We started out this Thanksgiving by remembering exactly where we were last year. It seems like forever ago but I do recall our time spent in Bariloche, Argentina. We had grandiose plans to search the internet and find ex pats celebrating Thanksgiving. Although the streets of Bariloche offered up plenty of chocolate, our search for a Thanksgiving feast ended in a complete dead end. Still in the mood for a special holiday dinner, we asked around and ended up at one of the “fanciest” restaurants in town. This turned out to be a very interesting place indeed, picture Frodo Baggins’ house from the Lord of the Rings. There was a large round wooden front door, numerous plants, rustic furniture and plenty of living trees inside that grew up through the roof. Known for its steaks, big slabs of meat adorned the grill. Unfortunately, we hadn’t crossed into meat eating territory yet (that didn’t come until Buenos Aires, and oh—it was good). Anyway, we enjoyed a nice dinner just the same and chatted up another American sitting nearby. It was a very memorable dinner but we are both happy to be back in the states for this American holiday.

Since Jodi could only spare a few days off, it made more sense for me to come out to Baltimore for Thanksgiving. My dad and his wife, Alice, live on a farm in nearby Virginia so we spent Thanksgiving with them. My dad’s main crop are llamas. There are several llamas, but without a doubt Christopher Columbus and Jodi Ann are our favorites, go figure. But there are also cats, ducks, and a dog. Visiting the animals and hanging out in front of the cozy fireplace is one of our favorite things about being home. Thanksgiving dinner went off without a hitch. Friends and family came over, and we had an amazing meal and conversation.

But life on the farm is not all fireplaces and sleeping in, there are always chores that need to be done. Jodi was tasked with finishing up a few take home mid-terms while I did some manual labor outside. Task one was to help set up a portable garage which consisted of a aluminum frame covered with a thick plastic canvas. What should have taken two hours, according to the directions, took us about six. Overall the setup went pretty smooth, so I’m not sure why we were so off on the time line. Task two was to attempt the removal and replacement of a valve for an oil sensor on my dad’s latest car project. His latest purchase of a 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2 is his current renovation project. While trying to unscrew a brass oil pressure fitting it snapped in half. We tried to pull out the half of the fitting that chose to stay in the engine block and screw in a new fitting. We toiled for hours unscrewing, drilling and prying out tiny pieces of brass all without success. In the end, it was figured out that we had the wrong tap (a tool that creates new threads for the new fitting). While defeated it was a good effort and we didn’t do any damage, so I will have to leave this task in the hands of my dad. He should be able to finish it without my further “help”. You can keep track of his progress from his forum on the restoration.

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