When Ron and I moved in together, I already owned my own home and it was fully stocked. And not stocked with hand me down stuff that someone in their early 20’s might own – I had nice, grown up, “I’ve been in the work force for a while” stuff from fancy places like Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma. But I realized it was important for Ron to have some of his things integrated into the household, so as we unpacked his stuff, we did the whole “yours or mine” decision on any duplicate items.
I already had a coffeemaker- a little 4 cup one from Mr. Coffee, that was pretty new. At that point, I got free coffee every day at work, so I rarely made any at home, except maybe on a weekend morning, or a late evening when trying to sober up a drunk friend. Ron had a 12 cup coffeemaker from some random brand (HD Designs?) that he’d bought at Kohl’s or Marshalls. It was a pretty lousy carafe design and leaked on the counter every time you poured it. It was hard to tell if the tiny “on” light was actually on or not, so you had to cup your hands around the light to create a dark environment and then peer carefully at it to make sure it was actually off. It sucked.
However, Ron DID drink coffee at home, and lots of it. So I figured it was a good item of his to keep. We sold mine at a yard sale, and that was that.
Then, about a month later, Ron bought a home espresso machine. Ron is equal parts snob and addict when it comes to coffee, and I don’t say that lightly. He is completely useless to do anything that requires concentration before he has had his morning espresso (and usually kind of irritable as well). But a simple cup of coffee is not enough to bring him to life. He needs ESPRESSO. If we are going to breakfast somewhere and he either knows they will not have espresso, or he isn’t sure, he will get up extra early to have time to make a couple espressos before we leave. In addition to our espresso machine at home, he has one on his desk at work. We went to the coast last year and stayed in a rented house, and he packed up his espresso machine and took it with us. The man is SERIOUS about his coffee – I mean ESPRESSO–consumption.
Once the espresso machine came into our lives, Ron never brewed another cup of coffee in the coffeemaker. And for a long time, I rarely did either, especially after I cut caffeine out of my diet. Being with Ron is like having my own personal live-in barista, who makes me all the delicious decaf mochas and cappuccinos my heart desires – served in special cups with special little spoons that fall down the sink and get caught in the disposal. So who needed a new coffeemaker?
But I am way too lazy to figure out how to use the espresso machine if Ron is gone, so if he is out of town and I want coffee, I have to use the coffeemaker. And, every now and then, especially if there are donuts on the premises, I actually prefer a plain old cup of coffee to a cappuccino. And that meant having to use the sucky machine. I became even more acutely aware of how crappy it was this past winter when my friend Kelley came and stayed with us, since she liked regular coffee in the morning, and had to use it every day too (sorry, Kel).
I’ve had several intentions to buy a new coffeemaker, but every time we’ve had a gift card to somewhere like Target or Fred Meyer’s, we would always prioritize another household item over it, because in the end, it doesn’t get used that often. For about three or four years now we’ve gone into one of those stores, put a new coffeemaker in our cart, and then at some point talked ourselves out of it and put it back.
But this past weekend, we found we had an unused gift card to Best Buy. And since it was Memorial Day Weekend, we figured there were probably some good sales going, and maybe we should go check it out and see if there was anything we could use.
We actually wandered around the store a lot, struggling to find anything we even WANTED, let alone needed, which was both weird and nice. We checked out the Soda Stream machines (too expensive) and Apple TV (waaay too expensive), and about a dozen other items, before we ended up back in appliances.
They had a 12 cup Mr. Coffee coffeemaker on sale. $24.99. I looked at Ron and shrugged. “I guess we could get it, but again, it’s so rare we make coffee…” I said, beginning my usual process of talking us out of the purchase.
“There is nothing in this store we want or need that we can afford with just the gift certificate except this and maybe a couple other small items, right?” Ron asked.
“Right,” I agreed.
“So wouldn’t it seem like the perfect time to replace the coffeemaker you hate so much?” he asked, making all kinds of rational sense. I had to agree. We got it, along with a car charger for my cell phone (grrrr…stupid iphone 5 with your new adapter plug), and a pack of batteries (you always need batteries, right?).
All for a total of .97 cents, after the gift certificate.
When we got home, I unpacked the new machine, and took the old one down to the Goodwill pile in the basement. When I came back upstairs, Ron said, “That old coffeemaker is kind of the end of an era for me.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“When I quit cycling and finally got my own place in Jersey and had to buy housewares for the first time, that coffeemaker was the first thing I bought. It’s like the last thing I have from when I was single and lived alone,” he said.
I was a little surprised, because just a few days before, I had made a decision to get rid of this basket:
It used to hold towels in our guest bathroom. But I recently made some decor changes to that room (more on that in a future post), and one of those changes was to get rid of that fish-topped basket. And although I can’t claim to love it, I was sentimental about it, because that basket was the first item I had bought when I was getting ready to move into my own apartment, without roommates (Why a fish topped basket? I have NO idea. I think I just liked it.). I have hauled it around with me to every place I have ever lived as an adult, not because it was beautiful or super useful, but because of what it represented – embarking out on a life of my own.
Funny enough, I had even placed Ron’s coffeemaker right next to the basket in the basement – the last two artifacts of our single lives, leaving us, together.