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Posted: November 23, 2011 12:00 a.m.

The top ten things I’m thankful for

Through the month of November, many of my friends have kept track of things they're grateful for through daily Facebook posts. It's been rather amusing to see how the deep gratitude for spouses, children and siblings mentioned at the first of the month trickled down into meager appreciation for things like coffee and rainbows last week.

I can't wait to see what people are listing on Nov. 30 - I fully suspect that some will be reaching for straws and I'll see things like septic tanks and egg salad listed.
Not that those things aren't worthy of gratitude.

Anyway, it made me start thinking about some of the odd, random things that I'm thankful for. I doubt any of these things will come to mind when we're praying over our turkey dinner tomorrow, but I'm grateful for them just the same.

1. By the time he starts college, my son Jonah will be sleeping in his own bed. Granted, he's not given me any concrete reason to hope for this in the two years he's hogged my bed - sideways - but friends tell me I can be fairly confident that by college, this co-sleeping stage will, indeed, come to an end.

2. No one in this family has vomited in almost two years. Chalk it up to an odd form of OCD or emetophobia, but yes, I do take note of the time between puking spells. Now, we have been positively inundated with snot over the past week, but it's been a record-setting while since a bona fide stomach virus wreaked havoc on our home. I probably just jinxed myself by writing those words, but I hope not.

3. There aren't any new dents in my minivan! I haven't backed into another concrete column, haven't had any shopping carts ping the trunk, haven't had any more children crash their bikes into the rear fender. All those marks are still there, mind you, but I find they coordinate nicely with the hole in the carpeting, the sagging headliner and the steering column that honks like a dehydrated goose every time I turn left.

4. I'm truly grateful for the geographical distance between myself and a few certain crazy people because it has kept me out of prison. And staying on this side of the jailhouse is a good thing indeed.

5. Feeling ever so thankful that it's 14 more months until my oldest can get his learner's permit. It's going to take every one of those 613,606 minutes to build up the courage I'll need to climb into that passenger's seat. Why? Because I've seen that boy drive on the Xbox - and it's not pretty, y'all. Not pretty at all.

6. I can still afford cheese. As grocery prices have risen, I've noticed cheese really shooting up in price. My family eats a lot of cheese, because, let's face it - just about anything is better with cheese. Except coffee, of course. I can't imagine the mutiny in this household if we ever ran out of cheese. Even the little guy loves his string cheese and Kraft singles - if we don't unwrap them quickly enough, he tries to bite through the plastic.

7. I'm thankful for the smooth, chocolaty, nutty goodness that is Nutella, and that sometimes, I actually get to eat a whole tablespoonful before the kids devour the entire jar.

8. Tomorrow, at approximately 3:55 p.m., my house will be clean. It'll be over by 4:01 p.m, but I will have enjoyed a full five minutes in a clean environment - if Jonah doesn't drag out his puzzles in that time frame - and I will be reminded of what I have to look forward to around 4p.m. on Dec. 24, the next time the entire house will be clean all at once.

9. I'm glad that the Hair Club for Men now includes women, because I should start trying to potty train Jonah soon. Between that, and acquiring a newly-driving teen, my already-thinning hair will definitely need some surgical intervention in the near future.

10. And finally, I'm thankful for all the horrible people who've thrown stones at me throughout my lifetime, because I used them to build a pretty strong foundation for one really awesome life.

Kari may be reached at kari@kariapted.com.

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