Monday, May 17, 2010

When Appliances Weep...

If you ever happen to be wandering around a department store somewhere in southern Maine and hear gut-wrenching screams of distress, fear not.  The zombies have not arrived to wreak havoc upon the clearance aisle.  Those terrified shrieks you hear are coming from the small appliance department and can only mean one thing:

I've killed another coffee maker and am looking for my next victim.


Some people can't wear watches.  Some are hard on shoes.  Many folks can't keep the houseplants alive without a staff of gardeners and botanists.  One of my students (The Kid Who Needs A Nicotine Patch By Noon) has managed to crash every laptop the tech department has given him and no one can figure out why.  With me, it's coffee makers.

It doesn't matter what I do.  I've tried different brands.  I clean them regularly.  I use nice clean water.  I follow the manufacturers directions, suggestions and mandates.  I do it all.  And I still can't seem to keep them alive.

I'm of two minds with the coffee makers.  Sometimes I think:  You get what you pay for and being cheap with appliances will only cost you in the long run.  Then I kill an expensive coffee maker.

Other times, I declare:  It's not worth it!  I shall lay down ten bucks and not feel badly about what I'm about to do to this thing!!!  Then I kill a cheap coffee maker in half the time and sometimes have coffee leaking all over the counter from the wounds I inadvertently inflict.

This time, I killed a middle-of-the-road coffee maker.  Actually, it's not really dead.  It still makes coffee. I just have to lean on the lid every now and again to keep it running.  If I don't, it sputters and all the little lights go out.  Then I have a half cup of cold coffee to take with me on the morning commute.  Sometimes, I bang on it and say very bad words and that will keep things running long enough to brew up the morning go-juice.  However, that scares the cats and is markedly decreasing my chances of going to heaven.

It kind of has to be the really bad words to work...

I'm fiddling with it.  Maybe it doesn't like the new filter I put in.  Maybe it's just scared because it heard all the other coffee makers telling stories about me and can't function for the fear of it all.  I've only had this machine for a few months and it seems kind of give-uppy to throw in the towel now.  Maybe I can get a year out of it if I think positive thoughts and clean the stupid thing again.  And I really need coffee right now.  Spring is upon us and things are getting dicey here.

I still carry the unfinished sock in my school bag, but I only slipped off to my office to go hug it once today.  I was too busy trying to get the Achievement Testing done to do much in the way of self-comforting.  The students are all gazing longingly out the windows and dreaming of summer vacation instead of math.  Some are so far gone that they are staring at the plywood covering the window that was broken last week.  I'm pretty sure there is nothing I can do for them, but I really should try.  This seems like the responsible "teacherly" thing to do.  In my spare moments, I was checking in on the Cheerful Teaching Assistant because her wedding is mere weeks away and neither of us can figure out how time sped up to the point where we can no longer say, "That's OK.  There's still plenty of time..."

I need the coffee and can't be nurturing yet another coffee maker through its fear of me.  I just need the good stuff to flow into the pot.  I refuse to sink to the level of instant coffee and the first person to suggest tea is going to get such a pinch!!!  It is going to have to suck it up and deal.  I don't mean to kill coffee makers.  In fact, if they would just behave themselves these things wouldn't have to escalate to such levels.  I just need coffee, for crying out loud!!!

I am keeping a stiff upper lip.  It's that or have a blubber-fest with my coffee maker...

SA

23 comments:

Teri S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teri S. said...

Hmmm...I would not even dare suggest tea. It's only good iced in the summer. Or when visiting the parents.

But, might I suggest...instant? Starbucks has an instant coffee that my husband (who likes his coffee strong and hot) said was good. If push comes to shove, it might just work for you.

(I deleted my first comment because I mangled it but good.)

PICAdrienne said...

What about a French Press? I know there is a bit more fussing, what with having to heat the water separately, then letting it steep, just a thought.

Denise said...

Why not go the old fashioned route and get a perculator? They last forever. I dont drink coffee but my grandma did and parents sure do. Grandma had a perculator forever and never had to replace a thing on it and she liked her coffee thick...My dad used to say she made it so thick that a spoon would stand up in it. lol. And if you break it no big deal cause most of them probably end up in a land fill somewhere so actually you would be doing the green thing. :)

kmkat said...

If I were you -- which I am not, so what do I know? -- I would seriously consider the French press idea. I don't have one, but Consumer Reports (or was it some coffee-centric website?) says that the very best coffee is made with one. They are not expensive, have no electrical or electronic parts to go gaga, and probably take no more time than loading up the coffeemaker.

Beth said...

That is really weird about you and coffee makers. I remember you getting the last one and it wasn't that long ago. Interesting. Maybe you can volunteer for a scientific study or something. :)

Donna Lee said...

If I were you, I'd take a look at the toaster. It's probably jealous of the love and attention you give the coffee maker and tries to undermine it's confidence at night when you're asleep.

Gayle said...

I'll second the coffee press. Boil water, put ground in the press. Water boils. Pour over grounds and put the top on. Go do something moringish and then come back, press, and pour.

Fussy at first but when you get used to it -- great tasting coffee. Plus hardly any moving parts to break.

Kath said...

I have the ultimate low-tech coffee solution. I set a folded paper towel (as a filter) into a plastic cone that sets on top of a mug, spoon coffee into the paper towel filter, and the pour boiling water onto the coffee. It seeps through and the end result is a mug of hot coffee. No you cannot program it ahead of time or teach the cats to do it for you - but it has absolutely no electronics or moving parts and since I have a gas stove, I can still make coffee during a power outage.

Lynne said...

I wouldn't suggest tea (although it's my beverage of choice and only after I've been up for at least a couple of hours) - but my husband loves plunger coffee and perculated coffee.

=Tamar said...

Coffee filter in plastic cone.
ground coffee into filter, boiling
water poured in. let it drip.
When it's all through (do measure,
it may take several pours), remove
cone and filter. Drink.
The only moving part is you.
For extra credit, use a hand-grinder and grind the beans just before you make the coffee.

Mouse said...

Funny.. I thought my husband was the only person who could kill a coffee maker in a matter of months. We pretty much consider them disposable at this point and buy the $10.00 ones from Target. We've tried to repair them with no decent results and even though its terrible for the environment - that's just the way we've got to roll. Believe me.. you don't want to be around an under-caffeinated Bear. (or Sheep for that matter, I'm sure)

Harma Piening said...

Go for the one with the longest warranty. So you can return it if it dies too soon.

In the Netherlands a one year warranty is obligatory for all household appliances and you can buy extra if you want to. Let the manufactorer of the machine take his responcibility for making a machine that does what it should do for a decent period of time.

Harma

trek said...

I don't get what's up with you and the coffee makers. The last time wasn't pretty and this one is looking even worse...

Cathy said...

Um, we just went coffee maker shopping for the 3rd time in a year. We've (had to in the meantime) been using the one a beau gave me 11 yrs ago and for some reason it just doesn't cut it for my DH. I think all that programmable stuff (he requires) is the problem with current coffee pots.

And my breaking the carafe every month or so and not being able to find new ones.

Elaine said...

Please try the French Press... Have had one for better than 10 years (yes, the same one); it makes great coffee, it's pure, it's simple. And relatively cheap. Can't go wrong.

Yarnhog said...

I think I'd buy two at a time just to have a back-up. A broken coffee maker is a deal-breaker in my book. I'd have to go back to bed. (Yes, I do keep a back-up in the garage. Why do you ask?)

Mia said...

Seems like yesterday that coffee maker was just a babe... cuz didn't you buy a new one like just a few months ago?

Oh, and please... let us forgive poor Terri S in the comments for even mentioning instant coffee - even from Starbucks :)

Karen said...

My husband is a coffee maker killer too. Fortunately I don't drink coffee. We have gone through 4 or 5 drip models, a couple of the expensive perky kind and now we have a very cheap perky kind. It makes lousy coffee he says so he's been buying it at Dunkin. All this in maybe 25 years. It's a good thing I don't need the coffee.

twinsetellen said...

Me? I put street lights out. Seriously - when I drive by them, an unusually high percentage blink out. (Or do I just notice it more than everyone else?)

That said, next time you purchase a coffee maker, you should look for one that is confident yet not seeking to dominate. Price is irrelevant - read their attitudes. A puddle of water at their base is a sure sign of submission, but you don't want them overly submissive, so avoid that. Handle back, gurgling in a growly voice? - that's fear talking. Go for the bright eyed carafe standing tall.

And good luck.

catsmum said...

I kill light bulbs.
Not the ordinary ones that are illegal now in Australia - the 'energy saving ' long life ones:
5 in 2 days last week ... no it was 6. So $20+ just went pffft and that was generic branded ones.

catsmum said...

and toasters
I kill toasters too

and irons

erasmus (aka jiva) said...

We've got a Rancillio coffee maker at home and it has a pure stainless steel tank inside and has worked fine always. The thing is Rancillio are the SUPER expensive versions. have you got an italian stove top coffee maker? they are nice and easy too. If not it may be worth spending part of the evening making cold pressed coffee for the next morning. Best of luck finding the right answer for you.