Well this week I celebrated my birthday and like so many anniversaries of this kind in my forties, it brought on another bout of existential anxiety. This time last year I was so overcome with ennui that I decided to quit my job and become a stay-at-home dad so now, instead of getting annoyed that a Dutch frozen foods manufacturer hasn’t sent in its monthly financial accounts on time, I get annoyed that my youngest son (aged 6) can walk around oblivious to the fact that his school jumper is on inside out and back to front! Of course the year before that, I decided to get a PS4, which in my view (although not my wife’s) was an equally momentous occasion. For the latest celebration of another lap around the sun, my reaction has been more in the latter category, a nod to consumerism rather than a seismic change of lifestyle. I asked for and received, through the benevolence of she who now pays the bills, a bean to cup coffee machine! Notions I hear you say and you are probably right but isn’t that what a mid-life crisis is all about!
I think I can trace my desire for regular intakes of a superior quality coffee to the frequent trips I used to make to Coffee 2 Go on Mespil Road. Now I’m not saying that I’ll be able to match that fine establishment (that was able to withstand and see off the opening of a Starbucks a couple of doors down the road) which offered a perfect combination of scones, pastries, paninis and sandwiches along with the coffee, but at least I’ll be in the same ball park. Not that Coffee 2 Go was perfect, I mean the queuing system was quirky to say the least, as you invariably had to stand outside the building twice during every visit, first while queuing to place your order and then like some soul on his way through purgatory, journey back into the elements to join the queue for picking up the coffee, in the Irish weather this can be a challenge. But perhaps this added an extra bit of charm to a thriving independent café. But back to my own topic of the day, I had been using a Nespresso machine for just over a decade (thanks to its place on our wedding list) and while its produce was miles better than the instant Nescafe that I grew up with, it just doesn’t cut it anymore. I suppose tastes change over the course of a decade (don’t mention this to my wife), besides why should I deny myself when there are relatively cheap alternatives available. So now I can ease the pain of being in my mid-forties (and closer to 90 than my birth) with a soothing and tasty caffeine brew whenever the fancy takes me.
There are however a couple of downsides to the new machine. Firstly it is a good bit larger than the old Nespresso machine which has led to a significant debate about where it should be situated within the kitchen. I have been making the argument that with a bit of re-arranging and a slight adjustment of the toaster, it can fit neatly in beside the sink and the kettle (seems logical to me). However this suggestion has not gone down well and there has been significant push-back for a number of reasons, the main one seems to be the potential that our toaster could now become a fire hazard! I’m not sure if this is because the toaster could now become so jealous as it is no longer the shiniest thing in the kitchen that it may self-combust or if there is some other more scientific explanation. Anyway my new toy / baby / coffee machine is facing potential banishment to the utility room, i.e. the room where we put the dirty nappies before onward transport to outside bins. No facilitator of Nicaragua’s / Colombia’s / Kenya’s finest deserves that! Secondly it is very loud, which sends Ella (2) running for cover whenever I turn the thing on. Now I find the whirring of the motor quite satisfying when it is grinding the coffee and I can tolerate the sound of the water being heated and pressurised but I am on Ella’s side when it comes to the milk frother which has a high pitched whine like one thousand mosquitoes coming for blood. But I guess like all things in life you must take the rough with the smooth.
Of course now that I have a bean to cup machine I need to purchase some roasted coffee beans. I could just head for the coffee aisle in the nearest supermarket but I feel that if I am to follow through on my “notions” this doesn’t cut the mustard or should I say the smashed avocado! So independent coffee roasters of Dublin watch out, my cute daughter and I will be paying you a visit soon to sample some of your fare.
Of course hitting my mid-forties means that I am likely to be more prone to senior moments. Sure enough I was reminded of this on Wednesday morning when our merry band was scooting through the early morning puddles towards school, think of an antarctic explorer driving a pack of huskies across some snowy wastelands and you roughly get the picture. Our march forwards was halted when Lochlan (8) realised that he didn’t have his school-bag on his back, a fairly standard piece of equipment I’m sure you’ll agree. Now I know I could say that Lochlan is old enough to know better and indeed he did get a blast of my displeasure, but really the blame for this one lands squarely with yours truly. Let’s hope that this doesn’t become a recurring event, at least not after I’ve had my second cup of coffee of the day!