03 August 2006


Every morning is the same. I wake up on the left side of the bed, roll myself into the kitchen, pour a cup of husband-made coffee, scoop some kibble into the cat bowl to quiet her whining, and settle into my gold leather armchair by the sunroom window to read and finish opening my eyes.

The variations come only on weekends, and the days when my husband, who is so very heroic and sweet for making the coffee in the first place (I have no room to complain,) skips the steps of washing out all the components of our ridiculously Jenga-like coffee maker and the brew ends up tasting a tad bitter.

I have an acute tongue for coffee. My favorite summer Starbucks drink used to be an iced cinnamon latte with two-percent milk. (Skim makes it too watery next to the ice, and whole is too thick and milky, interrupting the flavor of the coffee. There is a science to these things.) Over time, I began to notice that my latte sometimes tasted better than others. I’ve always believed that Starbucks workers are schooled in consistency, so this made me curious. One afternoon at the drive-through window, I took a sip and found my drink to be the perfect blend. Not too sweet, no bitter aftertaste. I wanted to congratulate the latte maker but felt silly, so instead I just asked, “Why is it that sometimes when I order this it tastes bitter, unlike this masterpiece which you have made for me today?”

The guy at the window, who actually was just making change, not espresso drinks, informed me that there are some baristas who ARE LAZY and don’t take the time to rinse out the components of the espresso machine between pulling shots. When that happens, the oils from previous pulls collect and become bitter, thereby compromising the purity of all future shots and rendering my drink groty.

This morning my “barista” (the one I sleep next to) was not lazy, but still my ritual was thrown askew. For starters, I woke up on the couch.

Yesterday, while cleaning out my desk drawers, I came upon several fluffy cat toys. Normally, we hide the toys from the cat for the very reason that I am about to explain to you, but I have noticed that Mia is packing on the pounds lately, so I decided she needed some exercise and tossed three toys to the floor. Before we went to sleep last night, I mentioned to Jeremy that I should gather up the cat toys to keep her from making “hunting noises” all night, but he said, “No, no, leave them out. I want to see what she does. If she makes noise I will get up and take them away.”

At 5:50 this morning, I started dreaming about scary, screeching children, and woke up to the real-life sounds of the cat prowling around the house with a pom-pom in her mouth droning on and on as if in pain.

An hour later, after the droning stopped, I still couldn’t fall back asleep and moved to the sofa. When I woke up, I had a horrible headache, and in an insult to injury kind of way, the coffee was not up to its usual level of warm, friendly greeting. My husband just mowed the lawn in this blazing summer heat, so I will not speculate further on why the coffee was bad. And I think I will attempt to redeem the day by making us both some nice French toast.