Simple Pleasures of a Snow Day

The simple, perfect cup of hot coffee

It’s about 11 am, on the third day of three snow days. The sun is streaming in strongly, and it illuminates one of my cats, laying all blissed-out on the futon in my office. I’m drinking the last of my coffee — it’s an unmitigated pleasure to be able to sleep in, wake up slowly, get leisurely out of bed and stumble sleepily into the chilly kitchen to make a cup of espresso. I take my time steaming the milk, making sure it is very hot. I stand there, just watching the milk start to bubble and heat.

The end product is a blazingly hot combination of espresso and steamed milk. Nothing different from what I drink each morning, except in the execution. And the aftermath. This simple, perfect cup of coffee I carry up to my office, which for once isn’t a dim little hole, but is a sunny, golden space. I sit down, wearing PJ pants and a cozy sweater, and begin to check emails, Facebook and all the little places on the Internet I like to be active on. I’m slow; I have time. I drink my coffee, smoke a cigarette and read.

Snow day starts are quite unlike work mornings. Work mornings, I hit snooze at the 5:45 am alarm, and get up groggily at 6 am. I stumble to the bathroom to brush my teeth and hair, wash my face and slap on some moisturizer. Stumbling downstairs, I turn the pre-prepped espresso machine on, and while the first rumblings towards brewing start, I pull out my breakfast and lunch and put it in my work bag. Sometimes I have the chance to warm the milk up well; sometimes I am running around too much, and I frantically slap the cold milk under the steamer in time to turn it from icy to lukewarm. I throw it whatever results into a travel mug.

By this time, it’s 6:15. I go upstairs, and spend 15 minutes sipping my warmish coffee, checking email and making sure I have all of the many materials I will need for my classes that day. I head into the bathroom at 6:30, spend 10 minutes on hair and make-up, and then dress. I am out the door at 6:45 am so I can be in the building by 7 am. Class starts at 7:30.

Since I have horrible chronic insomnia, I allow myself only one cup of coffee a day, and damn, I truly love that one cup of coffee. Not only for itself, but for what it symbolizes — the start of the day, my motivation, the shift from the private world to the public.  On a snow day, a day where your schedule should be more harried, to have this chance to really savor a small thing that you love is quietly pleasurable.

This snow day is the first leisure I’ve had to update since Thanksgiving, which tells you something about how much I’ve been able to accomplish over these previous two days off. I wrote an article, worked a ton on unit plans and lesson plans, and planned a party I’m having this weekend. This third day off was completely unexpected, but welcome, even though I am looking forward to getting back in the classroom tomorrow.

But for today, I can actually get out into the world, so I am going to get supplies for my party, get supplies to make gifts for the party and start making my hostess presents. Then I have some grading and cleaning to do. It may not be as blissful as that quiet cup of perfect coffee, but the chance to do this stuff during the day (and not after teaching from 7-4 pm that day and coming home to make dinner, clean up, work on lessons and grading AND make several gifts. . . ) is for which I am profoundly grateful.

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