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Pretty Good Hat

Winter day routines

I collected these notes through the course of the last couple of weeks. Today we get fully back to our work and school schedules, with school back in session after a long Christmas holiday. Some of these routines, established on the lazy days of vacation, will persist, though perhaps only on the weekends where time stretches out a little more languid.


  • Five-dark-thirty or so, grumpy dog at the bedroom door. Pull on a sweatshirt and go upstairs.
  • switch on the machine
  • prime boiler
  • flip to steam
  • fix portafilter in grouphead to warm
  • feed dogs
  • work day? Quick shower.
  • not a work day? Sit with book or the news on the iPad.
  • portafilter is warm; purge steam, pour milk, measure beans
  • steam
  • prime boiler, settle milk, grind, wipe spout, purge grouphead
  • dose grounds, tap to settle, level, clean, fix in portafilter
  • extract shot, wipe up grounds, log
  • swirl shot, taste, pour milk
  • clear brewhead, wipe machine
  • sit and pause a sec


Cold this morning. Coffee and breakfast while wife and little boy sleep a little longer. I’m off to work again while she takes care of him today. He goes back to school after the weekend.

I’ve grown to love our morning routine, where I get up and have a coffee and a few extra minutes, before they wake up, when she calls me: Our boy is cuddled up and asking for bunny grahams. So I pour a few into a bowl – she tells me he perks up his head, asks “hear that?” – and bring them downstairs. He says thank you and asks me to go back upstairs for a little while while he snuggles some more with his mom.

Later he comes upstairs with her, sometimes having asked her to carry him, but usually lately under his own power, eagerly climbing. On the stairs he grins at me and wonders aloud, “Is this meeee?” He knows the game.

“Good morning!” I smile back. “Is that a hippopotamus coming up the stairs?”

“No it’s me!” He exclaims.

“Are you a … Zebra?”

Spreading his arms wide and smiling huge, “No, I’m me!”

We might do a few more rounds. Is he an elephant, or a helicopter or a school bus? No! Smiles.

“Oh, well if you’re not a dolphin then can I have a hug?” I ask him, and he marches over in that way a toddler does, all swinging limbs at a half-run, to wrap his arms over my shoulders and lean against me so completely that his feet are somewhere vaguely in the air. There will be oatmeal to make and a diaper to change and any number of busy tasks to complete before we can hustle to the car and make our way to work and school, but for a few minutes we get to just smile and talk and hug.


He’s down for a nap, so we get an hour, sometimes more, sometimes less. When he was a baby we would measure his naps by album duration. Now they’re a little more reliable, but still less so at home than at school, where he easily lays out his blanket and curls up on the cot alongside his friends. Sometimes he’s still lounging on the cot when I come to pick him up.

We have some lunch, or maybe just a snack, chips and somebody’s homemade salsa that’s surprisingly good. We sit on the sofa with a book or magazine, iPad or laptop, sock feet touching on the old coffee table. This sofa is getting a little creaky. Over this winter break we watched a lot of old West Wing episodes on the AppleTV. She’s always liked naps of her own and might lean her head on my shoulder, the way she did every evening when she was pregnant, falling asleep at 7pm.

An hour or so of sitting close together, quiet and easy before he wakes up and needs us to get out some yogurt and crackers, put on snow pants, find hat and gloves to go out for an adventure or a car ride, to run errands or go to the market.