Upping My Coffee Game

It’s a well established fact that I am just not a coffee drinker.

The smell is heavenly – but the taste has always let me down.

My kids, however, all drink coffee.

And not just any coffee – but good coffee. That’s why they make their own when they are here.

The only time I make coffee is when my parents come to visit and I pull my little vintage percolator and attempt to brew a pot. They’ve always said it was “fine”.

To be honest. I never even think about coffee except to make sure I have some in the freezer and half & half in the fridge when the kids are home.

So when Peter brought a bunch of friends down to help tear down the hovel, coffee was the last thing on my mind. At least until they staggered in the kitchen Saturday morning with bleary eyes and mumbling “Coffee?”

I went into full on panic mode and grabbed my little vintage peculator which looked grossly undersized and frantically tried to remember how to make coffee.

I don’t think I succeeded by the number of mugs full of coffee that were left on the table when they went outside.

The next day I texted my oldest son – the one known in our family as the connoisseur of fine brew – and asked him to teach my how to make a good cup o’ joe.

He took the challenge seriously and began lessons the very next time he was home.

I will admit he looked uncertain when I pulled out my little vintage percolator but gamely tried it.

He immediately dumped the pot.

Lesson 1 – when coffee is boiled it becomes bitter. Bitter is not good.

He then introduced me to the French Press <insert heavenly music> which is the easiest and almost dummy-proof way to make coffee.

As he carefully measured the coffee grounds and started the water boiling, he began explaining the different kinds of coffee, pros and cons of coffee beans and already ground coffee and how to tell when your coffee is old and why nobody wants to drink the three year coffee in my freezer.

Lesson 2 – Nobody likes old coffee. Old coffee is not good.

I listened intently as I watched him take the boiling water off the burner, let it sit for a minute to bring the temp down (lesson number 1!) and poured it over the ground coffee.

He then told Siri to set a timer for three minutes, and continued my education on all things coffee. Did you know there’s a roast date on every package of coffee? And the lighter the roast the more caffeine?

My head was spinning by the time Siri told him his coffee was done.

He carefully poured his perfectly made brew into a mug and sat down satisfied with the look on his face that only the most serious coffee drinkers understand.

I sat across from him holding my massive cup of green tea and realized that my brain was about to burst with information.

So I grabbed a recipe card and started making notes.

I fully realize that I may be teased about this for the rest of my life – but I will confess hear and now that I actually have a recipe for coffee.

And I used it when my parents visited.

And they immediately noticed that my coffee had improved. Greatly.

This momma has upped her coffee game!

Next lesson – how to get Siri to set the timer for 3 minutes!

Okay – don’t hold your breath on that one!

 

Bubble Head

11081379_809259099167815_1237937052_nIt’s always a good idea to use your head while cleaning.

Not that I do. Actually – I spend a great deal of time daydreaming and planning and talking and singing and don’t always pay attention to what I’m doing.

Like on Saturday.

I was almost done cleaning the bathroom when I saw a spot on the mirror. I had a towel in my hand so I just reached over to wipe it off.

And when I reached over to wipe it off, the other end of the towel just happened to brush the top of the sink and knock over my ceramic soap dispenser.

Which just happened to crash to the tile floor and break.

Which spilled hand soap everywhere.

I had just filled it.

Oops.

Did I start thinking then? No. Of course not. I immediately took the large super fluffy bath towel in my hand and started to mop up the soap.

It wasn’t until I put the towel in the sink to rinse it that I realized my mistake. An entire soap dispenser full of soap makes a lot of bubbles.

A LOT of bubbles.

So many bubbles it took me 45 minutes of rinsing and squeezing to finally feel safe enough to put it in the washing machine. (That Brady Bunch episode when Bobby puts all the soap in washing machine and the bubbles flooded the room made a huge impression!)

The funny thing is – this is not the first time I’ve broken a ceramic soap dispenser.  I replaced our plastic ones with ceramic a few years ago thinking the kids were old enough now to not break them.

They are – but I’m not. I’ve broken every single one.

And all while cleaning.

The score stands- kids: 0, mom: 9.

Jan’s comment? “Plastic works well. ”

And so it does. Which is a good thing – because sometimes this momma is a bubble head!

In Which I Embarrass Myself – Again

We were gathered in my parent’s kitchen the day after Thanksgiving.

There were at least four conversations going on around us when my brother-in-law said to me, “I read your blog about the bladder.”

I look up quizzically, “A blog about the bladder?”

Then one of my sisters chimed in, “Oh yeah – you remember – the time we four sisters drove to Minnesota for Uncle Dale’s funeral.”

Then all of my sisters started adding to the story for the benefit of everyone standing in the kitchen.

“Teresa was driving and you had to go to the bathroom and there was no place to stop till we got to Faribault.”

“But there was road construction and all the exits to Fairbault were closed.”

(Seriously – is that even legal to c lose every exit to a city?!”)

“You were so desperate you begged her to stop at the port-a-potty in the median but she wouldn’t.”

“So you had to wait all the way to Owatonna and were so miserable!”

“And Sandy – enjoying your misery way too much starting singing songs about water!”

There shall be showers of blessing…”

Some through the waters, some through the flood….”

“Even Winnie the Pooh’s – And the rain, rain came down down down a mighty rushing river…”

(Each new song brought a new round of laughter from my sisters. So cruel!)

“And when we finally got to Owatonna, you ran all the way through McDonald’s to find the ladies room!”

At this point the entire kitchen is laughing.

“But wait” I said, “I never wrote a blog post about that event. I would never put that on my blog – it’s much too embarrassing.”

My brother-in-law stops laughing just long enough to say, “I didn’t say bladder – I said ladder, you know the blog post about the attic stairs.”

Oops.

Oatmeal Cravings

apple oatmealI’m not a huge oatmeal eater.

But every so often – like maybe once a year – I decide that for some reason oatmeal sounds really good.

I’m not sure why I think this since the last time I had a bowl of oatmeal that I actually enjoyed was …

Hmmm….

Let me see…

Still thinking here….

Hmmm…

Okay…that would be never.

But still – the urge hit last week.

I wanted a bowl of steaming hot oatmeal for breakfast.

I got the water boiling, added my oatmeal and decided in my foggy just barely awake mind that an apple would taste yummy in this bowl of delicious healthy food.

So I went to the porch to choose an apple – the perfect apple – from the box of “just picked from our very own trees” apples.

By the time I returned to the stove with my perfect apple washed and diced – my oatmeal was scorched on the bottom of the pan.

This should have been my first warning. But did I heed this warning? No. I started a second pot of water, added my oatmeal and apple, and began to scrounge in the cupboard for the cinnamon, because everyone knows that oatmeal with apples needs cinnamon.

I tear the cupboard apart looking – while stirring my oatmeal every few minutes – until I find the jar.

The almost empty jar.

The “there is just a dusting of cinnamon in the bottom” jar.

I pour all 1/120th of a teaspoon of cinnamon into my oatmeal.

This is sad.

Then I remember that we have cinnamon sticks. In my sleep deprived mind I thought surely I could just grate a cinnamon stick on a micro plane and have fresh cinnamon.

Brilliant!

Or not.

After grating for several minutes (while stirring my now done oatmeal) all I had was a few flecks of cinnamon in my oatmeal and two fingers missing skin.

On to plan C.

What if I break off a piece of cinnamon stick and grind it the coffee grinder?!

Brilliant!

Or not.

After several seconds all I had done was break the stick into lots of little sticks.

But I added them to my now overdone mushy oatmeal anyway – figuring they would eventually soften and dissolve. Right?

Wrong.

These are called cinnamon sticks for a reason. They are sticks. Sticks don’t grate. Sticks don’t grind. Sticks don’t dissolve.

Sticks stay sticks and I was picking them out of my teeth for the rest of the day.

So much for this year’s oatmeal craving.

I should be good for another 12 months.

Hello My Name Is…

hello my name isI am terrible with names.

Sometimes I can’t even remember my own children’s names – and I’m the one who named them.

Once my niece brought her roommate Danni to a family gathering. Such a cute name – but do you think I could remember it?

No way.

Every time I saw this gal I called her something else. Billie, Bobbie, George. It started as an honest mistake – but quickly turned into a joke.

She still remembers me and asks my niece about her crazy (but fun!) Aunt Melinda.

A few weekends ago at my nephew’s wedding I had a nice conversation with a young man that I knew I knew- but I could not remember his name.

Finally – two days later it came to me.

But the most embarrassing moments happen when I don’t even recognize their face.

Last fall at a benefit for a good friend battling cancer – I was stopped at the door by a familiar face. She hugged me and we had the most interesting conversation – mostly because I had no idea who she was.

I picked up enough clues from our one-sided talk to figure out that we knew each other from college. But it wasn’t till later that night that I remembered who she was and how she would know this mutual friend.

Embarrassing.

A similar incident happened at a thrift store recently.  She looked familiar. She sounded familiar. She obviously knew me well enough to carry on a conversation over the rack of ladies long-sleeved shirts.

But I was clueless.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to carry on an intelligent conversation while you are frantically trying to figure out who it is that you are talking to?

I really need to find a way out of these muddles.

Is there a polite way to say, “I’m sure you are very important to me but I can’t remember you?” without offending someone?

Maybe there’s some food I can eat to improve brain function. Aren’t carrots good for that? No – wait a minute – carrots are good for your eyes.

I guess I’m just doomed to embarrass myself.

So if we happen to run into each other and I don’t call you by name or if I look a little confused, help a gal out and introduce yourself.

“Hello, my name is…”

I thank you in advance.