Sunday, August 13, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Prompt 20

Good morning and happy Sunday to all of you! First, I want to wish a big thank you to everyone who has been following along  on my blog with these '30 Days of Gratitude' prompts. The number of people reading each post continues to rise, day after day, and I've been really enjoying everyone reaching out to tell me they're own unique reply to the prompt. It's been quite inspiring. The replies I had people message or tell to me, from yesterday's prompt were awesome. Last night, I went with five of my friends I rock climb with to a microbrew on Milwaukee's East Side that opened up just shy of a year ago. It's called Good City and their beer is absolutely delicious. We all sat in front of one of the big, open garage doors, talking and laughing all night. You can surely bet that after four of their dark, strong porters I was thoroughly enjoying my Saturday evening. This AM, I happily yelled out to my Amazon Echo "Alexa, play the Dave Matthews Band station on Pandora," started cooking breakfast and sat down to write this post. Another perfect morning in Shorewood with a sweet day planned ahead.

Pour yourself out a cup of coffee and let's look at today's prompt.

Day 20: What Knowledge Are You Grateful For?

We all have something we know a ton about and are proud of that wealthy bank of knowledge stored away above in our head. Maybe you have an extensive recollection of what exactly goes into brewing the best batch of homemade beer, or you know how to memorize a monologue for an upcoming play or you can sit down and explain the entire history of the Civil War. Maybe you know what exact exercises one needs to do to regain strength in a damaged joint, or you know how to sail a sailboat in high winds, or you can tell what all entails designing, coding and publishing an app for a smart phone or website layout. Whatever it is, we all have this giant batch knowledge about some niche thing that we find fascinating or of up-most importance to us. It's super cool, I think.

For me, it's cars, my knowledge about cars. I'm a huge car geek and I'm not ashamed of it at all. I'm grateful that I know the history of cars, how they work, how to drive them to their limits, how to fix them if something goes wrong and how to buy a car. One of my most treasured things to do, is work on my car.

I've been obsessed with cars since I was a young child, when my mom would push me out in a stroller to the corner or Range Line and Brown Deer Road to watch cars go by. I remember getting Matchbox or Hot Wheels cars as rewards for potty training and you guess correctly that I had one of those cliche city road rugs in my bedroom growing up. I remember reading more car magazines like 'Car and Driver' or 'Motor Trend'  in middle school than actual books required for English class. My middle school friends and I would sit around and compare 0-60mph times and top speeds of cars, because when you're eleven years old, those were the only two things that mattered. I also remember before getting my license, sneaking my parents car out of the garage and driving around the neighborhood. Sorry but not sorry haha, consider it early practice. In high school, I worked jobs at a big Toyota dealership and then a used, European luxury car dealership as a detailer. Then I got my 2001 Chevrolet Camaro after finishing sophomore year of high school, that was and still is my pride and join. Some 16 years later I still have it, and I'm damn proud I do.

Since getting my license, I've made a super strong effort to learn as much as I can about cars and what it takes to keep them in tip-top mechanical shape. I've watched YouTube videos, had friends show me how to work on stuff, read how-to guides in magazines and books and just straight-up gone into fixing something purely trial-and-error. I figure if it all comes apart, it can be put back together again like Legos right? Right. Well, maybe. It started with simply changing out burnt-out light bulbs and oil changes to now, installing exhaust systems and doing body work and at the moment- replacing the entire suspension on a car. I love it. It's always a constant challenge that you have to complete, because well, then you're car-less. I think it's crucial for us to have some kind of a DIY mindset. Take it into your own hands and fix it, rather than paying someone an astronomical amount to do so. Sure, some stuff I just cannot do in my own driveway because I lack the tools, a lift, or it's just too dangerous to do on an amateur level, but I'd confidently say 80-90% of the work that gets done on my two cars, I do on my own. It saves me a HUGE amount of money and time. Yesterday, I took the entire front bumper off my Saab station wagon to replace a broken headlight ballast, repaired some slight-rust forming and changed out the batteries in my remote. It only took me a few hours and a fraction of what a dealership would charge you. It's fun to just experiment and take apart your car, to see all that goes into making those wheels spin. Later this afternoon, I'll be deep underneath my Camaro replacing suspension parts, with a Leinenkugel Summer Shandy in one hand.

But my knowledge isn't just for me. I tremendously love sharing my knowledge of cars with my friends, family and strangers. I've gone with people to buy cars, driven half-way across town in the middle of night to help someone change her flat tire, I've cleaned and hand-waxed other people's cars, replaced batteries. There's a reason I keep a tool kit in the back of my own ride. I love explaining/showing to people how to fix something or how something works on a car, because it helps them out.

So think about what set of knowledge you have to be grateful for, and share it with the world.

Have a perfect Sunday and cheers,

On the iPod...