It's been a long time since I last did one of these kinds of posts. Yes, the blog is about Topps cards, and as you'll see, the Random Team Set and Card of the Day will be posted later on. But I've had a lot of time to sit and think about what has happened to me and my family this past year. Many of the things were good, some not so much. But luck and timing seemed to have come at the right times and apart from other debts that still need to be paid, most have been and the future somehow looks a lot brighter than it did during the year.
By the time this post comes online, I will be getting ready to celebrate with both my family and my wife's family. We have a busy day ahead as we start in Skokie and move on to Palatine in the late afternoon, partaking in Thanksgiving festivities.
Anyway, I can rattle on and on about how tough it is nowadays, but everyone already has an idea. For all the bad news out there (and it seems there is plenty), there is so much for me personally to be thankful for.
I am thankful that I have a wonderful family that gives me a reason to be alive. My wife and I have been together for 14 wonderful years, and I look forward to many more with her. Though we may have had our share of disagreements, the good times outweigh all the bad. We continue to talk about how it would be nice if we went to this place, or if we had this car, or whatever. While those dreams are still just that, I take comfort in knowing that we have been able to go to some places this year, even if it is just crossing the Mississippi River into Dubuque in a new (rented) car. It was an adventure. For now, we just have to keep going with what we have. As with many who took this vow of marriage, I promised to be with her for richer or poorer, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I loved her then, and I love her more so now.
I am thankful for being the father of two beautiful children who I love with all my heart. I am truly grateful to have them in my life. Both are growing up to be fine individuals. I know that they are still trying to find their own identities as they adjust to the responsibilities that come with being older, but in my heart, they will always be my little babies. It turns out that I don't have to be that strict with them about their grades in school (oh my gosh, I've become MY OWN FATHER), but there is always room to be better. I know that both of them take the initiative to be better students (or at least that's what their teachers say about them), so I am confident that they will do well in and out of school. I still love to hear them laugh, and while I don't look forward to the eventual disagreements and struggles that come with raising future adolescents, to see them show both their mother and me how much they love us makes up for all of that. Both their mom and I still have a lot of work to do raising them, but it is something that I would never exchange.
I am thankful to have a family to lean on when times are hard. My parents, who have been my support when I have nobody to turn to when I'm having troubles and give me good advice whether I ask or not. My siblings, who keep me grounded as a person (based on whatever they're doing in their lives). Even my in-laws...who help keep my wife in check and make sure that she's doing well.
I am thankful for the fourteen years I had working for DPI Specialty Foods. I practically grew up as a person there as I started as the youngest person with the company and left as one of the most tenured. It was a hard pill to swallow when it was announced that they were closing our doors and (almost) all of us would be out of work. I was fortunate to be given the severance that was granted to me, as we have been able to stay afloat financially while I've been looking for work. If all goes well, by the end of the year I will start over with a new company and able to continue to support my family. I miss the people I've worked with over the years and continue to think about them. I wish them well and hope that most have found new jobs.
I am thankful for having a roof over my family's head. Yes, I have to admit it's been rough at times, both financially and physically (and by this, I mean our house is old, and there has been a lot of work that needed to be done with it). Somehow we are able to scrape through another month. I've had a lot of sleepless nights, especially since being unemployed. But through it all, I am grateful that my family still has a place to call home.
I am thankful that we have food on our table. We try not to eat out, although at times with our children's schedules it has become a necessity at times. We've had to cut back on many luxury items (seafood, steaks), but we still try to have a sense of normalcy when it comes to cooking at home, whether it's my wife cooking or me taking a turn. I'm not saying that we've had to totally give up on good food, but as long as we have the basics (milk, bread, eggs), and we're never out of pasta, I'm happy.
The final thing I am for which I am thankful, for all intents and purposes, is the reason I am able to keep sane through all the things going on in my life. It is something that many understand, but few will admit relating to it. Many people, no matter what their situation, have at least one. And often times, use it for the same reasons I do. For the goals this one thing accomplishes is not just to give joy to my life, but to give it an escape. An outlet if you will, to a time where I didn't have stress, or have much to worry. This one thing is the reason why I write this humble little blog. I give thanks to the Hobby. Because with everything going on in the world today, second to my family, it is the one thing that gives me comfort. Being out of work has caused me to delve deeper than ever before as collecting cards and all that is involved has allowed me not to overstress as I try to find a new beginning in my professional life. If anything, it has allowed me to catch up and see what I've been missing. This blog has been better for it as I've been able to post more often now than at any time during the last two years.
If this sounds like I'm whining at the same time that I'm being grateful, I apologize as that was not the intent of my writing. There are many people out there who are struggling and somehow surviving on less than what we have. To them I pray that things will get better. It will take some work, but it will get better.
If there is one thing I have forgotten to do above, it's to say thank you to those who have read my blog, left comments, accepted me into this crazy community, and have added to my card collection since I started this blog. Thank you for adding me to your blogrolls, your blog readers, and welcoming me into your online lives. I will do my best to fill this blog with information about the Hobby and the cards that we all enjoy. After all, 2013 Topps Series I won't be out until February, and I don't plan on leaving this site hanging until then.
On behalf of my family, may you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Please stay safe if you are travelling this year.