The Sullivans celebrate Thanksgiving.

I’m writing this month’s column over Thanksgiving weekend and like most of you, I’m thinking about what I’m thankful for. We’re in Florida with some of Kristen’s extended family so I’m very thankful we can all be together. But if I’m being completely honest there are some drawbacks, starting with the nap I just failed to take. It’s a great house, plenty of space and a comfy sofa that is roughly the size of a school bus. But it features a living room with a vaulted ceiling that amplifies mundane conversations to yodeling contest levels of sound.

Thankfully, it is a rental house though so we can freely indulge in critiquing it, which has become one of our favorite vacation pastimes. Sometimes it’s dull knives or malfunctioning ice makers that liven up the conversations. This house will be remembered for its off-limits owner’s areas. Typically we muse over what could possibly be in the one tiny closet that the owners have decided to shield from the renters. Is it where they keep stacks of cash and the really good board games?

But in addition to several locked closets, this house also has a locked food pantry. Our Honey Nut Cheerios and Larabars are sharing shelf space with all the pre-requisite tchotchkes like seahorses and little home-spun placards that remind you this is the beach. I wonder if the laid-back charm carries through to the locked bedroom suite and the locked two-car garage. For all we know, the owners themselves have tangentially joined us for the holiday.

I might knock on a few doors and see if they appear so I can ask them why our bathroom is three times larger than it needs to be yet there isn’t anywhere to hang a towel. While I’m at it, I might question the choice of shag carpeting in our bedroom. Hasn’t their daughter ever eaten too many Flaming Hot Cheetos on the ride there? Light brown shag and Flaming Hot Cheeto Red make for an awfully challenging cleaning project. I had planned on a relatively lazy weekend so I’ll have to just think about how badly I want to recoup our security deposit.

Of course I’m thankful for my immediate family. I’m thrilled that Elliott is enjoying middle school. He’s made lots of new friends and while I’m nostalgic for the days when he called me Daddy, I suppose he could call me worse things than “bruh.” Margo continues to be the funniest person I’ve ever met, but more and more her best material seems to be at my expense. And I’m particularly thankful that Kristen wasn’t too mad about me dropping the apple pie while unloading the car. It was from Costco and roughly the size of a spare tire so as luck would have it, the remaining half was still plenty.

I’m thankful for continued good health. That’s not to say these Thanksgiving family football games aren’t getting a little dicey. I think we collectively escaped with a bruised tailbone (Mary J.) and some mildly bruised egos (most everybody else), but that’s a net win because I’m not even sure where the Urgent Care Center is around here. Plus, a great book idea hit me during the game. Elliott and his cousin Owen will co-author a memoir entitled “I Was Wide Open: Missed Opportunities on The Gridiron.”

Not to be outdone, my brother-in-law Tom mentioned he was thinking of starting an Instagram account to document the various places his daughter Emma leaves her socks like the kitchen counter, the grill… He better jump on this because my kids could dominate in this medium. Our Sock-Stagram account will make Insta-Millions because as I’m learning, that’s how people earn money these days. You better believe I will be thankful for that! We’ll be hosting Christmas so we can put the windfall towards making sure everything is perfect. And if it’s not, that’s ok too. I can always retreat to my owner’s closet.

Tim Sullivan grew up in a large family in the Northeast and now lives with his small family in Oakhurst. He can be reached at