My name is Joe and I'm a coffee snob.
A few years ago I had my first taste of truly fresh (roasted that morning, ground just before brewing) coffee and it quickly became my caffeine delivery method of choice. At the time, my wife and I weren't quite as dependent as we are these days (read: we hadn't had a kid yet) and most of our coffee was consumed leisurely, either over a morning paper on a weekend or in a coffee shop. Taking a few extra minutes to grind the beans and make the perfect pot was part of the ritual.
So when the TASSIMO T65 arrived on my doorstep so I could try it out and tell you all about it, I greeted it with excitement...and a little bit of skepticism.
Single-shot brewers are part of my life, of course, as they are with most people. My office, client sites, even many hotels are now offering up TASSIMOs in place of the barely-better-than-instant filter packs that were prominent even a few short years ago. While I've always appreciated the consistency and convenience of the coffee they produce, I never imagined one replacing my trusty grind-and-brew unit.
After putting this new brewer through its paces, I have to admit that it hasn't replaced my reliable coffee maker. It has, however, and somewhat to my surprise, established itself as an integral part of my kitchen countertop arrangement. Here's why:
TASSIMO offers the widest beverage variety among at-home brewers. From T-Discs that can make lattes and cappuccinos to hot chocolates and teas, having the T65 allows us to offer up more options than cream and sugar. Our house has become the go-to house for family entertaining and with the holidays coming up, this is going to be very, very useful. Sister-in-law wants a mocha? Done. Mother-in-law wants tea? Easy.
It's drinks on-demand with the push of a button.
Making coffee with the TASSIMO really is foolproof—the machine does all the work for you. The patented barcode technology automatically adjusts water level, temperature, and brew time to make the perfect cup. So there's no cleaning out and filling the grinder, putting in a filter, adding water and pouring out a cup from our regular carafe.
The coffee is good and there are plenty of options! And more importantly, it's consistent. No weak pots because I accidently put in too few beans. No skunky pots if I don't clean the machine thoroughly enough.
I like that in the end, I don't have to choose because I still do love the sound of the grinder and the smell of the freshly ground beans. Having a TASSIMO doesn't mean I have to get rid of my freshly-roasted beans or my trusty grind-and-brew machine. I came into this assignment picturing a duel-to-the-death throwdown but really, there's plenty of room in my kitchen for snobbery AND convenience. I'm happy to welcome the T65 to my counter!
On those weekend mornings when I'm the first one up, it's nice to know I can safely consume that entire pot without worrying about making a second one for my wife. It's nice to know that one of us topping off our cup won't leave the other dry should they also need an extra dose.
Now if you'll excuse me, I think I hear a TASSIMO Vanilla Latte calling my name.
And I don't even have to put on pants (something most coffee shops tend to insist upon).
It started as a Saturday like any other: the lingering under the covers, the procrastination that often comes when one has one's face buried in their device of choice. But soon the hands of the clock pushed us into action. Gymnastics class awaited.
We got dressed, fed, caffeinated (me, not her), and out the door like any other Saturday. We got into the car and drove to the low-density commercial-industrial-mixed zone that houses the kid's gymnastics club without incident. We even remembered her water bottle - my record for which runs a pretty solid .500 week to week.H
Boots? Off. Hair? Clipped. Things were looking good. The kid's class was called and she bounced off to the gym while I settled into my waiting room chair. The familiar routine gave no indication of what was to come.
I should step back a bit and set the scene. Her gymnastics club occupies one portion of what might otherwise be described as a warehouse. There's a small waiting area just inside the door and a large exercise facility taking up the majority of the space. It's large enough to run several classes at a time and during our Saturday time slot there are parent-tot classes for barely-walking toddlers, several-hour classes for more advanced tweens, and everything in between.
The first half hour unfolded as the first half hour usually does. The kid ran, stretched, flexed, bounced, and rolled. I sipped, read, tweeted, and daydreamed. It was right around the 30-minute mark, though, when the first signs of trouble emerged (though we didn't realize it at the time).
A screeching toddler. A flustered parent. A few, brief moments of frantic (one-way) negotiation followed by the all-too-familiar scoop and sprint. Class was done for this pair. Knowing, sympathetic glances were exchanged among the parents in the lobby. We've all been there.
Fast forward a few minutes, though, and the scene changed considerably. A second screeching young one, this one slightly older. More hushed urgings to calm down followed by a second mobile wrestling match - the kid desperate to be set free to tantrum appropriately; the father desperate to JUST. GET. OUT. OF. THERE.
This time nobody dared raise their eyes. We all had our heads bowed in slient prayer instead. Dear eminent being of our choosing, please, in all your power and wisdom, please don't let my kid be next.
For see, there are two related truths that every parent instinctively knows to be valid:
The first is that some days are just crazy days. Maybe it's the phase of the moon. Maybe it's the depth of the tides. Maybe a distant planet aligns with a more distant star or maybe the controlling being just decides to shake the proverbial ant farm and cause chaos. No matter what the cause, some days are just crazy days and no child is immune. "Is anyone else's kid acting loopy today?" trends on Twitter and parents hunker down in survival mode, willing the day to end.
The second? Three is a magic number. Bad things happen in threes. Three makes a tend. Whatever jaunty little expression you use to describe it, three is the most dangerous number.
One kid loses her shit at gymnastics? Meh, it happens.
Two kids lose their shit at gymnastics? Nervous laughter and shrugging shoulders.
Three kids lose their shit? Batten down the hatches, folks. Today's one of Those Days (TM).
So when that second kid was dragged out in hysterics, every parent shared the same terrified thought: Don't let it be me next.
Every minor incident suddenly took on greater significance. Two kids clash over the direction in which they should cartwheel on the rainbow mat? All breathing stops.
The clock ticks seem to slow to a crawl.
A kid does a face plant on the tumble track? Muscles involuntarily clench. The lobby is eerily quiet. Even the springs on the trampoline seem tighter.
Wait, was that really only a minute? It felt like an hour.
Then we see it. The youngest class - the parent-tot group that started it all - breaks off and the kids line up for their stickers. Then the next group follows suit. With every kid that comes running out of the gym you can feel the tension breaking ever so slightly. There's still the putting-on-of-the-boots to get through but we're so agonizingly close.
My kid comes out, smiling, joyfully oblivious to the tension. Coats are put on. Mittens are found. Suddenly, almost in a haze, we get to the back, get our boots and get out the door. We're in the car now and I barely know how we got there. I look back and see her smiling.
"Good class today kid?"
"Good class, Daddy!"
She has no idea how true those words are. I turn the key and gun it out of the parking lot.
Crisis averted. Barely.
I want nothing more than to share a funny anecdote about my kid or write some funny and ironic top five list to make you all smile.
But something's happening in Canada right now. Erica touched on it when she talked about the sadness she's feeling. Andrea tried to help us reconcile our feelings about it all. It started with the victims of a national radio host but it hasn't stopped there. Thousands of women started to share their stories online. Even MPs-elected officials in our national Parliament-have spoken out. Women AND men are telling their stories of abuse and harassment.
It feels like a tidal wave. It threatens to overwhelm. I've always known there's a segment of the population that will harass, demean and abuse those around them, particularly when that segment of the population finds itself in a position of power but I had no idea just how large and pervasive that segment really was. The acts of abuse don't shock me, sadly. The breadth and depth of the problem does.
I want to be optimistic. As CP reporter Jennifer Ditchburn said on Twitter, "I hope what we're witnessing is some sort of tectonic shift for women in this country. There has to be a positive."
And so I choose to be optimistic. I choose to believe that the women and men who are stepping into the limelight with their stories really are pushing a far-too-complacent country over some sort of tipping point. I will revel in the discomfort of this past week because that discomfort among the silent majority has to shock us into something bigger than "well I don't abuse or harrass women." It's not enough to not be part of the problem anymore because the problem is bigger than we knew and it is not going away on its own.
My daughter is almost five. Over the past year she's started taking her first steps into the world beyond that which my wife and I control. She's out there now and I'm increasingly terrified about what that world might do to her.
So to the women and men who've been victimized, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for my complacency and I'm sorry for what's happened to you. For those who haven't yet spoken out, I'm sorry that you don't feel like you can. I'm sorry that you've got every reason to believe that doing so is only going to make things worse.
And to those who have spoken out? Thank you. Thank you for being brave and thank you for subjecting yourself to scrutiny and abuse all over again. Thank you for doing your part to make this world a safer and more understanding place for my daughter.
And to everyone who has been abused: I believe you. I will believe you. I have to believe you. Because I've seen what going public does to you and I know that there's no way anyone would bring that on themselves unnecessarily.
Note: This is the spot in our YMC posts where we'd usually link to other articles we've written that are related. It doesn't feel right to do that here. So instead, I encourage you to check out the What Makes a Man Conference being run by White Ribbon Canada. They graciously invited me to be part of their event and while I can't make the trek to Toronto this time around I encourage you to check it out.