Life Face First: Negotiating One Calamity at a Time- Have Your Turkey and Eat it Too


My parents built a new house and it’s ruining Thanksgiving.

It’s not the built in double ovens, or the granite countertops. It’s not the comfy queen-sized bed in the guest room or the soaking whirlpool tub in the guest bathroom; and it’s definitely not the hot tub on the back deck.

It’s that my dog Starla isn’t invited to Thanksgiving.

She was invited to the old house for Thanksgiving, but the new house is somehow more special to my father and therefore less dog-friendly in his misguided mind.

Frankly, I don’t get it. Starla isn’t less well behaved since he and Mom moved to the new house. My eight and five-year-old nieces are invited to Thanksgiving and they behave much worse than my dog. They won’t even sit on command!

Now that we’ve reached that special time of year when we join together around the table and celebrate the things that are most dear to our hearts, my father wants to ban his grand-dog in favor of celebrating the sanctity of a pet-hair-free home.

Silly man.

I missed Thanksgiving with my family last year because we went to my sister-in-law’s house three hours away. This year, I hope to visit both places, so I spent four days plotting a detailed travel schedule so we can visit my mother’s and my sister-in-law’s for an excursion of culinary delight and gastronomic feats of daring.

Why have just one Thanksgiving when you can have two? Yet my father and his silly no Starla rule stands in my way.

Naturally, I designed a strategic offense system to counteract my father’s decree so I can take my dog to Thanksgiving. I call it, M.O.M: Mother in Opposition to dad’s duMb  idea.

Mom takes a different view of the new house. She doesn’t want the dog there either, but she does want her oldest daughter there for the first Thanksgiving feast in the new digs. (She likes cooking for some mad reason.)

Shamelessly, I suggested that if Starla can’t attend the festivities, (alas!) we won’t be able to either. Pet sitters are expensive. I should know I was one for fourteen years. Times are tough. I need a new car. The holidays are coming. All our money is tied up in oil subsidies (read: we need gas for the trip), etc. etc.

Golly, Mom. I’d hate to miss it, but….

I’m still waiting for an answer, but my Mom system is deployed. It’s tricky to get around Dad, but if anyone can do it, she’s the woman for the job.

With a strategy like mine, perhaps Starla will get her slice of turkey after all.

Nora Blithe

Nora Blithe is the author of the syndicated humor column “Life Face First.” Read her blog online at or contact her at