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The most expensive cup of coffee
Why you should listen to your wife
August 31, 1997

Today was good day, until about 9:30 PM. We had some friends over for a little BBQ. Zoe had a good time and everything was going smoothly. Our friends left just before 8 and we decided to watch a movie. I was feeling a little tired, the Sun, the baby, and the barbeque had all taken their toll. I decided that a little cup of coffee would perk me up for the movie. This was to prove to be the wrong decision.

I knew that we were out of ground coffee because I had used the last of it in the morning. Michele said that we had beans and that her small food grinder would also grind coffee. I went into the kitchen, found the coffee and the grinder, and began. As I type this, I hear my father's voice saying, 'Always read the instructions.' Of course, I did not read the instructions that helpfully state "when grinding coffee beans, use no more than 1/2 cup at a time." I, instead, filled the grinder to the brim. I hit the high speed button and waited for nicely ground bits to appear. I held the button and all I could see was whole beans. After a few minutes, I decided to take a look. I opened the grinder and found that it had not done a good job. I went to complain to Michele.

When Michele and I returned to the kitchen, we found that the grinder would not grind anymore. She said that I had killed her grinder. I began to tell her that I would fix the grinder when she sent me out of the room. While I pouted in the living room, when somehow, she concocted a single cup of coffee for me using a tea ball and the only bits of ground coffee left. I should have been content at this point to cut my losses to destroying a single food grinder.

We finished the movie and I headed back into the kitchen to resume my battle with the grinder. Michele pleaded with me to not take the grinder apart. I foolishly ignored her and got out my tools. Exasperated, she left the room. Being an engineer, I feel that you must confirm that a device is truly broken before you can throw it away. As I examined the grinder, I noticed that there we three small plastic caps covering screws that held the case together. As you all know, the proper tool to remove small plastic caps is a steak knife. I get the knife and I begin work. I'm sitting at the dining room table, prying the last small cap out when it flings up and hits me in the eye. At this point I am a bit shocked. Many things have poked into my eye before, bugs, sand, fingers, etc., but this really hurt. I call to Michele to come over. As soon as she sees me, she knows what happened. It is her fear that I will one day wear a black eye patch. We go in to the bathroom to look at my eye.

As you know, I wear contacts. Not just ordinary contacts, but expensive custom hard lenes that take a few weeks to make. I pop out the lens and take a look. The central hard part is literally shattered, like a car window in an accident. At this point Michele states that I am the luckiest man alive because I could have been blinded if not for the lens. Now, I don't think I would have been blinded, but I think a trip to the emergency room would have been in order.

Michele is a bit mad at me at this point. She gets very upset as I return to the dining room table to continue my duel with the grinder. After five minutes, I realize that I cannot get the grinder to work. I tell Michele and she walks over, takes the girnder and throws it in the trash can. She then declares that I must go out now and get her a new coffee grinder. At 10PM I head out the supermarket. I find a grinder and head to the checkout.  The checker asks if I'm having a nice day. I reply, "I've had better."

To summarize, here is the cost of my cup of coffee:
$150 replacement contact lens
$20 new coffee grinder

One hundred and seventy dollars for a cup of coffee. That's a lot no matter how you look at it. Take my advice and let your wife grind all your coffee in the future.

The one positive thing about this adventure is that Michele likes the new coffee grinder. It's a black Braun, that matches our coffee maker.

Drop Michele or Michael a line.