Gratitude day 61

Today I am grateful for 57 years of service from our hot water tank. I’m amazed at how happy I am it failed today. Here’s the thing: it was the best possible scenario. It started leaking, but I happened to be in the basement probably within about 20-45 minutes of it starting. There was about of gallon of water on the floor, where last week, many of my possessions were located in cardboard boxes before we moved them to make way for construction. No damage occurred, but that would not have been the case last week. Even better, we’d already decided and planned on its imminent replacement. In fact, it was set to be moved temporarily tomorrow, because right now it sits where the door to the downstairs suite will be. Unreal!

I am grateful for a familiar crowd of families at a birthday party for a 4 year old we attended this morning. It’s great to have a 5 and 2 year old, both who have “old” friends.

I grateful for the unplanned event of having Farley fall asleep on me while I was reading him stories before bed today. He was pretty tuckered out! Speaking of tuckered out, so am I. Goodnight, interwebs.

Gratitude day 60

I am grateful for having great friends over for dinner again, up chatting ’till 3:00am.The more I enjoy having folks over for dinner the more I get the sneaking suspicion I am not the introvert I thought I was.

I am grateful for a clean house. It took some effort, but it was in pretty good shape for a while, today. It isn’t as clean now, mind you, but it was for a while, and that’s enough.

I am grateful for candied salmon. So yummy!

Gratitude day 59

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I am grateful for my walk home with Coop the other day. He’s in a good space right now. He likes kindergarten. He’s settling in and we’re all enjoying the routine. The day I took this picture was picture day. He loves that shirt. He looked good in it and he knew it. How do I know? He told me. Actually not me; some other kid’s dad I’m not even clear he’d ever met before. “I look good in this shirt,” he said, “I just kinda, y’know, I can feel it.”

If hearing that from your boy isn’t nice, what is?

I am grateful for cool things to look at. This morning the misty fog on the Olympics across the pond was pretty spectacular. Then, I parked next to a very cool old truck. The best vintage cars have just enough rust to let you know they still put in a day or two of hard work every now and again. I appreciate a car that’s well cared for, not just because it looks pretty, but because someone loves it enough to drive it for decades after most of its kin have already disappeared.

And lastly I am grateful for this Ted talk I watched at lunch today. It validated my policy at work of trying not to track my time too closely. You read that right; I try not to track time if I can avoid it. Why? Because my job isn’t fun when I am always watching the clock. It’s best when I can get an idea, chase it down a rabbit hole, and maybe pop back out with a cool new solution or feature for a website; an idea realized that wasn’t a sure thing when I started. I think that works best for me, and I think it works best for my clients, too.

Gratitude day 58

I am grateful there is heated underground bike parking at the Victoria Bay Centre mall, across the street from where I work.

I am grateful, and also a little ashamed, that I’ve found a great trick to defog windows in the minivan. That trick is to turn on both the heat AND the air conditioning at the same time. It offends my environmental and common sensibilities, but holy cuss it works like a hot damn!

I am grateful for Used Victoria, because it makes it easy to get rid of ugly couches, like the one I volunteered to get rid of at the shared office space where I work.

Gratitude day 57

I am grateful that it is a rare occasion I drive to work. Parking is a drag, and I get grumpy when I don’t get a walk or a bike ride in somewhere in the day.

I am grateful that our renovations are starting to actually happen this week. It’s been a long time coming. I am trepidatious about how this, my first experience with a home renovation will go. I’ll feel better when I’m at the destination on this one, but every long journey starts with one step.

I am grateful for some time spent this evening with my boys making paper airplanes from a great paper airplane book from my youth. It is amazing what a great toy a piece of paper can be when you fold it up, and what a few minor adjustments can do to improve a paper airplane’s performance.

Gratitude day 55

I am grateful we’re making progress on clearing out the basement before an impending renovation down there. Holy smokin’ Toledo! I wish stuff management was easier for us. I am also grateful that I’m in the property I feel is my final destination. I am amazed at the things I thought I’d better hold on to until I had a house to put them in. Guess what! I have the house now, but I still don’t really want the things. Nice to know I can turf them now, but I wish I had the wisdom to turf them a year or decade or however long ago. If I had, apartment living might have been a bit more comfortable.

I am grateful for the quiet in my household after the boys go to bed. I am grateful for any quiet that comes before that too, but it’s pretty scarce around here these days.

I am grateful for the 9 years and counting of service from this old laptop I’m typing this blog post on. It’s not good for much other than word processing and internet surfing, but for those things, it’s a champ. While it isn’t the fastest machine in the house, it has the clackiest, most satisfying keys to type on, hands down.

Gratitude day 55

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I am grateful for Julie’s idea to go to Goldstream provincial park for a weenie roast for lunch. It was all kinds of a great way to spend the day. Having a fire is fun. Eating hot dogs is fun. Being outside is almost always more fun than being inside. The natural beauty of that place, from the majesty of a great big waterfall, to the microcosm of the moss on the side of any given tree is amazing. It makes me realize my gratitude for living near this particularly amazing place on this particularly amazing planet. What are the chances?

I am grateful for the brotherly love that exists between my boys. They can fight like cats and dogs; perhaps just dogs; perhaps actually particularly violent dingoes… But I digress. Often they fight, but sooner or later they make up, and you can see how much they prefer to be together than apart. That photo of them holding hands – that’s all them, and just how they were this afternoon. If that’s not nice, I don’t know what is.

On that note, I am grateful to Kurt Vonnegut, whose novels I love, but in this case I am grateful for this quote about his uncle Alex, from whom I borrow that phrase A LOT in this blog :

One of the things [Uncle Alex] found objectionable about human beings was that they so rarely noticed it when they were happy. He himself did his best to acknowledge it when times were sweet. We could be drinking lemonade in the shade of an apple tree in the summertime, and Uncle Alex would interrupt the conversation to say, “If this isn’t nice, what is?”

So I hope that you will do the same for the rest of your lives. When things are going sweetly and peacefully, please pause a moment, and then say out loud, “If this isn’t nice, what is?”

My late grandfather, Steve Lathrop Sr. had a quotable phrase he often uttered to me and many other family members on many occasions, from backyard barbecues to fancy dinners. It was similar and went like this:

“It doesn’t get much better than this.”

[pause for effect]

“And this is pretty good!”

Gratitude day 54

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I am grateful for Firehall open houses. This year it was in Esquimault. Farley is particularly enthused with firetrucks these days and he loved it!

I am grateful for our daycare provider. She commented on the above photo on Facebook because she knows and likes my kid. Both kids. She took care of Coop, too, and still sees him socially on occasion, and when we’re dropping Farley off sometimes. She’s got an amazing respect for kids that I wish I saw in more grown ups, myself included. She sets a great example for the children, but also for their parents. At this point she feels like is a member of our family. For the record, I’m not writing this because she told me she reads my blog recently, although that is flattering. When she mentioned the blog she said she was glad to get a glimpse of Farley’s world. Cussing awesome reason! If you are ever in need of a recommendation for daycare in Victoria, hit me up via email and I’ll provide contact info.

I am grateful for the immediate comfort that comes with the presence of old friends, in town and over for the full sacrificial turkey ritual this at Thanksgiving. Remember when I said I made some great friends as a scout? I’ve known my pal Ryan since I was 12 and he was 10. Now I also get to hang out with his spouse and 2 kids, similarly aged to Coop and Farl. If that’s not nice, I don’t know what is.