Coffee and not-so-snappy one-liners

It’s been… kind of a hard month. February, man. February just blows chunks, under the best of circumstances. I don’t know why, but we should probably just accept that as fact. The days are short, the weather is wonky, etc. (Mind you, I do not miss the endless days of snow we had in February up north, but even here in Georgia, the weather is confused and unpredictable. TIME FOR A SNOW DAY = no snow at all. SUPER WARM DAY is then followed by CARNIVAL OF ICE, and so on.)

The other day, Otto and I were headed out to An Unpleasant Event (first rule of Vague Club: We capitalize things to pretend we’re not being vague) and it was even worse than necessary because we were out of coffee. THAT IS HOW BADLY FEBRUARY SUCKETH, we ran out of coffee beans and no one noticed and/or had the fortitude to replenish our stash in a timely manner. And now we were faced with heading into hard things without caffeine… unless we stopped for coffee. (Otto is a problem solver. I was all OH NOES, NO COFFEE, EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE, whereas Otto said, “We can stop and get coffee.” This is why I love him.)

[Sidebar: Every morning Otto makes coffee and takes some to work with him in One Specific Travel Mug (even though we have half-a-dozen of them), or at least he did until that mug got dropped one too many times and was both cracked and making an ominous rattling sound. He tried the other mugs on hand, but like Goldilocks, found none of them to be quite right. I bought him a new mug one day at the grocery store and although he was gracious about it, I was then treated to a monologue on how the proper mug would have a metal lining and a certain type of spout and a particular circumference and HOOBOY, Otto is not picky about much, but the One True Coffee Cup turned out to be the exception. Thus it came to pass that for his birthday in December I ponied up for the Cadillac of travel mugs in an effort to please him. (I paid full price, even, so you understand I love this man VERY MUCH.) Everything about this cup meets his criteria EXCEPT that—and really, this is hilarious if you think about it too hard, given his specs here—this baby will keep your coffee piping hot for upwards of 10 hours… and Otto actually doesn’t like his coffee super hot. Of course. I promise there’s a reason you need to know this.]

We stopped for coffee. Otto passed the styrofoam cups to me and I put his in the cupholder between us, then clutched mine like a junkie and folded back the little tab thingie so that I could drink it immediately. Otto continued driving as I slurped, and it occurred to me that part of the reason he wasn’t drinking his yet was because he was driving, yes, but also because he doesn’t like it when his coffee is too hot.

“Do you want me to fold back the tab for you so your coffee can cool?” I asked.

“Sure,” he said. “Thank you.”

I peeled back the plastic and began to giggle. “You like your coffee like you like your women!” I declared. I giggled harder as Otto raised his eyebrows, waiting for the punchline. “I have no idea how to finish that joke. That’s how tired I am. It just seems like there’s a joke here. There should be. A joke about coffee and women and… you know, THERE SHOULD BE A JOKE.”

“Okay…?” he said. Otto gets a little concerned when I get punchy like that.

“TEPID!” I shouted. “That’s it. You like your coffee like you like your women… tepid.” I dissolved into helpless laughter.

“… I was going to say ‘a little bitter,'” Otto offered. “But that works.”

I tried to be offended, for about a millisecond. But then I just laughed harder. “But, see, I am BOTH tepid AND bitter. LUCKY YOU!”

Otto patted my knee and assured me that I was just the sort of woman he wanted. (He may have also added that now I had something to blog about. Thanks, honey!) I think maybe Otto is selling himself short, but I’m not gonna lie, it’s working for me.


  1. RuthWells

    “Bitter and tepid” just about sums up the current state of affairs over here. Perfection.

  2. Holly Gault

    Laughed. Read it out loud to Steve. He laughed, too. The highest praise.

  3. dad

    “Tepid and a little bitter” works, but I’m willing to bet you and your huge network of readers can generate a volume of even more hilarious alternatives.

    I recommend a contest. No X-Rated submissions. Kids may read this stuff.

    Glad you haven’t lost your sense of humor. As my friends at Readers Digest always said…”Laughter is the best medicine.”

  4. Otto

    Well, if your dad says we need a contest …

    Given the summer weather and the way I get picked on for things like coffee mugs, coffee temperature and cars, how about, “locally roasted?”


  5. Karen R

    Not the lavender-pink one?

    • Mir

      Smoky blue. The man has enough reasons to leave me already.

      • Karen R

        If I were getting DH yet another coffee mug, the smoky blue is what I would choose. Are they dishwasher safe?

        Before he retired, I had to keep at least 4 mugs on hand. Two to leave in the car, one to leave somewhere in the house, and one clean one for the next day.

        • Mir

          I don’t think it’s dishwasher safe; in any event, we hand-wash it because it’s the most expensive cup we own. ;)

  6. Susie

    Sweet zombie Jesus, am I glad to know that a) I’m not the only coffee zombie, and b) other couples sound like my husband and I!!! I’m grateful that y’all are both awesome and blogging.

  7. Carrie

    Ah, the perfect travel mug… My hubs has the same problem with the too-hot coffee in his, so he discovered that adding 1 cube of ice to the bottom before pouring the coffee in makes his the right temperature immediately, which the mug will then hold it at, allowing for ideal sipping conditions the entire route to work. The order is VERY IMPORTANT – I strongly advise against filling with coffee and then putting mug under ice dispenser… don’t ask me how I know this to be crucial…

  8. Mary K. in Rockport

    Good story.

  9. Jan in Norman OK

    Has Otto tried Coffee Joulies? The reviews on Amazon are all over the place but the people on “Cook’s Country,” (that PBS show with Christopher Kimball) liked them. Awfully expensive, though.

  10. Chuck

    My friend said that women in Chicago were like iced coffee…cold and bitter…but fortunately that has not been my experience. Not that I’m Casanova or anything but most people I’ve met here have been very nice.

  11. Daisy

    My dear darling husband doesn’t drink coffee, but he will make a detour if I need mine. I like to think it’s because he loves me, but it might be because he doesn’t like dealing with me caffeine-free.

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