Coffee or Tea?


If we were having coffee this morning, you’d probably have to fend for yourself. Yes, it’s been one of those mornings.

My Sunday began a little before seven a.m., when I rolled over in bed and found a pair of big blue eyes mere inches away from my own. They were sparkling and oh-so-wide-awake. Disturbingly wide-awake. Terrifyingly wide-awake.

“Hey, Mom!” the boy chirped. “I wondered if you were ever gonna wake up.  Can we go watch TV? Have you had your coffee yet? Are you gonna make waffles today? ‘Cuz we’re out of cereal. We still have the Cheerios stuff but everybody else ate the good strawberry stuff and I never got any of it at all. Can we go to the Amish store and get some more of it ‘cuz it’s really good and it’s my favorite and I never get any because everybody else always eats it before I get any. We have some Lucky Charms but I don’t want it because I already ate  the marshmallows and now it’s just cereal. I don’t want eggs though ‘cuz it takes too long to make ‘em and I’m really hungry and aren’t you ever gonna get outta bed?”

I like to think I said something wise and motherly that fully demonstrated my love for this, my youngest child. In reality, however, I think there’s a pretty good chance I said something along the lines of “I have to pee.”

I haven’t really made coffee in my new place yet. I’ve basically switched to tea for a lot of reasons that sort of escaped me this morning. I dug around in the cupboards for the parts and bits and pieces of the coffeemaker, jammed them together, dug some more for the filters, and scraped the last bits of cheap dollar store coffee out of the bottom of the Folger’s can where I store it to trick myself into thinking I’m drinking the good stuff.

Now I’m somewhere in the middle of my third cup, and Little Man is polishing off his first. Oh, don’t judge me; it’s more milk than coffee, and it’s not as though a little caffeine is going to give him that much more energy. He can’t have more energy than he has at this moment. He’s already vibrating. He’s also playing some game in the living room that involves Matchbox cars, a stuffed camel, and a giant penguin that keeps playing “Let it Snow” on an endless loop that is seriously lacking in volume control.

The energy is a good sign, honestly. He’s settling into our new home and getting enough sleep, and I just don’t think he knows what to do with himself now that he’s fully-rested. He loves his “new” bed here, and I think this may be the first time in months that he’s actually been sleeping all night long without getting up in the night to crawl in with me or one of his siblings.

The coffee is really pretty bad, I’m afraid. If you really want to share some, you’re probably going to need some sugar and milk. Maybe a shot of whiskey, if I had any. Perhaps I should have offered tea?

I have some flavored coffee beans we could try if I hadn’t given the Princess my coffee grinder when she left for college. She was so excited about those blueberry-muffin-flavored coffee beans she bought herself, and I didn’t have a lot of confidence in the hammer-and-rolling-pin method she devised on her own.

She seems to be settling into college life pretty well. She sent me a copy of a paper she wrote about her Great-Aunt Marian, and I was a sobbing wreck by the time I finished reading it, so it would seem that she’s making a good start in that class, at least. She also seems to be pretty happy with Mr. Nice Guy, the newest man in her life. I don’t know much about him beyond the fact that he makes my daughter happy and he treats me with respect, and that’s enough.

My oldest son, the Dark Prince, seems to be settling into his Senior year as well. I can’t believe this hulking 6’3” young man with the size 14 EEEE feet is is the same little boy who taught himself — and all the other daycare kids — to ride a bike because his father and I weren’t teaching him fast enough. I can still see him whizzing around in circles on that little green Hulk bike.

Riding in a straight line presented a few challenges for him, if I remember correctly, but he mastered it the way he has always mastered the challenges that face him. He’s now in the running for a really big scholarship, and I’m busily crossing fingers, toes and everything else in hopes that the opportunity pans out for him.

So . . . life is going on.

It was an awful summer. One of the worst ever. But I survived, and I’m moving forward. Oh, we’re still tripping over boxes, and I’m starting to think I’ll never get all of our clothes put away, but we’re settling in and doing okay. Not great yet, but okay.

Even without good coffee.

Tea can be good too. Different, but good in its own way. I just need to be okay with the idea that my life is sometimes going to have to be different too, but good in its own way.

Due Process

In my defense, let me just say that the food processor was supposed to have a safety feature to prevent accidents.  I say “supposed to have” because the safety feature obviously failed.  In theory, the food processor will not turn on unless the lid is securely locked in place.  Which is obviously a load of crap, because the lid was nowhere near the food processor when it started up with my hand inside.

Note to everyone who is about to tell me that I should sue the people who made the food processor with the faulty safety feature:  I stuck my hand in a food processor that was plugged in.

I am not suing anyone.  Can you imagine me standing up in court and testifying that “yes, I do realize that was a stupid thing to do, Your Honor”?

The good news is that I didn’t lose any fingers or sever anything crucial.  The heel of my hand looked like a chunk of raw pork roast, which has sort of put me off pork roast for a while, and I have added to my status as an accident-prone freak of nature in our local ER, but I didn’t do any long-term damage to myself.  If I were a child, they would be calling in Protective Services right about now.  Since I am an adult, I’m surprised they haven’t called for a psych consult.


Not really one of my finer moments.
Not really one of my finer moments.

I’m just glad I didn’t go in for x-rays when I fell out of the barn and sprained my ankle the week before I processed my hand.

There’s an old saying:  When it rains, it pours.  I never really understood it as anything more than a slogan for selling salt, but I get it now.

You see, I got my house.  I am moving.  It is a delightful house in a perfect location, with enough rooms that my boys don’t have to share.  There is a laundry room, a little playhouse in the back yard, fabulous neighbors, and a grocery store within walking distance.  It’s even got a picket fence, for God’s sake.

A house with a picket fence!

There have been a few hiccups, most of which involve the previous tenants.  Since this is a small town, I won’t go into any detail that might embarrass the family.  Suffice it to say that the bike ramp they set up to fling themselves out the laundry room window was the least of the modifications they made to the building.

I am packing and sorting and organizing eighteen years of my life. My emotions are raw.  I keep going off on crying jags and then laughing because I feel stupid for crying over dumb things.  I fell apart yesterday when I came across the little quartz elephant The Big Guy gave me on our honeymoon; I can’t for the life of me figure out which one of us gets to keep the trinkets we inherited from his grandmother.  And I haven’t a clue what to do about that damn goose in the front yard.

The Big Guy painted it for my Aunt Noni when someone stole Lucy the Goose from her front porch.  We knew she needed a replacement goose – hell, that thing had a better wardrobe than I do – but The Big Guy decided that everyone has plain white concrete geese on their front porches.  Aunt Noni, he decided, needed something unique, and so he painstakingly designed a Canadian Goose.

Just wait until you see him in a dress
Just wait until you see him in a dress

So, really, he should keep Desi the Goose.  He worked so hard and really created a beautiful thing.  But I should keep Desi because he belonged to my aunt.

And I know I really don’t give a rat’s ass about that stupid goose.

I am sorting and dividing and cleaning up my life.  With a 10-pound lifting restriction because of my neck. With a sprained ankle.   With my hand in a splint.  With my kids’ school year winding down, and end-of-the-year parties and band concerts and dance recitals and book fairs and trying to find a job and goddammit I want to crawl under the kitchen table and curl up in a fetal position and have a really good cry.

I’m not sad; I’m overwhelmed.

And accident-prone.
And accident-prone.

I stand in the middle of a room and spin around trying to figure out where to start, and then I decide it’s time for a Toblerone and some Netflix.  I’m not lazy; I have just perfected the art of avoidance tinged with just the right amount of procrastination.  With a little bit of guilt and compulsive overeating  and some vintage Randy Mantooth thrown in for good measure.

It’s probably a good thing I don’t drink.

Although drinking might help explain things when I go back to the ER.  Because I think we all know I’m going to hurt some other part of myself before all is said and done.

I have, however, been able to make one major decision this week.  I may not know how to divide the towels and silverware and DVDs, but I have decided on at least one item that The Big Guy can keep.

I grant him full custody of the food processor.

But I’m keeping the goose.

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