Giving Thanks for the Little Things

Which conveniences are the unsung heroes of your daily life?

Miles run yesterday: 5

Pies made for Thanksgiving: 4

Hugs given and received: 52

Hopefully, my family and friends realize how much they mean to me. I thought I would focus my post-Thanksgiving post on the modern conveniences I didn’t know I needed… until I did.

1. Remote keyless entry for my car. What a ridiculous concept! Are keys really so difficult to turn? I have an idea: let’s take something that’s super-easy and make it even easier!

At least, that’s what I thought until we got our minivan 11 years ago. And then, while balancing a baby seat on one arm and a reluctant 2-year-old on the other, rushing through the pouring rain, a push of a button to open the car door didn’t seem so ridiculous anymore. Thank you, remote key fob. You are a tiny bit of sanity in a crazy world.

2. Functional car door handles. While we’re on the subject of cars, I wanted to urge you to enjoy your door handles for as long as they last.  We have had two of the four break or otherwise throw in the towel, and the absence of door handles can really make you appreciate the non-pretzel-like way you used to enter the car. My husband has spent way, way too many hours fixing and re-fixing ours. And he can’t get those hours back, my friends.

3. Word processing. Let’s get serious here: how (much more) wacky would writers be if we were all forced to re-type pages on an old typewriter?

4. Can openers. Have you ever been alone in your house and found that your can opener will not open a can of tomato sauce? It is not a happy time. It is a time of bad language and misusing other, inappropriate tools to try to get the job done. It is a time of not having tomato sauce in your life. O, Rare Functional Can Opener, you are a ray of light in the darkness.

5. Floors. Stay with me here. I asked my son, “What other little conveniences do you not appreciate until they’re gone?” And he said, “Floors.”

We had a period of a few months; The Dark Months, you may call them, when my husband had stripped our downstairs floors and prepared them for hardwood. These were dark times indeed. Dark and, er, loud. You would not believe the acoustics in a home with no floors and no furniture. When the kids practiced piano, I imagined that I was sitting in the audience at Carnegie Hall.

6. Thumbs. Scientists may have mentioned this before, but opposable thumbs really are all they’re cracked up to be. Try injuring one and then trying to do basic, daily life stuff without it. Thumbs aren’t sexy, but I am very thankful for mine.

7. Sunglasses. Ever since my grandmother told me I looked ugly when I squinted in the sun, I’ve made it a point to wear sunglasses. Someday, maybe when I’m 83, I will be very glad I did.

8. Tape measures. When my mom gave me a pretty tape measure to put in my purse a few years ago, I thought I might use it once or twice. You would not believe how often I whip that thing out to measure my kids’ waists for costumes, shelving at Lowe’s Home Improvement and the height of a mailbox.

9. Swiss Army knives. My son decided I needed a Swiss Army knife a couple of years ago. I wasn’t sure when I would use it. Since then, I’ve cut forgotten tags off clothes, filed a pesky fingernail and sliced an errant string.

A week ago, you could find me in a school storage supply closet washing grapes and using my Swiss Army knife scissors to cut the mammoth grape cluster into reasonably-sized bunches. Bear Grylls I was not. But I went there in my mind, people. File my name under “resourceful.”

Which commonplace items are you most thankful for this holiday season?