I confess to the world: my wife caught me today. Red handed. There’s evidence.

She stepped into the kitchen at just the right time. Wincing, she said, betraying her hurt, that I was becoming my mother. Ouch. She gave me a look that would have made Mrs. Grove proud. Just like the time my first-grade teacher caught me standing on Patti’s desk. She tugged my hair and pulled me out of the room for my second school paddling. “Don’t worry,” my wife groaned, trying to smile. “I know you’re a Czech peasant at heart.”

She’s right. I pay all of thirty-eight cents to make a cup of coffee with our Keurig machine, and it pokes me hard on my insides when I pour it out, unfinished, tepid, and half-full. So, when there is a half cup left, and it’s gone cold, I pour it in a glass. I do this through the day until I have another full cup that I heat in the micro. A thirty-eight cent savings! Except for the electricity to heat the cup up. Thirty-seven cents.

But I think of these things in annual terms. I stand there, sipping on warm brew heated in the micro, and do the mental math, rounding: forty cents a day, that’s four dollars in ten days, twelve in a month, and a hundred and forty in a year. Crap! I pour a hundred and forty bucks a year down the sink in coffee that I let get cold. My Czech grandmother would scold me, rubbing her forefingers together. “Shame, shame.”


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