I could not believe that I had actually done it. I looked into the mug at what was left of my coffee from earlier that morning and saw the last 4 sips of coffee. Knowing full well that even just one sip - let alone four - would be absolutely disgusting I took a sip anyways. What entered my digestive track was one of the nastiest samplings of coffee that had ever made its way into my body.
I couldn't finish the last 3 sips. From that moment on, I made absolutely sure that I finished my coffee before the heat escaped the insulated sides of the thermal mug. I could not put myself through the torture of another sip of cold coffee. Even an afternoon cup of tea had to be enjoyed in that brief window of warmth - the 15 minute period between "burn your face off" hot and "this might as well be served on a porch in the summer" cold.
There would be no sipping and enjoying the warm beverage for Danielle at her desk.
But then... it happened. A life-changing moment for the cubicle farm resident who does not drink coffee or tea merely for the caffeine rush. A moment of wonderful for the coffee drinker who savors every sip and wants the pleasure to last for hours.
The mug warmer.
(Picture found at giftmugs.com)
It was a day I will never forget. A "Secret Santa" swap with the colleagues in Customer Service at work with a $10-15 cash limit on gifts was taking place. I watched as people opened various gifts... scarves, coffee, homemade candied popcorn. We laughed as we all made jokes and enjoyed each others' company over crockpots of meatballs and pasta. It was my turn to open the carefully wrapped holiday gift bag that was handed to me with a large smile from one of my co-workers. I pulled aside the paper and found a Toastmasters electric mug warmer, complete with mug and an additional box of teabags for me to sip and enjoy.
I was thrilled, excited to plug in the miniature hot-plate and see if it worked. I washed the mug, placed a tea bag inside, and filled it with hot water from our cooler. I moved the switch on the warmer to the "ON" position... and waited. Two hours later and halfway through my cup of raspberry tea, it was still warm and delicious.
Three years later, the mug warmer still holds a position of pride on the desk in my little piece of land in the cubicle farm. Sitting in front of my computer monitors, it gladly waits for me to return from the kitchen with my mug of Columbian coffee so that it can maintain it at a warm yet drinkable temperature for as long as I need. On those days when I don't get around to finishing my coffee until late into the afternoon hours, my mug warmer has been faithful.
As I sip my coffee and type this, I smile. It's the small things in life, really.