caffeine appreciation.

I went out to my car over my lunch break today to get quarters. It was warm (but not too warm) and I opened the passenger door and sat with my feet still in the parking lot. I have a bag of change stowed in my glove box. All silver coins (I weeded out the pennies and store them in a jar on my kitchen counter). Eight quarters, easily recognized by their size and ridged edges.

I've spent the morning bouncing my eyelids. I think you can sometimes get away with that working at a Christian company. (I am very suspicious of people who work with their doors closed.) You know, when people walk by they think you're reading or praying, but I feel pretty convicted about sleeping on the job so I decided to head down to the cafe for a diet Pepsi. I prefer diet Coke, really, but I'm not stuck up about. I stood and contemplated my options: a 99-cent 20-oz. drink or a $1.10 32-oz. drink. Even though it kills me that I could buy a 2-liter for the same price as either of these, I went for 32 oz. This is going to last me all afternoon. I've been a diet soda drinker since I went back to drinking soda after a four-year hiatus from 8th-11th grade. I returned to diet. I'd rather eat my calories than drink them.

90% of my cup is diet Pepsi, and 10% is root beer. The effect I'm going for is diet root beer. It's rare to find a place that actually serves it, but a few squirts of regular root beer into a diet cola does the trick. It's a fetchal treat. Nate and I have been into fetchal treats lately and that's part of the reason I have a bag of coins in my car. You can get a vanilla cone at McDonald's for 69 cents, or sometimes we walk down to a convenience store called Jack's near his house and buy Now and Laters (for him) and Tootsie Pops (for me), and sometimes Skittles or pretzel M&Ms. Then we walk home by a different route in the dark and feel safe even in the absence of streetlights until we return home and feast, thankful for employer-provided dental insurance.

Today is Downtown Employee Appreciation Day in Nashville. I'm not really sure what that means, except I think the mayor is saying "thank you" to some of the 62,000 people who work downtown. And there is free food for employees who make it down to Church & 5th Ave. early. Who is getting in on this? I mean, I don't know about the rest of us, but I have work to do today. Please bring some of those snacks up to the 7th floor.

We did get a nice "I appreciate you" e-mail from the big man, but let's be honest—I was slightly disappointed to not find an ice cream cake waiting on my desk when I walked in this morning. (Seriously, I've been dropping hints about an ice cream cake since February.)

Tonight is date night. It's a surprise but I know it will involve being outside because Nate told me to dress warmly. First though, I'm making orange curried chicken for dinner. Cooking is a lot more fun that I imagined. I rarely made real meals before Nate moved here, and now this weekend we are having biscuits and gravy for Sunday breakfast and buffalo chicken sandwiches while we watch the Titans play the Broncos Sunday afternoon.

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