1. My new programmable coffee pot-
Sometime in late October I dropped something on the ancient 4-cup (*actually 2 cups, unless you drink coffee from a thimble) coffeemaker I got in college, and the glass carafe broke. When we found out the replacement part is no longer available, Kyle suggested that I buy a big-girl size coffeemaker, since having to brew 2 consecutive pots in order to serve coffee for 4 loses some of its charm outside of the dormitory setting. I got a nice, basic programmable model, and was surprised the first morning at how much easier it is to get out of bed with the smell of fresh coffee wafting down the hall. The fact that it's already made when I wake up has prevented lots of frenzied drive-through stops before class in the morning. It's also nice to be able to make enough coffee for Kyle, Faisal, and me to each have a cup all at the same time. It's amazing what happiness a little $15 investment can bring.
2. A babysitter that sometimes empties the dishwasher-
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's great that our babysitter Katie is reliable, and is good with our kids and plays with them and makes them good lunches. And, no, in no way do I expect babysitters to do my housework. But MAN, on those days when we've run the dishwasher overnight and I have not gotten around to emptying it before I leave for work, it is SO nice to come home and find that detestable little chore finished and the dirty dishes put in the washer instead of stacked all over the sink and counter. If you're reading this, Katie- thank you, it makes my day!
3. Walgreens sales-
If you are not familiar with the deals that can be had at Walgreens, you really ought to look into it. Each week their ad lists some items that, when you buy them, cause the cash register to print out a coupon for money off your next shopping trip (like a paper gift card to the store). For some items, and these are different each week, the amount you get back is as much as the amount you paid in the first place (or more, if you used a coupon on that item). Every week, I march into our Walgreens and use the coupons I got from the week before to buy whatever will print me more coupons to use next week (as long as it's something we'll use). Because of this system, I cannot think of the last time I paid actual money for toothpaste, deoderant, razors, lotion, shower gel, and many other health and beauty items. Don't get me started on this; I think my sister-in-law Ellen once got stuck on a long car ride listening to me expound on my love of this system, and I'm not sure she'll ever want to bring it up again.
4. A live-in international student who is neither crazy nor unmannered-
I actively pursued the opportunity to host an international student in our home this semester. I was not pressured or forced in any way to volunteer for this. But the few days before Faisal arrived I lost a little sleep wondering “What did we do?” and how we were going to get along with a stranger living in our house ALL the time. I worried that he might hate us, or that we might not like him. I worried about how we'd communicate and what we'd DO with him... But none of those things has been an issue; we get along well and actually have fun together. What a relief! I think sometimes that we could be having a very different semester if not for our compatibility with Faisal.
Last week I got what I thought was a stomach bug or a bit of food poisoning on Thursday. Then I started having fever, then by the weekend a sore throat, and by Monday I was completely downhearted from having spent four days feeling so absolutely miserable day and night. Sleep was filled with chills, sweats, and crazy fever dreams; I had no appetite, but could barely swallow anyway; every part of my body ached. Monday afternoon I got in to see the doctor, and tested positive for strep throat. I got some penicillin and a decongestant so I could sleep with my mouth closed, and woke up Tuesday feeling 10 times better. Woo hoo for modern medicine! I was better enough to drive us all to St. Louis on Wednesday, to shop ALL day long on Friday, and, most of all, to attend Thanksgiving dinner with my extended family (and NOT discuss anything on this list while I was there).