Grinding to a halt (and other terrible puns)

I bought a new coffee pot. Finally.

I had been subsisting on this wee little four-cup Mr. Coffee machine for over a year. It had only one button, an on/off switch, that periodically would be flipped to the “on” position by Counter Objects being pushed into it and thus threatening our very continued survival in our home.

Fed up with our continued dance with damnation (or just a potential kitchen fire), I ordered the coffee pot that had been haunting my Amazon wishlist for two years.

So the new coffee pot arrived and I immediately set to work setting it up, buying it beans, and cleaning the drips off the sides with a clean cotton towel.

My new coffee pot, which I have named Gabby (the first time I’ve named an appliance), has a little built in grinder which takes whole beans, pulverizes them, dumps them into the brew basket, and then makes coffee with them. It houses the resulting brew in an insulated thermal carafe rather than using a hot plate (the better to keep the house from becoming engulfed in flames … and to keep my coffee from burning while sitting all day).

This is amazing. I can even program it to do all of this at a particular time. Fresh ground, fresh brewed, unburned coffee at my whim. Fantastic.

Except there is a problem. It has too many steps in the setup. And the one, so far, that keeps getting forgotten is the emptying of the grounds basket. Previously in my life with thermal carafes, the step that was missed was emptying the old coffee out of the carafe and thus causing a coffee flood of Biblical proportions on my countertops.

This is worse.

Where as the Biblical coffee floods resulted in some cursing and a very clean post-coffee apocalypse countertop, the new mistake creates the following issues:

  1. bad coffee as the water is filtered through any new grounds that could squish in over old grounds that have been just settled there since the morning before
  2. jammed up coffee grounds in the grinder portion
  3. me thinking I can catch it and save the day — this gets its own number in the list because this is always a bad way for me to feel
  4. No. 3 results in coffee ground all over the counter, every dishtowel in sight, and sludgy coffee drips all over the machine, the floor, the dogs, my face, and in the carafe.

Some days you should just go to Starbucks before attempting to make coffee.




A Positive Note on Dating (To Ryan)

I am fairly sure that a total of 4 people read this blog.  And 3 of them have administrative rights to its content.

So, funny story. I’ve been dating someone for 6 months.  6 months today, as a matter of fact.  Well, 6 months today according to some standards. See, there’s a story that goes with that. You may remember I went on a truly horrific date in December. It included stories of strippers, pipe-fitting, and scandalous photos. It was awful.

And yet, I proceeded forward.  I had a date but a week later.  A date with Ryan. I would give Ryan a pseudonym, but he has already posted on this blog, and I like the name Ryan. Otherwise I might end up calling him Scott or John or Ray or something else totally unfitting. So, Ryan and I go out.  And we close down a bookstore, and close down a restaurant talking and laughing and being idiots.

Then we go on a second date and similarly laugh and talk and close down another restaurant.

So I text him the next morning and tell him I don’t want to see him any more. That makes sense, right? Actually what I said was “I’m not sure I am feeling the elusive chemistry.”  Always count on an English major to let you down using obscure words.* It was December, 21st, my Mom’s birthday.  And, in short, I was tired.  Tired of dating, tired of the holidays, tired of trying to get up my hopes about men when I was clearly going to die alone with my cat.  Why get invested? It was easier to be alone.  I would continue forth—stoic, undatable.

He asked for a do-over.

I looked at my phone perplexed.  A do-over?

I was utterly confused.  I confessed to my friends that I wasn’t worth the chase.  They argued with me.  I did not believe them.  I noted that I wasn’t that cute.  My mother scoffed at me.  I declared that she was required by law to pretend that I was lovely at all times. I screamed that I was boring and he was just going to dump me anyway when he found out that I was a tightly-wound control troll with thunder thighs and kinky hair made of the souls of children.**

At this point, I was declaring reasons Ryan could not possibly want a do-over to my mother, my roommate, my mother’s lovely friend, a dozen restaurant patrons, and a bottle of wine. Really, anyone who would listen was polled.  And not one of them would listen to my logic. Not one of them saw the brilliance to my desire to dodge rejection.

So, we went out again and again.  And now we’ve been dating for six months and I am stupid happy and giddy about life and talking about rainbows and unicorns and sunshine and helped him buy a new couch because I both fell off and bled*** on the other one…not at the same time.  I hate those gushy people who post how much they love their significant others on Facebook.  It feels artificial and really like it as advertisement to everyone else about their blissful happiness when in fact she is sobbing in the corner nursing a bottle of gin. So I wrote a blog instead.

To Ryan:

I am an idiot.  An idiot for trying to dump you after the second date. And an idiot who loves you for proving it and even inspiring me to admit it semipublically. To six more months and many more.  *smooches*


*I once told an employer that another employee was often a bit abrasive.  His response? “That’s the nicest way anyone has ever called Kristen a bitch.”

**I went to see the movie Tangled in the movie theater.  My extremely curly hair was blown straight for this viewing, which is a good thing because the little girl behind me started weeping that such hair was scary when the curly-mopped villain threatened Rapunzel. It was going to “eat her.”

***There’s a really good story there. Oh, you thought I was going to share?  Yeah, not so much.

A Personal Note about Being Crazy

So, I am crazy.

I am not saying this to be hyperbolic; I am saying this because in the most basic medical sense it is true. The psychiatrist calls my particular kind of crazy anxiety disorder, which is a fairly manageable with medication, therapy, or both—and a tub of ice cream.   Anxiety disorder has to do with my brain.  My brain doesn’t make enough of a certain chemical or it makes too much of it (I’ve really given up on trying to make sense of just what my brain is doing), and as a result, I spend my life heavily scheduling things and being “tightly wound” so that there are no unanticipated deviations. I am Vulcan. Logical. Reasoned.  Unable to adapt to the unordered and unplanned, telling them to “Live long and prosper,” while inside I’m screaming “die in a fucking fire you megalomaniacs!” At least, that’s what I imagine what Spock does.  I think that’s the only way he could possibly put up with Kirk*.

But the problem is not with my anxiety.  I take pills for that. And I count to 100 slowly.  And I breathe. The problem is with my hormones.

The medical world, for all of its advances, knows shit about hormones.

I have polycystic ovarian syndrome. This means that my little eggs are angry about leaving the safe world of the ovary and try desperately to cling to the outside like dust bunnies  battening** down the hatches at the sight of the vacuum cleaner. Because my case is not too severe (and because I’ve been on birth control since I was 17), the doctors are largely able to manage my condition with hormonal contraceptives.  The pills make sure that the eggs make the long journey down the fallopian tube and keeps my girl bits healthy.  At least, that is what they are supposed to do.  My body doesn’t like artificial hormone.   After a length of time on the birth control pill, I start developing morning sickness every time I start a new pill cycle, then come the  migraines.  And then, just when things start to get predictable, I start having bleed through and headaches that last days. Then I start a new medication that confuses my body long enough for me to feel fantastic and to say things like “I’ve never felt so alive in my life” *twitch* or “I’ve harnessed the energy of 7 toddlers and paired it with my mind of steel.”

In short, I feel like this:

Courtesy of Hyperbole and a Half.

And I am HIGH on the feeling.  Until I return to the state of hormone rejection.  Like all rejection, hormone rejection sucks.  Your reproductive system is sobbing in a corner because Hormone*** has decided he likes Brain better.  She’s smarter, you know.  But Hormone is  emotionally confusing, and  makes Brain question her logic: Does he love me? Is he really just the asshole my kidney keeps telling me he is?  Is he worth the constant unrest and emotional pain? Until finally, like a parent, I have to step in, kick Hormone to the curb, and try again.

But today, on what have previously been happy hormone drugs, I do not feel happy.  I feel cranky/sad/happy/mournful/gleeful/sick/disgusted/elated/grumpy all at once.  Ok, more like a new one every 4-7 seconds.

The last time this happened, I was in the car with my roommate.  We were driving to the mall.  I love the mall because I am a shallow, fickle human being who would consider prostituting herself for a friends/family discount at Anthropologie. That is the level of my illness. Regardless, as we drove, she was talking about something on the radio when all of the sudden I started crying uncontrollably.

Roommate: What the hell just happened?
Me: *sobs* It’s not you.  I’m just *sobs* really *sobs* sad *blubbers*

Roommate:  Um…
Me: It’s the hormones *smiles* I feel fine now.

True story.

And that, my friends, is crazy. Because inside my body it’s a reenactment of 90210 but with more modern fashion.  And even though my Vulcan self knows that I am being unreasonable, my human self is weak to the hormones.  Mr. Spock should be glad he wasn’t a woman.

*It’s not really that I have issue with Captain Kirk.  It’s that I have issue with William Shatner. Perhaps, as a friend of mine claims, it is that Shatner is “too big” an actor for TV, that he belongs on the stage.  Perhaps it’s just that William Shatner is a one-dimensional actor. Just putting that out there.

**Ok.  The only time I have ever heard anyone use the word “batten,” it was in the phrase “batten down the hatches.”  Little did I know that is actually not the most common usage, which instead refers to fattening up.  Seriously.  The dictionary does not lie. Wikipedia might.

*** Hormone wears a wife beater and has Justin Bieber hair.  He is the James Dean of the emoverse.


Migraine Medication

I’m prone to migraines. I generally manage them with caffeine, over-the-counter meds, and creative thinking. Sometimes this involves new and interesting positions while I am sitting in the office. At other times this involves me screaming obscenities at the fluorescent light-fixtures while rocking slowly in my chair. If the pain is really awful, I take what my doctor refers to as an “emergency pill” and what I like to call “I feel fuzzy and soft and warm like fresh-baked bread and would thusly like to hug the vagrants who live in our parking lot pill.” This is wonderful until I need to do something productive, like find a word or…you know…speak:

X: a ‘word that starts with i meaning you don’t care about anything’
me: agnostic
X: no
me: or ambivalent
X: no…’i’
me: incredulous…not right
X: no
me: impertinent
X: really?
me: I’m high on migraine meds. I’m just running through everything I can think of
X: very close to that one
me: indeterminate
X: colder
me: insouciant?
X: die in a fire
me: Thank you, I would rather not.