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Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Keurig Conundrum and Other Coffee Anxieties


My twelve-year old is currently taking health class in middle school. I must tell you that the dinnertime conversations this week have been peppered with some fascinating tidbits. I nearly choked on my chicken the other day when I got questions pertaining to menopause.  Really? As if they don’t have enough to worry about in their young, hormonal, over programmed and pressured lives?
This week they are currently learning about infectious diseases.  Now we are in fear of Diphtheria, Lockjaw, Tuberculosis, and Rubella.  Seriously, did the teacher forget to tell them about disease control and oh, I don’t know, IMMUNIZATIONS?  Today’s disease du jour is HIV/AIDS.  Hmmm, I’m thinking pasta would be an appropriate side dish to accompany a serving of sexually transmitted disease table talk.
Last week, they studied addictions, which is what brought this jewel of a conversation to the forefront.

“Mom, are you addicted to coffee?”

“Yes,“said my husband.

“No, I’m not addicted like people are addicted to drugs.”

“Yes, yes you are,” he said.

“Don’t you get withdrawal symptoms, like headaches when you don’t have it?” My daughter piped up. 

(OK here is a side note, remember when you had your first child and all the other kids were talking and yours wasn’t yet? You worried, stalked the pediatrician, read every book on developmental delays, searched everything bad on the internet, and misdiagnosed your child like a million times? Me too). 
“Uh, kind of.”
“Didn’t you take Motrin on Yom Kippur because you had to fast and knew you couldn’t have coffee and the headache would be really bad?” The husband reminds me.
“So? It’s not really an addiction.” My voice sounds squeaky and I squirming.  They are both looking at me. 
“Okay, I’m Rachel, and I’m a coffee addict.”
Technically, I suppose I am an addict of sorts. I mean, I absolutely need a cup to get me through the morning. Admittedly, I actually panic if I have an early morning appointment and I don’t know how I will slug down a cup of coffee before I go and it is up for debate that if I had another child, I would name it, Starbucks.  Finally, as long as it’s confession time, I have an impressive, museum worthy collection of travel mugs and Styrofoam cups with caps in my cupboard.
 So, it’s ironic that my husband exploits my coffee weakness in front of my offspring given the fact that the enabler bought me a Keurig for my birthday this past November. That’s like giving an alcoholic a beer making kit and saying, “use this judiciously.”

Truthfully, the gift made sense. When my husband went cold turkey on the juice a few years back, I no longer needed to brew a small pot and yet, there I was brewing the same amount because, it had become a part of my routine and I finally had it down to a science .  Sure, I could have spilled the rest out, as I didn’t really need four cups, but that would be soooo irresponsible. 
Enter the Keurig.
I had a few reservations about Mr. Keurig.  On a philosophical level, it represented change, something I continue to resist. Honestly, I was a bit antagonistic about it on my kitchen counter and my Mr. Coffee wasn’t too happy about it either.  I’m not sure, but I think I heard it say, “Et tu cafĂ©?” (My daughter just learned about Julius Caesar). 
It would change my coffee lovin’ life forever.  Now, I had to get my head out of pot brewing mentality and focus on “the cup.”  If the cup was too big, the coffee tasted like dishwater with a hint of chocolate, too small and it was sludge.  The medium was usually the best setting, but then I had to get used to my gigantor coffee cup on steroids being half-empty.  I mean would you stop filling the deep end of the pool at 3ft? Of course not, because that would be dangerous and negligent. See where I am going with this? Sigh.
Next, I had to deal with the arduous task of ordering coffee flavors. This is utterly staggering as there are too many to count. They all sound scrumptious, like a dessert reception in my cup. Chocolate Glazed Donut, Cinnamon Roll, Super Duper Chocka, locka, creamy latte surprise with caramel accents and a hint of rum, just to name a few.  It took me longer to narrow it down to three flavors than it did to fill out our tax return.  Okay, our accountant did that, but you get my drift.
My coffee conundrum may seem insignificant.  Yes, there are probably better things to rant about, but in its simplest form, it’s really just another coping mechanism for change.  As the school year begins to wind down, I feel the bittersweet stirrings of another year completed, and the realization that my kids are getting older, and so am I.  My baby moves on to 3rd grade, and the twelve-year old will celebrate her bat mitzvah, and I think, “How the hell did I get here?”  

Yet, as I look at my half- empty coffee cup, I realize that I’m probably looking at it all wrong, it may seem half-empty, but truly, my cup runneth over.

 

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