The Not-So-Mysterious Mystery of the Growing Coffee Mug Collection

I’ve met a few pot-stirrers in my life – I know you have, too. It’s a fun hobby, when you think about it. You get to poke the proverbial bear from afar and watch the drama ensue, the provokee ideally none the wiser that you were the provoker. It’s like Reality TV en vivo, and hopefully it’s free. I’ve known some pot-stirring to backfire and cost quite a bit – that’s for another day.

When we sold our catamaran and business in the Virgin Islands and left the Caribbean to move stateside, my husband and I owned next to nothing. We moved into our house and used paper plates and plastic cups for the first week, which was fine (except for the waste factor) until it came to coffee. You just can’t put coffee in a Solo cup. No, really – it’ll melt. I learned that the hard way.

melted solo cup coffee

I begged my mom and dad to bring me coffee mugs to hold us over and WOAH they were thrilled. In fact, they had coffee cups out the wazoo they were very eager to donate to our new home – heck yea. I love a good coffee mug.

Our very first night in our new home, my whole family came to help us move in and threw us a whopper of a little shindig – mom, dad, brother, stepson, husband, dogs – we had a Housewarming Slumber Party and it was a complete blast. We grilled out, swam, enjoyed the hot tub, watched the stars… It was a super fun night that I’ll never forget.

That next morning, I had exactly 6 coffee cups – one for each of us. I was telling a story over breakfast of how I lost one of my coffee cups on the boat:

“We were moving the boat one morning from Lindberg to Charlotte Amalie to get on the dock to provision for a charter. We had just cleaned the boat for hours and hours and hours and the dining table in the cockpit was up on the bench seating so we could put a sealant on the teak floors. It was SO calm out. It’s, like, 7am on a Sunday. Everybody else partied the night before and were sleeping in. Nobody is out. Except for the ferry boats. And us. UGH. One waked the crap out of us and the table went flying and crashed on the floor *KERBOOOOOOOM* and my coffee cup, which was on the table, well it went flying and crashed on the floor *PACCCCHHHHHHEEEWWWWWWWW!* and it broke into a million pieces. I was super sad. It was my favorite coffee cup. Remember, mom? It was the one you got me when you came to visit one time – an Atlanta Starbucks mug. I loved it. It was the best.”

That was more or less the story. Super boring, but true. I really did love and lose that coffee mug, and then it occurred to me – wouldn’t it be cool if I had a coffee mug from every state in the United States? Or maybe just from all over the world? WOULDN’T THAT BE COOL? My husband protested and said, “Don’t you start bringing in tourist crap!” Which translated into everyone else’s mind as “They need as many coffee mugs as possible.”

I believe we all have within us the potential for hoarding. We at least like to collect things, whether it be beer bottle caps (me!), wine corks (me!), scraps of wood (my dad), rocks (my mom), mountain bikes (my brother wishes), coins (my stepson), etc. I believe my husband is the only exception I know of. I can’t think of a single thing he likes to collect. He’s a “move along” kind of guy when it comes to stuff in general. Attachment is the root of all suffering, or so Buddha says.

We have lived in our home for 2 months and 3 days, and our coffee mug collection has doubled, plus one. We now have THIRTEEN coffee cups, and not a single one of them I purchased. One weekend my dad sat down at our table with a Santo Domingo Coffee Company mug – informed us it came from our cabinets. Then a New Orleans Starbucks mug showed up in our dishwasher. A handmade mug in my overnight bag, coming from my parents’ house. A supposed “gift bag” sneakily contained a mug with branding from a tortilla company. Then a Colorado and a Montana mug came from my stepson. My husband checked the mailbox – there was a mug with funny grammatical corrections on it, sender unknown. A rainbow mug; two mugs from Maui Dive Shop; 2 more handmade mugs; and a Frito Lay mug that has Chester Cheetah saying, “It’s Not Easy Being Cheesy.” That’s thirteen. I started with zero and bought none of them. You do the math.

I’m going to go ahead and call the men in my family “Gentle Pot-Stirrers” (yes, my husband included – he will go to great lengths to make a joke pan out perfectly), and I’m pretty sure my dad has asked his coworkers to bring him their unwanted coffee mugs.

My mom is a perfect angel, and truthfully I’m loving this ongoing coffee mug joke. Coffee cups just happen to be one of my preferred collection items. That and magnets. And wine corks and beer bottle caps. And that’s all I need. And Essential Oils. And that’s it. And chickens. And goats. But that’s it. Mostly.

My husband says next time I should say I want to collect One-Hundred dollar bills.


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