Editor’s note: I refuse to write about apartment searching again until we have found a place, signed a lease and decanted the wine. You people want to read a success story. All you need know is that Friday we passed on an apartment with a neighbor who enjoys cooking in the buff and directly in our line of sight.

As you may have gathered, things aren’t going well in the search. Emily and I met Friday night to discuss this weekend’s strategy and line up appointments, but with my laptop perched between us displaying the latest Craigslist ads, we just looked at each other defeated.

“I can’t do this,” I said. “I just want to go to the beach and not think about it.”
“That’s why we are best friends,” she said. “I can’t do it either. Calistoga?”

Ten hours later we were heading for massages and poolside lounging at Indian Springs resort. Some people might view this as irresponsible. Foolish. Or just plain wasteful. Especially with the clock ticking down and us needing to save money for the move.

But sometimes you just need to check out for a little while. Sometimes you just need a mental health day. Sometimes you just need to listen to your heart – especially when the search is jeopardizing a friendship that has endured for 26 years – outlasted dozens of failed romances and has successfully weathered Munson family vacations, years of riding co-pilot in Emily’s cars, and my (frequent) tirades. There just is something really wrong with that.

We arrived a few minutes late for our appointments. (I maintain it had nothing to do with the fact that it took me 10 minutes to figure out how to turn on the Volvo we rented from Zipcar.) But it’s kind of hard to remain stressed after you are rubbed down with almond oil, fed orange slices and provided with cucumber and lemon infused water all day – not to mention bathing in mineral springs.

While waiting by the Buddha pond in my bathrobe for Emily I first noticed that palm trees have flowers. Bees congregated under the fronds and as they visited each tiny white blossom petals began showering down on me. I’m not going to lie, but I felt like I was in a movie. The only thing missing was the hot guy in the bathrobe. But I’ll settle for the hot girl who has been by my side for the past two decades any day.

When we were leaving we noticed an olive tree decorated with tiny white tags. I began flipping over the cards and reading messages other guests had written. Some were old with writing long faded from the sun. Often times the only words I could make out were, “I am grateful.”

Others contained single words – usually names – of people or things they were grateful for. Some were sad. It seemed like they were written about folks who aren’t here anymore. Some were about normal, everyday things like bacon and summer days.

They were written in all colors and types of print. Maybe if we all took just two minutes everyday to think about what and who we are thankful for and put down in writing at least one thing that makes us happy – perhaps we would all be a little happier. Maybe we would approach our relationships with each other differently. Maybe we would smile more. Anyhow, here is a sampling of the tags that spoke to me:

• “Dad, we are OK. We miss you. – the Girls.”
• “I am grateful to have opportunities to connect with others again and again.”
• “I am grateful for the family I was born into and the family I now raise.”
• “I am grateful for today and a bright future.”
• “Grateful for all that I make happen in my life.”
• “May 20, 2009 – I miss my mom but know I am the luckiest person on Earth.”
• “I am grateful for Obama – Alex” (this one was written in a child’s scrawl and decorated with a big star. I smiled thinking of who this little one might be and why he/she chose this.)
• “Grateful to be able to love.”

It came time for Emily and me to tag the tree because it didn’t seem right be able to read other peoples thoughts and hopes and not contribute something.

ME: “I am grateful to be able to celebrate the small things. And the big things with the same person.”

EMILY: “I am grateful to see love wherever I look.”

What are you grateful for today?

This is the olive tree we found at Indian Springs. Each tag represents someone's hopes or thoughts about what makes them thankful.
This is the olive tree we found at Indian Springs. Each tag represents someone's hopes or thoughts about what makes them thankful.

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