I’m in the Wrong Coffee Shop

I’m working on a craaaaaazy stressful revision project right now (Pitch Wars, for those of you familiar with the publishing Twittersphere). I always work at a coffee shop near my house – we’ll call it Fifth Shore. I love the coffee shop. It’s a hipster, let’s-compare-our-tattoos, the barista has purple hair and goes by the name “Mojo” kind of coffee shop. I’m pretty sure I could get a whole stack of Coexist stickers simply by raiding people’s backpacks. Also maybe drugs. Whichever.

Not that I want drugs. Also I have no tattoos (YET). Don’t ask me why I love the place so much. I think it’s a combination of the fact that I never run into anyone I know there, and seriously the people are so cool. I love talking to them. They’re totally different than me, and they’re mostly awesomer. I know awesomer isn’t a word, but I bet I could use it at Fifth Shore because anything goes.

The problem is that people are starting to discover Fifth Shore. It’s a little hole in the wall place, but now it’s getting popular. When I went in today, I literally couldn’t find a place to sit. I wanted to yell, “Excuse me, I was here before this was cool. All you bandwagon fans can leave now. No, not you, Man Bun. You can stay. You fit in. And you, with the leopard tail coming off the back of ¬†your pants, you can stay too. But the rest of you – out!”

(Side note: there was really a guy with a leopard tail coming off the back of his pants. See why this place is so awesomer than other places??)

So now I’m across town at a different coffee shop. I almost went to – gasp – Starbucks, but I just couldn’t. It would have been the opposite vibe from my beloved Fifth Shore. I don’t want to listen to well-dressed baristas loudly mispronounce names to let the local richie riches know that their tall-double-lattee-no-whip-extra-pretentious is ready. No one there would have a leopard tail. How could I possibly get writing done in a place that reeks of financially and culturally successful humans?

(This is the part where my husband would say, “Hazel. You’ve got issues.”)

So now I’m at this new place, we’ll call it Coffee Avenue, and it’s okay. It’s a lot of hippie Millenials on their MacBookPros. The place markets itself as being all local, fresh, and organic. I have nothing against organic food, but this seems like overkill. The Wifi password is “Freshcrops.” Not joking. Someone just called from the counter, “Who ordered the tofu burrito?”

Tofu. Burrito.

They also charge a dollar more for tea, but I guess that’s because it’s so very local and fresh and organic. Unfortunately, they don’t have my right flavor (Mango Ceylon), so that threw me off too. I had to try a whole new tea. I got peach – what is this madness?

If you can’t tell, I get a little crazy about my routines. Now my groove is all off. I’m probably going to write junk. Don’t hit up my comments section with, “How dare you impune the hallowed name of Starbucks!?” or “Tofu burritos are the best thing ever!” I get it, okay? Everyone has their thing. There’s a coffee shop for all of us. If this post is offensive or otherwise crappy, it’s because MY COFFEE SHOP IS FULL AND HOW ON EARTH AM I SUPPOSED TO WRITE WITHOUT IT?!?!?!

I should forget the whole thing and go buy a leopard tail.



There’s a Surprise Piano in My Living Room

No joke.

That’s not some click-bait title where I want you to THINK there’s an unexpected piano in my living room, but then you click the link and realize I really meant this as a deeper metaphor for life or something. Oh no, my friends. Nay. There is a literal, honest-to-goodness, full-sized piano in my living room, and I had no idea it was going to be here.

This is one of those moments where I stand back and think, “Damn my life is weird sometimes.”

Here’s how this went down:

I mentioned to my husband a few months ago that I’d like to start taking piano lessons. Why did I say that? I don’t know! It’s just something I said! I haven’t taken piano lessons since I was nine years old, but I have a bunch of students who can totally jam on my classroom piano. I don’t know…it sounded fun, okay?

So two nights ago, I got home from my relaxing bike ride, and guess what was in my driveway? JUST GUESS.

If you guessed a piano, you’re half right. The other half is that my parents-in-law, brother-in-law, and his awful girlfriend were also in my driveway. And my mother-in-law was taking video of me because isn’t it the best surprise ever that I am now the proud owner of a piano?

I just about died. Or killed my husband. I couldn’t pick which. Instead, I smiled for the camera and tried to act excited about the piano in my driveway.

Here’s the thing: he was honestly trying to be nice. Early in the summer, we had talked about me using my classroom piano to practice if I took piano lessons (which was HIGHLY theoretical, let me remind you). But apparently he decided, “You know what’s more fun than practicing in your classroom? Practicing in your living room.” So he went out and GOT ME A PIANO.

Which is sweet and romantic in one sense, but a total disaster in another.

See, the thing is, we have no room in our house for a piano. Our place is tiny. My in-laws hauled the monstrosity into our house, and literally the only place it can go is in the living room. Our dining room only has enough room for the table, the kitchen is where I cook, and the living room is the only other room on our ground floor. We’re not one of those fancy-schmancy families that has a living room, a family room, a den, and a playroom. Oh no – this is it. One room.

Within that one room, the piano had to be on the only interior wall. It can’t go on an exterior wall because it will spontaneously combust or something. I don’t know. The whole family was like, “IT HAS TO BE ON AN INTERIOR WALL!” At this point I was mostly in a daze, so I think I said something really intelligent like, “Ummmmmm…okay.”

So they rearranged the furniture for me in the living room, and now the furniture is all higgeldy-piggeldy in random places in the middle of the room. Don’t forget that I already have the ugly chair from this post, and our couches are green, and the decor is black and gold…it honestly looks like a broke and blind college student decorated the place. We’re the “before” picture on one of those home makeover shows.

After his family finally left, I said I had to go work on my novel. Then I went to my local coffee shop, sat at the cafe bar, and made new friends by saying, “You GUYS. My husband just brought home a PIANO. What am I going to do?! He’s the best guy ever, and he was trying to be so nice, but I don’t want a piano!”

I tried to use that night to calm down, but in the morning my living room still looked ridiculous. Then my husband and I got in a fight, which is rare for us. But come on… A PIANO?! First the ugly chair, and now this? And he had his whole family over while the house was a total mess, which I’ve told him a million times makes me feel like scum. His brother already thinks I’m the worst wife ever because I’m so bad at “keeping house.” And his parents…

Okay, you know what? Enough about my in-laws. You get the point. I was embarrassed they were here when the house was a mess, I was embarrassed that I had to pretend to like the piano, and – if you’ve been following along closely – I DON’T WANT A PIANO IN MY LIVING ROOM.

The fight ended with Andy agreeing to get the piano out of the house. His parents agreed to take it (on an INTERIOR WALL I’m sure). I was still mad, but also I felt ridiculously guilty for not liking his surprise. I know he was coming at this from the purest motives, but the whole thing was so upsetting at a time when, for unrelated reasons, I am already so freaking stressed it’s ridiculous.

Sunday night at church I stole a hymnal (yes, I realize the irony in that). I’m going to give it back eventually. Calm down. Anyway, I figured that as long as I had this beautiful, flawless piano in my house, I might as well plunk around with it and see if I remember anything about how to play.

That was a mistake.

Here’s the problem: I really liked playing it. The wood is so gorgeous, the keys are shiny, and playing old hymns was so calming and fun. Andy sat next to me in the ugly chair and worked on things while I played, and he would request songs for me to try next. I remembered more about playing than I thought I would.

This morning I said, “Hey, before your parents take the piano…can I have another day or two to play on it?” He (understandably) looked at me like I was completely insane. That’s not an inaccurate assessment, really. Sure, I had just spent all of Sunday talking about how the piano needs to be out of this house immediately, and he called his parents and said that he needed to get it out ASAP. His literal word was “urgent.” He told his parents that it was “urgent” to get it out of here.

But today I went to school and printed out some sheet music…and I may or may not have contacted the lady who will hopefully be giving me piano lessons…and oh my gosh WHAT IF I KEEP THE PIANO?

I came home and played on it some more, and I enjoyed it more than I’d care to admit. I told my husband, “I really wish I could keep it…but our living room is in such an embarrassing state that I feel like I have to choose between the piano and ever having company over ever again.”

I mean, I can’t keep this piano. I CANNOT. My living room is a complete mess, and there is literally no other way to cram the furniture into this tiny room. Believe me, I’ve tried.

But the piano is so pretty.

I can’t keep the piano when I threw a veritable tantrum about how it needed to be gone and how I was so mad at him for buying and transporting a piano without talking to me first. Is it possible to humble myself and say, “I was being crazy. The piano is beautiful, and now I want it?” Would he even accept that? At this point, I don’t deserve the piano.

Which I’m not even sure I want.

BLOG PEOPLE: What do I do?! Do I keep the piano and let my living room look like a garage sale exploded? Or do I ditch the piano and have a quasi-normal living room but no fun or relaxation of playing my favorite hymns?