Thank You, Thank You Very Much

by gillis

Just as I’m becoming almost unbearably whiny and self-centered, Thanksgiving pops its head up to remind me that I’m still on the top side of the dirt and things are actually quite lovely around here. In no particular order, here are some of the things that have vexed me lately and how I’m turning that frown upside down to see the bright side of life (cue the final song from Monty Python’s Life of Brian complete with whistling sequence please).

My husband’s car has expired at the time when we are most financially strapped. Ach. Although, that’s not accurate, we’ve been much more financially strapped than we are right now. We were in worse shape the year we lived in a sketchy neighborhood in Chicago. We were paying twice what our apartment was probably worth, making very little money and seeing little of the city’s sights because it took us months to unravel the mess created when my identity was stolen the week we moved into town. That year we nearly bartered a winter jacket for a Christmas tree. We became resourceful and scrappy, but we weren’t yet stupid enough to give up a vintage Woolrich for the temporal delights of a fir tree. I think we may have decorated a twig we found in lot down the street that year. I know we’ll figure out how to get by on one car for awhile, or we’ll scrape up the down payment (Hey, is there still a black market in China for kidneys? Hypothetically speaking?) on something that will pass inspection. For now, I’m thankful the junk yard is offering us $250 for the car instead of asking us to pay for its tow.

This past weekend my 3 year old son, who is deep in the throes of potty training, had some hideous stomach ailment. I grew tired of the clean up cycle, and my frustration bubbled over into absolute panic when he flushed the toilet while I was trying to rinse a pair of his soiled underpants in said toilet. As I watched those Thomas and friends underpants swirl down into the vortex, and stared in disbelief as my son hit the flusher again laughing, all I could do was watch helplessly, shamed by my slow reflexes. After I cleaned the rest of the bathroom up, hosed myself off, and took some deep breaths, I went online to research my options. In the end, I decided I would do nothing about it. Nothing. I’m thankful that so far the toilet has continued to flush and nothing seems to have backed up. I’d be lying if I didn’t also say that I’m thankful they were the Percy underpants instead of the James underpants. James may be the vain steam engine, but his personality is more vibrant than steadfast Percy. Have I mentioned how thankful I am for DVD players yet?

Other things I’m thankful for include the idea that I don’t mind buying certain things, like clothing and salt, and therefore don’t feel compelled to cultivate or make these things myself. Friends and acquaintances who are incessantly posting handcrafted items, things felted from wool that was shorn in their sheep meadow, ornaments made from egg shells gathered in their chicken coops, and salt dried out from ocean water collected at their beach homes are just a few of the items I’ve seen lately. Really makes me feel like a slacker, until I realize I’m keeping the local economy humming with my purchases of eggs, salt, and sweaters. Not to mention I’m keeping tiny shreds of my sanity intact by not trying to care for things that can’t tap me on the head to wake me when they need feeding or watering. Although I suppose chickens might have that ability too, but if they tried it, I think I’d have to bread and saute them. So thanks all of you wacky pinners and facebookers with all of your Martha Stewart leanings. You manage to exhaust me vicariously.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I feel at least a little grateful that I’m not compelled to turn to marathon running and other extreme sports in mid-life. Sure, I’d enjoy the results of the efforts – the runner’s high, the trim physique, and the increased energy. But in order to achieve all of those things, I’d have to give up the joys of driving my kids to practices, games, play dates, and dance classes around the clock. Imagine how flat my life would be. Thanks to all of you who keep sharing your new personal bests week after week. Knowing that it’s never too late for me to get back into running or cycling helps me to put it off for another decade or two.

I’m also grateful for blogging. So much cheaper and more convenient to put my thoughts out here for like-minded readers who will leave occasional comments than it is to go into therapy where someone might suggest I make changes to improve myself, then charge me money for a service I’d rather not have received. Many many thanks bloggers and readers. Happy holidays.