Day 28... almost done! Now I can go back to having nothing specific to post about and publishing lists of bullet-point complaints!
One of my favorite places is our family's coffee house downtown. I don't want to link to it or say the name, because it would kind of advertise where I live and that's something I've tried to avoid doing. But it's basically one really cool, fun spot in an otherwise fairly blech downtown area that is slowly struggling to make something of itself after years of neglect.
How to describe our town? Just large enough to have many of the problems that you find in bigger metropolitan areas, particularly within the city itself, and JUST large enough to not have that cozy small town feel. People basically hang out on the fringes of the town itself, at the strip malls and in the suburbs, venturing within the city limits only to use the library or on occasion to attend an event at the civic center. Oh, or go to the doctor! We have two hospitals and more medical offices than a town our size could possibly need, it seems, and yet they just keep building more.
But eight years ago my sister in law decided she wanted to open a coffee shop, and that she wanted to put it downtown, of all places. Her husband and parents all got on board to make it happen, and her brother came to work there, too. Despite a lot of resistance and roadblocks, their renovated corner coffee shop finally opened in 2003.
In the fall of 2003, I was driving back from my job at a coffee shop a town away, a town I had been attending college in until various issues (my own complete lack of interest in any specific major being one of them) led me back home. I had to finish out the month at the coffee house I had already found work in, though, so I was now driving an hour one way to a job making minimum wage. I REALLY needed to find a different place. But the coffee house had spoiled me for other jobs (such as my previous place of employ, ye olde IHOP.)
And then I drove past Family's Coffee House (best pseudonym I could come up with in ten seconds) and randomly pulled in. I walked inside, looked around, thought "This will do!" and asked for an application. As it turned out, my brother in law, the manager, was there and interviewed me on the spot. I had stumbled upon the one place in my entire hometown wherein my newly acquired knowledge of how to make a real cappuccino was an asset.
A few weeks in, I met the daytime manager, a guy I hadn't previously encountered as I was working nights and weekends. He was training me on the cash register, and I was kind of annoyed because I thought he seemed gruff and too business like. I also noticed that he didn't seem to appreciate my careful makeup application or tight pants or red sweater, and since most guys (in those days) at least gave me a PASSING glance, thanks to my hours of preparation before leaving the house to go anywhere, I was slightly miffed.
...And about a month later we had out first kiss in an alley outside the restaurant. Less than a year later, we were married. Oh, and I finally allowed myself to leave the house without makeup or heels.
So the coffee house has a warm spot in my heart as the most fun place I ever worked AND the place where I met my husband. I genuinely like hanging out there, the food is delicious, and they have a toy and game corner with a kids' size table, so whenever I'm downtown for doctor's appointments (which is on average about once a week) I try to stop in and recover while the kids play. They also host cool concerts and events frequently, and each month they feature a local artist rather than having generic print art on the walls. It's my kids' favorite place to eat, and mine too, and it's also incidentally their food which I always demand after having babies. Why eat the hospital food when delicious wraps and salads and smoothies are available just a few blocks away?
So in conclusion, I wish to thank my SIl and the fates for deciding to open a coffee house in the perfect spot for me to drive by, wander in on a whim, and meet my future.