Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Me and Joe

Saintly, long-suffering Moms have been known to say that what gives them the energy to keep up with their kids is love and devotion. Sweet. But I must confess that what keeps ME going is caffeine. Lots and lots of caffeine.

I love coffee. That little cup of hot liquid is why I get up in the morning. I love the steam on my face, the feel of the warm mug, the soothing flow in my throat and the caffeine kick. I love that caffeine goes with "breaks." It's a moment for me. Me and my coffee.

But not too long ago, my love betrayed me. It began when my sister took me to her secret haunt: a specialty coffee shop. I had never ventured into one of those too-hip-for-words establishments before. With my sister's prodding, I ordered a café mocha for the first time. What bliss! So much time wasted drinking ordinary coffee! So many flavors to try! So many different ways to prepare it!

I became one of them. I felt too-hip-for-words and loved it. I found myself stopping in if I needed a boast or wanted to celebrate: my birthday, Labor Day, laundry day...you name it. I had my favorite little place where I'd buy my little cup of caffeine joy. But then it happened.

My clothes got tight. I was having trouble sleeping. My walkin-around money was giving me the slip. Turns out my special treat has 340 calories! The extra caffeine was making me nervous. Or was it the cost? Why had I crossed that line into the world of gourmet coffee? How could I have known that an innocent cup of home-brewed coffee could lead to the harder stuff?

Friends suggested I go cold turkey and switch to tea. A healthy idea, but that weak little wanna-be ain't gonna get me out of bed in the morning! Tea is for parties with teddy bears. Tea is for 4:00 in the afternoon, taking a break from croquet. Tea is for when you're sick, for heaven's sake! I'll drink tea at those times, but I must have my daily jolt of java!

Clearly, I had to make a change, but there's no 12-step program for people like me. I had to find my own way. I learned to avoid coffee shops altogether and now drink only half-caf at home with a splash of skim milk.

It isn't so bad, really. I'm sleeping better, my mommy uniform fits again and I'm still getting enough caffeine to keep up with the kids though I'm learning to rely on love and devotion a bit more.

Occasionally, though, when the house is quiet, I find myself alone with Joe. I still enjoy the steam on my face, the warm mug, the quiet moment to dream. But now I dream of the days when I was reckless and lived for purchased percolated pleasures. The days I bought my coffee out.


Kenzie said...

Starbucks is a pain...

I find my mom in the same situation, pinching pennies to get her Venti Non-Fat Iced Vanilla Latte, Sugar free with Regular Milk. LOL - I'm glad, you are doing better with just the classic Cup o' Joe!

Jennifer said...

Aw, Caryl - no love for tea? Tea is da bomb. Perhaps you have never had good tea. Really good tea. Loose leaf tea, brewed in a pot and then strained into your cup. Nothing like it. Far too often in this country, tea is just made wrong. A skimpy little sack of Lipton tea dust wallowing in a mug of tepid water does not a pleasant cuppa make.

I like your writing style though, Caryl! I'm enjoying so far!


Chicken & Waffles said...

Joe, that silky fluid siren calling you like an errant Circe is a hard habit to shake.

Just drink it black.