Last night I loaded up the kids and made a quick Wendy's run while the Normal Mormon Wife pulled her best Cinderella impersonation and cleaned the house in preparation for the arrival of our Thanksgiving house guests. I was a little disturbed that when I left the NMW was dressed in rags and having a conversation with two mice about riding away in a pumpkin chariot, but hey, she likes to keep it real.
During the ride I turned down Radio Disney (I think it was hour 9,379 of a 10,000 hour straight HSM3 marathon) and asked the kids what they were thankful for. Both kids immediately said, "My family!" It was a heartwarming moment, but then they both tried to hit me up for $10 because they could sense my guard was down. After I forked over the cash they both listed "The Gospel" and "School" to round out the top three things for which they are thankful. If I am being serious for a moment, I would also have the family-gospel-work trifecta at the top of my thankful list. Okay, now that the serious moment has passed, here are five random things that I am extremely grateful for:
1. My Garmin GPS Device. My sense of direction is similar to that of an intoxicated, blindfolded homeless person who is let loose in a mall, spun until he is dizzy, and then asked to find the Abercrombie store. (Just follow the smell of immorality, it'll lead you right to it.) I have lived in North Carolina for 5 1/2 years and can still only find my way to work, home and church without getting lost. The reason for my lack of directional fortitude is simple - I was born in Utah and learned how to find addresses based on the grid system (e.g. 11000 S., 1780 W.) If you ever get turned around in Utah, just locate the big mountains and that is east. Or you can smell the air for dead brine shrimp and that direction would be west. The federal government should pass legislation mandating that all cities must use the address grid system to bail out those of us who are directionally underprivileged. After all, the government is doing its darndest to insert itself into every other nook and cranny of our lives, why stop now?!
North Carolina roads are incredibly confusing. Roads change their names willy-nilly and without notice. Kind of like He Hate Me and Chad Ocho Cinco. For example, within a three mile stretch the same major road goes from Piedmont Pkwy to Hilltop Rd to Groomtown Rd to Neener-Neerer Your Lost Now, Huh? Ave. I think the NMW was tired of me calling her on my cellphone from the car and saying things like, "I'm a little turned around right now. Can you pull up Mapquest and tell me how to get to the YMCA? I just passed a big sign that said, 'Welcome to Alabama!'"I think we were both thrilled when she bought me a Garmin GPS device to help me get around town.
I have really bonded with my GPS over the past several months. It has even been given a name. Our last name starts with S., so I named her Gretchen Pumpernickel S. (note the clever GPS initials.) The name Gretchen has always been a favorite of mine because I think you could have all sorts of cheezy Saturday afternoon shows hosted by a Gretchen. For example, a yoga video could be called "Stretchin' with Gretchen." A dog obedience program could be called, "Fetchin' with Gretchen." You want a craft show? "Etchin' with Gretchen." An infomercial about stomach problems could be called, "Retchin' wi......" Never mind.
The middle name of Pumpernickel is necessary for the times when Gretchen gives me bad advice on which roads to take. During my High School days my friends and I used to call each other "Pumpernickel" as an insult. And yes, we were definitely the walking-on-the-edge-of-the-cliff Mormon kids. I think the word "fetch!" and "dang!" occasionally slipped from our lips as well. Pumpernickel is a perfect middle name to use when I get upset and say, "Awwww, come on, Pumpernickel! You've led me straight into the ghetto!" Fortunately for both Gretchen and me I rarely have to use the P-word because of the faithful friend she has become. I am thankful for Gretchen.
2. Monday Night Football. As an avid sports fan I love attending professional and college games whenever I can. I was there and rushed the field when the Ty Detmer-led BYU football team beat #1 Miami in Provo. I was at the Salt Palace in the late 80's when Magic, Kareem, Worthy and company came to town and put on Showtime. I went to a couple of Arizona Diamondbacks game the year they won the World Series. (I watched the game. The NMW spent three hours staring her boyfriend, Ken Griffey Jr., through her binoculars. I think I detected drool on the front of her shirt by the third inning.) But I am not a complete sports fan yet because I have never attended the most important game of them all - the WNBA!
Just kidding. It's the NFL, of course.
The whole "keep the Sabbath Day holy" thing has prevented me from ever going to an NFL game. You know how people get up and bear their testimonies about crazy things that happen to them when they break the Sabbath? I think I've heard at least six people say, "...so we decided to go boating instead of going to church and my boat ended up sinking and I've obeyed the Sabbath ever since!" Well, I am positive something freakish would happen to me if I ever went to an NFL game on Sunday as punishment for my disobedience. I would not be surprised if I got attacked by a rabid fox and had to run a mile to my car and then drive myself to the ER with the fox still attached to my arm.
But all of this will change on Monday, December 8th, 2008 when the Carolina Panthers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Charlotte for a game that may decide the NFC South. The two tickets were a gift from the NMW for my birthday a few weeks ago. It ranks right up there with my mini-Ms. Pac-Man arcade game that I got as a kid as the best gift I have ever received. Thank you, NMW. Thank you, Monday Night Football. I am truly grateful.
3. The Flavor of the Holidays - In a way I am thankful that egg nog, peppermint ice cream and pumpkin pie are only available during the holidays. I long for them ten months a year and once they hit the shelves - BAM! - I'm all over them like Oprah on a hot ham! Wait, isn't it hypocritical for me to make fun of Oprah's eating habits when I'm confessing to gorging myself on artery-clogging junk food?
Anyway, as an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I do not drink alcohol, but can I somewhat understand why people who do like to wind down with a drink at the end of the day. I just experienced this with egg nog when I got home from work before my family arrived from running an errand. In those few moments of solitude I poured myself a glass of egg nog, sat on the couch, forgot all of the stresses of life, and just sipped the thick, delicious drink until it was gone. Every sip was savored. Then the NMW and three kids arrived home and our house returned to the zaniness of a den of wild badgers trapped together in a small cardboard box. Egg nog, peppermint ice cream and pumpkin pie - I am grateful for you.
4. Alan Devine. Okay, this one just illustrates what most of you already know - I'm a total nerd. Alan Devine is my Madden franchise quarterback. I drafted him in the 1st round in 2010 because of his strong arm and Michael Vick-like speed rating of 90 and acceleration of 87. Unlike Vick, however, Devine will not have his career cut short by going to prison for dog fighting. The one drawback about Madden is that it whitewashes the terrible off-the-field stuff that takes place in any given NFL season. If I were the game developer I would immediately install circumstances were players are notified that, "Your WR was arrested for posession of cocaine and is currently suspended pending NFL review" or "Your All-Pro MLB was has been charged with murder". The NFL will never, ever, ever allow this, but it would be awesome.
Between Alan Devine's 65-yard touchdown bombs and 40-yard scrambles, my Madden franchise cannot be stopped. I have won the Super Bowl on the All-Madden level for each of the past three seasons, going 57-0 during that stretch. Take that, 1972 Dolphins! Yes, I'm a dork. But I'm thankful for my dorkiness.
5. You, My Readers. Okay, this one may sound like I'm pandering a bit here, but I am honestly thankful for the thousands of people around the world whom I have never met who read my blog. My blog's small following has has been a completely unexpected surprise this year. I went from getting 10 visits a day from family and friends to hundreds of visitors a day. With encouragement and appreciation from my readers, blogging has turned out to be one of the more enjoyable creative outlets that I have. Heck, I've even earned a little money through advertising. (Thank you, Husband Hero. Go visit their site. Now. Go ahead. This post isn't going anywhere.)
Knowing that there are a few people out there who like my writing style has even prompted me to take a stab at writing a novel. I already have the concept in mind and have dipped my big toe in the water by writing a few pages and scoping out several of the chapters. I am hoping that by mentioning it here that it will motivate me to keep chugging along in my spare time and see if I can write a semi-compelling story. Anybody know a publisher who is willing to take a chance on a completely unproven Madden addict?
And if that fails, I can always go back to blogging about Twilight.
Now if I can only work out the logistics of leaving three small kids at home (one is still nursing) so that the NMW and I can escape for three hours and see the Twilight movie......
Getting away for a hot night out with the NMW? Now that's something I would be really thankful for!