The Hapless Househusband Gives Himself A Time Out...

Starbucks Time...

Truth is; househusbanding is fraught with multiple opportunities for screwing things up. The cleaning to breaking stuff ratio can go way up on a bad morning, the laundry can give you the blues (actually pinks…) and there are days when my motivation is totally all over the place. On days like this I know I have no choice but to punish myself...

I realize that, like all naughty boys, I need a time out every now and then. And living in Lemon County, there are many ways that I can punish myself. There are two hundred and fifteen Starbucks within a ten minute drive from my house, so, not wanting to give the impression that I spend most of my day there, I visit as many as I can. I'm a guy, so I always order the same thing (skinny vanilla latte, thanks for asking...), and have certain spots that I like to ensconce myself in.

I love sitting in Starbucks. I have convinced myself that while I am there posing with my iPad, I am actually working. The smell of coffee has to be in the World's top-five-nice-things-to-smell, list, and the atmosphere is all fun and relaxed, just like we dream that work should be...

Then I mess about with an idea or two and start writing. The background noise is a gentle hum that lets me think, well, normally.

There are a few characters that reduce the experience to a real punishment, seemingly all out of central casting, so I’m guessing that you have met most of them at some time or another.

For example…


"I know..."
"I know..."

It is not so great when phone lady gets going. You know her, dressed to the nines, New York expat or wannabe, with a voice that rivals Fran Dresher. The sound actually contains broken glass that embeds itself in your brain causing an instant headache. She is apparently close to closing the deal, but whoever she is talking to hijacks the conversation and reduces phone lady to screeching, "I know," every few seconds or so.

The ‘conversation’ and inevitable kiss-off, takes about twenty minutes, and by that time the place has emptied. Dozens of middle-aged men are standing around in the street outside clutching their laptops like their lives depend upon it. Their faces showing the fear that comes from recalling their first marriage and the harpy that emerged after the nuptials were a done deal.

These guys do not do well when disconnected from their wifi umbilical chord, but phone woman -v- access to the internet is not a fair competition. They stand outside, all pale and wobbly, and pray to google that she die of laryngitis.


"No, you listen to me..."
"No, you listen to me..."

There is a phone woman’s male equivalent, of course. He may, or may not, be on the phone, but Mr. Loud-because-dammit-I'm-important, is just as annoying. He knows everyone who comes in and has to share how great he is doing this very day. Yes, he uses language like a weapon and there is not a single cliché that he does not love, mangle, and share at maximum volume. I suspect that he is also a serial hugger, so people give him the same space that they would a rabid bear.

Normally I love it when some fellow Starbucker asks, hey what is that thing, and I get to show off my coolness and quasi techie credentials. With Mr. Loud around, that baby is in my bag faster than a rattlesnake can strike. The horror of him talking at you in the guise of questions, while you get to bathe in his importance and loudness, is unbearable and may cure you of your love of coffee forever.


Yeah, coffee'll fix that...
Yeah, coffee'll fix that...

Occasionally the ambience is subjected to the inappropriateness of the very young. Why anyone would think Starbucks is a good place for children is completely beyond me, but some misguided parents still commit this social faux pas. Now, it could be that these ladies are housewives holding onto their sanity by the slimmest of threads, and I am doing them a great injustice. Maybe Tristan and Tabitha have been driving her crazy as she degreased the range, or they kept unplugging the vacuum for entertainment, consequently each blaming the other with a chorus of did not-s and did too-s. Desperate, mom decamps for a quick cup of coffee, and wonders if she gave the little darlings a couple of shots of espresso, if they would actually stick to the ceiling and give her some damn peace.

Okeley Dokeley Hun...
Okeley Dokeley Hun...

Oh, and there’s over-cheerful barista lady. Can’t forget her. You know her, been on since five a.m. and is on her fifteenth cup of Joe. She is way past perky and has now officially broken her personal volume control, calling everyone ‘hun’ and ‘darling’. If you look closely, you can see her vibrating. The rest of the crew give her a wide berth and cast anxious glances in her direction lest she actually explode…

But today is not one of those days. There are no antisocial teens grunging up the corner. No book-club ladies. No really smelly guy. No, complaining because its not hot enough/too hot guy.

Today is how it should be. Buzzing in a nice way, steam, laughter and the wonderful aroma of the wonderful bean. A truly great time out.

Of course while I'm here, the dust is conspiring to cover every surface of the house. The vacuum cleaner is clogging itself. The darks are sitting in the dryer. Again. And about four thousand honey-dos are waiting for me to come home. With the helpful kick of caffeine, the responsibility part of my brain begins to stir and the guilt slowly creeps into every cell, signaling the end of the time out.

With some regret I head home, thinking about what to make for dinner, hoping that She-who-is-adored has not been overly savaged by the sixth grade, and imagining what naughtiness I can commit to give myself a time out tomorrow...

Dear Hub Reader


If you enjoy this hub, please check out my book,

Homo Domesticus; A Life Interrupted By Housework,

A collection of my best writings woven into a narrative on a very strange year in my life.

Available directly from:

http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/homo-domesticus/12217500

Chris


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Comments 45 comments

Windsweptplains profile image

Windsweptplains 5 years ago from The windsweptplains of Colorado

Lovely hub! I felt like I was in your shoes for a few hours.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Windsweptplains,

I thought they felt warm when I put them on this morning, thanks!

C


Tim Dennis 5 years ago

Ramp up the caffeine, turn the volume to 11 (or age related appropriateness, chase jitters from caffeine ramp up with margarita and see what transpires as you clean. Could be chaos, or could be glorious.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Tim,

As ever, an elegant solution, particularly when there are no children in the vicinity. Maybe cleaning with a buzz is already well established, I've been getting all sorts of tips from experienced female practitioners of the housekeeping arts...

C


Tim Dennis 5 years ago

I have suspected housewives use the margarita defense to ward off the housekeeping doldrums, or maybe used as an offensive weapon. Keep the faith, and don't let dust bunnies see you hesitate.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Tim,

Those little devils can sense fear, I know...

C


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

Funny stuff, Chris. Enjoyed reading.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Pamela,

Thank you for dropping by. Pull up a chair and share a coffee with me as often as you can!

I appreciate both the comment and the follow...

C


DaNoblest profile image

DaNoblest 5 years ago from California

Great hub! You had me dreaming of coffee the whole time. I could actually smell it lol. And yes I have seen many of the types of people you described. The loud ones on the phone are usually the worst.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

DaNoblest,

I'm replying to you, sitting on my favorite stool in my favorite Starbucks, SVL in hand, and it is blissfully quiet in here...

If only I actually earn a living this way!

Thanks for dropping in, commenting and the follow, all very much appreciated,

C


sueroy333 profile image

sueroy333 5 years ago from Indiana

Chris- this is one of your best writings so far! I could smell the coffee, and I could picture the various personalities.

Thanks to this piece, I had a little "mind vacation" to Starbucks today.

Awesome stuff!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Thanks Sue,

I might be asking them for a job soon...

C


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Yes Chris, everyday live, livened up with your sharp wit is a time out for us, your servants, too. Is that a real sentence? Never mind.

I noticed an error in your text. Harpy?

Did you mean Herpes? Or is it, harpy, as in. I'm not harpy with you Charles? I think you shoud get a Knight hood for this masterpiece, well at least the hood. Cheers Chris this one was very funny mate, with some clever puns.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Very clever Chris - I'll have a venti Carmel macchiato with an extra shot! Don't put anything dark or pink in with lighter colors silly - you'll end up looking really masculine until you get that gang banger look and your pants slip down and everyone sees your titghty whiteys have become pink and not so macho:-)! Love the photos also - your a treat!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I'm not very witty today, but it looks like you are so keep up the good work. Bob is trained to bring my coffee in the morning, so I never have to visit a Starbucks ever again. Unfortunately, I still have a job and must go out and earn the money to buy the coffee and pay for guitar strings for the Bob. Someday I hope he learns to kill dust bunnies. He hasn't so far. Why is it that househusbands never get all the dust out?


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

Aaaaagggh! I have just been writing a hub about Starbucks and a couple of the characters in there! It's not a patch on your hub :( Oh well, I'll publish it anyway, since I've already written most of it :)

Lovely, lovely hub. Your observations are right on, and even though I'm thousands of miles from you, it's interesting to see that the characters that frequent your coffee bars are just the same as those who spend their time in mine. Rather fascinating.

Oh, mine is a grande caramel macchiato, sometimes with one sachet of sugar, sometimes with none.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

AttHum,

A harpy or harpie is a mythical winged snatcher, not nice at all. Brings to mind the wife from the practice marriage...

Glad you liked the hub...

C


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

RHwife,

I actually learned the "keep anything red 100 feet away from the laundry room" trick early on in my househusbanding course, but there are still errors to be made. "Dry clean only" stuff does interesting things in the wash, as do "favorite" wool sweaters...

It's a minefield!

I like my friend Tim's advice - margaritas. Housework with a buzz on has to be way more fun!

C


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

AustinStar,

I think you may have strained your funny yesterday, like all muscles, you need to be careful not to overdo it. Rest up, get Bob to bring you a fresh cup and then get out there and win some bread...

Dust bunnies are friendly to women, easily charmed into the folds of the Swiffer. They hate men. Fight us every step of the way...


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Lady Wordsmith,

Seriously! You are worried about two hubs on Starbucks. We should not rest until there is a Starbucks hub on every corner of every street in every town in the world...

All human life enters through those hallowed portals, there's plenty of room for the both of us, and more characters than my poor brain can describe, I look forward to reading yours...

C


strawb 5 years ago

Nice hub - I envy you starbuck hubbers - I normally work full time and rarely get to spend time writing and people watching. Your hub had me sat right there people watching with you. I do once in a while, get to do Starbucks or Cafe Nero with Lady Wordsmith (my talented wordsmithery of a daughter), but we stop people watching when we get together and talk stationery. I really must get out there on my own and write. Off work for a while now so maybe I'll catch up with the world through the eyes of a latte drinker.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Strawb,

You know this was not a voluntary exile to the land of lattes, right?

If I could return to world of real work (the one with a paycheck attached) I'd be there in a heartbeat. I have come to hate dust and laundry detergent in an altogether unhealthy way...

The time outs are the bonus, I admit, but it is a tad embarrassing pulling out a bag of change (found in the cushions, of course) to pay for my habit...

Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment...

C


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

See it is not so easy being camp B.I. Is it Chris? Haha!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

I've never tried it - and - trust me - in my homemaker days I tried NEARLY EVERYTHING, but I've heard that cleaning house in the buff is very gratifying. I can't recommend it from actual experience but imagination casts it in a very - er - becoming light! hehe

Perhaps others may provide more input? Whoaaa - let's reword that!! How about "more experience". hm - not too much better but - . . . . well - I think I will have another little glass of wine and see who says what. It IS Fridley evening, after all . . .


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Nellieanna,

So good to hear from you, and out of concern for public order, I will skip right on over househusbanding in the altogether...

Trust me, nobody wants to see an unclothed me with a duster in one hand and my trusty vacuum in the other, you however are timeless, and a free spirit, so have at it...

(The Ranch might be the better bet!)

C


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Sorry Chris - I meant not to be offensive:(


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

RHwife,

You know guys don't like to admit to not understanding anything, but I have no idea what camp BI means...

I though staying quiet was better than proving my ignorance, however...

BTW kind of hard to offend me. None taken here for sure, well, not until I know what you meant:)

C


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Well I see - it is another name for a female dog:) I'm bad - you can make a citizens arrest! So at my home I often refer to myself as camp ..........!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

RHwife,

Whew! Ignorance is NOT bliss...

Yeah, I guess I am. kinda...

Monday I'm doing the housework with a drink or two inside me, see what that's like. Should be a good hub anyhow!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Well I will look forward to reading it:-). I hate pushing the envelope - but, I somehow usually do! I am good at being rotten:-)


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

RHwife,

As your very cheap therapist, I now ask...

"And how does that make you feel..."

Thirty times

In one hour

Dang, this is easy money...

And then I add, "Rotten? Really? Don't you mean naughty?"

And you agree with me because you are paying for my wisdom, so I give you a time out...

See you in Starbucks...

C


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I'll buy your coffee:-)!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Yep, Chris - the ranch is the better bet, with only jackrabbits, deer and roadrunners to observe the spectacle.


Lady Blah Blah profile image

Lady Blah Blah 5 years ago from South Carolina

Another masterpiece, Chris. The Fran Drescher-ish girl...I think I've met her, hated her and left the premises because of her. Hopefully, she had nothing to laugh about.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Lady Blah Blah

Dont be suprised if she turns up on an episode of Million Dollar Listing...

"I know..."

C


Mark Ewbie profile image

Mark Ewbie 5 years ago from Euroland

It's nice to know that given the bad press recently there are still pages like this well worth reading. I enjoyed it very much and was temporarily sitting in Starbucks with my laptop. In a literary way of course. ie. I wasn't actually there but your writing took me there.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Mark,

Great to hear from you. I appreciate the comment, especially from I writer I regularly vote as up!

Plus, it sounds like I saved you a couple of bucks...

C


mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 5 years ago from Florida

Another delightful hub, Chris! Although I rarely go to Starbucks, I could picture the people you described. They are everywhere, right?


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

mysterylady,

Absolutely everywhere. In fact a small group seem to follow me around...

Thanks for the nice words, and just think of this visit as having saved you fourbucks!

C


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Interesting write up,i was really feeling you while reading this great piece of work.thanks for sharing.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

crystolite,

Thanks for the positive review, did you feel the need to brew a cup afterwards?

C


Stan Fletcher profile image

Stan Fletcher 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

Man, I have been there, done that. I LOVE the feeling of fooling myself into the delusion that I'm working at Starbucks! All you need is a tech device, and now that I have my laptop AND my Android powered phone, I'm all set up for pseudo-success, or at least that's the way it looks to the casual outside observer. I wrote a hub about writing in Starbucks. The loud steam noise and/or the dreaded blender sound can be a real idea killer if you're ADD. Great hub!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Stan,

I even have the staff reading my hubs - it is so dang cool to walk in and here "oh I just loved your piece yesterday", while they get my SVL unbidden!!!

I feel like a real writer and superstar.

True, I spend more there each day than I earn in month, but...

I'll have to check out your Starbucks hub, it's hard reading into people's back catalog, especially when they have been writing so long. I came across hub one of Sue's and have been able to be a faithful reader ever since, but all that reading sure as heck cuts down on the writing...

I truly appreciate the mention in your hub today. You will be happy to know that absolutely no-one who does not follow me already has come over! (Or at least left a comment!)

All the best with the wedding this weekend, blessings to all involved...

I should know better, but I took my friend Tim's advice and combined housework with alcohol - should be up tomorrow. I'm off for a bit of a lie down...

LYM

C


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Lovely hub,thanks for sharing.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

crystolite,

Glad you liked it...

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