1. Wet ink. Why, in the year of our lord two thousand and twenty-one, do businesses still require wet ink on basic transactional paperwork. All I want to do is to make a pretty simple deposit into my retirement account. Maybe. If it were a withdrawal, I could see it. Maybe. Although I’m perfectly happy to let anyone in the world put funds in my IRA if the spirit moves them. In the time of instant transactions, waiting around for a few days until the mail arrives, waiting a few days until the return post reaches them, and then the action taking place. It really just feels like there has to be a better way.
2. Plastics. This week I got to enjoy the mandatory de-plasticizing of a new coffee maker pot. The entire house reeks of vinegar after brewing half a dozen pots of it in hopes that I’ll eventually be able to have coffee that doesn’t taste of plastic. At this point I’m not sure coffee tinged with plastic is actually worse than the hot vinegar stench permeating every inch of the house.
3. One o’clock. For the last few weeks, I’ve struggled to get past 1 o’clock in the afternoon without my head slamming into my desk. I’ve always gotten a little groggy in the mid-afternoon, but this is something altogether different. It’s the kind of sleepy that demands I either get on my feet or go immediately to sleep. It’s not ideal if you’re making even the barest effort to be a responsible and responsive employee. This had better just be a passing thing, because otherwise I might need to talk to the boss about expanding my cube to allow room for a cot.
About a week ago I noticed that my coffee maker was making a mess of itself occasionally when I brewed up a K-cup. You never knew exactly when you’d find the machine sitting in a puddle of its own water. It was annoying, but easy enough to clean up as needed. For the last two days, though, it’s transitioned from an occasional issue to an every time sort of thing. That’s a bridge too far for an appliance that’s supposed to be about convenience.
My Hamilton Beach Flexbrew surely isn’t a style leader, but it made a consistent pot of coffee and didn’t choke on any of the various K-cup products I threw at it. I know coffee purists out there reading this will rage at the mere mention of “pod” coffee, but I’ve come to appreciate the convenience as well as the ability to run non-coffee hot beverages through the machine when the mood strikes me. No, it’s not a scientific, cold brew, chemistry lab looking set up and I don’t really care. Mornings are about getting scalding hot caffeine into my system as quickly as possible. I don’t care much how artfully it happens.
I was tempted this morning to order up one of the fancy new Ninja brewers or even some of the more exotic offerings… but I’m old enough to remember when just about any kitchen appliance you could want was available for $19.99 plus tax. The middle three figure price slapped on some of those models was a too eyewatering for me. Most of them also showed delivery times out near Christmas, and of course I just don’t have that level of patience.
So, I’ll be replacing a five- or six-year-old Flexbrew with the exact same model. Maryland’s 6% cut drove the price over $100, but Amazon seems to think they can have it here before sunup tomorrow. I’m sure I could have pulled the baseplate off my old model and found the line that was split or needed a clamp replaced, but I think I’ve mostly decided that when any kind of consumer electronic has been in service for at least five years, it’s reached the end of its useful life cycle. Some people have a propensity to tinker around and don’t mind a bit of periodic bodging to keep something running indefinitely. Me? Yeah. I just want things to work when I flip a switch or push a button. If that means my annualized cost of being able to brew coffee at home is $20 and change, it’s a tolerable price to pay.