today is the husband's birthday. this is the forty-third birthday we have celebrated together. today he is sixty-six and i, amazingly, am still twenty-five. none the less, despite our age difference, i am still madly in love with the old coot and try my best, each year, to buy him a gift that he will love and adore, not just on opening , but for years after.
this year i decided on a pasquini espresso machine, complete with bean grinder and steamer. friends (including our very own bi-coastal broad) warned me that buying an espresso machine was easy, operating it was a whole other story. even the man who sold me the machine suggested i bring the husband in for a tutorial. i laughed to myself. the husband is smart, he is successful, he is an accomplished chef - he can certainly figure out an espresso machine. i have seen high school drop-outs whip out perfect cappuccinos and espressos without blinking an eye. surely, the husband could do as well as a minimum wage earner. i was wrong.
i accidentally (on purpose) woke the husband this morning around seven a.m. i couldn't wait to give him his gift and since i was up i figured he should be up as well. just as i expected, he was thrilled with the present and just as i expected he couldn't wait to try it. after a cursory glance at the directions he set out to make his first cup of cappuccino. glitch number one - we had no cappuccino cups. not to worry, he improvised, using an only slightly dirty plastic cup left over from a baby shower i had given last summer. that problem solved, he filled the machine with water, ground the beans, filled the gizmo with coffee, tamped it down and turned it on. water and coffee flew every where but in the plastic cup. i cleaned the mess up (at this point i was still interested in helping) and he began again - grinding beans, tamping down and turning on. this time the liquid actually made it into the cup but it was ice cold. in spite of the temperature the husband was determined to drink it. "ummm" he pronounced, "i think i am getting the hang of this". once again, i cleaned up (not so interested as i was in the first go round). the third time was the charm, more or less. the coffee was hot and it did, once again, make it into the cup. steaming the milk turned out to be a piece of cake (albeit a messy piece of cake) but he did manage to have a sip or two of his very own, home made cappuccino.
later in the day i asked the husband if he really liked his gift. i was thinking that about four o'clock was a really good time for a cappuccino and yet he was nowhere near the kitchen and the brand new pasquini. "you are so close to making the perfect cup. are you giving up?" i asked.
"no" he answered, "it's just that i am so wired i am afraid if i keep trying to make the perfect cappuccino i may never sleep again".
so like a man. he wants a perfect cappuccino and a good nights sleep.