March 23, 2013 started with the sound of Sondra’s footsteps clacking across the upstairs bamboo floor. Though she is just five feet tall, she moves through life as a force to contend with from early morning until midnight. Seven days a week, the rhythm of her footsteps wakes me up and echoes to my soul that there are things to do and a life to be lived.
The rat-a-tat-tat of her gait also signals that she is moving toward the coffee machine to push the start button on our morning elixir.
Sweet Jesus…I can smell it now!
I knew today was rolling when the coffee was brewing. Within minutes a smile came over my face as I pressed my favorite mug in to release ten full ounces of heaven. There is just nothing quite like the sound of liquid adrenaline rushing into your cup. And what compares to the smell of fresh brewed coffee? As I filled the cup with Starbucks Medium House Blend, my mental list of activities began to form.
Transfer Starbucks birthday gift cards to one card and buy two pounds of coffee in order to earn two $5.00 additional Starbucks gift cards…Offer expires March 24…
Immediately following the caffeine jump-start, I hopped onto the internet highway and zoomed to Starbucks.com to register my cards.
It’s convenient that I live with two seasoned addicts. My extensive coffee training from my former part-time job at Sur La Table has certainly paid off. From burr grinding the beans to loading the water and filter system, I am now the official caffeine Sommelier in this household. I’m also in charge of carefully monitoring the half and half inventory, ensuring that the half-gallon container never dips below the pint level. That’s a lot of pressure in Nebraska, especially since I have to carefully calculate, “What if there is a snow storm and the four-wheel drive vehicle can’t make an emergency run to the grocery store?” And God forbid that we would run out of Starbucks Medium House Blend beans and be forced to drink Folgers. That would be Armageddon.
What is with my new addiction? Before arrival at the Gerber household, I had divorced myself from coffee and diet soda. It was an amicable split, prompted by a certain health consciousness that avoids artificial sweeteners; I also maintained the notion that caffeine contributed to my sleeplessness. It was puzzling to think why I had been lured back to the dark side of roasted beans.
Today as I sorted through the minutia of my mind (that’s what writer’s do), it dawned on me that I had unconsciously associated coffee with many of my worst memories surrounding cancer care. In retrospect, I was personally escorted by a big styrofoam cup of Joe to way to many five a.m. hospital rounds. The beverage become an ulcer in a cup, not a life experience at a trendy location with smart people and their laptops. Coffee was a necessary commodity to keep my eyes peeled open. What was I thinking in those night hours when I poured a tank full of leftover sludge? I can still see my pitiful self swishing those grinds in the bottom of a burnt pot, hoping they would mix into something more appealing.
I maintained my coffee moratorium those first days in my new apartment. But then as the smell wafted down the stairs along with the echo of laughter at their kitchen table I was lured up into the temptation. The Starbucks experience also overflows to the Saturday trips to Target, with a quick hello to the favorite Barista and Sondra’s Venti-Triple Shot-Three Pump-Vanilla Latte-Extra Hot Starbucks tagging along as we cruise up and down the aisles.
March 23 marked five years (half a decade) since my girl died. My life is just so very different than I imagined. The book “Transcending Loss” writes
…once you accept that you are forever changed and that life is forever different, you have to ask, “What are you going to do about that fact?”
My answer? Make mine a Venti Carmel Macchiato.
- The reality is that Starbucks is just serving me coffee. Sondra & Company are serving friendship and relationship.
- Memories can shift. I no longer smell coffee and think, “Count me out.” Instead the aroma makes me think, “Don’t leave me out.”
On A Lighter Note:
- Think Starbucks is too expensive? We are home brewers. The average 1 lb. bag yields 30-40 cups of coffee. With my $5.00 gift card today on a 1 lb. bag, cost per bag is $7.00. On the low end, $7.00 divided by 30 is .233333 cents per cup. A soda at your average fast food restaurant is $1.25.
- When your whole bean bag of Starbucks coffee is empty, you can return it to Starbucks for one free coffee.
- Still thinking Sondra spends too much on coffee? My friend has taken used gift cards and recycled them into a product line called “Swipes.” Their popularity at www.bluepom.com more than pays for a cup of Joe.