Is life a hop, skip and jump for you, or do you crawl through a maze each day like a lab mouse trying futilely to find the cheese? If it’s the latter, you’ve probably met me along the way.
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.)