Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Coffee Pots and Marriage

My  coffee maker used to drive me crazy.  An obscure brand, I bought it on sale last year when our old one broke.  The pouring spout was curled around the lip so when I tipped it, the coffee would cling to the edge of the pot and trickle down the side leaving a puddle on the counter.  I would gauge the success of my pour by the number of paper towels it took to clean up.

In the spirit of reducing our paper towel usage, my dear wonderful husband decides to surprise me with a new, beautiful, deluxe coffee maker.

I hate it. 

Our new appliance has a stainless steel pot.  While its opaque finish may be aesthetically pleasing, I have no way of measuring the amount of water in the pot as I fill it.  In addition, its insulated lining means a smaller capacity than our old model.  Not as practical for serving company, I think, as the holidays approach.  Worst of all is the coffee itself, if that's what you want to call it.  More like brown hot water.

Staring down into my steaming mug, I mull over my dilemma.  If I act grateful for a gift I don't like, I will have to drink this excuse for coffee every morning indefinitely.  If I tell the truth, I risk hurting Paul's feelings.  I risk giving him the message that he is not helpful and should just leave the errands to me. 

I decide to be patient.  "Sweetie, I am having trouble with the new coffee maker.  I'm not sure I'm using it correctly.  Could you please try making a pot?"

I watch as Paul carefully measures the grounds.  I watch as he pours in the water.  After it brews, he pours himself a cup of coffee.  He takes a sip.  I notice his nose wrinkle up a little.  "Hmm, seems a bit weak," he says.

"Yes," I agree. I decide this is the perfect time to point out the coffee maker's other deficiencies.  I look at Paul.  He looks crestfallen.  Oh no, I've hurt his feelings!

"Well, I guess I just shouldn't try to do errands for you," he laments. 

I put down my coffee mug and give him a big hug.  "Honey, this coffee pot is not perfect.  But you are perfect for me.  I love you." 

Today Paul and I celebrate our 15 year wedding anniversary.  In a card from his parents, his father writes to us, "Marriage, mirroring life, generally is not a series of ongoing earth-shaking events.  Rather, it is the ordinary day to day routine in which we are given the opportunity to piece together a mosaic of little special happenings into a beautiful picture." 

Nothing earth-shaking happened to me today.  I went to work, walked the dog, returned the coffee maker and chose a new one.  It's probably not perfect either.  It will break someday as well.  But as long as we're able to drink our coffee together, it's perfect for me.  Just like Paul.

November 23, 1996

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