As part of our mission here at Why Daddy Drinks to revel in the humorous lunacy that is fatherhood, and to promote the drinking of quality beverages, we bring you our weekly segment highlighting something that should be in your glass. This is The Drink Of The Weekend.
When I got home Friday night, it looked like the weekend ahead was going to be such a hurricane of activity that getting in one, good cold beer looked like it would qualify at partying.
Not that I “party” in the traditional sense any more. It has been several years since I was capable of the weekend-liver-destroying activities of my college days. My wife, The Thoroughly Awesome Ms. Crums, rolls her eyes whenever I mention it, but it’s true: my time at the Washington State University Delta Tau Delta fraternity occurred during what was the last great era of unbridled college partying.
When I went to college, the last states had just changed their drinking ages to 21. And since one of those states was Idaho, and Moscow, Idaho was only seven miles from Pullman, Wash., and Washington State, and since Idaho included a grandfather clause that allowed me, at the age of 19, to legally buy alcohol along with my famous potatoes, I spent my first year and a half in the frat house burning a path between Pullman and Moscow. Come the end of classes on Friday, it was not uncommon for me and some buddies to load up in someone’s car with a shopping list that would have filled a liquor store, blast over the Moscow, load up on 30 packs of Stroh’s [For just $9.99, too], and then fly back to our frat house so that we could start beering it up by 5 o’clock.
And this, too, was often done knowing that we were either having or going to a party that would include about 25 kegs of beer. And we did this most Saturdays, as well.
Today? Well, I keep a decent amount of good beer and booze around, but I’d be lying if I said I drank more than four on a standard Friday night or Saturday. Part of that is because now I appreciate Good Beer, like the Stone Brewing Co. IPA. College was for slaking our thirsts with the aforementioned Stroh’s…and other High Quality Brews like Bud, Bud Light and Keystone Light. It was easier to drink more back then because we were essentially drinking water with a dash of alcohol in it.
So, as times have changed, the drink I drink the most has changed, too. And that drink should come as no surprise to anyone who has kids, has kids that wake them up early and has kids that demand your attention for something new every 15 seconds; so much so that it can take you 20 minutes just to make some of that drink that I have come to love and rely on so much.
Being from near Seattle, it’s probably a cliché to say that coffee is in my veins. But really, even up there, where drive-thru espresso stands are as prevalent as Dunkin’ Donuts shops in Boston, the coffee craze didn’t really begin until the early 1990s. Starbucks was around, but mostly as a shop in Seattle and coffee roastery. Then, seemingly one day in 1991, there was a Starbucks in the Tacoma Mall. And in every mall. And then in grocery stores. In 1990, nobody knew what a mocha was. One year later, it was cool to wait in line for a mocha. A double-tall extra-hot vanilla mocha, at that. One that I bought from the Starbucks barista I dated for a short time, too.
But enough about her.
Coffee exploded and I did with it. I moved to Japan for three years where they sell hot coffee in cans from vending machines. I then went Boston for graduate school and to work and quickly learned the special Dunkin’ Donuts language for ordering coffee. I can drink coffee morning, noon or night and it doesn’t matter. This past weekend, I got up early and drove my four-year-old daughter, Maddo, out to the town of Mariposa, near Yosemite National Park, where we have a rambling, shambling weekend place that we don’t get to nearly enough, and from where I needed to remove a broken garbage disposal. It can take three hours to get there, door-to-door, if you don’t stop.
But, of course, we stopped.
Before we even hit the road, I had two cups of coffee at home, just to get started. I had four more when we stopped to eat at my favorite breakfast joint. I took my last cup to go. Then, less than an hour down the road, we stopped for a bathroom break at a Starbucks where I, naturally, loaded up with a gigantic iced coffee that went straight to my bladder.
[Side note: In the last few years, I have 99% boycotted Starbucks. Not because of any political or moral reason about the company’s business practices, but because I hate CEO Howard Schultz. He owned the Seattle SuperSonics basketball team for a few years, and in 2006 sold it to a gang of duplicitous shitheels from Oklahoma City who then, with the assistance of NBA Commissioner David Stern, stole the team and moved it after 41 years in Seattle. The NBA is dead to me, now, and I try to avoid Starbucks and go to Peet’s Coffee whenever possible. But when you’re on the road, you sometimes have to make exceptions…Thus, the Starbucks stops over the weekend.]
We blasted out to Mariposa, took care of what needed to be done, and did a turn-and-burn for home. And we stopped at Starbucks almost as soon as we saw one from the highway. That Unsweetened Venti Iced Coffee was enough to get me through the 170-mile drive and back home, where I immediately had one of my Stone Brewing Co. IPAs.
Sunday was busy as well, as I got up early, made a pot of coffee, and then we took our daughters to the Bay Area Discovery Museum, in Sausalito. They enjoyed the hell out of the place and played like maniacs for more than two hours. And when then were done, all I wanted was a large cup of that Peet’s Coffee for the drive home. We stopped as local outdoor mall and I, and my wife, both loaded up.
It will probably more of the same unbridled coffee drinking this coming weekend, too. We are doing our annual two-day drive up to my mom’s and there will be no better friend when we hit the road at 5 a.m. than my giant green Thermos filled with about eight cups of Sumatra.
That should last until we hit breakfast. And the first of many road-fueled refills.