Why Do Coffee Shops Even Exist?

I don’t mean Starbucks or even Dunkin. I mean those places with horrible coffee and Danish that are old and brought in twice a week on a truck from across the city.

The places I’m referring tom are in every town and neighborhood. They are usually overpriced, understaffed, and are dirty.

So why are they even here?

I think people are lazy. You can make your own coffee and save so much each year, it’s not funny. It takes a little bit of effort, but the results are well-worth it. Especially if you grind it yourself. I’m no coffee snob, and I only drink it maybe three days a week, but I know good coffee. The kind that smells burnt and tastes like bitter charcoal don’t cut it for me.

As far as the rolls, crumpets, scones, and all the rest…it’s mostly garbage. No ingredient list. Made from pre-formulated mixes. Lousy oils. And the taste: utterly forgettable.

I’d suggest that if you’re a daily coffee drinker, invest in a coffeepot. Don’t waste your time driving, navigating a parking lot, standing on line, and all the rest. Value your time, value your taste buds, and stop frequenting these places!

My husband started drinking Starbucks and I was not having it. I told him to get serious and stop spending two hours each week going for coffee. He was reluctant and argued and argued, but finally he saw the light. I happen to be right a lot at home, but if you knew my husband, you’d understand.

Anyway, we make a pot of coffee at home on a timer each morning. We buy the best beans. Use our own reverse-osmosis filtered water. And everything is clean. He’s not complaining, I mean, he’ll do anything to not waste time. I knew just where to approach him, being his good wife that I am!

Oh, and, premium organic beans and all, ethically sourced, it’s still way cheaper. I mean, not by ten thousand dollars. Not that sums so small are an issue in our household, but for other families it’s a big deal.

Front Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

How Do I spell Relief? C B Dad

OK. Let me start with yet another disclaimer. I do not use drugs. Not at ALL. Like, the hardest drug Ive’ ever tried was Tylenol. So, when my sister Shannon told me about hemp and CBD, I was skeptical. I mean, I enjoy my Guinness as much as any other Irish-American lass, but that’s where I draw the line. I don’t relish the idea of feeling out of control.

My husband is another story. He was a big pot-head in college. These days, the only pot he goes near is in the bathroom. Still, we have different ideas about drugs. He thinks if my daughters try pot it’s OK. I am absolutely NOT OK with it! My husband is part Dutch, and you know how weed comes from Amsterdam!

So Shannon comes over to visit. Usually, this girl is tense. But on this one day, she seemed somehow…relaxed? It was a new thing for me to see! It didn’t take her more than five minutes to blurt out that she had tried CBD and found a new way to feel calm besides yoga.

Not knowing much about all this, I thought it was illegal. I’ve never touched any of that stuff, so how would I know? Shannon set me straight. She explained that she had tried both the hemp flowers for smoking, as well as some sort of powder for eating. I was skeptical.

When she pulled out a joint, it was too much for me. I began yelling at her to think about her choices, how she has two kids, how she has a good job. She only chucked and told me, very slowly, that CBD and hemp are legal. And, they don’t get you high. But they do…something.

I had to Google it. Turns out, middle sis was right. It was legal, at least for the moment. Supposedly, CBD can’t even get you the least bit high. That’s good. I didn’t want my sister out there making a fool of herself. I respect her, because out of all three of us, she’s the sane one. I didn’t need her changing on me!

Somehow, Shannon managed to get me to try the hemp cigarette she had hand-rolled. I used to smoke cigs in high school. I know, it’s a dirty habit, and that’s why I had quit. I took a pull and immediately choked. It smelled like marijuana. For a minute, I was freaking out, thinking Shannon was trying to hook me on drugs.

But after a few more minutes, I felt somehow different. Calmer. Like the ocean when the surf is lousy.

We smoked the entire “joint” together, and found that it was actually tolerable. Even so, I’m not keen on smoking anything, so in the future, I asked her to try some CBD powder with me.

The next week, we did just that. She mixed some white powder into our coffee. I liked it a whole lot more than smoking. I was still angry that she had persuaded me to smoke ANYTHING, since the last time I had smoked was over ten years ago.

The same effect quickly set in. I felt…relaxed. Kind of how I feel after a massage. My mind was clear, but my body felt somehow different. We took a high dose, but still, there were no mental effects. Since then, I share an “enhanced” coffee with my sis any time we hang out, which is about two to three times a month.

So far, I haven’t had a single bad experience. Is it worth it? I am not sure. It may just be a placebo effect that’s all in my mind. It’s nothing like having a beer, where I definitely know I’ve consumed something that is messing with my mind.

Will I ever go and buy this stuff on my own? Highly doubtful. But I now look forward to our bi-monthly CBD get-togethers. I think I’ve had more patience with my girls, but who knows? It may all be just an illusion. In any case, if you buy and try this stuff hoping to feel drunk or high, you will be in for a big disappointment. It just doesn’t do that. At all.

One warning: The flowers do smell like marijuana. And, I hate that smell. Plus, my husband came home and was like, “What in the world were you doing?” At first, he didn’t believe me, thinking I had turned into a druggie. He had never heard of CBD or hemp either. But after explaining, he quickly got the message. He knows I don’t take drugs, and never would take drugs.

Front Photo by Jeff W on Unsplash

Prenatal Life And The Incessant Hammering

Just a disclaimer: I am going to be talking about woman stuff, so any men who are not comfortable, this is your cue to bail. OK, now with that said, let me jump right in. I have three kiddos. The youngest is 2, the middle girl is eight, and my eldest is ten. They’re all girls.

During my last pregnancy, I thought I had it all figured out. Then came the hammering. It turned out, that pretty old barn behind our house was being renovated into a luxury home. Luckily for me, they had chosen my second trimester as the perfect time to go about doing this work.

My first pregnancy was difficult. I had gestational diabetes, and gained a lot more weight than I had hoped. I did have a vaginal birth, but the epidural hurt for months. I suffered in silence and trooped on.

My second pregnancy was also difficult, but in a different way. I had been working, and my manager was super understanding about my needing to visit the bathroom frequently. Aside from that, I was symptom-free. When my manager moved out to Chicago, my new manager was a furious woman with beady eyes named Daphne. For some reason, Daphne never had kids. And, I guess as a result, she had little compassion for me and my need to urinate frequently.

In the end, I ended up quitting, but not before giving Daphne a piece of my mind. (Wow! Are all my journals going to be about how I put my foot in my mouth?!) I don’t regret it. The woman was harassing me, plain and simple.

So by the third pregnancy, I felt I was an old pro. I did everything right. Did my prenatal yoga. Made sure my manager at my new job understood that I will probably need to visit the bathroom fifty times each day. Everything was going smoothly. And then the hammering began. The first day, it was at 5 AM. Each day for over two months, crews of men would be working on the old barn, transforming it into a modern palace.

I was happy to see an old landmark preserved. But I was not happy that I could no longer get any rest. I stopped working after twenty weeks, and so I was home alone. All day long, I could hear the saws, hammers, trucks backing up, and guys yelling out to each other. I tried closing the windows, even though it was early May. That didn’t help; the barn-cum-mansion was too close. So, my stress level was growing.

Finally, one day I snapped. I went out, walked around the block, and knocked on the door. A surprised man answered. I am guessing he was from Mexico, and he was very respectful. A typical worker dude, covered in sawdust. He called over the architect. Unfortunately, the architect was not quite so kind. He calmly told me that his client, the new homeowner, was on a tight schedule had had to have all the work completed by July, hence the long workdays. I asked if there was anything he could do for the noise and he laughed. His advice? Put a pillow over my head.

My stress level was so high I walked home and cried and screamed. I called my Mom bawling, and she suggested I try calling Kate. Unfortunately, Kate was no longer doing massage, but I needed relaxation, and fast. And so, I found another therapist to do Prenatal Massage At Home Our massage sessions were regularly punctuated by the sounds of construction equipment. Men laughing. Stuff dropping. Cement trucks pouring. It was a joke.

But, I endured, and the massage sessions really did help. It was my respite from the hell that the construction project had created for me. The massage therapists were friendly, and understood that the incessant hammering was becoming some sort of personal hell for me. She suggested a white noise generator. I settled on a loud air purifier. Why not? We already had it in the basement, and it was so loud my husband couldn’t sleep with it in the bedroom. Hence, it’s banishment to the lowly basement!

The air purifier worked wonders! Between that device and my weekly massages, I again found peace. The construction crew finished up the third week of May. I was shocked at what silence sounded like. I think I had completely forgotten by then.

But I had taken action before then, being the hellcat that I am! One dark night, while construction was yet underway, I went around the block with my youngest sister, Jenna. We proceeded to toilet paper the entire work site. My sister also left a fake citation notice on the door. She had found it online and printed it out. It was a fine for being an inconsiderate idiot. None of this stopped the noise, but I did feel a little better. I also took my dog for a walk and had him…do his business….right at the door of the architect’s trailer. I felt vindicated!

Front Photo by Amy Reed on Unsplash

Did I Really Just Say That?

OK. Let me start with this: I am a spa junkie. I love getting massages. My addiction began when I was only fifteen. My first massage was provided by a giant woman named Kate, and my parents paid. I had injured myself during cheerleading, and my doctor had suggested bathing in Epsom Salts…or go for a massage. At first, my Mom laughed at the idea. But as my pain didn’t subside quickly,even with a daily bath containing the magic substance, eventually she relented.

Kate was a licensed massage therapist, but her first calling was teaching rugrats how to tell time and count to ten. She was also a nursery school teacher. Her manner was soft and gentle. I felt like she was so used to talking to little kids that she forgot that the adult world existed. Either way, Kate was a good therapist and helped me with my pain issue.

Eventually, Kate stopped doing massage. She used to come over our house every other week, and that lasted well into college. On the last day that she trekked over to our place, toting a massage table even huger than she was, I said something I regret to this day. I seem to do that a lot. Kate was ever sweet, and so my Mom bought her a box of chocolates. I remember I asked her, “Is the box big enough for you? The store was all out of the larger size.”

I didn’t mean anything by it, and it seems that Kate didn’t even notice that it could have been interpreted as a snarky comment. Still, I felt horrible. To this day, I regret my words. I could have been more considerate, I could have just kept my mouth shut. But no. I spoke without using my brain, as I often do.

Front Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Why Is Life So Strange?

My name is Meghan. Like many other Meghans, I am Irish. If you guessed that I have red hair, I guess maybe a prize is in order. Write me for a dollar. I’ll send it along as soon as I’m able. (Just kidding!) Seriously, though, being Irish is not all leprechauns and pots of gold. We have a tight family, and by tight, I mean…overbearing. I can’t sneeze without my relatives knowing. Forget about farting; that’s community-wide news, and might be announced at Mass Service.

SO why is life so odd? Would I be a totally different person were I not raised under the banner of a four leaf clover? Probably. The Irish stereotypes are all a bit thin. Yes, we drink a lot. Yes, we love St. Patty’s Day. But that’s it. There should be a stereotype about Irish gossip hounds, and how every family has at least eight.

Growing up, my best friend was Italian. We all lived on Staten Island back then. Now, everyone and their mother lives in New Jersey, myself included. Why did everyone migrate? It was the traffic. Anyway, getting back to my story, I spent many weekends sleeping over my bestie Enza’s house. Her home was different than ours. The biggest difference? The food was actually GOOD! She also had a big family, and I can’t remember a time when she didn’t have at least five relatives over.

What was so strange was that her brother’s basketball teammate’s cousin ended up being my husband. I met him countless times. He was this cute boy who played basketball in their yard. One day we went outside and watched the boys shoot at the rusty hoop. I remember he had the ball passed to him and it hit him in the nose. His nose started bleeding. He had been staring at…you guessed it…ME!

We never spoke a word. Well, maybe once. I commented to him how his pants were too short. I was being a very mean girl. It was my way of flirting. He didn’t answer and instead blushed and walked away. We met again at college, and it wasn’t for an entire month before we realized that we had met previously. We were hanging out and my friend Enza texted me. When I told him her name, he said he knew an Enza from Staten Island. (It’s not the most common name, even among Italian-Americans.)

Stranger still, his grandmother lived only five blocks from my own grandparents. If that was not enough, his Dad and my Mom actually knew one another from high school. To me, all of this was too strange to believe. Maybe it doesn’t seem to odd to you?

Front Photo by Rana Sawalha on Unsplash

The Drunken Cantaloupe

My Introduction: How can a fruit get drunk? I’ve seen it happen. The first time was when my Auntie Bess made fruit punch on the 4th of July, 1993. I remember I was only a kid, and eating the fruits that had collected amidst the foaming melty sherbet arrayed in a rainbow of colors had me….well….quite affected. I know; I know! That’s not the cantaloupe that’s drunk, it was ME!

Still, I’ve always carried the image of a cantaloupe stumbling and mumbling under the influence of one too many. So that is the name of my new journal. I hope this is fun to read. Nothing here was penned under the influence of ANYthing, nor were any cantaloupes harmed in the process. Just a friendly disclaimer to those concerned about cantaloupe rights.

Front Photo by Negar Mz on Unsplash

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