Well. It’s official. There’s no hope for my kicking the coffee habit…

I’m still a little in shock…. and .. trying to not get too overly excited — because it hasn’t arrived yet, and lets face it – something can always happen during shipping…. (Lord knows Matt’s music equipment is testament enough to that…)

BUT. Nevertheless…. even though I’m trying not to be… I’m beyond excited.  And, resisting the urge to do cartwheels and send out mass texts… 

Why?

Because… finally…. after three years of saving and planning for it, and ALWAYS having something come up — we ordered my espresso machine and burr grinder yesterday!

Now, we’ve had an espresso machine.  A $75 dollar Hamilton Beach one. This is what he looked like :

Looks pretty... but don't let it fool you....

It worked good enough for us for a while…. but, there was a slight problem.

You couldn’t take the arm wand off to clean it.  And since it wasn’t a real machine, you didn’t back flush, or descale…anything like that. You just ran water/vinegar through the machine to clean it.

Well… what happened is that the steam wand clogged up with milk/mold… and no matter how much I cleaned/ran vinegar through it…we were still getting bits of stuff out of the steam wand.

In a word — ew.  (and, when we stopped using this machine, we realized the espresso it brewed was really more like tea… how did we miss that?!)

So… we started looking around for a “real” espresso machine.

Vibiemme Super HX - New 2011 Version. Only $2099....................

We found one. And a grinder to match! (not pictured)

Granted, it wasn’t cheap. But… we talked about it…. looked around at Matt’s music equipment… saw the $6000 keyboard…. and decided this was doable.

Then, of course, there were lots of ups and downs, money that was set aside for the machine, that ended up getting spent on other, sensible adult things. (That, would honestly make a soap opera of a blog in itself… but we’ll leave it at that.)

So, we never got the espresso machine.  I mean… it’s a little difficult to save up 2 grand. Especially when bills come up, bills go over, clothes get ruined, Christmas comes around….. you know how it goes.

So, we’d about given up hope.

THEN, the vendor we were going to order through, put out a new espresso machine of the same type, the La Nuova Era Cuadra.

Meet the Cuadra, who I thought was to be the answer to all our problems....

This machine was in the same category as the Vibiemme machine, but was being sold for an introductory price of $995.

Obviously, it wasn’t quite the quality of the Vibi… but I called and talked to 1st-line…. it was a machine that Matt and I would be happy with. For just barely under a grand, hallelujah!!

Well.

Kinda.

Turns out… the WEEK BEFORE we were going to order it…. I find out they are sold out.

Not to worry… they’d get more…. they just didn’t know when.

And, it’d be at a different price.

Still cheaper! But… not by much. So hardly worth it, really.

Ok. So, now what?

Ordering the machine from someone else was an option, but no one else that we found that sold it, offered to work on the machines free for X amount of time. So, if we had a problem, we could be screwed.

 

We looked back at the Vibi’s. Since, really, that’s what my heart had been set on.

But this time, we looked more into it’s baby brother… the Jr.

Meet Jr. Basically, exactly like Super, with just a few changes. Mainly size...

Again, I did some rapid fire Googling… the HX concept was making me a little nervous. It’s technical, and a little trickier to work… but it seems like it’ll be okay. Just part of the process…

Calling 1st-line, yet again,  I chatted with the sales lady. Who, reiterated that it was basically the same machine. They sold many to people with New York apartments that were smaller, and didn’t have room for the super.  And they didn’t get many, if any, complaints on the machine.

And, it was not much more than the Cuadra would have been.

So.. .we paired that with the Lelit grinder, also from 1st-line… (that we’d basically decided on years ago….)

Who, might I mention was on sale, $100 dollars off, with the purchase of an expensive espresso machine. Yay!

So beyond excited.

We ordered the two of them yesterday. Website says most orders ship between 2-7 business days! So, yeah. It’s just a matter of time before I get to start playing with these, and figure out how they work! 🙂

I’ll be sure to post pictures, and keep this updated about the learning process.

….

That is, if I’m not so hyped up on espresso that I forget about this blog altogether…….

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It’s a little depressing.

Was on my way to grab lunch yesterday, when I drove past the old Nordaggio’s coffee shop, in the Owasso Smith Farm shopping center.

It’s been closed for a while, but lately they’ve been doing things in it- getting it ready for whoever the new tenant would be.

Pretty depressing to see it leased out, my husband and I had thrown around the idea of opening a coffee shop in the building. Granted, it might not have been the best idea, considering there was a Starbucks nearby, it’d just require some careful thought/marketing/ etc. You know, see where they went wrong in how the dealt with the competition, and try to guess/plan out what would work better…

Really, it was a beautiful space. (Especially when they had Christmas decorations up!) Gorgeous fireplace, all wood floors, some rock work all over, big pretty counter/bar…

And it’s all completely torn out. Even the wood floor — that’s now mostly tile. It’s now the new home to “Mattress Firm,” complete with a little red company car parked outside.

A mattress store? The space has a drive through for goodness sakes. Isn’t that prime real estate for at least a food establishment? Anything but a mattress store. Geez.

And it’s not my normal attitude at all. But I’ll admit there was a little part of me that wanted to go up and just kick the little red and white  “Mattress Firm” car sitting outside. And I’d like to think it was all my wonderful morals that kept me from doing it, and not the people milling about inside, and out of the soon-to-be mattress store, that kept me from doing so. (That, and the still-hot queso from Baja Jacks waiting in the car for me ) .

It’s just so depressing! I practically lived at this place, once it opened. I waited a year for it to open, (very patiently too, I might add.) Had some of the best conversations I’ve ever had there. (Including a friend who always asked “how my heart was” .)

I got sent home from work the day my dad died, for being a wreck.. and before going home, I went there, to pull it together.  Spent a good 4 hours there, actually, snacking on the staff’s Christmas cookies, slow dancing with a friend across the wood floor, and ooohing and aaahing over all the latte art that went out that day. (Not to mention, that’s where all the kids/teenagers ended up AFTER the funeral. I think the espresso is one of the only reasons I was able to make it through those few days.

I don’t even know the right combination of words to string together to explain this. I’m not special though.  I imagine it’s how anyone would feel if a childhood haunt or something of equal value was being torn down/replaced.  It’s such a sucker punch though — a mattress store?  (The predecessor to that, Owasso’s other “actual” coffee shop…. closed down, and is now Andolini’s. I can’t win!)

So this, coupled with reading a  blog post from Daily Shot Of Coffee yesterday…. (though an interesting read) made for a depressing day yesterday.

And of course, all I have around here, is push button, automated coffee shops (ala S*Bux & Panera) to try and get a quick-pick-me-up. My kingdom for some latte art, conversation, and a porcelain mug…

What a day….

Oh. My. Gosh.

Did someone change Wednesday to Monday, and just forget to send me the memo?

Yesterday was absolutely insane.

First, for anyone who may not know, I stay with my Mom during the day. She had a stroke my freshman year, and is wheelchair bound. So, while my younger sister is at work, I stay with her , and help her take care of the house, and etc.

Well, yesterday, I went over there, and while making breakfast, I noticed that the igniter on one of her stove burners wasn’t working. So I called my older brother, (he’s 15 years older than me, he helped our Dad with most of the handi-work around the house growing up. I preferred to watch. Looking back, big mistake.) and told him what it was doing.

He told me it probably just needs to be cleaned. Which, is easy. I can handle that. So after we eat, I soak the stove down with some water and Comet, and then get rewarded by a lovely call from US Cellular.

Turns out, my bill is overdue. Which, is nothing new to me. Their automated machine has been calling me twice a day as of late, telling me, that it’s overdue. So this is not news to me.

What they do, finally decide to tell me is, if the bill is not paid today (or at least half) the phone will be shut off tonight.

Well gee, thanks ever so much for the advance notice, guys.

So, since I’m sure some poor, phone representative doesn’t want to hear why my bill is late because of a misunderstanding with my bank on a loan holiday, and massive budget rearranging, I simply say, “I  understand, I know the balance, and I’ll have the money to pay it when my husband gets paid Friday.”

From then on, here’s the gist of the conversation.

-“Well, can you pay the bill today, over the phone?”

“No, I won’t have the money until my husband gets paid Friday.”

“What about a partial payment? We need at least half to keep from interrupting service.”

“Sorry, I don’t have the money right now. I’ll be paying it Friday, at 5.”

“Can you just put like, 20 dollars down today?” (Which, psst, US Cell? If it would take half to keep service on, what good would a 20 dollar payment do? I mean really…logic says to not threaten me with cutting off service, if you’d do it for 20 bucks….”

No. I have ten dollars in my wallet. I can pay it Friday, at 5.”

I kid you not, that’s almost word-for-word how this call went. And it’s almost EXACTLY how it went when I called them back, to figure out exactly when service would be cut off. The only difference was that the first rep who helped me was a wonderfully nice guy, who sounded like he genuinely wanted to help. Then, I got transferred to someone who was no help at all over at Financial Services.  His speel was the same as before, only this time, this gem was included:

“Couldn’t you ask a family member or a friend to loan you the 75??”

Yeah. Because everyone I know is so wealthy and fortunate that they have an extra, spare 75 dollars floating around to loan out to me.  I wanted to reach through the phone and smack him. I should have asked HIM for the loan, come to think of it….

But anyway, after a few calls back and forth, we found a way to make it work , and are going to have half of the bill [aid today, so our service will “be uninterrupted.”

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, the stove’s been soaking in a water/Comet mixture.  Normally, we use de-greaser, but for some reason, it was AWOL today. Figures. Anyway. I started scrubbing away at the stove… which was such a mess, it soon coated the sponge I was using. I had to wash the thing out with dawn ever 5 minutes- if it lasted that long.

So… I was kinda stuck. Switched from Comet to Dawn, thinking it might cut the grease better….

Nope.

Ok…. So… I’m trying to figure out what to do now, when one of the igniters starts clicking.

Which, is pretty normal when they get wet. It’s nothing I haven’t seen before, even though it’s a bit unnerving. Especially when you see it spark. Even still, I kept attempting to clean to stove, while trying to ignore it.

It stopped after a while. Then, started up again. Then, sped up. Then stopped.

As if that wasn’t fun enough, the stove started making a weird rumbly noise underneath that I’d NEVER heard before. Oh goody…. then stopped. Then it “clicked” and “sparked” some more.  Sigh. By now, I’m beginning to see the appeal of the fancy smooth top stoves that can boil water in 90 seconds, and have the fun Bewitched music on the commercials.. Or is it I Dream Of Jeanie?  The Comet is kinda getting to me by now…

Then, all of a sudden — there’s more rumbling. And then —- more sparks! Only these, are ACTUAL sparks, and are up by the stove knobs, not any burners. And it’s like someone set of a cracker bomb (or crackling ball, or festival ball, pick your terminology here) went off. And it left a small electric burning smell behind.

Lovely. Oh, and did I mentioned I jumped, panicked, and threw baking soda all over it? (Which, I did have the senses to grab when the stove first started making these weird noises.) But fortunately, there was no fire, and now, the stove is covered in grease, Dawn, Comet, and Arm & Hammer.

Sigh. Really now? And what to do about the stove-fireworks? This can’t keep up….

So after a few panicked calls/texts between my sister, nephew, husband, and back to my older brother, we figure out how to take the drawer our underneath it, and just unplug the stove. My brother still thinks it’s just because it’s wet , and after its clean and dry, it’ll be fine.

So the drawer and it’s contents are sprawled over the floor, including pans we haven’t seen in years. Mom gets to work sorting through those… while I try to figure out how to get the stupid stove clean.

So now we’re back to the scrubbing problem. We couldn’t find any scour pads or steel wool…. and the degreaser I  mentioned was still very much AWOL…. so what do we do now? Hm. What about a toothbrush? Yup. That might work….

I went and grabbed the spare toothbrush I keep there (yes, seriously. I eat breakfast and lunch there, so yes, I keep a toothbrush there… ) and went to work scrubbing away. A few minutes later, Mom realized that she had an extra toothbrush as well.

So. We’re both pretty much scrubbing the heck out of the stove… each of us with little shot glasses filled with dawn soap to dip the brushes in. Mom took a few breaks, and I kept switching back and forth between Dawn and Comet. Cause neither one was really working amazingly. At one point, I had both toothbrushes, and was trying to use them both at the same time, while trying (and failing) not to trip over the pots & pans drawer behind us.

Now,  a full 2.5 hours later than we started…. I remember I’ve seen an article online about using coffee grounds to help clean things. Now, it’s an online article, and could be complete crap, but at this point, we’re pretty desperate. So, we grab the old coffee grounds from breakfast, and throw them on the stove.

And then, I had a mild coronary when they, mixed with the Dawn, did better than the Dawn or the Comet did. Why did I not realize this 2 hours ago?  I’m supposed to be semi-obsessed with coffee/espresso anyway, why would this not be a thought that occurred to me earlier?!?

Ah well. Anyway, We get the stove finished up, eat lunch, and clean the little grates that went on top of the stove. Those, were terrible to clean. But! my niece and nephew showed up, and my niece thought “it looked like fun” hahahahaha. So, she jumped in to help.

Soon, we’d added baking soda to our mix of Dawn and coffee grounds, and now it fizzed a little when you scrubbed. No idea if it helped, but by then, just thinking it did was therapeutic.

Then, Austin showed up. Who of course, plugged the stove in. The rest of us safely outside the kitchen, (me clutching the baking soda…. gun-shy, I guess) he started playing with the burners.

And of course – everything’s fine! The one burner, the igniter still isn’t working, but it’s not a big deal, our old stove used to do that too.  So, everything worked out, no one died, and no one totally lost their sanity.

Unless you count the point of the afternoon where my sister, her friend and I randomly broke into song. “Fifty Nifty United States” makes for a great stress reliever…..