Marriage is like coffee–a blend of nouns and verbs

Categorized as Grounds for Insanity column, Rhonda's Posts

“We need to coffee again. And yes. That’s a verb.” Such was the note that I slipped to a friend the other day.

I know where Mr. Webster put it. He chucked it straight into the noun category. “A beverage,” he’d said, “made by percolation, infusion or decoction from the roasted and ground seeds of a coffee plant.”

Oh, it was that, alright. But thorough as he was, he’d missed it by a fragrant country mile. In my world, coffee was all kinds of a verb. It was what you did with the noun in your mug (another noun) that turned it into an action word.

Pity the tea drinkers. To their credit, their history was colorful. I’d give them that. After all, it wasn’t expertly roasted, flavored and ground French Vanilla that disgruntled colonists dumped into Boston Harbor. But when one thought “tea,” there was little action that came to mind.

Who “teaed,” anyway? Folks Googled, texted and coffeed, but “teaing?” Not so much.

There was, when one stopped and considered it, a lot of action tied to coffee, and much of it took place before the first hot, pleasurable sip ever hit one’s taste buds. That’s what occurred to me during a time of deep, coffee-fueled reflection at (where else?) the coffee shop one recent spring day.

I cannot tell a lie. I’m a coffee snob. I don’t ‘do’ instant, and I don’t ‘do’ the stuff that comes in cans at the grocery store. And now that I’ve blurted out that small, unpopular truth, I’ll be hoofing it for an obscure, little internet café somewhere in Tuscaloosa. When you-all are done flinging your mugs and your coffee cans with Juan Valdez and his burro on the side, I’ll slink back. (There are, if you’re counting, at least two verbs in my action-filled plan.)

Anyway, a good cup of coffee begins with a choice; in my case, Jamaican Me Crazy, whole bean, freshly ground. For a girl like me, there’s a certain solace in the ritual. The clink of the beans, the whir of the grinder and the rich aroma that fills my kitchen are delightful. Even Mr. Schrock, a sniffer only and not a sipper, likes it.

And there I go again. While he’s indeed a sniffer (noun), I make it all kinds of a verb. I’ve been known to lean in over a counter, shamelessly sniffing the aromas at a local establishment, giving thanks to the One who created the bean. Which is what President Clinton should’ve done back in his college days. If he’d stuck with coffee, then whether or not he inhaled would’ve been a moot point, and it wouldn’t have put such a hitch in his campaign giddy-up.

Inhaling or exhaling politicians notwithstanding, sniffing’s part of the whole kablooie when you’re talking coffee. Right behind measuring, grinding, pouring and, well, more inhaling. After all that’s been done, then I’m ready for the other mister in my life—Mr. Coffee.

Mr. Coffee and I have a rich and fragrant history. For years, he’s faithfully gurgled and perked and spluttered and brewed. If he ever goes ker-plunk in a cloud of steam, I’m sunk. And that would hurt, but not for long. I’d have to replace him, see, and before tomorrow morning. Sounds cold, I know, but that’s how I roll.

Fortunately, I’m not so fickle when it comes to Mr. Schrock. We, too, have a long and colorful history, involving some gurgling, spluttering and brewing of our own. There’ve been days when it’s been storms a-brewing; thunder crashes and lighting strikes accompanied by a certain amount of gurgling and spluttering. We’ve weathered our share of those times.

We’ve had days, too, that have been plenty aromatic, and not in the Yankee candle sort of way. I’m talking about the sweaty clothes that Certain Someone deposits in the laundry basket after running several of those fragrant country miles. They’re aromatic, alright, but more in a HazMat suit, goggles and mask kind of way. That’s all I’m sayin’.

While Mr. Schrock doesn’t emit espresso, he is remodeling that one bathroom with plans for the other lavatory after that, and then the kitchen. And that’s something Mr. Coffee can’t do.

A fellow can be forgiven a lot of stuff when he renovates the family nest. And forgiveness, I suppose, is one of the things that’s kept us together. That, and a lot of grace and help from on high.

I don’t have to worry about him going ker-plunk in a cloud of steam. I know he won’t mess with my beans or deplete my half-and-half when I’m not looking. He doesn’t have to worry about me going ker-plunk, either. While I may steam sometimes, he knows I won’t mess with his tools or deplete his chocolate stash when he’s not looking.

Our partnership isn’t perfect, but we enjoy the blend of nouns and verbs that make up our lives. With and without the coffee.

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