Unexpected Duet

Last month, we visited Minnesota as we do every summer to see our extended family. This trip included attending a minor league ball game with GranMary, welcoming my sister-in-law, Nelle, and her family back to Minnesota (they’re moving home! Woo hoo!), spending time with our hilarious and awesome nephews, visiting with Gigi and Grandpaw Ray, and getting to meet and hold and hug and oooooh and ahhhhh our new nephew (baby of my other sister-in-law, Emi), who is an absolute shoe-in for the CUTEST BABY IN ALL THE UNIVERSE OMG WITH THE CUTENESS award.

It was a superb week – family-filled, relaxing, fun – and although we were sad to leave before the state fair (and Baby O’s 100 days party), we were looking forward to meeting the girls’ teachers when we got back home. We arrived at the airport relatively early; it was crowded but not too crazy. After getting the girls some breakfast at one of the to-go restaurants, I decided to grab a coffee for myself before we headed to the gate.

Although it’s no secret that I’m a Starbucks devotee, I try to patronize Caribou Coffee whenever we’re in the Twin Cities. I like the local-ness of the chain, and the Caramel High Rise is particularly delicious. The line at the airport Caribou was fairly long; they were brewing more decaf, which caused a bit of a back-up, so there were a lot of people milling around. Factor in that the patrons were, you know, due to leave on airplanes soon, and you get a relatively tense and impatient atmosphere.

The cashier asked for my order in a no-nonsense manner (not rudely or brusquely, but she was definitely trying to just move things along) and I was about to reply when one of her coworkers – standing behind her – leaned toward her (and me) and sang, with a tiny, sly grin, “Whaddaya want from me?”

I haven’t watched American Idol in years, but I was quite the fan many seasons ago and immediately recognized the barista’s query as a line from the chorus of (season eight runner up) Adam Lambert’s pop hit, “Whataya Want From Me?” (I never knew before right now that it was spelled like that. Hm.)

(If this makes absolutely no sense, check out Adam’s video…)

The barista looked pleased with her sing-song joke but seemed positively stunned when I sang right back, matching my new words to the melody of Lambert’s tune: “I’d like a coffee, please!” Looking up, she grinned back at me without missing a beat and crooned in kind, “I’ll get that right a-way! I’ll get that right a-way-ay!”

No one else seemed to pick up on the barista’s attempt at humor (and song); we didn’t care. Neither of us really knew the melody beyond a few lines of the verse (or, if she did, she preferred the verse because that’s all she mimicked), but it didn’t matter.

“I’ll take it with caff-eine! I’ll take it with caff-eee-eine!”

“Right now she’ll give you change!”

“Hey, I ap-prec-i-aaaate that!”

Nick had asked me to get him a decaf (which I had to wait for), so our “conversation” lasted longer than it otherwise would have. The cashier – the one who was actually taking the order – looked mildly annoyed at first that her coworker and I were slowing down the transaction… by singing… but as we escalated our back-and-forth duet, a slight smile began to tug at the corners of her mouth.

“Would you like a muffin, too? Or maybe a croi-sa-aaannt?”

“No thanks, I’ll be okay! Don’t want the cal-or-ieeeees!”

When I moved over to allow the person behind me to place their order, the cashier could no longer hide her smile. By the time I finished adding sugar and cream, she was laughing out loud at the goofy audacity of the barista’s and my exchange. SINGING. MADE-UP WORDS! ABOUT COFFEE!! AT THE AIRPORT, FOR THE LOVE!!!!

“I’m going to add some cream!”

“Hope that your flight’s on ti-iime!”

“Thanks, have an awesome day!”

“You too! I hope it’s grea-aaaat!”

In a moment, Nick’s coffee was ready and it was over; I was walking to my terminal, backpack on, coffees in both hands. There were planes to be caught, miles to be traveled, bags to be unpacked, dogs to be petted upon our return.

But for that moment? In that moment? It was awesome.
I mean, does it really get much better than an impromptu, ridiculous musical exchange with a complete stranger about coffee? No. No, it does not. 

I hope that barista is still singing to her customers, and I hope at least some of them are singing back. Maybe she’ll still be there the next time we’re in Minnesota. I’ll be sure to brush up on my pop tune knowledge, just in case.

Throwback Thursday: State Fair! Yeah!

Every August, we make a point to visit the Twin Cities and Nick’s family when the Minnesota State Fair is taking place.

Sometimes, we visit the animals (especially the birthing barn).MN state fair63
Hello, baby goats! I mean kids. Hello, kids!

The girls almost always get Fair Dos.

MN state fair73

Yes, it takes at least five washings and almost an entire bottle of conditioner to remove the spray and color, but it’s totally worth it.

We explore the finer arts of butter sculptures and traveling information trailers.
I am home!

We devote a good deal of time to both the Kidway and the Midway rides.
Ella in 2007 (age 2.5), becoming one with the motorcycle.

MN state fair33

Click on it to see it larger…

But mostly… we go for the food.
We eat…
Click on these, too. Unless you’re completely grossed out. I’d understand.

And eat…


And eat…

MN state fair food collage

All. Day. Long.

To be fair (hooo boy, I am hilarious), we don’t each consume all of the above in their entirety; rather we get, say, one order of cheese curds and split it amongst six of us — so although we do purchase an obscene number of foods, we aren’t actually rolling out of the fairgrounds each year.

Besides, we’re usually too bone-tired to roll, anyway.

State Fair day is also the girls’ annual “Yes Day,” inspired by the book of the same name, where we say “yes” to pretty much everything they request. Cotton candy for breakfast? Yes!!! Soda, maybe even twice in a day? Yes!! Purchase that bracelet, even though it looks super-cheap and is likely to break as soon as it’s put on? Yes! Yet another ride, even after we’re ready to fall over from exhaustion and being surrounded by the masses of other exhausted, sweaty, sugar-highed Minnesotans? Yes. (The yeses lose their exclation points after a while…)

It is one of the most highly-anticipated days of the year, and although I have to practically cross-train and visit a priest to make it through the day, And no matter what else is going on in our lives, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Today, we head to the fair again. I am planning to start my day off the same way I did last year: with bacon ice cream. BECAUSE, YES.