Thursday, September 06, 2007

A New Pot

Tragedy has struck the Olson household. Yesterday morning after my daily trip to the gym, I came home at my usual 5:30. Nick hasn’t been sleeping well, so he hasn’t been up with me. It was no surprise that the house was still dark and the coffee had not been brewed. I set everything up and switched the pot on before heading up to the shower.

Despite the insane heat, I am still enjoying 8-10 cups of coffee day. I have managed to cut out the sugar, though I’ve still not been able to go black. Perhaps cutting my cream with milk will help… As I showered, I pondered the different ways I might have my first cup. Are we out of whipped cream? I know there’s plenty of chocolate syrup. Should I finish off the vanilla caramel cream or open the French vanilla (which was all I could find at the store!)?

As I stepped out of the shower, drying and dressing, I noticed something strange. I inhaled. Nothing. I took a deep breath. Nothing. Hmmm. I should be smelling fine Arabica beans by now. Something was indeed amiss. I hurried down the stairs and into the kitchen—there it was, the first sign of a horrible day.

The coffee pot sat innocently on the corner countertop. The little red light illuminated, indicating that the pot was on and receiving a steady stream of electricity. Strangely, the pot itself was only half full. Had I not filled it all the way? I checked the water reservoir. There was still about 6 cups worth of water in it and yet it was not perking away. I tried turning it off and then on again (hey, it works for a computer!), but nothing happened. I poured a cup of what was in the pot and tasted it—ugh! Sludge. Something was wrong with my coffee pot.

Just after we’d moved to Phoenix, our beautiful thermal coffee brewer with a wake up timer and auto-shut off feature broke. Some tiny spring came off making it inoperable. As you know, I can not survive more than a few waking hours without this sweet nectar of life, so in desperation I bought the least expensive pot I could find. It was a simple model; 12-cup capacity, reusable filter, nothing fancy, but functional. Since then, I’d been eyeing the more elaborate grind-and-brew machines and the very exciting Krupps model that brews using k-cups (Gloria Jeans coffee comes in k-cups!!!!!!!!!!!). So, when my cheap-o model broke, I immediately planned a post-work shopping trip. But what to do now? I absolutely COULD NOT wait until leaving for work and heading to the Starbucks Drive-Thru. No, no that would take too long. I dug through the pantry looking for the small canister of International Foods Instant Orange Cappuccino I’d bought as a last resort on my recent trip to New York City. (Thankfully, there was a Starbucks in the lobby of the Waldorf=Astoria and I didn’t have to suffer while in my two-room suite in lower Manhattan. Sounds rough—I know.). Where was it?!?!? Then I remembered. I’d thrown it out after the first cup—NOT good coffee.

What was I to do? And then it came to me! Was I not the proud owner of a cappuccino machine? Did I not have an entire gallon of milk in the refrigerator? I already knew I had plenty of chocolate syrup! A cafĂ© mocha was in my future! Yes, it took a little longer, and yes, I was a few minutes late getting out the door, but that’s nothing a little reckless driving can’t fix.

Later that evening, Ivy and I put on our shopping gear and headed to Target. I spotted the model I wanted for home brew right away. It was a Mr. Coffee 10-cup with a thermal decanter, water filtration system, wake-up timer, fresh-brew timer (tells you how long your coffee has been sitting there) and this nifty little beeping thing that goes off when the pot has finished brewing. I looked over the display model, making sure I knew exactly what I was looking for, and then went in search of the appropriate box.

I dug through shelf after shelf and could not find this model. I checked end caps and toaster boxes, just to be safe, but the elusive Mr. Coffee was nowhere to be seen. (Perhaps he was in the billiard room with the lead pipe!) I found an orange coated expert, grilling him as to the whereabouts of the bean man.

“Do you know where I can find this model?”

“It should be on the shelf.”

“It’s not. Do you have any in back.”

“No, they’re all out.”

“When will you be getting more in?” This was a useless question. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to wait for the next shipment. He didn’t know.

Distraught and troubled, Ivy and I settled for the non-thermal model of this same pot. It didn’t have a permanent filter and would keep your coffee warm for 2 hours before shutting off. Ok. Fine. I’ll take it. At least it was on sale.

I set the whole thing up last night and started the timer, hoping I’d gotten it right after reading the novel-length instruction manual. I went to bed, disappointed.

This morning, at 5:30 when I walked in the front door I heard the familiar sound. Nick was still asleep, but Mr. Coffee was awake and brewing.