Sunday, November 6, 2011

Coffee and Memories

So, the other day I bought a coffee pot.

Not a big deal, unless you know that I despise coffee.

When I was a child, I was always commanded by (mostly) my mom and (sometimes) my stepdad to make a pot of coffee. And then, to make them a cup. Over the years, I became a pro.
I didn't need to measure. I didn't need the silly little cup they provided.
I knew who liked their coffee dark, how much milk or how much powder cream (it makes a difference) and how much sugar. Course, I had to learn the hard way that powder cream won't mix with cold coffee.

Despite being so awesome *coughcough* at making coffee, I hated it.

And I've stated several--many, many, MANY--times that I would NEVER purchase a coffee maker.

The next thing I know is I'm at home, reading the instruction manual for a coffee maker that I've willingly purchased, wondering, "WTF?" I still hate making coffee. Pots and cups.

*sips from my mug o'pumpkin flavored coffee* Well. I really don't know what sparked me to buy a cheap, on-sale coffee maker. I left my electric kettle for tea at work, but I'm not so lazy to purchase a coffee maker over putting a pot of water on the stove.

As I clean my new, very-impulsive purchase, I'm still fighting with myself over this.

Then I run the water test brew to clean the insides. This is a lot of work for coffee. That I hate.

Then after that was completed, I started to make my first pot of coffee in over well over 10 years. Possibly 15 years even.
I dumped the hot water out. I filled water for only 4 cups of coffee then poured it into the back canister of the coffee maker. I then grabbed a coffee filter (and noticed it was only for 4-6 cups of coffee) and placed it on the inside. I carefully measured 3 tablespoons of french vanilla coffee grounds (also on sale!) and poured it into the filter. Double checked everything.
Water? Check.
Coffee filter? Check.
Coffee? Check.
Everything closed? Placed where they should be? Check.
Plugged in? Check.
Turn on.

Wait nearly 30 minutes before realizing I didn't quite turn it on but on the timer mode.
Actually turn on.

In just a few short minutes, I could hear the growl and dripping sounds of the coffee maker as it brewed the coffee. I could smell the aroma of coffee with a tint of french vanilla.
And then the memories came back.

I remembered playing, being completely ignorant of most of the world's problems, while my mother sat at the kitchen table. I drew. I watched TV. My mother smoked her cigarettes at the table. She bounced her leg. Casually and carefully hit her cigarette against the ash tray to knock off the excess ashes.
Nothing was said, but you could hear the roar of the coffee maker. The aroma of coffee wafted through the air. Along with the stench of cigarettes.
I was absorbed into the Encyclopedias. Reading whatever captured my attention. My mom sat at the table, never saying a word. Not reading a book. Or solving a cross word puzzle. Or talking on the phone. I looked up at her, wondering what she did as she sat at the kitchen table. Doing nothing. But smoking. And waiting for her coffee.
I always wondered what she thought about. Did she have regrets? Did she fantasize about the future? Was she remembering fondly over the past? Did something happen at work? Was she worried about bills? Did the landlord say something to get her upset again? Did my stepdad say or do something again? Did she want to go out? Or perhaps she didn't want to work tonight? Did she want me to get her more flowers? (I often gave my mother dandelions--which she always accepted, gladly and lovingly; even though she was really allergic to them, but I never knew this until I was much older...) Was she worried about the dogs? Or cats? Or rabbits, chickens, the goose, pigeons, fish, snails and whatever else animals we had?
I never asked her. Not once. I never asked her what she was thinking. I asked if she was OK occasionally, and she would always respond with, "I'm fine. Just tired."
Before the pot was finished, I quickly poured some coffee into her cup and had the canister back on the hot plate before any of the coffee hit it. If we had any milk, I'd always use it. I poured a bit of milk into the cup, then a spoonful of sugar. I stirred it all together and gave it to her, "Here Mom!" I ran off as she thanked me.

I sat there in my Chicago apartment. So far away from the home where I used to live with Mom and my family. Mom worked a lot. And when she came home, it was often late and she was always tired. Sometimes she'd drink. She always smoked. I didn't get to spend a lot of time with my mother. I was the middle child of 5 children. I was once the youngest and thus, received most of the attention. But the title was passed to my little sister, then to my littlest brother. I wasn't bitter about it, but I did wish I spent more time with my mother. Especially after since she passed away.

But I was able to interact with her, and oddly, spend time with my mother through coffee. By making a pot and/or a cup of coffee, I was able to see how she was. Sometimes she would laugh. Sometimes she would cry. Either by herself or on the phone with someone I didn't know who. Or on the rare occasions we would have guests over. I'd eavesdrop on conversations and hear about things that happened with the family or at work. And about how she felt. And I'd hear her trademark laugh.

And though I hate coffee, I made a pot of coffee and I fondly remember the good memories. If she was here, what would it be like? Would we laugh and joke like we used to? Would she poke fun at my flavored coffee; IE, french vanilla? Or about how expansive my Piccolo shrine has gotten? Would she visit me in Chicago? Would she beg me for grandchildren or would she laugh and be content with my cats?

And would she like the pots of coffee I'd make her now? With my cubes of sugar and flavored cream? And flavored coffee? I'm sure she would.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Almost Done

We are almost done with the "thank you" cards and such. You see, I planned on giving out burned CDs or printed pictures of the wedding reception and honeymoon/vacation.

It's kind of a lot of work. Right now, I've got a whopping $10 or so to make it til payday, so any prints will just have to wait. And mailing. ...oh joy.

Update on bed bugs: The exterminator came back to spray and only found 1 live bed bug (which he/she so kindly left on the TV). He/she sprayed the entire apartment too. I could still see the spray marks on the walls and lots of white stuff on the floor.
Sadly, we've gotten bitten a lot more so we are hoping this last spray would really kill all if not most of them.
Sadly-er, we are broke and cannot do laundry. EEP. And we are too scared to bring our linen to a friend's house for fear of them getting bed bugs.

Our cats had to hang out all day in our friend's bathroom. When I had to pick them up, they were not happy. But they were really happy to go back home.

Once the thank you cards are completed, I plan on overhauling my website, Updating it, revising it (cleaning up the code), and --if I feel like it--redesigning it. I plan on making a logo for me (that I like and will keep, instead of deciding that I hate it and toss it out the window and sketch out 50 more thumbnails of possible logos for me).

See you later, space cowboy.