A crisis averted

Sunday, October 14, 2007

(A note: I really hated titles like the one I've given this blog. I see them turn up all the time, for some reason, on fantasy novels and romance novels. A battle joined, a heart unloved, a man unmarried, a darkness rising. Sigh. They're just boring.)

The situation around here was getting pretty desperate for this past week. Tensions were really mounting, I was coming unhinged and uncertain how I would continue writing, let alone living a life and being an asset to my family. The problem was inescapable and it was swallowing my life.

I'd run out of tea.

It just happened that way. We're too busy for a trip to the Twin Cities, and frankly we're too poor to hit up the one store that sells any sort of loose leaf tea here in town (Byerly's).

So, bit by bit, the tea in the house had dwindled down to the desperate situation I was in yesterday morning: I had some African rooibos, another kind of rooibos that my wife owned and, because my sister was out of town, I could have a pot of her expensive white tea, mostly because she wasn't there to stop me. I was jonesin'! I was even reduced to making pots of tea using b-...ba-...No, I can do this....bags. I was in a real bad place.

(Rooibos tea is delicious and I love it no end, but it's non-caffeinated and, like green tea, is cleansing and calming and relaxing tea. So it mostly makes me sleepy. I'm trying to finish my Rome novel by October 31st! I don't need sleepy and cleansed! Plus, one can only drink so much Rooibos.)

Perhaps you doubt those were the only teas I had? All right, you've got me: I have a tin of Irish Breakfast, and Yorkshire Gold. Both of which produce such a thick, harsh, bitter tea that I find it undrinkable, despite my best efforts. Milk hasn't helped. Neither have a bit of honey. They taste nearly like coffee. They don't count.

Also, I knew that Lori Basiewicz was sending me tea. This was for a bet we had, racing to see how much of our respective novels we could finish in a given amount of time. I was in mortal terror, picturing her as this great machine, rolling and churning and steaming and sending out a constant stream of thousands of words a day. So I kicked into high gear, in terror every time I stopped, and turned out well over twenty thousand words in the week we raced. She, to my chargrine, was apparently a bit busy and wound up writing less and editing what she had.

So she owed me tea and she'd just now mailed it out. So I knew that, on Wednesday of this coming week, I can expect a package with Indian tea in it. I'm delighted, because I've never had Indian tea and have no idea what to expect. But Wednesday is a lifetime away!

Yesterday, a god smiled down upon me and had mercy. I think it was Bacchus.

First, my sister got home from visiting my parents, who live in Washington D.C. right now.

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! I chortled in my joy. She had brought me tea from a really nice tea store down there. Orange spice. I've had a pot last night and it tastes like love. Which is such a stupid description, but there you go. It's delicious, it's got the sharp undercurrent of spice, a taste of orange which appears on the back of your throat (and as the tea cools) and the whole thing tastes warm and filling and invigorating. Magnificent stuff.

Several hours later, my wife and I went grocery shopping, which was a logical progression from the realization that we had no food. We shopped for the better part of an hour. I had mentioned earlier that I wanted to stop by the tea aisle and buy a box of Constant Comment tea bags, as an emergency supply for the next time I ran out of proper tea.

We nearly forgot. We were almost done and back up to the front of the store. It's an easy aisle to forget: three-fourths of it is full of baby stuff, the last bit is mostly coffee with tea wedged in as an afterthought.

I went down the tea bit, I picked up my box of Constant Comment, and then I looked to my left...

...and discovered that my grocery store all of a sudden sold loose leaf tea.

Not just that! They sell it in the large pouring containers that are common in most grocery stores with coffee beans: you put the bag over the nozzle and tilt the handle and coffee pours out. They have it for tea now! Not the highest quality, I think (I've never heard of the brand) but loose leaf no less and fairly cheap.

They had two rows, perhaps sixteen or twenty varities. So in giggly delight, I got some Earl Gray, because life is better with that, and I got a couple ounces of China Gunpowder tea, because I've never had it and always wanted to try it. They also had Black Currant tea and English Breakfast tea, the other two that immediately jumped out at me. My wife bought some fruity teas which are sometimes not too bad.

If there is a god of tea, he has rewarded my faith well unto this life. I am a saved soul! Or, in the passive sentence theme I started with my blog title, I am A Soul Saved, or A Soul that was to be saved, if we want to get wildly passive.

I can't talk anymore. I have to go drink tea!

15 Angst(s):

Lori said...

I started to make me tea yesterday. I filled the electric kettle, turned it on, and.... got to work writing. So much of the world goes away when I'm really into my writing. The tea never got made. I only had one proper meal yesterday, too. Then I had almond M&M's for a mid-afternoon snack and trail mix for dinner.

Pete said...

That sounds like one of my writing days.

It's the Writing Diet! Eat less food by working on your writing and forgetting that things like food exists!

(except that the one food one never forgets about is junk food...)

Lori said...

When I'm really zoning, it gets to be a true issue. If I know a zone time is coming on, I try to have food in the house that I can eat without cooking or only by reheating. I do things like boiling eggs ahead of time or buying nuts and trail mix or making a casserole up ahead of time.

Honestly, the leftover BBQ meatballs sound good right now, but it would be too much trouble to figure pull them out of the fridge, reheat them, and figure out if I wanted anything on or with them, so I guess I'll just keep working.

I'd also boil eggs, but I'm seriously worried that it would be a fire hazard today.

Rllgthunder said...

You blogged about ground up grass that you put in hot water?

...

...

...

Incredible...(and I don't mean that in a good way)

Midnight Muse said...

Silly little man, one should never run out of tea !

Which is an easy thing for me to say, being surrounded by fantastic tea shops, loose leaves up the wazzu, and some of the more exotic blends one can imagine.

But . . . you still don't like my Lapsang Souchong, do you? Nothing better for the writing times.

Pete said...

Are you kidding? I bought four ounces of Lapsang Souchong when I was at Teavana, in the Twin Cities. I'd never had it before, but knew that someone (you, I'm pretty sure) recommended it.

The smokey smell was fascinating. It SMELLED like an acrid hickory fire in autumn, common in this part of the country and one of the best smells ever. It scared me as a tea, but when made, the taste...was nothing at all like the smell. It's great. It's one of my favorite teas. I wish I'd bought a lot more of it.

Midnight Muse said...

Yay! I adore it, and would be happy to send you some the next time I make a purchase.

I recomend it to everyone - but almost no one ever likes it, and I can't figure out why.

Pete said...

The smell is intimidating. It's something I want to smell outside, not something I want to drink. But the taste is magnificant. It's also at tea which I think tastes better when drunk with a red meat (just like green tea tastes better when drunk with proper Asian cuisine). Wonderful stuff.

I'm enjoying some Orange Spice right now. Magnificant stuff.

Midnight Muse said...

A little place called Heaven:

http://theteahouseonline.com/index.html

My fantasy: Become a famous and reclusive author and buy a house one block away from this place. They don't allow you to buy tea to-go, you must get a pot and sit to enjoy.

Pete said...

I just fell in love with that place.

I'll live on the other side of it from you. There's a tea shop in the cities that requires you to sit there and enjoy the pot. They serve it in a very nice glass pot with proper small teacups and you enjoy it there, or not at all. It's delicious, the place is full of plants and old wooden beams, and it is usually filled with other people...and yet is almost completely silent. People talk in there like you would talk in a library, or a big, old, empty church. Love it.

Lori said...

I'll take dibs on the spot across the street, or on the other side of Midnight Muse. Yeah, I'll take the spot on the other side of Midnight Muse.

I've never had Lapsang Souchong, but I've heard of it. Now, I must find some to try.

Pete said...

*I* said you should try it. Muse says you should try it. By Grapthar's Hammer, you MUST try it...!

Lori said...

::eyeroll:: Fine. If you're going to use meta-fictional deities against me, I will try it, just like I said I'm going to. Right now, though, I'm enjoying Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice. Harney & Sons not because it's either good or bad tea, but because that's the brand of tea the little coffee shop on-campus carries and Hot Cinnamon Spice because that's what sounded good when I was waiting in line to buy it.

Lori said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pete said...

I have some Apple Cinnamon tea which is the perfect thing for a chilly day, when you don't have Orange Spice available. :)