10 Things I’m Thankful For (Including Gassy Cats)
1. Glasses. At a young age, I ruined my eyes by reading every book in the children’s section of my local library. Granted, I lived in the boonies at the time, so there were probably only a few hundred books on the shelves, but I can assure you I read every single one of them (twice) before the age of nine. I also read these books under my covers late at night with a flashlight because my mother said midnight was too late for a fourth-grader to go to bed on a school night (I always was the rebellious type). The result? I’m blind as Andrea Bocelli during a power outage (negative 550/20, if that tells you anything). If it were still the dark ages, before the invention of glasses, I never would have made it out of childhood. I would have been eaten by a saber-toothed tiger. I’m thankful (yes, thankful!) for those hideous Coke-bottle glasses that elicited childhood taunts, jeers, and trashcan-head-dunkings—those clunky things that I still fumble for first thing in the morning so I can see the clock a half-foot from my face. Before the invention of glasses, people with bad eyesight were “naturally selected” by the predators around them. People with bad eyes thought the big, sharp-fanged beast coming at them was a sweet, furry, orange striped kitty with a baritone meow. Inevitably, that handicap diminished our gene pool. So from my perspective, glasses are one of the best inventions ever, next to chocolate-covered strawberries and fireproof potholders (don’t ask).
2. Contact lenses. Okay, let me give you an image: lanky, gangly girl with bucked teeth and frizzy hair, sporting a freshly-erupted case of fiery-red acne. Add some too-short jeans (AKA “floods”). Add a pair of scratched, lopsided aviator frames with an inch of thick glass obscuring her eyes. Add a hopeful grin. Do you see why such a girl might not have been prime dating material during her teen years? Fast forward past braces, hair-straightening irons, Clearasil, and tall-length jeans. Keep the girl’s hopeful smile. She has potential. A lot of it, if you can get past those THINGS hanging off her nose (not boogers . . . seriously, do you think she was THAT bad?). Remove those things (the glasses, not the boogers, unless you want to stick your fingers up her nose). Place some little plastic disks over her eyeballs. Blink a few times. Voila! The girl gets a life. Thank you, contact lenses!
3. How children get excited about cereal for dinner in a way that husbands are unable to after a long, grueling day of work.
4. A great song on the radio that turns a grumpy family moment into a hip-hop contest in the kitchen (never mind the flailing elbows that present an obvious hazard to vases and ceramic dishes).
5. An overfed cat that looks so cute, in a way a human never could, gobbling down his third plate of food then giving you that Cheshire grin that says he’ll gas you out later.
6. The wise self-control that comes with parenthood and prevents an adult from screaming obscenities in front of children upon stubbing a toe against the wooden leg of a couch that removes a flap of skin and causes said adult to nearly pass out from pain. The realization that the children aren’t in the room after all and that the obscenities can come unbidden, unfiltered, with great passion and volume. Oh, the freedom! Something definitely something to be thankful for. That, and bandages.
7. Spouses who will agree to a ten-minute back rub in exchange for vacuuming and cleaning the toilets. Score! (Who’s the sucker in this scenario?). :D
8. Restaurants that take last-minute Thanksgiving reservations for a family of four when drama erupts within the extended family, giving four happy family members their first holiday peace in years. Bonus: when restaurant sends home leftovers, and no dishes to wash when arriving back home.
9. Things that work: cars, appliances, machines, computers, bodies. Because so often they don’t. And when they don’t, you find yourself washing 1,000 dishes by hand with a bad back on Thanksgiving Day while your husband spends the entire time under the dishwasher, grumbling about missing the game as the in-laws complain from the living room that the cable is out. When things work, life is just . . . better.
10. Love. Without it, you’re screwed. So if you don’t have it, start with yourself. Then get a cat you can overfeed. Name him something appropriate, like Greedy Gut, All-Mine, or Butterball.