I am grateful for simple tasks that allow for a sense of accomplishment. This morning, there was a wall to the area under the stairs.
And now, there is no wall.
In the time between those two photos, there was lots of sledgehammering, hauling of rubble, digging of dirt, and hauling of rubble and dirt and more digging. Now, there’s storage space under the stairs for whomever rents out basement suite, and it will be even nicer when it has flooring and finished walls.
I am grateful my kids are asleep, with no fuss and no muss tonight.
I am grateful we hired the guys that we did to do the reno. We still have a long way to go before its done, but near as I can tell, they really like what they do, and they work hard. They take the time to do a job well, think it through, and do it right the first time.
I am grateful for a feeling of contentment I felt earlier. Our house is in a better state than it was a week ago, my mind is, too. There’s always room for improvement, but I feel headed in a good direction.
I am am grateful for a kid date with another stag dad while our wives were out gallivanting. My two boys and his daughter tore it up at the Royal BC Museum today, covering more ground than we usually do, and enjoying good sharing behaviour with a slice of lemon loaf in the cafe afterward.
I grateful for a somewhat impromptu dinner party at our house this evening. Good friends, good food, good wine, and 5 kids ranging in age from almost 6 weeks to almost 6 years graced our home this evening. I had a great time, and my kids were worn out nicely and went to bed easily.
I am grateful that the last remnant of oil heating at my house is gone. The oil tank was removed today. If they leak, environmental remediation is costly, legally required, and the owner of the house is liable. There have been many cases in Victoria where the cost of cleanup has been 6 figures; this often exceeds the equity the owner has in the home. That’s how crossed of my list of things to worry about.
I am grateful for incremental home improvements. We switched a few pieces of furniture around today and put up some hooks. Little things, but I think they’ll make a big difference in our day to day life. I am reminded I should be thinking of small incremental changes all the time, and in every facet of life. Big crazy crisis driven change is not always great, I’ve found, but frequent , thoughtful, small-scale changes often are.
I am grateful for the $3/person family swim on the weekend from 10-noon at the Gordon Head Rec Centre. We had a great time in the pool today, and an added bonus was seeing neighbours with similarly aged kids there.
I am grateful for small victories. I heard myself say “We did it!”‘to Farley (who was riding on the back of my bike) under my breath at the crest of a small hill. I realized in that moment that saying that at the top of hills is a habit for me. This blog is useful to marking those moments; I am looking for things to be grateful for now. If it wasn’t for the blog, that little victory would slip into the oblivion of forgotten things.
I am grateful for my kids. Coop, who gets as much joy and satisfaction out of putting lego together as anyone gets from anything, and Farley, who likes to sing about great white sharks, and today extended that to start singing about great white crabs.
I am grateful for my desk lamp I bought yesterday, which I bought at a thrift store. Fact is, I probably could have bought something new for the same price, but this one didn’t introduce any more plastic packaging to a landfill, and didn’t cost any more carbon emissions to ship from China. I prefer used things generally. I dislike waste, like anyone else does, but I also respect and enjoy the stories objects can tell, and something new out of the box just doesn’t have much to say about itself.
I am grateful for bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches. Any 2 of those actually would make a great sandwich. The 3 together are greater than the sum of their parts.
I am still grateful for bicycles. You might think for all my talk I an avid cyclist who goes on big rides. I’m not. I pretty much always ride places I need to go anyway. What I like about biking is it fits in so nicely into my life. I need a way to get around, and biking is fun, and good for me, and saves a bundle on parking and gas. If that’s not nice, what is?
I am grateful for all the things I should be grateful for that I don’t even know about, because I, like you, and everyone else on this planet don’t know how good I’ve got it. No matter how bad it is, it could always be worse, and likely in ways we can’t (or won’t) imagine; in ways both big and small. I was thinking about this on the ride home after work, which is up a big hill. At our last address, I did not have to climb any hill and was hardly aware I might one day live on top of one. These days, as I bike home, I’m only slightly aware that there are even bigger hills I might be living on top of. So, I am grateful it’s not a bigger hill, and more importantly, I’m grateful there’s a warm, dry comfortable place to come home to at all. Not everyone has that, but I do, and I’m lucky I have that privilege.
I am grateful for the salmon run. It gives me a sense of place and continuity. I’ve been watching these animals come back every year since before our first kid was born. It’s a unique thing to this part of the world. It’s cyclical. It’s as big as birth, life, and death get. The fish I saw here today came from eggs that were laid here in 2010. I saw their parents that year. And parenting wise, it’s a bit of perspective, too. I feel like I sacrifice a lot for my kids, but these big, grownup fish who have had all kinds of freedom in a great big ocean, give it all up to swim hard upstream, in an environment that is fatally toxic for them, to fertilize and lay eggs in the same place they come from. After that long struggle, they finally expire and nourish the land with their bodies, never to meet the children for whom they’ve laid down their lives. It’s safe to say these creatures are giving it their all. I look forward to seeing their offspring all grown up in 2018, when my kids will be 4 years older, and, for that matter, I will be, too.
I am grateful for old friends. Not just my old friends, but Cooper’s. We brought a friend along to the salmon run that Cooper has known since he was 20 months old. In relative terms, Coop has known this buddy for over 70% of his life. That would be 30 years, if you used that same percentage for someone my age. They are hilarious together, and there’s a trust that comes with familiarity that’s hard to create any other way.
And I am grateful for the village it takes to raise a kid. It’s great to know a family well enough that we can receive and answer the call when they need to have someone take their kid for a few hours, and it’s great to happily take that same family up on an invitation to eat microwaved leftovers and homemade pizza after dropping their kid off afterward. Humanity works best when we help each other out. Sometimes I need to remind myself that it is too dang easy to get stuck looking inward. Often, the path of least resistance requires me to be more outgoing than I might initially think.