Today got off to a rough start beginning with last night. For some reason, Theo decided that he would wail off and on until we A. gave him extra food and B. slept in the same room with him. Once we complied with those demands, he insisted on circling us like a kitty shark, nipping at our hair if we fell asleep while petting him. To top it off, I think our upstairs neighbors were either practicing river dance or playing musical chairs.
Around two in the morning, I finally gave up – lured the cat out of our bedroom and slept on the couch with him so that Josh could get a little sleep. As a result, I slept in until the construction people were already outside. Our back porch is maybe fifty feet from a construction site and the workers are out there, rain or shine, by 6:30 or 7:00 am. It’s weird enough watching them arrive while I’m still in my pjs drinking coffee but even weirder waking up on the couch and realizing I forgot to put the blinds down the night before. Also, short of having a maid physically cleaning around me, I can’t imagine anything that makes me feel lazier than waking up after they’re already busy placing rebar and pouring concrete.
As if lack of sleep and waking up looking at neon-vested strangers wasn’t enough, every single dish we owned was dirty because we forgot to run the dishwasher last night. I know, I know, first world problems. Thus, no clean dishes for anyone’s breakfast so cat food was doled out with a miniature butter knife I found at the back of a drawer. I intended to eat a cookie with my coffee for breakfast – scandal, without a plate! – but I ended up forgetting it in a cupboard. I know this because Josh just opened said cupboard to get a glass and said “There’s a cookie in here!” It was a strange morning. But, like most things in life, it got better.
After I had my coffee, I readied myself to feed the Bread Pet twins. Before opening the containers, I prepared all of the ingredients with surgical precision so I could get it over with as quickly as possible. I took what I was sure would be my last clear, non-swampy breath and tore off the lids. Miraculously, science progressed during the night! Instead of smelling like the dank, uncirculated water of a late-summer pond, they smelled like vinegar! I have never been happier to have my eyes water. Hopefully this magic continues and they’ll now start to smell like yeast.
After that, I finished cleaning the kitchen and ran the dishwasher which at such an early hour really made me feel like I’d accomplished a whole days worth of chores. Feeling so accomplished for turning on the dishwasher doesn’t really make sense, but there it is – my own personal happy moment. I then had a productive morning of applying for more jobs and topped off my afternoon by buying some seeds!
I just bought seed packets rather than an entire kit or all the supplies because I have to do more research and make sure we don’t buy more than what we should for our little garden. It would be all too easy for me to get swept up at the local plant nursery and come away with a barrel for growing potatoes, stakes for non-existent tomato plants and bags of oyster shells – they’re on sale! – for also nonexistent chickens. This weekend, I think we’ll spend some time planning, plotting and devising so we end up with a garden that we want.
When I started this happiness project, I didn’t really consider how it would change my day-to-day life. I mean sure, my routine hasn’t changed but in just a month it’s changed how active I am at pursuing the little experiences that make me, and those around me, happy. It’s one thing to daydream about how fun it would be to write a letter in code, grow an herb garden or give someone (or myself) a pick-me-up cookie. It’s a different thing entirely to do those things.
It’s incredibly easy to say someday or even tomorrow for a whole slew of projects I actually want to procrastinate on, let alone a childish thing like coding a letter. And then it becomes a refrain: tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow until years down the line, I’m still buying sourdough from the bakery, still wondering what it would be like to make my own. That’s just sad and this project reminds me that there’s no real reason to do that to myself and for that, I’m grateful.
Each day counts – each minute, really – and there is always some tiny thing worth being happy for. Sometimes, I’m lucky and I’m grateful for a big thing, other times, I’m just grateful that the cat stopped wailing and that those construction people looked in the other direction while I hauled myself off my couch-bed. If I look close enough, though, there’s happiness everywhere; it’s learning to appreciate it that’s hard.