Monday, November 14, 2005


Before my husband and I bought our condo, we both enjoyed a Starbucks drink each morning. That was when we had money flowing from our ears, eyes, fingers, wallets (or so it seems now since all I have in my wallet is a ceramic frog I bought at the Japanese Tea Gardens in Portland and some dust bugs). I was a venti coffee gal and he was a venti soy chai guy. My coffee habit cost about 10 bucks a week (40 bucks a month). My husband's was about 25 bucks a week (100 bucks a month). The man loves his soy chai, what can I say.

When we bought our condo, we both had to go cold turkey and stop buying Starbucks in order to save money. I now drink work coffee or home coffee and on very rare occasions Starbucks coffee, but only as a treat. My husband, on the other hand, still buys Starbucks but not as much as he used to. I honestly don't know how much he spends there, but I do know he's found crafty ways to get extra money for himself and he still gets his Starbucks every week. Whether it's more than once, I don't know for sure. All I know is he's paying cash and not putting it on the credit card, and so I can't complain.

However, he insists on hiding his habit from me, which only sparks a tremendous amount of teasing from me when I find empty cups in our condo or in the trash or in his car. He says he doesn't go "that often," but with the amount of cups I find, I would say that "that often" equates 2-3 times a week. He says he goes once every couple of weeks.

We went to Starbucks last Friday morning after a fun 45 minutes at the gym. I used to collect the Starbucks bearista bears they put out for almost every holiday, but now that I'm older by a few years (this started a few years ago -- I'm 31), I've decided to get rid of my stuffed critters for the sake of gaining some money. In other words, I sell them on eBay. They actually go for a lot for some weird reason. My husband noticed that the Halloween bear was now on sale. I went over and looked at the price, which was half off the normal price, so I decided to buy it and put it up on eBay next year.

When we approached the counter, the two girls working at the registers got all happy and smiley and acted slightly like they've seen my husband many times before. There were no hellos by name as was the case with the Starbucks close to our old apartments, but they sure did seem happy to see him. Or used to seeing him.

I put down the bear, and the girl tried to ring it up. For some reason it was ringing up at $2 million some odd dollars, which is not a deal in my book, and so she asked the shift manager how to fix it. He looked and said he couldn't figure it out. That's when I knew fate was telling me to not buy it. I just wish fate had told me the same thing when I spent 7 bucks on a Starbucks finger puppet collection with collector's tin while in Healdsburg a few weeks ago. Apparently the thought of a good deal and the resell value was tops in my brain -- not how the item actually looked or that it was not even new (not new as in the finger puppets aren't attached to the tin any longer although I'm fairly certain no one played with them).

So I told them that I didn't need to buy him, it was okay.

"Are you sure?" they said at the same time.

"Yes, it's okay," I told them.

The shift manager looked directly at my husband and said, "I could save him for you. I'll talk to my manager about it and you can come back -- you come here all the time."

'You come here all the time,' I thought to myself. Like a gun, this bit of ammo was locked and loaded in my brain.

My husband looked at me, and I said no for the final time. I didn't need the bear, and it was saving us 7 bucks. Who knows if I would get that much next year. And who knows if I'd even remember I had it next year.

I walked around the shop and moved over to the side where the drink are delivered to customers. My husband walked over to me.

"So," I began (gun cocked and ready), "you come here all the time, do you?" (bam! ammo released!).

His faced changed to his little boy look, with his squirreled up "I've been caught" eyes and smirky smile. I knew his brain was rapidly flipping through its excuse booklet that's stored in the left side of his skull (this is the direction his eyes eventually go to before fluttering back to me).

"I wish I could describe that look better," I told him. By now we both had our drinks and walked out.

By the time we left, he had enough time to find excuse #20 in his booklet: I don't come that often. I haven't been here for a long time. I haven't been here for 2 weeks!

Now, I know this doesn't sound like an excuse to you, but it does to me when my husband is concerned. Instead of coming up with some fancy, "I was driving by, and my car just took over and parked itself in the parking lot and told me I had to go inside and order a venti soy chai tea or I could never drive it again" excuse, he just comes up with non-excuse excuses. If I say he's done something only once (like changing the toilet paper roll), he'll say he does it all the time. If I say he always leaves his socks on the ground, he'll say he hardly ever does. That's how his excuses work.

So I said "uh huh" and let it go. For the moment. I got to use my ammo all day, which is always fun. He still denies that he goes to that Starbucks enough for them to know him. He thinks he's memorable. He's memorable if memorable means being a habitual venti soy chai drinker.

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