Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve!

Alligator River to Belhaven, NC
31.6 nm
Wind: N 10-15 knots
Maximum speed: 6.1 knots
Average speed: 5.0 knots
Latitude: 35°31.76’N
Longitude: 076°37.21’W

So Christmas (or at least Christmas Eve) ended up being not so bad, despite my pity party of yesterday. We motored all day up the Alligator River-Pungo Canal, under beautiful sunny skies and wearing tee-shirts in the sixty-degree weather. Not very Christmas-y, but it did lighten my mood significantly. Karl kept a sharp lookout for alligators all day. And I mean literally. There was nary a moment when the binoculars were not glued to his face. I kept trying to suggest that maybe we should wait until Florida to keep the 24-hour gator watch, but he could not be swayed. His new plan is to become the next Animal Planet sensation—Karl Tomasik: Alligator Hunter, and then to upholster our entire boat (including cockpit cushions!) with alligator skin. In the meantime, I’m just happy he was the one to scrub the floor today as a little Christmas present to me. Sometimes, just little gestures like that make my heart overflow with love and holiday spirit.

I spent the last couple of hours trying to navigate with raw turkey grease on my hands, as I attempted the not-so-easy task of making stuffing as well as washing and rinsing a nine-day-old eleven-pound turkey in a sink the size of a teacup. Fannie Farmer always says to slather a turkey with butter, so slather with butter I did, even though this made the negotiating of piles of dishes, pots and pans, heaps of stuffing, and the occasional turn to the GPS a little more complicated. Most complicated yet was fitting the blasted thing in the oven. We don’t have a roasting pan, so the 6x8-inch broiling pan that came with the RV oven had to do, and Karl literally forced the turkey into the oven, after protecting its breastbone with tinfoil. We were concerned (over the five hours it took) that the breast of the turkey would remain raw, thanks to its direct contact with the wall of the oven, and the turkey having been thawing for nine days, cooking it thoroughly was of the essence. Which is probably why we didn’t eat until ten.

But the turkey was delectable, among the best I’ve ever eaten, although that could be the hunger talking, as was everything else—mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, gravy. We had enough food to feed an army. We talked to our families on the phone, and while I was waiting for the turkey to cook, I got all decked out in a glittery shirt and skirt, let my hair down, and even put on makeup and perfume. Whenever I put on makeup and perfume, Karl says I smell like chemicals, but hey, sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I suppose that’s the price you pay for having met the love of your life while drenched in two months of body odor. And today he didn’t even tell me I smelled like chemicals, he just said I was beautiful, and we burned all the candles in the boat and listened to our favorite Flaming Lips CD because we don’t have Christmas music. So life is good. And even though I won’t be able to make my famous cardamom bread or open Christmas presents, Christmas is good.

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