Thursday, March 29, 2012

morning joe.

i knew there wasn't any cream for my coffee before i woke up this morning. i knew there wasn't any milk in the house, either. not that i can abide by milk in my coffee, but at least it would be something.

i knew this because wingman and i used half of what was left of the cream yesterday to make butter. which i thought would be fun for him. and it was. so he decided to use the other half and shake it until it made whipped cream. which he flavored with sugar and declared delicious. he put what was left in the freezer. so, no cream for my morning coffee and a happy kid. i figured i would get up and get some in the morning on a walk to the little store. or, that honestly, it really wouldn't matter if i had coffee or not. a lot of days i just don't.

last night i watched the duke drink the last of the milk and figured i'd get that with the cream. around here cereal is an afternoon snack or a weekend breakfast. so we didn't need it first thing. so i could get it anytime tomorrow. later.

when i woke up this morning it was from a(nother) fitful night of sleep. it was windy and rainy and cold. the cats gave me grief, the duke irritated me because he's nearly 15 and the way he 'cares' about something is very different from the rest of the way regular normal people with already developed frontal lobes 'care' about the same thing. i held my tongue, which i cannot stand, which was best, and which only fed my irritation.

so by the time everyone who was awake had been fed and i closed the door on getting the duke on the bus all i could think about was a nice big cup of hot coffee. in my favorite cup. the one that the duke bought me for mother's day last year after i broke my former favorite cup in a fit of glorious conniption. actually, i was just being pissy at the exact same time my cup decided to slip from my grip. it really was a coincidence, truly, but it looked like so much more. more dramatic. more intense. like how you wish it would look when you WANT it to look that way. when really, the way it usually goes it that you furiously stalk out in a swirl of anger and all your DESERVED self righteous glory only to have to return sheepishly because you forgot your car keys.

anyway, where was i? oh yeah. so i headed to the coffee maker, pleased to see there were just enough already ground beans left over for my one cup so i didn't have to wake the sleeping wingman by grinding more. wingman who gets up far too early for this mama who wants just 15 minutes of no one talking to her a day. 15 minutes. that's all i ask. no cats. no kids. nobody. this does NOT happen if wingman wakes up right when everyone else leaves for the bus, for work. because after i feed the cats and everyone else and then they leave, the cats take their first nap of the day. ALL of them. and, it's quiet. just like that.

if wingman wakes up, there is no quiet. 

i look for the scoop and it's not where it lives on top of the grinder. it hasn't fallen to the side or the back of the grinder either. and for a moment, i panic. there is one scoop for coffee in this house. i don't use anything else to measure. i feel like if i do, it won't be right. i am not a coffee snob in the world at large. i will have coffee from a gas station or a convenience store or a styrofoam cup with powdered creamer. if i accept your offer of coffee i will drink whatever coffee you offer me in any way that you offer it. i will drink instant, i will drink flavored. because i suffer from migraines i learned early on that coffee of any kind will stave it off. sometimes beggars can't be choosers. BUT in my little life here inside this house, i have one cup of coffee a day. that's it. and if it's fucked up by any measure then i cannot drink it. won't drink it. it's simple as that. i don't 'need' it until i don't have it and then it sucks. it's such the human condition. well, if you're in the first world.

but there's something else about the coffee scoop. the coffee scoop came with us across country from our other house. our other life. not in the truck. on the truck. on the back of the 26 foot long loaded to the rafters moving truck. the truck that had gone, by then, over countless mountain passes through countless miles of blizzard and snow and ice and just complete shit weather. the truck that held our life before in material form, and our borrowed hope for what lie ahead. simply by moving us forward. mile by teary mile.

and by the time i noticed the scoop we were three days into that god awful trip. in some other state. at some other gas station. at some other fucking subway which for most of the trip was the default food because it simply was the least of all evils. i was on the phone with my mother in law, trying not to gripe, trying to keep it together so when the boybarians and the husband and the trip companion all came out of the subway i wouldn't be crying. so i was walking and talking on the phone and i walked around the back of the truck and there it was. the coffee scoop. from the kitchen. my kitchen. my kitchen with the sky blue tiled counter and the view to the back pasture. the kitchen that i discovered my passion for cooking in. the kitchen that for years fed my family and friends, that hosted all the holidays and birthday parties and gatherings.

and because we needed it up to the minute we pointed the truck and the car east, and because there literally LITERALLY was not one square inch of space left, we left the old, worn out, white mr. coffee behind in that kitchen. on the counter. but i grabbed the scoop.

and there it was. on the back ledge of the truck. just sitting there. like someone put it there. i assumed when i grabbed it that i tossed it into the car or a bag or box. that's what i intended. and yet. there it was. and it hadn't fallen off. through all the shit of the first three days of what would be an eight day trip i never again wanted to repeat in my life, there was the fucking coffee scoop.

i took it as a sign. i mean, at that point i took EVERYTHING as a sign. the way you do when you're heartbroken or lost or drowning. or, all three. i figured that if that coffee scoop could hang on to the back ledge of the moving truck and not fall off then maybe, just maybe i could, too. hang on. not fall off.

it took some time for that to happen, but, it did. eventually. eventually it does. we just need to be patient. time. distance. it comes. i know that now.

so i look again for the scoop. i look next to the new, black mr. coffee. i scan the dark granite counter top. i look again by the grinder. and finally i locate the scoop on the side of the counter on top of the nest of plastic containers that live in the wooden box on the floor. for lack of anywhere else to put them. for lack of usable drawer space due to the mice who are probably gone but the lack of my really giving a shit since i moved here prevents me from really caring or reclaiming the drawers and thus the box of plastic containers lives on the floor at the side of the counter. in some ways i am resistant and petty. in some ways i am hanging on, but not in the good way. but, no matter! there's the scoop!

i grab the scoop. happy to have found it. i scoop the coffee into the filter resting in the basket and pour in the water and hit the 'on' button. and that's when it hits me. that's when i remember i'm out of cream. and milk.


the coffee is now bubbling and gurgling away. my cup is ready on the counter.

i go to the window and i look at the sky. it's dark. it's windy. it's spitting rain. wingman isn't awake yet. and even if he was, i don't have cash on hand to make a quick run to the little market down the hill that has the five dollar minimum for purchases made with a card. i'd have to drive. to the bigger store. farther away. but not until wingman woke up. and the irony is the one morning it'd be convenient for him to be up early, he's not.

i take a deep breath and look back up at the sky. and down to the broken bird bath. to the shit yard i can't stand. with its endless pine needles and lack of charm. i am beginning to really turn on the dark when two more things hit me. both at once: there's the buddha. under the tree. just like he used to be at our old house. oh by then it was just a stump. it had been an old plum and had fallen years ago in a storm and the stump was all that was left. the stump and the buddha. right there. still there. he came with us here and has a new tree. not minding the weather or the yard or the endless pine needles.

and that's when it also hit me: wingman's whipped cream in the freezer. the whipped cream he made from the last of the cream left yesterday. he only had some of it to taste, and then froze the rest. so i went to the freezer, and there it was. the cream for my coffee. just waiting for me to find it.

the thing about life is that some days it's just harder than others. worse still is when some days turn into a string of some days, into months, into years. for whatever reasons we hold onto or are thrust upon us. sometimes it seems as if we'll never have enough of what we need or want, sometimes it seems as if all we have is too much of what we don't. too much of what holds us back and holds us under.

but the beauty in life is that it just is. there. everything is right there. it's just up to us to hang on. to be patient. to use time and distance as salve and salvation. to take a deep breath. to see the sign.

to remember that what we need is always right in front of us. it's just up to us to see it. to notice it. to reach out, and take it.

be blessed,



Drew said...

gorgeous! I love those saving graces in moments of despair.

gerg said...

great little story. at first I was like fuck the scoop. but you brought it back beautifully. great writing. and its funny how life brings you down when you live in the past, and how it seems wonderful when you live in the moment. that's one of the great things about your kids. it forces you into the moment. (especially when they are sleeping in and you realize you'd better enjoy that cup of coffee.)

Lone Star Ma said...