The Math of Happiness

The family posing for a picture as part of the “People’s Flag of Arizona” art exhibit at Scottsdale’s Soleri Plaza.

It’s afternoon and in a few minutes I’ll start an annual ritual that precludes every Thanksgiving. I’ll start cleaning the house from top to bottom. Stacking things neatly away, vacuuming floors and mopping them. I’ll mow the lawn and clean the patio. Maybe even get the table set. And then I’ll start to cook.

Sometime around the time the kids go to bed, I’ll crack open one of my favorite beers in the world – a Ballast Point Victory at Sea – and let that 10 percent vanilla coffee porter loosen my tongue. I’ll talk too much. Anyone of my friends, and Heidi, can tell you that. I have that problem without beer. Add in the booze and all bets are off. My Uncle Bruce use to tell me I had “diarrhea of the mouth.”

It’s bliss, really – my wife and kids with me, safely. The smells and sounds of an active kitchen, put to work to feed friends and family that will fill my home tomorrow.

Some people dream of big screen televisions and exotic vacations. But I know: this is as good as it gets. This is perfection.

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Life is an amazing ride of highs of lows, and we’re certainly riding the high tide here. Heidi and I both have wonderful new jobs. Both the kids are healthy, as are most of our close friends and family. Right now, I feel like I have it all.

In years past, I might not have appreciated those simple gifts. But when you lose a job or you face the possibility of losing a child, you come to realize the very best things in life are often the things we take for granted.

Man, I know that’s cliche. And yet, still, there’s so many of us who don’t get that. Any scroll through the old Facebook  proves that.

Maybe it’s like those multiplication tables – maybe we just need to keep repeating it – until it sinks in. “4 x 2=8”,  “4 X 3=12”, “Being with my family + having food to eat = a blessing.” — That kind of thing.

*  *  *

That said, there are so many additional things that I am thankful for. For all three moms and dads I have – Lorraine and David, Janet and Ed, Bob and Allyson. For Beckett and Brody. For my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew. For all my peeps at Made in Crossfit and Oscar G., whose patience and wisdom has certainly helped transform the way I think about my health (and my girlish figure). For Heidi.

For my many friends who come over and listen the endless half-baked, semi-opinionated, possibility sarcastic, and 23 percent embellished bull that flows from mouth. How do you people put up with it?

I’m grateful for the good news some close friends of mine just received regarding one of their children. I’m grateful for friends and family who disagree with civility and believe in the power of debate. I’m grateful for humor and laughing and goofy kids that dance and sing on my front lawn.

I’m grateful for Arizona sunshine and the opportunity at Salt River Project – to plan and think and write and communicate about water in the desert, and do it for a living. Dream come true as far as careers go? You betcha.

I’m grateful for life and health and forgiveness, especially forgiveness. We all make mistakes.

But we all need companionship, acceptance and love. Without forgiveness, those are pretty hard to find.

And for what it’s worth: colored, bendy straws, too.

My kids are currently flipping out with joy over a package of them I bought at the store.

“Colored, bendy straws + a day off from school with Dad = happiness.”

Seems happiness is easier once you understand the math …

With love and wishes for a fantastic Thanksgiving,