Take one morning last week. We went into the kitchen for our first cup of coffee. We found it – on the floor. A pool of brown covered our off-white floor. (Household hint No. 1: The next time you install kitchen flooring, choose “coffee brown” from the color palette.)
The automatic coffee maker had turned on as it had each morning for years, but a rubber washer had deteriorated, allowing the brew to bypass the pot and drip out, soaking the cabinet drawers and shelves as it followed gravity to the floor.
“And I had just mopped and cleaned the floor,” lamented my wife.
We cleaned up the mess, and I went to the store to find a replacement coffee maker.
We can live a day or two without a microwave oven or a toaster, but not a coffee pot.
I found a pot like the one we had used for years, but the 12-cup version was not in stock. We can’t kick-start our bodies on the 10-cup version and still have a mug left for me to take to work.
I bought another brand, which seemed to be about the same style as our old favorite. I could have shopped around at other stores, but noon was approaching and I needed my morning cup. So I switched brands. (Household hint No. 2: Don’t go out in public until you’ve had your caffeine.)
Back at the house, I unpacked the new maker, washed it and brewed a pot of plain water to clean out all the insides.
I had to call the 800 number on the box to figure out how to set the timer mechanism to turn the thing on each morning, and there I bumped into a corner of the maze.
The company’s computerized answering machine was difficult to work with. At one point, it prompted me: “If you are calling about a lamp, press 1.” Lamp? That pot wasn’t called Mr. Lamp. (Household hint No. 3: Drink your morning coffee before trying to understand modern technology.)
With everything set up and clean, I brewed a pot of coffee and went to take a shower. A couple of minutes later, my wife came into the bathroom and said, “Uh, there’s coffee all over the floor again.”
I stumbled back into the kitchen and nearly slipped on the pool of coffee.
“Stupid new coffee maker,” I grumbled, before noticing that, on the drying rack by the sink, I had left the washed filter basket from the new machine. It apparently was a vital cog of the overall machine. (Household hint No. 4: Don’t forget stuff.)
I reassembled the machine and brewed another pot. By that time, I was running late for work, so I groggily poured two travel cups of coffee and took them with me: one for the road and one for the office.
(Household hint No. 5: Switch to instant.)