Christmas Eve, Mrs. Fungus and I went to church, and it was a wonderful service. Otherwise we spent the entire time in, seeing no one, needing nothing but each other. We baked cookies--I baked a screaming fuckton of chocolate chip cookies--and watched things on TV, and enjoyed our holiday.
Christmas day we didn't get up until after noon, and I was out of bed first; I had to get the bird going, but not before I had my traditional Christmas day Cinnabon!
Once I'd fed, I decanted the bird from the pot in which it had been brining since about 6 PM Christmas Eve (and half froze my hands in the process). I oiled it up (finding the giblets in the process) and put in the aromatics--not needing cheesecloth this time, since it was a whole bird--and it went into the oven about 1:15 PM.
It was done about 3:40, and when it came out of the oven it looked like it had come out of the pages of a gourmet cooking magazine. It was perfectly browned all over and smelled heavenly. It tasted fantastic, too--juicy and tender--and the gravy was also so very, very good....
When I cooked the breast sections, for the last two Thanksgivings, the old aluminum skillet that Mom always used for making roast beef was just the perfect size, but it was too small for a whole turkey. I had thought I might need to get out Mom's old turkey roasting pan and use that for cooking the thing. But then I thought, "What about the broiling pan?" It's the pan one uses for broiling steaks, and it worked perfectly for cooking the turkey.
We opened presents between starting the cooking and dinnertime; more on that in a moment.
After dinner we collapsed on the sofa for a little while, and then pie. Holy smokes.
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My wife bought me a train set.
I last got a train set for Christmas in 1978, when I got a Tyco System 200 train set--an enormous triple-oval layout with two complete trains, two transformers, a crapton of accessories, and so on. It fit on an 8x4 sheet of plywood and it was the ultimate in HO train sets. I was a budding model railroader in 1977, but since I was 10, I had no resources other than birthdays and Christmas. This thing was massive.
The layout never got any further scenery other than a basic coat of medium green paint, and I didn't have the ability to do real model benchwork or any kind of scenery. In 1981-ish I tore it down and tried building a different layout, but it didn't quite work the way I'd envisioned. When my sister got married in 1982 a lot of stuff got moved around and the layout went behind the garage, and it was never again graced with the presence of a train.
The System 200 was the second train set I'd ever gotten. The first was vintage 1974 or 1975. (I don't count the Mighty Casey ride-on train as a train set.) I saw the commercial on TV early in the season and thought, "Yeah, that would be cool! A train set!"
...and in fact I don't really remember much about that one. What I do remember is a bunch of contradiction, because the desire for a train set was inspired by a commercial for an AHM product. "AHM! AHM! AHM!" the singer sang at the end of the commercial, his baritone lending the weight of authority and power to the image of a model locomotive mightily pulling a handful of cars behind it.
But I seem to recall getting a Tyco "Spirit of '76" set. I might have gotten something like that in 1975, considering that the Bicentennial was the very next year and everyone was merchandising the hell out of it. According to what I can find on-line Tyco was merchandising that stuff as early as late 1974.
I simply don't know.
But I got the big one for Christmas of 1978, and a few days after Christmas there was a plywood table in my room with all the track upon it--my brother-in-law, himself a model railroader, had done most of the assembly work and helped me get everything working--and I was able to run trains.
Time passed and I got interested in other things, and the train set languished, then fell into disuse, and was then dismantled. I still have most of the rolling stock, though most of it is in serious disrepair; the last time I got anything train-related for Christmas was when I got an Athearn SW-1500 switch locomotive that I ran around the layout a few times, before it was dismantled, and which was left in a box in the basement for quite a while thereafter. (I think I gave it to my brother-in-law; I don't know what he did with it.)
I did, of course, buy a train set--N-scale--with Christmas money in February 2007, but that really doesn't count since I didn't unwrap it or anything.
So fast-forward to yesterday. Mrs. Fungus had me unwrap it last, and I was stunned speechless by what it was. It was an actual Lionel train set, O-scale; a locomotive, tender, two cars, and a caboose, with an oval of track and a digital command system that uses an RF remote control. It can make all kinds of train sounds and has a smoke generator.
And when you press a certain button on the remote, it plays music. When I discovered this, I was horrified. (We may post the video on YouTube, and if we do, expect it to be embedded here. The expression on my face when I realize what it's doing is hilarious.) Fortunately the music is optional.
* * *
I'm not the only one saying that competition is what our medical system needs to fix its woes. I wish I could say I came up with the idea on my own, but I didn't.
* * *
Up too late last night, and not enough sleep before I had to be at work this morning--the store opened at 7 AM today and I was scheduled to be in at 7:45. Mostly I worked in the back today, working on checking out open box merchandise and installing screen protectors, so fortunately I didn't have to be "on" very much today.
I think I might have gotten as much as two hours of sleep, maybe three. Still, I naturally got to work on time and did what I was supposed to do; in fact I ended up being there for an extra half-hour today just because there was so much to do.
But the holiday hours are drawing to a close, and by this time next week we'll be back to our normal operating regime.
* * *
Anyway, I'm hoping that everyone had a wonderful Christmas.
Go ahead to 0:30 to see my horrified expression: