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Mr. Apron and I have been together for over six years now, and we’ve had our ups and downs in health issues, been through countless jobs, seemingly endless schooling, and lived in a multitude of places together and apart.  We’ve had those days when no evil things dare to rear their heads into our idyllic lives; and those days where nothing seems to go right.  It’s the latter that spurred a ritual we do called, “One Good Thing”.  On those worst of worst, those Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Days, we ask each other, “What was your Good Thing?”  The idea is, that even if you spend 45 minutes venting about project deadlines, GI issues, nightmare coworkers, the weather, green phlegm, being splattered with red paint, or Rush Limbaugh, there must be one small thing, event, or happening which, if it didn’t brighten your day while it was happening, may just bring you into a better mood at the moment.  Sometimes it’s really hard to come up with one, but we do it to humor each other. 

Some examples might include (for me) a compliment on my new skirt, a cute kid story, or not running into someone objectionable.  Some examples for Mr. Apron might include going a day without getting into a passive-aggressive argument with his boss, teaching a kid something, figuring out a new feature on his phone (Hello, e-mail!), or finding a shirt he thought was lost forever.  On really bad days, we have to stretch.  They’re lame.  It could be finding one last Coke in the back of the fridge; not having to make a lunch because of leftovers; remembering to bring in the groceries from thec car; looking foward to tomorrow being Friday; having enough bags for the dog’s shit; or having a “clean shit”.  But we always pull it together, even if our Good Thing is getting to talk to each other about our bad days.  Though it’s a cop-out, we often end up being each other’s Good Things. 

Today was not a horrendous day by any means, but if you’d asked me my Good Thing, I’d say it would be finding out that the garage door opener works.  Not so long ago, after a long day gardening and making repeat trips to the garage and basement, I sent the opener through the wash with my mud- and grass-caked cargo shorts.  Usually it’s Mr. Apron sending his lip balm through the wash, leaving wax marks all over my t-shirts.  This time it was me, effectively locking us out of our garage, because though it’s an attached garage (in the basement), there’s no entrance to the house from the garage.  1928.  Go figure.  You have to leave the garage, go outside to the parking pad, then in the basement door.  Quirks, ya gotta love ’em.  One of these days we’ll pay some angsty teenagers in pizza to take sledge hammers to the non-load-bearing walls and break on through to the other side, giving us access to the garage for real.  But today, as we were loading up some colors into the washing machine, Mr. Apron absent-mindedly grabbed the garage door opener and clicked it.  Lo and behold, we heard that familiar groaning and cranking as the beast roared to life once again.  I didn’t break it!  YAY!

What was your good thing?

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1) Do not ask the readers when you are a blogger who has approximately 15 hits/day.  Not enough people care about you to answer your questions.  They look at that as a cop-out post, which it probably was, because you were too lazy to put up real content, and too lazy to google it yourself, which brings me to 2).

2) Do not ask the readers until you have googled and found a website which contains the exact information you are looking for.  

3) Maternity leave through my company is unpaid.  Is this common?  Have I been living in dream world where employers pay for you to bond with your child and give it life-sustaining breast milk for 12 weeks with no drawback?  Turns out all they do is hold your job for you.  So you can take a 3 month pay cut, then come back part time, lose your benefits, and pay for child care.  Hmm, no wonder people are putting off having children; the logistics are sobering.

4) Cheerios used as toilet training encouragement are not comestible rewards for “making sissy in the potty”.  Two of my coworkers were discussing how boys were difficult to potty-train and how if they weren’t interested at all, it was hard to say they were “ready”, and thus, the diapering continued.  So one of them mentioned Cheerios.  I, thinking it was a reward to be given after successful tinkling, added, “Oh, yeah, they’re using Froot Loops with the little boy downstairs.”  Which is exactly how they dole out the cereal.  After he’s peed.  In the toilet.  But no.  As the coworker with the disinterested 2.5 year old boy said, you instruct them to “sink the ships”.  So after a full 10 seconds of processing something other than the conversation I thought we were having, I figured it out.  Not knowing if this was a modern thing, or a regional thing, or a thing when you teach boys to pee standing up as opposed to sitting down, I came home and asked Mr. Apron.  Not that he remembered being potty trained, nor is it exactly an easy thing to imagine one’s grown husband who is now 6 feet tall and steaming wallpaper off of the baseboards and eaves, being potty trained.  He replied in the negative, and added that his mother would have said, in her placid, matter-of-fact way, “Cheerios are for eating.”  So I countered, “Yeah, but wouldn’t it have been fun.”

You learn new things every day.

My mother called today with a request.  She now knows people who are going to Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively.  She is friends with their mothers and wives, respectively.  And she, ever the giver (cookies, fabric, garbage bags of stuff from my childhood room, recipes, newspaper clippings, furniture, etc.), wants to send care packages.  Sure, she could just whip up a batch of the cookies for which she is famous (and for which she is known as Judie Crocker), but she wants this to be helpful to the guys receiving them, not just full of cookies.  We’ve been in these wars long enough for people to have figured out what to send in care packages, right?  I mean, some folks must have it down to a science.

So I ask you, dear readers, what should she send in her care packages?  These are both guys in their early to mid-twenties, one married, one single.  I had heard somewhere along the line that soldiers actually asked for mundane necessities of life, such as sweatsocks and toilet paper, but I may be making that up.  She’s counting on us, so let’s have at it: brainstorm away!