Day 11: Veteran's Day. Thankful for all veterans, particularly those in my family tree. I am the product of two military families: my mom's older brother and two of her uncles were West Point grads, and my dad and two of his brothers were career Army officers. That's how my parents met, actually. Have I ever mentioned that? My dad and my mom's brother served together. I always labored under the assumption that my uncle introduced my parents, which quite honestly surprised me, as I had heard a lot of stories about him denying his friends access to her in their high school years. You know, "don't even THINK about asking my sister out on a date" kind of stuff. Turns out that he never outgrew the protective big brother role: a mutual friend of my uncle and my dad arranged the set-up date, to my uncle's considerable consternation. My dad was a FRIEND, and FRIENDS DON'T DATE YOUR SISTER. But my clever dad found the loophole: instead of dating her, he married her. Seriously; he proposed to her on the second date.
It gets weirder, people: my dad's brothers ended up working at the Pentagon with my mom's brother, and Dad's baby brother - Uncle Don - rode carpool from the Virginia suburbs into DC with my mom's brother, Uncle George. Uncle George's wife had a friend who also needed a ride into the city, so she joined the carpool - and subsequently married Uncle Don and became my Aunt Carol. Because the wives were good friends, their kids were good friends as well, so my cousin on one side of the family was the matron of honor in the wedding of my cousin on the other side of my family, et cetera.
But I digress. This is about veterans. Dad's great-great-great-etc. grandfather, Charnel Durham, was a Revolutionary War officer, so the military tradition goes back a ways in our family. Dad served two tours in Vietnam, and now he is fighting his second battle with renal cancer as a result of Agent Orange exposure - a particularly poignant reminder of the sacrifices, some obvious and some not so obvious, that servicemen make for their country.
Happily, I had the opportunity to spend time on Veterans Day with my daddy (and my mom): after attending a Veterans Day assembly at PJ's school, we had breakfast together at Central Market. Great way to start a Friday!
Day 12: Thankful for my Junior League friends and for the good work that League does for the community. Spent part of Day 12 at the JL resale shop. I actually enjoy volunteering there - I know that some folks think that it's a chore, but I worked retail for pocket money in college (summers and Christmas break), and it fits my personality. I like to help people, I like to organize things, and I enjoy a good bargain. In college, it was all about the employee discount. At Double Exposure, it's all about being at the right place at the right time. Among my major scores: a never-worn navy blue blazer for the big kid ($4.80, which is the perfect price, given that he'll outgrow it in a nanosecond); a really great Talavera platter ($2.00); and a stoneware Hofbrauhaus mug to hold my pencils on my desk ($1.00). I have always coveted my dad's vintage Hofbrauhaus mug, which he acquired when he was living in Germany. Because he is sentimentally attached to it, he wouldn't let me have it, so I had to buy my own - except, when I finally made it to the 'Haus, they only had glass mugs in stock. So, finally having a stoneware one is, like, mega-cool - and the dollar price tag makes it mega-cool to the nth degree.
My husband tolerates me working at the resale shop because "I got this Tory Burch top and these Prada flats for 90% off retail" is a heck of a lot more pleasing to the ears than "I got this Tory Burch top and these Prada flats for full price at Neiman Marcus."
Day 13: Thankful for Reverend Lamar Smith at First Methodist. Dr. Smith is a one-man welcome wagon. It is his job to transition in new members and help them feel at home, and he does a bang-up job. I speak from experience, as he was the one who welcomed us when we decided to officially join the congregation seven years ago (after "visiting" for two; wow, nine years at FUMC, is that possible?).
We used to be 11 am attendees, but, due to confirmation class schedule for the big kid and Sunday School schedule for the little kid, we now attend the 9:30 am service. Both services wrap up with a "hymn of invitation," and before the hymn Dr. Smith encourages those who wish to join the church to come forward. At 11 am, he almost always got a new member, or two, or three, but we have learned that, in general, newly minted FUMCers are not early risers: at 9:30, new members seem to be few and far between, and I was amused to hear my spouse say, "You know, it really bums me out to see Dr. Smith down there and no one comes forward. Because you can tell that he wants it - it's like he's WILLING IT - and I AM ROOTING FOR IT TO HAPPEN. Because, I mean, IT'S DR. SMITH." My thoughts exactly. Now, it's become a weekly thing with us - at 10:20, we start chanting under our breath, "Come on, come on - anyone? Anyone? Bueller?"
God bless Dr. Smith, and others like him, who help people settle in in their new church home.
Day 14: Thankful for the Furry Five. As I type this, Barkley is curled up in one of the dog's beds (which is sort of weird, because he's not a dog, but sort of explainable, because he is a Maine Coon, and Maine Coons think that they are dogs). Gabby is on the windowsill, enjoying the awesomeness that is LIVING ON THE SECOND FLOOR. Seriously, to think that she made it some fifteen years without knowing that there was such a THING as a second floor. I don't think that she's going to take it well when we have to move back to our lowly single-story abode.
Max is stretched out on my side of the bed (and is taking up a good bit of it - he's a big boy, not just by cat standards, but by supersized Maine Coon standards), slumbering next to my spouse, who hit the hay early, as he is coming down with something indeterminate. The dogs are - somewhere. Probably in with the kids. There is a changing of the guard that takes place at some point during the night, such that I wake up in the morning to find the older dog stretched out next to our bed, the two older cats in bed with us and the furry small fry bunking with the human small fry. (Max, who has figured out how to make it up to the top bunk, sleeps with C, and Ace the Batdog, who can only get onto low-lying furniture, and then only with a running start, gets PJ by default.)
Yeah, it's a pain in the butt not having a yard right now (picking up poop with a little baggie was unfamiliar territory for us; at home, "poop happens" in the backyard and gets picked up with specialized poop tongs by a child as part of his weekly chores). Yeah, I'm tired of having the dog bowl stand in an awkward location in the small apartment kitchen, because there's no non-awkward location for it: I move it to one side of the stove, until I need to get into that cabinet, and then I kick it to the other side, and water sloshes all over my foot. But it's okay, because we're all together, and we fought the insurance company hard to make that happen. Totally worth the grief, on balance.
Day 15: Thankful for the kids' teachers. See my previous post about C's teacher temporarily restoring my fatih in humanity (and simultaneously making me want to drop-kick the humans who don't rise to his level). Both boys have been blessed with good teachers this year - and, pretty much, every year. Definitely cause for thanks.