The First Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving was a lot of firsts. Not the Pilgrims-starving-and-Indians-bringing-turkey-and-stuffing-and-sweet-potatoes-with-marshmallows-and-also-sauerkraut-but-not-really-it-turns-out, but important firsts nonetheless. It was, several kind of first Thanksgivings:

  1. The baby’s first Thanksgiving.
  2. The first Thanksgiving in which my wife made everything, from the amazing turkey to the delicious stuffing to, well, all this:
    (I actually love to cook, but sadly the place we’re living has a one-occupant-only kitchen. It is not, for other Kaizen fans, U-shaped.)
  3. The first Thanksgiving when I tried to poison my wife.1

You’re probably interested in that last point more than anything, so let’s start from the beginning. About a week ago, my wife, who is beautiful and wonderful, began having some allergic reaction to something. We tried dietary changes and Benadryl, but nothing stopped her reaction. A couple of doctors’ appointments later, she had prescriptions for Allegra and another medicine. And they worked! Comfort was hers again.

So we resolved that, I being the first to rise, I should wake her in the morning and make sure she took her pills. That was where the whole plan broke down.

The dosage was six of the other pills and one Allegra; somehow, I ended up giving her six Allegra and one of the other pills. Oops. Did you read the side effects I linked to above? No? Well, read about Allegra’s side effects now. OK, did you see it? Drowsiness? Yeah, that’s a possible side effect. Not so much with one pill, I’m sure, but give someone seven, and…

Anyway, we pretty quickly figured out that I switched the dosage, and naturally I called Poison Control2. Fran, the nice lady at Poison Control, was very calming — turns out that the maximum normally-tolerated dosage of Allegra is some number substantially larger than six3. Chastened but no longer worried, I put the still-allowed-to-sleep-in wife back to bed and took care of the baby.

A couple of hours later, I woke her and… she was dopey. Which is a nice way of saying “tranquilized.” She lay on the couch for a while, one eye only open, happy and smiling; I gave her extra hugs and she made happy noises. I offered her the baby to hold, but she didn’t feel like she could manage the twenty pounds in her state. She sleepily walked to the coffee shop. And then she got up and cooked all of Thanksgiving.

Yeah, that part was pretty epic4. By noon-ish, the drowsiness had worn off, and she was full speed ahead, just with those extra smiles. Not once was she nervous about making her first turkey, or being responsible for stuffing and mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce and green beans and more. And did I mention it all tasted great? Maybe next year we’ll tranquilize her for Thanksgiving cooking again! And, next time there are pills to be taken, we’ll have a nice checklist, because checklists are a great Kaizen best practice.5


  1. Not on purpose. Or so I claim. 
  2. I never guessed when I programmed Poison Control into my phone that I’d be using it for my wife and not for my baby son! 
  3. I’m not telling you, you can call Poison Control and find out yourself 
  4. And delicious! 
  5. A favorite saying of mine: Checklists save lives!