Rise of the Javaholics

We all have our vices. For some of us, it’s cigarettes. Others nail-biting. Gambling. Speeding. Teen Mom. We’re all addicted to something that we maybe shouldn’t. Raise your hands if that thing is coffee. If I were to follow my own instructions I’d be typing with one hand right now, because the other would be emphatically waving up in the air.

Yes, coffee has a grip on my soul that nothing but sweet death will give me release from (and even then I’d probably be a pretty happy ghost if you put a Keurig in the casket with me).

big coffee cup

wish I had a cup this big

Along with these vices comes temptation. Otherwise, without the fun of being lured back into the darkness, what power would these vices hold over us? Coffee doesn’t make any sort of attempt to even give us addicts a fighting chance. The options and ease of getting that delicious caffeine into the bloodstream is getting ridiculous.

I mean, I already have a tough enough time passing up a Starbucks, but now some of their stores even have a drive-thru. I don’t even have to bother with parking and walking anymore, two of the things I hate most about going to get coffee. I often war with myself over whether it’s worth getting out of the car if 1) it’s simply too early in the morning or 2) it’s raining or 3) various other sub-optimal weather conditions or 4) I just don’t feel like it.

Every time I crave a coffee-shop coffee, I have the angel and devil on my shoulders. The angel, bright-eyed and secure in its control over stimulating substances would say, “Oh Wendy, it’s way too cold out. Do you really need to don a scarf and gloves just for 12 ounces of coffee?”

The devil, much more alert and awake than the angel will ever be, says, “Oh, you know what you want. You go get it. You’re an adult and you make the rules, not Mother Nature.”

With the drive-thru, the angel doesn’t even stand a chance. Hell, most of the time he doesn’t even show up to the game anymore.  Starbucks has found an even better way to get $4 out of me with as little resistance as possible.

starbucks drivethru

sign of my downfall

Oh, and for the record — I blame my friends and family for my continued crippling debilitation.  It’s not all me… being weak willed and such. They know I love Starbucks and so they shower me with gift cards for Christmas and on my birthday and every other holiday where gifts are expected.  Damn enablers. (Psst… hey… hey you… if you’re reading this, I didn’t mean it… I still want those cards for Christmas!)

Don’t worry, I’m not one of those uppity coffee drinkers. I don’t splurge for the grande skinny mocha soy latte extra hot extra shot extra pump add whip cream instead of foam. I mean, come on! It takes some people a full five minutes to just spit out their custom blend order to the 12-year-old barista behind the bar. Just order off the menu and be done with it already.

You may be saying to yourself, “Well Wendy, if you hate the dilemma Starbucks puts you in so much, why don’t you just make your own coffee?” Duh! You think I haven’t bought the special coffee before? I’ve even gone so far as to get the unique Starbucks syrup and the cute little rinky-dinky cups that make me feel like I’m sitting on a patio in Paris and turns my kitchen into a miniature barista paradise. But, it just never tastes the same.  It. Never. Tastes. The. Same.

My theory? Starbucks must be “enriching” their beans. They’re dropping something special in their brew making it extra addictive. Or maybe their cups are laced with a little something extra. I have to believe this. I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually, possibly even years from now, that a headline will read “Starbucks coffee contains addictive substance,” or “Revealed: Starbucks additive found to be highly addictive.”  I have to believe that because why the hell would any sane person continue to return time and time again to pay for overpriced coffee and be happy doing so?

Maybe it’s the start of a New World Order; the gradual world domination by the mysterious Starbucks under dark mocha skies using their (not-so-secret) weapon… addictive, delicious, wonderful, fantastic, amazing coffee that no one can seem to resist.

starbucks beans

just what exactly is in those beans!?

No Thanks

The biggest nope that ever noped in all of nopeland.  Think I will add this to my reverse bucket list. The thrown-together planks remind me of the small wood bridge over the creek to get to my grandparents’ house in the holler. But at least that was only a 7 foot drop or so into some cool water…not an endless fall into an abyss.

 

Procrastinators, Unite! Tomorrow…

Procrastination:  The fine art of avoiding easy and ordinary chores until they become insurmountable and you need bottles of wine to tackle them.

You all may remember Petra, my beloved burrowing Chihuahua.   I have had to post Lost and Found signs around my house this week.  The last I saw of her, she had chased a ball into my laundry room.  I haven’t seen her since.  I suspect she is trapped under the mountains of socks, towels and sheets awaiting the eager, empty washing machine.  I have taken to throwing treats under the clean piles that I refuse to put away, in the hopes of drawing her out.  I did see a shirt moving last night, and I can only hope it was Petra under there.

I think we can all relate to the Dishwasher Conundrum.  We have dishwashers, beautiful, work saving dishwashers.  It should be as easy as: put dirty dishes in, hit button, remove clean dishes.  I think we all know that is laughable.  The reality is far more sinister.  Let’s review:

  1. Load dishwasher with every spoon, fork and dish we are too lazy to rinse off. Don’t judge me, I know you are guilty of stirring your coffee and putting your spoon in the dishwasher.
  1. Rearrange the now overflowing dishwasher contents to fit in Just One More Cup.
  1. Now that there is no room whatsoever left, finally hit the power button.
  1. Enjoy that unique smell of hot water and detergent. It will be the last time you go near that thing for days.
  1. Place a dish in the sink, with the full intention of emptying the dishwasher the next time you go in the kitchen. You’re far too busy now.
  1. Place a cup, carefully filled with water, atop the dish in the sink. You’ll get to the dishwasher later.
  1. Continue placing dishes in the sink. At this point, you no longer even try to lie to yourself. Those clean dishes are staying in the dishwasher until you move.
  1. Dish Jenga has become the new favorite sport in your house. You now have dishes piled to the ceiling in the sink, overflowing onto the counters, and have been hiding them under the couch cushions.  You consider moving so you don’t have to feel the guilt of the clean dishes crying forlornly in the dishwasher.
  1. Give in, and put the dishes away. At this point, you realize the dishes have aged to the point that they are considered “antique.”  You call the Antiques Roadshow, but they can’t get anyone out to evaluate your dishes; all their personnel are busy balancing dinner dishes in the sink.

My house has several stages of clean, while we’re talking about procrastination.  There is “me” clean, where I write the grocery list in the dust on the desk.  Then, there is “friend” clean, where I at least pick up empty bags of chips and throw away soda cans.  Then, there is the “I’m having a party, oh crap” clean.  Sometimes I throw a party just to have an excuse to vacuum the rugs.  I don’t clean up as soon as I plan the party, though; heck, no.  I perform best under pressure.  Give me thirty minutes with a houseful of people expected, and I will deliver you the cleanest house you’ve ever seen.  Just don’t open the closets.

Procrastination has been on my mind lately, as I realize I don’t always keep up with my fellow bloggers nearly as well as I should, instead tending to read days worth of entries in one evening, sending off a flurry of “likes” to show my appreciation for your talent and dedication to blogging.  I enjoy your writing so much, and I hate that I get so behind.  To all of you who are ready to disown me because you get a week’s worth of alerts in ten minutes, I do humbly apologize. And to be completely honest, it’s not procrastination, between work and a life filled with crazy, I just can’t seem to stay on top of things. To be clear, though, you guys are not “chores,” you are rays of light in my hectic, chaotic life.  I thank you all for making me laugh, think, and sometimes get a little misty.

And you know, I really had more to add to the subject of procrastination, but I’ll tell you later.

Independence Day

So. I drove into the city last week. Two & half hours away.  Got on major highways and everything. Went to a different city last month, same situation. Yep. Me.

No, I didn’t do it blindfolded. No, I didn’t do it only using my feet. No, I didn’t do it without hitting a single red light. I did it. That’s it. That’s the accomplishment.

Not terribly impressed, are you? I don’t blame you. I don’t see Hollywood optioning that story for their next summer tent-pole.

You may not know this about me but I get a little bit, okay, seriously anxious when I’m on a major highway. I wasn’t always that way. It grew on me over time, through a series of repetitive blows to my self-esteem.

So, when I had a significant other, I let him take care of the driving…believe me, he was only too willing to nurture my anxiety right along with me. But now that co-dependent crutch is gone (I’m currently just addicted to Siri, MapQuest, and my GPS!).

Now I’m driving to cities hours away and shoveling out blizzards and I’m getting my oil changed and flat tires fixed and repairing refrigerators myself…well, I could always figure out how to repair things so that last one doesn’t count.  But now I can do it without first having to let someone else try while I stand there watching and biting my tongue and not saying “that’s really not a good idea,” or “I have an idea how to fix it, if you’d just let me,” because I was afraid of hurting an ego that was quite capable of bringing down the house when it was injured.

I allowed myself to be afraid of so many stupid things, like driving into the city for instance. Over the past 18 months or so, I’m going new places, doing new things, and able to count on myself.  My daughter and I are going to take a bus trip to NYC this summer. Can’t wait. We’re visiting Gettysburg and Antietam on our own when it gets warm…which, guess what? Requires driving. Which is cool, because I’ve got GPS and a funny sidekick riding shotgun.

A trip to the National Zoo and the Smithsonian (National) Museum of Natural History are also on our list. BUT we’ll be taking an Uber for that outing. Hey! It’s Washington D.C. folks. No-one in their right mind wants to drive in D.C., it’s not just ME.

And who knows, if we win the lottery, Massachusetts is also on our go-to list.  The Lizzie Borden House is there and we’re anxious to see it. We’ve been told it’s haunted and that’s just too awesome of a possibility for us to pass up. I’ve already got it mapped out and I’m not afraid. Of the house OR the trip it will take to get there.

So. I’m not saying I have every one of my fears hog-tied as I dance over them in victory — anxiety will always rear its ugly head.  But…definitely making progress.  At least now I only have MY little voice to listen to and sometimes my daughter’s. AND neither starts by saying “Oh no! You can’t do this.” Instead it yells, “You got this!” And you know what…it’s right.

Waste of Time

So. Got stopped for not speeding the other night.  I’ll repeat that cause it really does kind of deserve repeating.  Stopped for NOT speeding.

There is a 6 mile road that runs between the main highway and my little town that alternates between farmland and woods – not a house or business in sight until you get into the town limits. Did I mention there are no lights on this road? Now I don’t know how familiar you folks are with driving on country roads with no street lights, but at night time, they get dark. And I mean dark. As in pitch black. Some people opt to drive like a bat out of hell on this particular road because well, either they’re idiots or they figure it’s an easy way to cut the time off their oh so important commute to somewhere they likely don’t want to be in the first place.

Me? At night I tend to go a little slower than the normal speed so that I don’t run over and kill (or worse, hit and not kill) the animals that so often come out in the night-time, like the foxes, deer (which are a big concern over here), opossums, raccoons, and even cats that I’ve routinely seen cross the road as I’ve been driving down it…and whose corpses I’ve seen litter the shoulder of this very road, victims of drivers who may not have been as conscientious.

I interject at this point that the speed limit (limit as in “do not exceed,” not minimum as in “must meet”) on this road is 55 mph. I was going 50 mph. I know this because I had my car set on cruise control, a nifty little invention that allows people to fully concentrate on the road without fear of varying their speed.

So while driving down this road, there was one car following me with his brights on the whole time, you know those drivers, the umm…annoying ones. And even though he could’ve passed me, he didn’t. No. Of course not. Instead he chose to stay behind me and tailgate with his brights shining ever so dazzlingly in my rear-view mirror creating a lovely driving hazard all the way down this 6 mile road – of which we were the only occupants. So you can see that my cutting a whole 5 mph off the normal speed limit in an effort to drive safely was really putting a hamper on the heavy traffic flow.

Now, when you hit the town limits, the speed limit shifts suddenly to 35 mph, no warning…but of course I know this because I’ve lived here off and on forever.  So I touched my brakes and lowered my speed accordingly…and that’s when the blue and red lights on the tailgater’s roof went off and he pulled me over.

When the officer approached my car, he said the obligatory “Ma’am, do you know why I pulled you over?” And I said back as politely as I could, “Well, no, no I really don’t.” And for the first time in my life, I was advised that I was being pulled over for NOT speeding.  What he explained was this: “You were going kind of slow back there for a while, and I’ve found there are only two reasons for this: either you’ve been drinking or have a hard time seeing at night. And I can tell you haven’t been drinking.”

When I explained that there was a third reason: not wanting to run over and kill the animals that routinely cross that road at night, he laughed and said he hadn’t thought of that but, “Yep, that’s a good reason and you’ve given me another one to think about.”

And here’s where it gets interesting folks, because this officer who claims to live in the country, and who as circumstance has it, just drove down the same road I did, had no idea that animals wander into the road at night…and apparently didn’t see the no less than four dead bodies strewn across the stretch of asphalt we had just passed over.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I didn’t get a ticket and further, I appreciate the difficult job police officers have (and the danger they put themselves into just by pulling people over). I didn’t appreciate his initial sarcasm, but hey, the officer understood my reasoning and seemed to seriously take it under consideration for future use when approaching people – so that’s a very good thing.

But what bothers me (and I realize this is small beans in the big scope of police issues), is how fast is that cop used to going on that road that he thinks 50 mph is slow?  And why is not speeding on a lonely, pitch black road a bad thing or a reason to pull someone over?

Happy Anniversary to Me!

So it’s my two-year anniversary of writing this blog…wow. It’s sort of flown by and sort of inched by all at the same time. But then, the year outside of the blog has been like that as well. Writing these posts has been fun and cathartic, I know that. I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to do something that’s “mine” and to let my creative side come out. And trying to empty my brain of at least a few of these incessant flitting, unsupervised thoughts is probably a good thing too.

My friend Anne over at Minimalist Sometimes joined WordPress at the same time I did and that’s how we “met.” Liking each others’ blogs. She wrote a kick-ass post for her anniversary birthday this year. She’s clever like that. You should check it out.

I, on the other hand couldn’t come up with anything clever or eloquent or philosophical to say. So I’ll simply say this again because it just seems so decidedly apropos (there’s my 50 cent word for the day, Mom).

To my vast, loyal minions, fans, readers, I say thank you so much for taking the time to read my work – I hope you’ve enjoyed the meandering adventure so far and will stick around for more of my short attention span theater.

To the newcomers and visitors: “straight-jackets are on the left, meds are on the right, and keep your hands off my crayons.”