The First Step

I woke up at 4am, and couldn’t decide whether or not to go back to sleep. It’s amazing how many tiny choices we make in a day, with each one altering the next.

I began thinking of my French Press and how I haven’t used it very much. It was one of those things Barb ‘had to have’, but I couldn’t get satisfied with the taste of the coffee. I have read articles from coffee experts, and the instructions that came with the press, but this early in the morning, I wanted some simple steps. Google led me to an article by the easy to follow woman behind Gimme Some Oven.

Her way of making it just made sense to me, so I hopped outta bed at 5:00 am, and strolled quietly into the kitchen with instructions in hand, ready to try again. There are several steps involved in making a French Press, but anything that’s worthwhile has steps.

First I had to see how much water the press would hold. It held 4 cups, so I poured the water into the gooseneck kettle and sat it on the stove to bring it to a boil. Then waited. After it begins to boil, the water needs to rest for a minute, so I took it off the burner to rest.

I opened the timer on my phone and set it for 4 minutes, and poured the freshly ground beans into the French Press, just going through the steps. The hot water was poured just over the bed of grinds, about 2 inches, and stirred with a wooden chopstick to wet every grind, and the timer began.

My favorite part is watching it bloom. Putting my face over the press, I inhaled the magical aroma. If it’s really good coffee it should bloom, or foam up. The more it foams, the better quality. After one minute had passed, the rest of the water was poured in and the lid was put into place. The screen rested on top of the water with the plunger standing up.

I watched the countdown of time ticking by with the numbers illuminated blue in color. It was interesting when the timer got down to the last 30 seconds, the numbers turned red.

The one thing that bothered me about using the French press in the past was the feel of the pressing. I know how it’s supposed to feel when you press the plunger down with the palm of your hand. It should have some resistance, and not be effortless. This time it had plenty of resistance, so in the past I hadn’t poured enough in.

Le Creuset Café Stoneware French Press

Lessons learned:

  1. Don’t go back to sleep. The day is waiting for us to step into it.
  2. Keep using what we have and get it right.
  3. Follow some instruction. If the first ones aren’t to our liking, find better instructions.
  4. There’s a waiting period after every step.
  5. Let the water get boiling hot, but don’t let it spew. Anything that gets that hot needs a minute to rest.
  6. Watch the time, and be attentive to the red zone.
  7. Pause and enjoy the bloom. Breathe it in.
  8. When we begin to press through and there’s resistance, it’s normal. Nothing worthwhile should feel like an easy plunge, just continue to gently press.

Was getting up early, and trying once again to make a French Press worth it? You better believe it! That was excellent coffee. Keep trying and be willing to go through some steps to get to where you really want to be.

It all begins with the first step.

The Dirt Roads

Just to clarify, I’m not starting a cleaning business.

My last post was an intro to some things I learned.

I believe every path of our past brings us to where we stand today. Some are paved, and some are dirt.

ofallthepaths

I received the strangest looks from clients upon entering their homes. Some would actually say, “You don’t look like a maid.” I would reply, “Oh, I’m not. I’m a writer helping a friend.” On those days I wasn’t writing, I was getting up at 5:00 am to go help my friend clean two, 2,000 sq. foot houses.

I enjoyed cleaning the houses that were well kept.

You could tell that the people who lived there cared about their things. There was no clutter, but I could find dirt and dust. They were at work, but I wanted them to come home and feel a difference. For me, it was the tiniest of details, and the homeowners noticed.

One lady had a wall of family photos displayed, and I could tell they were framed with care. As I was dusting one, I noticed a speck of dirt on the inside of the glass. It was right in the center, and looking at the order of which the house was in, my guess would be it drove the homeowner to distraction.

One of my favorite jobs was working in a Custom Frame Shoppe, so I knew how to take the picture apart, get the speck out, and reassemble it properly.

When the homeowner returned and saw her house had been loved on all day, she called my friend that I was helping clean and said, “I don’t know who you sent to my home today, but I want her every time.”

It made me feel good that she felt the difference.

The home I cleaned yesterday is a well maintained home. He works all the time, and doesn’t enjoy cleaning in the little time he has off. The extra things I did were, watered all the plants and took the price tags off, cleaned the fridge inside and out, trimmed all the wicks of the candles so they were ready to be lit, and made the bed look like a dream.

We need to be willing to gain experience for the next part of the journey. I had cleaning ladies for 15 years, and had to put things back the way they were when they left. When I cleaned I didn’t rearrange.

My past homes have looked similar to a museum.

I’ve stayed at Marriott Resorts while vacationing, so I knew what the bed should look and feel like.

When people pay me for my time, it’s an exchange of energy. They used their energy to make the money, and give it to me for my energy spent on their home.

It’s nice to know at my age that I can still be passionate about work, and do things out of the box.

Today, I’m grateful to have lived on the dirt roads.