiving with just 8 of you. We had two families togeher and it ended up being six of us. :(

Finn is gorgeous!

Ernie said...

Kari - I cook a turkey breast that I get from Costco ALL THE TIME. Like almost once a week in the winter. It's a great, easy dinner. My kids love cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes and pumpkin bread is a staple here. Wait just a minute, I'm thinking my kids are damn lucky. They eat like fricking kings. Am I wrong? Turkey illiterate? I think you can get by with that. So many other meal options and of course the delightful turkey breast. No messy giblets or phallic neck parts, etc.

Curly will enjoy schooling you in REAL dancing - whenever you're ready, Auntie Bitches.

Ernie said...

Suz - the kids just opened ANOTHER gallon of milk stored in the basement fridge. The dates are Dec 4th but it has EXPIRED. So, maybe it is more of the freezer-fail than me fail. Either way, ouch. We haven't tracked how often we've tossed a gallon of milk, but now we are starting to put two and two together. Nothing gets past us . . . well, nothing for a year at least.

You are on the ball and pointing out all of the things that I forget mere mortals aren't versed on. Scroll up to my response to Jenny and you can read all about the reasons they dance 2 at a time. Basically overcrowding. They are not at all supposed to be doing the same steps, in fact they line kids up so that they intentionally don't dance with someone from their school or they will be dancing the same exact steps. No one wants the judge to watch the same exact thing - it would become more of a comparison between two dancers than is intended.

I doubt I used the word QUIET - when describing a Shenanigan gathering. My sister did try to gather us all up. Pat was going to his no-wake-lake-house with his immediate fam. My parents refused to go anywhere or have anyone there, and with the dancing the next day our day was going to be a bit disjointed with the 29 mile jog up to the venue for wristbands and competitor number, etc. Anyway, we took a pass on the sis invite - my kids were all indifferent anyway. I was leaning towards inviting them here for dessert but with such an early bedtime for Curly and I that seemed silly. Then Milwaukee sis ended up just having Ann and her daughter head up there so off the hook.

I agree, Finn is a beaut. I'd like him better if he hadn't chewed up my very wonderful French doors in the kitchen. Sigh. So far though, he really does seem to be a good dog. Winter might get a touch long though.

me said...

You should check if your fridge has iced up - the vent between the freezer and fridge can have ice build up and block the flow of cool air to the fridge part. We had milk go bad last spring into summer - and it's easy to blame the kids at first! - but I finally investigated further. I just threw all my food into the back up fridge, turned off the problem one, and let nature and warm air take their course. The next day, I wiped everything down and turned it back on. Hurrah - back in business.

Cheryl said...

Curly is so cute! She dances so well too, so athletic! I like the fancy footwork in the last vid and she sure can kick high...sigh...I used to kick up that high many years ago (Shhh...don't tell Curly, but she is a much better dancer than the other dancer...shhhh!)

I think all you need to do is take the receipt(s) to Costco and show you bought 2 turkeys and they should refund you.

I remember the days when my mom would thaw the frozen turkey on the drainboard overnight. (One time my cat, Tabby, got up on the drainboard and bit threw the plastic covering the turkey for a taste!) AND she also baked stuffing in the cavity! Yikes! We could have all died back than, lol!

Finn, the family dog, sure is a cutie! :)

Ernie said...

me - Thanks for the tip. I'm keeping up all the gallons of milk in our upstairs fridge drawers for now. I bought a fridge thermometer. We are headed out of town Friday, so I'll have to tackle defrosting the fridge when we get back. My freezers are begging me to clean them out - no time like the present.

Ernie said...

Cheryl - Ha. Yes, she can kick high. As a former dancer, I could once kick high - but it never looked like that. My leg would never stay that straight, my posture folded in for sure.

Curly knew that the other dancers that she shared the stage with weren't exactly top notch. We've been at this long enough that most of the top dancers are well known by now. Occasionally you come across someone that you've never heard of, but that's rare. She's pretty humble, promise, but she knows in a few beats if a dancer is going to impress. I've told her that she could one day become a judge, especially because she also plays the fiddle. She knows a lot about the music too.

That cat sampling the turkey is hilarious. Did you toss out the whole bird, or just cook it and steer clear of the bite area?

Finn is a cute dog for sure. We are trying to train him to spend time in the living room, but he really prefers the kitchen where the action is. He'd have so much more room in the living room because we keep him on his leash and keep it tied to the back door. He can't have free reign with the tots, my allergies, etc.

Bibliomama said...

Oh please. I do seven dumber things than that before breakfast. And blog about them gleefully.
Our Irish dancing friends are heading to Oireachtas here this week-end. The rest of us commoners are headed to a friend's place to drink eggnog cocktails, so we're all happy with our choices in life. :)

Ernie said...

Ali- This made me laugh. We have purchased a fridge thermometer and we are starting to think that the fridge is not cold enough. We plan to defrost it but we are out of town this weekend. Such a pain.

Oh how I long to have Thanksgiving, 4th of July, and Easter weeks back to normal so I can join friends for drinks . . . or really do ANYTHING but attend a dance competition.