Black Friday 2009

First off, no new car this year.  The Jeep now has 20,587 miles on it, the rain gutters suck (he says on another ridiculously rainy day) and the 3.8-liter V6 is anemic below 1,800 rpm (which is more noticeable when you short shift at 1,500 to improve mileage), but the mileage is quite a bit better than I expected, as is the ride quality (though, make no mistake, it’s still a Jeep and bouncy and harsh over rough pavement) and, overall, I am quite happy with it.  Yes, there could be a little less hard plastic, and a little more padding here and there, but it’s even more civilized than I expected.

There are times when I still miss the Suburban for its automatic transmission, long wheelbase, and hangar-like cargo carrying capacity, but I do not miss the sub-15 mpg mileage, 42 gallon gas tank, and repair bills we surely would have incurred at 180,000 plus.  I try not to think about the “Cash for Clunkers” credit I might have gotten, or the additional discounts and rebates that I might have benefited from, though the Wrangler has been one of the least discounted models in the Chrysler-Jeep lineup.

So, Thanksgiving worked out well enough.  I only missed the target dinner time by about thirty minutes, yet still managed an almost complete traditional (well, for our family, anyway) Thanksgiving dinner almost single-handed.  A brined roast turkey with sage and onion bread stuffing, gravy (made with homemade turkey stock), mashed potatoes, butternut squash purée, thyme braised carrots, green bean casserole, and homemade whole berry cranberry sauce.  A bottle each of Chardonnay-Viognier and Pinot Noir, desserts from the grandmothers, a little football, and “A Charlie Brown Thanksiving” rounded out the day pretty well.

There was nothing really challenging in any of the elements of our Thanksgiving dinner, but having all of them ready more or lesss at the same time was a challenge with one oven and four burners. I had less of it done by Wednesday night than I wanted, but got up at 6:30 Thursday and had everything but the carrots and turkey done by 10:30. Anyway, like I said, it worked out well enough, and our eldest got to spend some time at home with us and her grandparents before going off to spend much of the rest of the weekend with her friends.

Our Black Friday got off to a later start than in recent years, though we have never been among those waiting for stores to open at 5 a.m., or earlier.  The stores we went to and the mall were all busy, but not nearly as busy as we have seen them in years past.  Some of this might be attributed to the weather which, for the second time in two weeks, is practically typhoon-like.  Even so, it’s probably not the sole reason we had no trouble finding parking spaces reasonably close, spent little or no time waiting in checkout lines, and actually had an arm’s length in any direction between us and other people in the mall.  We’ll be out again tomorrow and will see if better weather (and being Saturday) have any effect on the size of the crowds.

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