Thursday, October 06, 2005

Coffee Panic, Coffee Love

Yesterday I had to do a shop-- I wanted to pick up an easy dinner for myself since Partner was out with her mother, and get a few other things for later in the week. The best place to do this shopping, I figured, was good old Trader Joe's. I heart Trader Joe's. But I also love my regular grocery store, the always clean, always stocked, and always friendly Hillers. (Just wanted to give a shout out there to Hillers-- I heart you too, Hillers.)

Anyway, Trader Joe's gives me a buzz. Everything is so cheap! And cool! And tasty! I bought a pork loin for dinner on Friday and some of their whole wheat pizza dough for dinner tonight. And then I remembered we needed some coffee.

Usually we get a bag of beans at Hillers--their Kona blend. Thinking about it now, I've never really paid attention to that second word in the phrase. Blend. It makes a difference.

But I wasn't at Hillers market yesterday; I was at Trader Joe's. So I trooped over to the coffee selection and looked at all the different yummy coffees. (Mmmm... that I will be hopefully soon giving up for a good long while.) Oh, and there it was-- a Kona coffee! I picked up the tin and cornered Devo-- real name-- of Trader Joe's.

"Hey," I said, "Can I just open this up and grind it using this machine?"

"Sure!" Devo said enthusiastically, and he showed me how with the beans some person had put into the machine next mine but had failed to grind. He was slightly curious as to why someone would do that, but I have to hand it to Devo, he was still upbeat in that delightful Trader Joe way. "Oh well, I guess the staff will just have to drink this coffee," he said. Then pointing at my can he proceeded to tell me how much he loved the Kona coffee. "It's the best we have," he raved. I got excited-- the best! I love having the best. But at the same time I knew that something was wrong. I looked over my shoulder at the coffee cans behind us. $7.99, $5.99, $6.99-- and then finally the Kona can-- $18.99.


It echoed in my head: Nineteen dollars for coffee! Oh-shit-oh-shit-oh-shit! Nineteen dollars for coffee.

I was buzzing alright, but not for my usual Trader Joe reasons. My brain was working overtime-- could I abandon the coffee can at the grinder... No... Devo might find me and remind me to take my crazy expensive ground up coffee with me. Could I take it in my cart and bury it behind the salty snacks? No... Devo would surely find it later and remember me, my face imprinted in his head so the next time I came into the store, he would make surly faces at me. I would feel like I could never return to Trader Joes.

So what did I do? I rationalized the purchase. It's a big can. Usually we pay $8.99 a pound and surely this was more than a pound, so I could just buy it. It was fine. Fine.

But then as I was placing the can up on the counter for the delightfully cheerful checkout person, I saw the side of the can: 13 ounces. Oh my God. Less than a damn pound!! I could barely talk to the checkout person who was trying to make small talk. I felt sick as I saw the can slide over the scanner. I packed up my groceries. I walked out to the car. I called my mother.

"Don't tell Partner," she said. "Just keep it to yourself. I've done stuff like that too. It was a mistake!" She was laughing. I was laughing, but also trying to not throw up.

Now listen, we probably purchase overpriced shite all the time. We've spent obscene amounts of money to eat out in great restaurants. We aren't afraid to spend-- but we're trying to watch the coppers lately. We have a big baby bill sitting on a credit card, and as I've lamented before, the real estate market around here isn't exactly booming. When one is a builder and real estate agent, this portends not so auspicious things for the old income to debt ratio. So the nearly $20.00 can o' beans was not the best choice in the world.

Finally my mother calmed me down, and we agreed I should just tell Partner. After all, if we were going to be drinking good coffee, she should know it and appreciate it. Plus, what if she herself loved it so much she decided to get more of it unbeknownst to me and found out the price the hard way. It was better just to tell her.

So last night in bed, I did. She laughed. But I still felt horrid. But better. I told her it was like the Champagne of Coffee. She thought that even though it was extravagant, maybe it was okay since it might be the last coffee I get for awhile.

And this morning when she brought me my coffee in bed, it wasn't in my usual Cafe du Monde mug or Hilo Hattie mug. Instead it was poured, delectably, into one of our china cups, complete with saucer. The delicate white and silver edge highlighted the expensive coffee just perfectly. She raised her china cup to mine. "Cheers," she said.

And this my friends is just one of the reasons I love my girl.


Blogger Robin said...

I sure enjoyed reading this! It was about you but somehow felt very me. xo

2:14 PM  
Blogger Firefly said...

Jason always says there is nothing like a cup of tea(in your case Kona) in a China cup! We got a great stainless steal Starbucks coffee press as a wedding gift and I have gone from 1 or 2 cups a week to 2-3 a day. I have to slow down, but we were also given some Kona coffee and it is like cocaine, it will be hard to go back to cheapo stuff, but probably better for me, I might stop twitching so much!

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Manuela said...

Omygoodness... I just stumbled over here via your 'Tom-Kat' comment over at Jenn's journal... and... re the straight comment, are you sure about that?? chuckle...

Anyway, back to your blog... LOVED this post... totally adorable. Particularly the part about Partner bringing you the coffee in a China cup... too too sweet, and witty. And... here's a way to look at it so that maybe you won't feel so guilty... ever go to... say... Starbucks? Think about it... three venti lattes cost a heck of a lot more than your spiffy Kona blend...

I ramble... sorry...

Now I have to back and figure out what stage of the baby-quest you are in....


5:03 PM  
Blogger Trista said...

I can't tell you how many times I've done stuff like that, and it never feels any better when I do it.

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

That better be some damn tasty coffee!

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it... all of it... because so much of it is a piece of everyone out there. I also am reminded of true love and kindness... and although I have not found it does exist!

10:40 PM  
Blogger Nico said...

I think that laughing together about things like this is what makes a relationship. Thanks for sharing the story :-)

11:51 PM  
Anonymous Lynnette said...

Delurking to say, "I heart Partner!" Yeah, for her, making you feel special drinking your coffee. And I agree, get the good stuff while you still can! BTW, I used to be a coffee snob (server in an upscale restaurant, etc.) and for the last 5 years or so, I've been drinking Maxwell House Italian Espresso Roast, for about $2.50 a can. It ain't bad, and I was certainly Jonesing for it during my last IVF!

9:51 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

I'm right there with you... and then at the end you made me cry! Very sweet. Enjoy the coffee, and I *do* hope it's your last for a good long time.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous pixi said...

Now that's love & understanding! You guys are going to make great parents.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

That's a great story--i could totally feel that tunnel vision panic watching the bag go over the scanner. Enjoy it girl...and i'll cross my fingers it's your last bag for a while too.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Career Guy said...

I could feel all that you felt, as you agonized in Trader Joe's and then with your mom. Glad you confessed and Partner took it in stride. Just gotta trust each other in that kind of stuff.

8:28 PM  
Blogger Moxie said...

Very sweet. My mom would have said the same thing. But my partner would have hoarded all the expensive coffee for himself.

Just a heads-up that fair trade coffee is almost always better-tasting than regular coffee because it's often shade-grown (even when it's not certified organic) without as many chemicals and is also usually cheaper than gourmet coffees because it's sold by cooperatives and doesn't have to pay a dealer. My mom is a fair-trade educator and activist and keeps us stocked. When we can't get it, we buy the Whole Foods coffee, which is all fair-trade.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Soul Searching said...

That totally made me cry.

Great post here! Nothing better than a good love story.

9:40 PM  

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