Staggering into the kitchen upon waking can happen at our home any time between 4 and 7 a.m. There’s no rhyme or reason to our sleep patterns. If I’m up first, I grind the coffee beans, careful to shut the two doors on the way to the kitchen so as not to wake Sarah. The next day, she could be giving the beans a twirl and grind as I slumber. When we have company and they’re still asleep, we’ll walk the short distance to the garage to pulverize the morning’s caffeine offering.

This is our morning routine. When something disrupts it, the wheels come off the track on the engine of the day, and it takes some doing to get back on the rails. She makes the latte, I get the News Tribune from the green newspaper box. Last week, however, we both got up at the same time and were in the kitchen. That’s when a wineglass fell out of the cupboard and shattered into a billion pieces on the floor. I had just opened the door to go outside when the crash came.

“What happened?”

“Oh, a wineglass fell out of the cupboard,” she shrugged and smiled, “I guess George did it.”

He’s the imaginary guy in the basement I blame for stuff that happens when I’m trying to escape responsibility for some screwup or oversight. The grandkids acknowledge him, too, when they come in the backdoor for a visit. They yell a greeting down the basement stairs before they head to the cupboards looking for graham crackers or Tootsie Rolls.

This morning’s tasks were off to a bad start. How do you finish making a latte when there’s glass all over the floor, large pieces to finely ground sand-sized bits? The kitchen is not big, so the shattered glass chunks shot to the far corners underneath the kitchen table and cupboards. The paper would have to wait. I started cleaning up the mess as Sarah tackled caffeine production.

It seemed like it took an hour to find and sweep up the debris. The big splinters were not a problem; the smaller chips, another matter. One pass with the broom and dustpan was rewarded with curved, elegant shapes. After that, it got harder as fragments got smaller. Repeated sweeps with the broom showed few results. After that I pulled the chairs out and moved the table to see if the lights from the ceiling would reflect off any more overlooked wreckage before vacuuming. Satisfied, I put the broom away and beat it out the door to get the paper.

Before I could go get the newspaper, I had to restock the birdfeeder and hang it, the bird bath needed to be filled, and since it was Hartel’s day, the garbage and recycling had to be hauled to the street. The whole process took about 10 minutes, a long wait for that fine Mexican Dark Roast sitting on the kitchen table.

When I finally took a seat at the table to get down to business with the coffee cup, having put the wheels back on the track, I raised my cup in salute and gratitude to my wife. Before I took the first sip from the cup, I glanced at the froth on top of the dark, steaming brew, and swore I saw the image of St. Drogo in the white foam lying there. Isn’t he the patron saint of baristas? I bet he isn’t the protector of wineglasses.

Doug Lewandowski is a retired counselor, educator and licensed psychologist. Write to him at