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I never realized what a horrible child I was until this morning.

Growing up I, like everyone, had chores to do: Water the plants, clean my room before the cleaning lady comes, set the table. I mean, it’s like the only reason my parents had kids was to have someone fetch their tennis shoes and refill the ice in their Tabs. Now that remote controls exist I have to ponder why have kids at all?

Probably the most important chore I had was to make the coffee. I didn’t drink this coffee. I hated coffee (and wouldn’t go near the stuff until I moved to Seattle. Yes, it’s true what they say about Seattle and coffee.) But every night before bed, I’d fill the carafe with exactly 10 cups of water, gingerly pull out the white, paper coffee filter measured out six tablespoons of  fine ground beans, hit “Auto” and go to bed. Exhausted. Manual labor was hard!

By the time I got up in the morning my parents were 3/4 of the way through the brew. The brew I crafted with my calloused, little hands. Did they thank me? Never! Wait. Did they? Okay, maybe.

Over the course of my coffee-making tenure, I only messed up big time a handful of times. How? In the worst way possible. I forgot to make the coffee. OMG, people! Could I have hurt my parents worse? Could they be more disappointed in me? More importantly, couldn’t they make their own damn coffee?!

Nope. Apparently not, because I’d be rudely woken up at 6:05 AM, forced out of my faux satin sheet covered bed, lead by the elbow (maybe) to the kitchen to MAKE THE COFFEE while they hovered over me! Are you getting this? They were already awake. They could have MADE THEIR OWN COFFEE. But no. This was supposed to teach me some kind of life lesson. (This was the same line of parenting that allowed my brother to pretty much spoon with a couple of garbage cans. It was his job to take the cans from the curb to the garage and when he forgot my dad moved the cans into his bedroom. This didn’t bother my brother in the same way getting woken up early bothered me because I remember taking a bag of garbage from the kitchen to his bedroom. This was three days later.)

Flash forward years. Probably decades. I ‘ve been a coffee drinker for the last 15 and I have to say I really enjoy my morning cup (or 6). I’m enjoying it right now in fact! Got to tell you, I HATE making the coffee. Still. It’s like reliving a painful childhood memory every night around 11:00 PM. Yes, People, painful. Painful like algebra and my first zit and getting mocked at Chucky Cheese because I wouldn’t smoke a cigarette in the girl’s bathroom. (I showed them a few years later. Ha!) But I realize the importance of this menial task. I will appreciate myself in the morning. I will thank me. So I suck it up and do it.

Always.

Usually.

Often.

Except.

Yesterday.

Oh god, it was terrible! Talk about painful memories! I overslept. I was up too late watching Dexter (very bad idea before bed, by the way) and I hit the snooze 3 times too many. I finally pulled myself out of my cotton jersey slumber, brushed my teeth, flipped open the laptop, all the while noticing something was different about today. Was it the rain? The time of day? The cat didn’t try to ambush me by jumping out of the bathtub at an inopportune moment? Nope.

It was the smell. It smelled like…nothing.

When I walked over to the cupboard where I keep the mugs it was confirmed. Something was very wrong indeed. THERE WAS NO COFFEE! Someone forgot to make it!

Shelly!!!!

Oh, the disappointment! I needed that coffee! Not five minutes from now. I didn’t have five minutes! No, I needed it now! How could I do this to myself? It was then I realized the pain, the agony, the sheer disenchantment my poor parents must have felt all those (3) times I forgot to make the coffee. There was no denying it: I was a rotten child.

I made the coffee that morning and I stood over the pot and watched the sluggish drip, drip, drip the way my parents would watch me carefully scoop the freshly ground beans and dump them into the filter.

Hurrrrrrrrrry….!

“I’m going as fast as I can!”

Not fast enough!!!!!

By the time the coffee finished brewing (and no, I do not have one of those fancy coffee makers that lets you pull out the pot and pour mid-brew.) I was cranky and much too late to enjoy it. I pounded it all hot and bitter (like me!) down my gullet until I gave myself heartburn. The morning was off to a bad start and I feared this would shadow my day.

It did.

I was curt with Judy on our morning chat. This was her fault! Not really, but you always hurt the ones you love, right?

I was a road meanie. You want to merge? Do you? Suck it, School Bus! This is my lane, you big yellow Beeotch!

I was a Grumpy Gustina to my co-workers. Not reading emails right now! Or listening to voicemail! Or allowing any voice other than Joe Elliot’s reach my inner ear canal.

Yes, times like this you need Def Leppard. Don’t judge! Besides, I can’t exactly drink at work (anymore.)

I survived the day (barely) and because I’m the type of person who likes to look at the bright side of things (ha!) I tried to find some good in this situation. It came in the form of a very important revelation. I may want kids after all.

Shelly Mazzanoble

5 Replies to “Grounded”

  1. Yo Shell,

    Okay, perhaps you are like me. In fact, I’ve read your book and all your columns; I know your like me in some ways. I will come out and say (since this is a blog comment and I cannot-most likely-be hunted down and ritually sacrificed by the readers) I detest little children. I teach teenagers, but I loathe little kids, crying, whining, irrational, filthy, insane, selfish brats. I never wanted children, was going to find a nice independent woman who didn’t need children to complete her, just me. Know what changed that?
    Having my own.
    I still marvel at and cannot fathom how I hold so much love inside me for my little girls. Two toddlers later, I sing a different tune. Do I get frustrated? Hell yes. Do I yell and tear out my hair? Of course I do, and every parent that says they don’t is a liar face or an elf in disguise. Parenthood drives you to exhaustion, tears, and pushes you to the brink of everything you have if you do it right. It is also the most amazing, rewarding experience life has offered me so far. Next to making the children and D&D…

  2. Ahhhh, they say that’s what happens! I have lots of friends who never liked kids but they’ve got an army of them at home. Apparently it’s possible to love your own but not everyone else’s. That seems perfectly reasonable to me.

    “Liar face.” I love that.

  3. Oh now hold on there, Girlfriend. I don’t have an army at home and neither do I want an army. I feel like you just cast Curse Birth Control on us. Is that a daily, or a ritual? I’m doing alright with two right now three years apart, but I still find it difficult. My point is, I’m not a convert to The Hive or anything. Right now, I don’t feel like I could handle another one. I guess what I’m saying is if I can/want to do it, so could a lot of other people (I won’t say “anyone” because HELLO Brittany Spears…). Yes, it’s possible to love your own and despise everyone else’s. It is also possible to want to choke your four-year old when she comes in to your room for the fourth time at 3:00 am and you have to get up at 6:00 am to go teach junior high children. It’s possible to not be cut out for it and still do a bang up job and end happy. Then again, some people should just be nutered.

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