Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Caffeine for Christmas

by Carolyn Brown

So what’s wrapped up with a fancy bow for your spouse this year? Husband has been looking at a new fancy coffee pot. We own a four cup that gets the job done in a hurry for breakfast, a twelve cup to use when company comes, an old percolator and one of those new fangled brew-by-the-cup machines.


But this new one is the best thing since ice cream on a stick and his eyes glaze over every time he sees it in the store. Which reminds me of the days when he was busy getting his BA degree to teach English and I was getting my PHT (put hubby through) degree and the only pot in the house was an old gold colored percolator.

I worked.

He studied.

It took coffee and lots of it to get us through those days and we had a rule that said the person who took the last cup of coffee was responsible to start a new pot. I was convinced that disobedience meant death by caffeine withdrawal. In three years we wore out two percolators. We thought we had so much nervous energy because we were young, full of spit and vinegar, and ready to put out a forest fire with a cup of water.

It wasn’t any of the above. It was simply the coffee.

One week we ran out of coffee twenty four hours before payday. We paced the floor, chewed our nails and slept with our eyes shut for one night. The next day we were leaning on the grocery store door when it opened.

The grocery store owner told us that Juan Valdez was fixing to name his donkey Charlie Brown.

There were other tell-tale signs once we got through school and realized how much coffee was affecting our lives.

We had worn the finish off our coffee table three times. I’d written two letters to the folks who make varnish telling them their product was inferior. The last time they wrote back and asked how many times a day we set a hot coffee mug on the table. More than three, please use the enclosed heat resistant coasters with their logo on the top.

The handle on Husband’s favorite mug had no color left on it and his fingerprints were permanently embedded in the glaze.

The Taster’s Choice couple did consider adopting us but changed their mind when we explained we couldn’t use instant coffee. It was too slow. There was a waiting period while the water boiled. However, Maxwell House French Roast did own the mortgage on our house for many years.

It got really bad when we realized we had jumped beyond perspiring in the hot Oklahoma summers. We now percolated and our only source of nutrition came from “Sweet & Low” and “Coffee Mate.”

We got to the point where we could type at least sixty words a minute. Not with our hands. Goodness no! We had to keep our right hand free to hold the coffee mug and the left one to keep it filled. We could type that fast with our toes. Might as well use all that nervous, tapping energy for something. Big toe on the space bar, then line them up ... J,K, L, ; ... and refill the cup one more time.

Husband had to go for a physical during that time and the nurse at the doctor’s office frowned when he broke the pulse reading thing-a-ma-bob. She left the room and got some kind of special apparatus containing a brand new state of the art scientific calculator to take Husband’s pulse.

When that couldn’t keep up with his pulse, she asked him how much coffee he had for breakfast.

“Two,” he said.

“That’s not so bad,” she shook the defective calculator. “Two cups isn’t so much.”

“Not two cups!” I told her. “Two ten cup pots and that’s on school days. On Saturdays, it’s more.”

She rolled her eyes and grabbed an even more high-powered calculator.

Our life’s goal was to “amount to a hill of beans” by the time we were forty. Looking back if we had all the money we spent on coffee we would be living in the lap of luxury these days.

Two cats showed up on our door step at the college apartments and we named them Cream and Sugar and taught them to lap coffee up out of a saucer. Never did quite figure out why they were so danged spastic.

I suppose the real tell-tale sign was the day we went to purchase a first aid kit for the car. Back then it was a big thing. One of those little tin boxes with Band-Aids, iodine, aspirin. All that stuff in case we were stranded on the road between Durant and Tishomingo. Seemed like a reasonable thing until we dumped the box on the bed and really looked at the contents. After a few minutes we tossed them all in the trash. The only thing we needed was a pint container of coffee, brewed with twice the coffee and half the water, and an IV hookup. That would get us through anything.

After a few years, we figured out that sleep was important if we wanted to live to see 70 candles on our birthday cake, so we cut back on coffee. I have realized that if I have two drops after supper I will count sheep until dawn arrives.

A couple of days ago I had a small cup in a restaurant with my dessert.

Dawn was a long time coming.

So what’s on your list this year? A new coffee pot?



12 comments:

Carolyn Hughey said...

LOL Carolyn, what a great post! We've been through all those coffee makers too. When I met my husband, he drank instant--Ack was the first thing out of my mouth, but he's now a convert. We've even gone the French coffee press route, which made delicious coffee, but the bottom of the cup is like the muck on the bottom of a pond.

My motto is 'a day without coffee, is like a day without sunshine'.

Thanks for a fun post that was my first laugh of the day for this early riser. Now, I think I'll go and make myself a pot of coffee.

Carolyn Brown said...

Carolyn, it's the gospel truth with only a little exaggeration! And today we're going to look at that brand new pot for Husband's Christmas.

Sandy Cody said...

Have to agree with Carolyn H. Carolyn B., you're a hoot. Not being a coffee drinker (does that make me un-American?), I rely on chocolate for my caffeine fixes.

Sheila Claydon said...

Lucky lady! Coffee and my stomach don't mix so it's good old English breakfast tea for me.

I do remember enjoying a cup of very sweet Camp coffee when I was a little girl though....coffee mixed with chickory....what everyone in the UK drank in the years after the war when fresh coffee was in very short supply. I loved it, especially with a ginger biscuit. It was a treat my grandmother used to give me and I liked it a whole lot better than hot milk! Didn't get it often though.

Keep enjoying your coffee Carolyn, even if it does have to be early in the day now.

Mary Hagen Author said...

I never drank coffee until I met my husband. His mother and father came from Norway and the coffee pot was never empty. Cups sat next to the pot and people helped themselves. I learned to drink coffee. This morning I enjoyed two cups before settling at my computer. I understand caffiene is actually good for you.Merry Christmas. Mary Hagen

Mona Ingram said...

Great post, CB!! Read it with my morning java.

Carolyn Brown said...

Sandy, I did NOT drink that vile stuff until it went up over a dollar a pound. I figured anything that expensive had to be good and I've never kicked the habit. I betcha you get plenty of caffeine in your chocolate!

Carolyn Brown said...

Hi everyone!
Thanks for stopping by during this super-hectic season to leave a comment! I appreciate you all...Merry Christmas!

Leigh Verrill-Rhys said...

Oh dear. I wondered why I always had so much more energy that those kids! My coffee habit has seen me through most of my procrastinations - not getting that work done before the deadline syndrome. But I did have an Epiphany moment when I came home from work eating two dark chocolate bars on the way and sneaking the third upstairs where my husband couldn't see me. I'd already had 4 cups of coffee at work and fixed two more for the afternoon and finished the day with two cups of tea (has plenty of caffeine too). I went to bed, fell asleep and woke up at 2AM with a pulse so fast I thought I was having an earthquake all by myself. Wonderful post, Carolyn. Such fun to laugh at ourselves.

Shirley Marks said...

I also measured my coffee intake by the pot, not by the cup. Recently I've been having problems with stomach acid. I'm down to 2 CUPS a day, and I'm not happy about this.

Carolyn Brown said...

Shirley, that's the pits! Two cups is barely enough to keep a writer awake!

Beate Boeker said...

hilarious as always, Carolyn! I only drink tea (very un-German) by the gallon, but I've noted the same strange side-effects!