Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ice, ice baby

There's nothing like a cold iced coffee in the summertime. Without it, I'd probably be lying out on the street somewhere. Not hurt or homeless or anything like that... I'd just be asleep. Right in the middle of my walk with Kyle, I'd zonk right out. I know it can happen 'cause I've felt it coming on many times. And if I did doze off, Kyle would be stuck on whatever sidewalk we were on, pointing at flags and not getting any acknowledgement as I lie there snoring for at least an hour. It would be a rather pathetic scene, and that's why I try to avoid it at all costs (well, not all costs... let's say anything under $5... I do have limits on how much I spend on coffee).

Wow, how I've needed coffee lately. We've been hit with a stretch of ugly hot weather that just drains the energy right out of you. That is, unless you're two. On hot days, Kyle's energy level sinks to infinity minus one. Even in our warm apartment, which does not have central air (a window unit and a floor unit keep it half-cool), Kyle still sprints around and plays as if we were experiencing a crisp fall day. I'm beat by 10 a.m., and I still have ten more hours alone with him. If he doesn't nap, which sometimes happens, I'm doomed. So, I have to try to find a way to keep up with him, borrowing energy from who-knows-where, probably from some reserve intended for the future (maybe when I turn 50 I'll just sleep for a whole year). Diaper changes still require a chase around his crib. He still demands that I hold him as I make us lunch or take care of any apartment chores (I'm getting much better at doing these things with only one available arm). Then there's the ongoing "drive Daddy crazy" experiment, in which Kyle does things he knows are wrong but does them anyway because he's two and two-year-olds like livin' on the edge. For example, he stood and wrestled with me throughout last night's bath. How did I stay both sane and awake enough to keep him from slipping in the tub? Iced coffee.

And forget going outside: trying to get Kyle to wear shoes and sunblock is at least a half-hour runaround, rivaling any kind of workout I ever had at the gym. When we go outside, the little guy walks alongside me, demanding that we keep going straight for blocks. Then, just at the point when he could see my feet dragging and the sweat drenching my back, he spins in front of me and begs for me to pick him up and carry him back home. Should I refuse, he'll simply go to the other option: falling to his knees and letting me drag him back. For Kyle, walking is now out of the question. So, do I pick him up? Sure, I do. Why? He has yet to earn enough money to pay the cab fare back. Where do I get the energy to do it? Iced coffee.

While I had long resisted becoming a slave of Juan Valdez and his merciless donkey, I am now a caffeine junkie. I can't go an afternoon without a fix. If I go a little beyond the usual time, I get that awful headache and become irritable or narcoleptic, and the only way to fix that is to get coffee fast. I have a beans dealer on speed-dial. Kyle has noticed my addiction, too, and it has even affected his development. While he still struggles to say the word "yes" clearly, he has no problem saying "Cocoa Bar" over and over again. Cocoa Bar just so happens to be the name of a coffee shop several blocks from our home.

Of course, I don't need iced coffee... hot coffee works, too, and come January I'll be guzzling that stuff, in part to just keep warm. But iced coffee still is the best. It cools me down on a hot day and I don't have to worry about burning my tongue on the first sip. Also, as I hold Kyle, it's lots of fun to press the cold cup on his leg, his stomach, his cheek or the back of his neck and watch him squirm, laugh and say "cold." It doesn't quite work as well with hot coffee, and you might get arrested if anyone sees you try. Finally, this "Cocoa Bar" place makes its coffee with a special ingredient, perhaps one of the greatest innovations in modern food technology: coffee ice cubes. That's right, when the ice made of coffee melts, you get more coffee! These miracle cubes have been a godsend on Fridays, when, after a long week, my energy level is down at zero before Jennifer even heads out the door. And chances are, if we ever do have a second kid, I'll probably start using these coffee cubes to cool everything I drink.

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