Today is Thanksgiving in the U.S., the day we celebrate all of the good things in our lives. Around the country media outlets are airing, posting, or printing stories about firefighters, police officers, military personal, and other people to whom we all owe a large debt of gratitude. As the daughter of a firefighter, the niece, cousin, and granddaughter of soldiers and sailors, I heartily second that emotion.
I, however, am caught in the midst of a fit of silver-lining-ness. You know, “every dark cloud has a silver lining”? These are the things I’m thankful for, contrary to their initial appearances.
1. Extra Work
I’m a math teacher by day, and a part-time one at that. So when another math teacher at my school went away to a conference recently, I was tapped to cover her classes (which run during my off hours). I was compensated for these extra classes at the same rate as a regular substitute teacher, which is approximately 1/3 that of your average fast food worker. It was during one of these classes, though, that I had the best laugh. A handful of students were discussing a problem that involved the word “shift”. I’ve been a high school teacher for ten years, and you can guess what my ears heard. It apparently showed on my face because another student grinned up at me: “holy shift, you mother function!” 😀
And I’m not talking about serious TV here, I mean the shows the critics write off as silly. One of my favorites is Warehouse 13, where Secret Service agents track down objects imbued with some power or ability. Most of the objects they deal with are historical in nature, and the one they spent several episodes worrying over this summer was an astrolabe belonging to Ferdinand Magellan. According to the show, Maximilien Robespierre (of French Revolution fame) got a hold of Magellan’s astrolabe and used it to turn back time…which then caused him to go crazy. This insanity is (according to the show) the cause of the Terror. Now I adore history, and hate when shows get things wrong. But it tickles me when they posit an alternate explanation like this—it’s totally in line with the premise of the show, but also fit the facts. It tells me that somebody on staff knows their stuff, and wants to spread the love.
Some of you know that I lost my dog to cancer a few weeks ago. And some of you know how he came to me (rescued from a shelter just a few minutes before he was to be euthanized by a family that ultimately couldn’t keep him—he came to me underweight, his teeth missing or broken, anxious and stressed from living in a boarding facility for months). He’d clearly had a rough life, and only wanted a person to stick around and love him. He was my third rescue dog, and people would tell me all the time how fortunate he was to have found me. But it’s me that’s fortunate to have found him. Every day he was with me, I came home to a wagging tail, a happy doggy smile, and a hug. That’s right, my Zeus was a hugger! He had the “big dog lean” down to a science, resting just enough of his body against you that you felt compelled to reach down and hug him back. He was always willing to share his toys with me, to guard the house from vicious cockroaches (in Miami) and the neighborhood cats. And he loved me above all other people. How could I not be thankful for that?
4. Dead Flash Drive
If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you might recall my whining and complaining a couple of weeks ago when my flash drive—with my WIP on it—suddenly ceased to function. Luckily I had backed everything up on my laptop, but I hadn’t been as diligent as I should have been and had last saved my files in August. I lost several chapters or parts of chapters, a blurb or two, and probably some other things I have yet to discover. Ouch! How could that ever be a good thing? Well, it forced me to re-write the missing chapters, but they are coming out so much better this time. The story has gone in a slightly different direction, and is stronger for it. And now I have each and every file saved to a Dropbox account so I’ll never have to go through that again!
5. Cold Weather
Cold has been the bane of my existence since the day I was born. I have never liked being cold, have asthma that is worsened by the cold, hate having to wear three layers of clothing inside my own house just to keep warm. This winter promises to be doubly icky, since I’ve returned to Michigan after living in South Florida for the last few years. My friends there are just turning off their air conditioning, while I’ve been sleeping under an electric blanket for months. But
in requiring the electric blanket, I’ve re-discovered a pleasure denied me in a semi-tropical climate: that wonderful feeling of waking wrapped in warmth on a chilly morning, or of falling asleep cocooned in a fluffy blanket with a good book. Sure we had cold weather in Florida—I even had to scrape my car windows a time or two. But it wasn’t the same. And finding hot chocolate in a warm state is a lot more difficult 🙂
What unusual things are you thankful for this holiday season?