How espresso nearly destroyed a family — Part I

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You know you are aging when you increasingly think not only do they not build anything as well as they used to, but they don’t cut people out of the same fine and disciplined cloth as the old days. That is also true in my mind of even such specialty items as an espresso machine.

The espresso machine at my family home hisses in the corner. It is like a high culture meth lab sizzling on 220-volt power with its own dedicated water supply and drain.

It all started when one morning my wife insisted our espresso cappuccino machine of about six years had finally given up the froth.

But my wife made a tactical error when without much thought as she headed out the door said, “If you find yourself on one of your eBay searches — get us a good cappuccino maker.”


Ebay: where Steve Jobs meets Dalai Lama

And eBay for me is a miracle of the modern marketplace. Take the frenetic otherworldly energy of the Medina in Fez Morocco and combine it with the ability to switch between worlds like Steve Jobs wanted us all to do and even the Dalai Lama risks an addiction to hunting and buying.

So I went online and soon other parts of my personality consumed the hunt.

“I can either get another consumer grade espresso machine, or perhaps I can get a used really well made machine that is worth fixing,” I thought to myself.

And that thought morphed into a research project. My wife, Melissa, looked at me strangely later that night when I walked into the bedroom and said, “You know, you really need 9 bars of pressure and 190 degrees to extract the true essence of a good espresso bean.”

I mistook her befuddled look as enchantment and a desire for me to tell her more.

Then I got what my wife later described as my usual maniacal glint. I poured out the entire strategy and tactics to achieve the strategy.

“Honey, I have done my research. We need a real Italian-made espresso machine — not some stainless Chinese-crafted knock off. We need a 220-volt machine with a dedicated water supply and drain and I am following several on EBay.”

I actually ended with: “Honey, You are gonna love it — this is a whole new level of coffee drinking that will be going on around here.”

Then Melissa looked at me and said I had been hanging around Town Commission candidates too long — “You sound like a lunatic,” she said gently and softly.

As I tried to drift off to sleep, I realized in an espresso meets existential crisis that I was truly on my own on this quest. My sales pitches would not overcome all the resistance.


Electrical work without drinking Corona

I pictured the house and the electric panel in the garage and the circuitry and wondered if my wife would mind of I cannibalized an outlet in the Kitchen for my project. I turned to my wife and asked her if she minded if we lose an outlet somewhere along the acres of granite countertop in the kitchen. I told her I needed one dedicated outlet and was going to covert it to 220 since it used 12-gauge wire and I was going to convert the neutral in the panel to another hot lead and isolate the ground.

“Don’t worry Hun, I told my wife; I have my hotgloves for when I work on the panel live. ”

I also drink a lot less Corona than I used to, so my electrical work has grown exponentially safer over the years I reasoned to myself.

I then rolled over and before sleeping, I picked up my eBay-enabling device — my android phone. I scrolled down to my watched items. Like a lover in the moonlight, the La Spaziale Commercial espresso machine listing beckoned me. Time was running out. It sat in Fort Lauderdale with the seller demanding local pickup only.

I looked at my wife. “I will get that Ghirardelli chocolate and the best espresso beans and blow her mind with some home made mochas. Yeah; screw Starbucks,” I said to myself somewhat rudely.

I then pictured my wife and I on the back patio during crisp nights drinking cappuccino.

I saw myself inviting guests and beckoning with espressos and a tiny lemon peel.

I even fantasized of rum and espresso drizzled ladyfingers and the finest Tiramisu we could make.

“She will love it. The family will thank me.”

I turned to the phone and bid $200. I fell off to sleep the high bidder — a real player in the used espresso machine market.


Morning becomes Electric

In the morning I zipped off to breakfast with former Mayor Hal Lenobel and former Town Manager Bruce St. Denis. I told them what I was doing much the way a man confesses when he is tired of holding his crime inside his aching mind.

Bruce counseled me not to take my BMW coupe to Fort Lauderdale to buy the espresso machine because it may not fit in the front seat. Hal looked at me and said something about how I sounded crazy.

After breakfast, I did not go home and I did not go to work. Like a Buddhist I took the middle path and followed my cappuccino dream.

I told nobody as I drove south on I-75 toward Alligator Alley. I was heading at 90 mph toward a failed and vacant Italian restaurant on some commercial strip in Fort Lauderdale to meet Sergio who said he lived “but moments away.”

The whole way I suspended all critical thought. I did not think about how to fit it in the car. I did not truly gauge my wife’s reaction. But single-minded focus at the exclusion of all distractions rendered me like a cliff diver focused on a tiny destination.


Read next week on how an espresso machine unraveled an entire household.


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1 Response for “How espresso nearly destroyed a family — Part I”

  1. Mary Jane Hershatter says:

    I’m hooked. Reminds me of another great tongue in cheek writer.

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