One of the things we bought my sister this year for Christmas was a book called The Book of Awesome. It’s a book based on a blog listing a whole bunch of awesome things, from waiters who bring refills without asking to the smell of freshly cut grass to the last few seconds of untying a really stubborn knot. It’s a fun book, and I think everyone had at least a few minutes of looking through it. Every time I saw someone looking at it, it didn’t take long before they were smiling and nodding, having found one they agreed with. I decided to come up with a few of my own, but note that I did not read the book cover to cover so it’s possible that one of mine is actually in the book.
Turkey sandwiches the day after a turkey dinner. A couple of pieces of fresh bread, turkey (white or dark meat, doesn’t matter), some mayonnaise and a touch of salt and pepper, then nuke it for about 10 seconds. I was going to say “soft white bread” instead of just “fresh bread” but this past Christmas I had one at my parents’ place on fresh twelve grain bread that was just… well, awesome.
When your kids give you a hug in front of their friends. I remember dropping the boys off at school last year and after saying goodbye to Nicky, I saw that Ryan (age 10) was across the room talking with his friends. I didn’t want to embarrass him so I just waved, said “Have a good day, buddy”, and kept walking. He said “Daddy!” and ran across the room to say goodbye and give me a hug. It made my day.
When you get home from a long vacation and remember as you are walking in the door that you cleaned up the kitchen before leaving. We’ve had vacations where that wasn’t the case, and when you’ve been travelling all day and you’re tired and have lots of unpacking and laundry to look forward to, not to mention returning to work / school / etc., walking in to a messy kitchen just sucks.
Taking your ski boots off and putting your regular boots on after a full day of skiing. Doesn’t matter how old and ratty your boots are, they are soooooo comfortable. Also, the warm glow you feel on your face when you come inside after a full day of skiing.
The sound of a baby giggling. Extra points if it’s your baby.
That moment when your parents kiss at the Enchantment Under The Sea dance and you, your brother, and your sister re-appear in that photograph in your pocket. You know the feeling. Just makes you wanna pick up your guitar and wail on the Johnny B. Goode solo.
Working from home during a big winter storm. I’ve written about this in the past. The iPod in the dock, a cup of hot chocolate, and a fierce storm outside makes for a surprisingly happy guy working at home.
Fixing a particularly nasty software bug. You have been working on this bug for days. It seems random. There’s seemingly no predicting when it will happen, let alone why. Customers are waiting for a resolution. You have made zero progress since the last time your boss asked how it was going, and you know that he’s just about ready to ask again. Then in the debugger you see that a variable is set to 0 when it shouldn’t be. “Why the hell is it 0?” you think. “If it’s zero, then that would mean that —” and then it hits you. Suddenly you know exactly why it’s happening, and why it’s so hard to reproduce. All of the weird descriptions of the problems the customer is seeing that didn’t make sense suddenly do make sense. Even better, you know you can give the customer a workaround, fix the problem easily, and even write a simple automated test so that the problem never happens again. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Forgetting that it’s garbage day until you think it’s too late, and making the garbage truck anyway. Even better, when you get the green / blue bin to the curb just as the truck gets to your house, so you can wait for 15 seconds and bring the bin back in.
Being complimented by a stranger on your parenting. When we’re out with the boys at a restaurant or store, I’m proud to say that sometimes they will be particularly polite or helpful. Sometimes, not so much. But when they are, the server will occasionally turn to us and tell us how impressed they are with our kids. When a complete stranger tells you that your kid is very polite, that feeling (“I’m not a complete failure as a parent!”) more than makes up for the bowl of cereal that he (the kid, not the stranger) took 45 minutes to eat that morning despite the fact that you were already late for work.