No common grounds in this boiling pot

Are We There Yet? • LORI CLINCH

Our coffee pot is on the fritz. Some would say that she still has some good months left in her. Some would contend that she still holds her own. Yet I’m here to declare that I don’t care what my husband says. The old gray mare just ain’t what she used to be.

Oh sure, she’ll still brew a cup of joe. She’ll heat up her tanks and do what she can to make the best of the roasted beans. But she’s an ornery one. Although it’s difficult to catch her in the act, she forces grounds out of the basket, does a minor explosion, and by the time she’s done, she’s covered the countertop with concentrated beverage, speckled the kitchen floor and oftentimes percolates into the silverware drawer.

It’s enough to make a coffee connoisseur want to ground her.

And do you want to know what really grinds my beans? The stinking lid falls off the carafe every time one pours a cup. This is fine for the morning person who, to the tune of “Good Morning Sunshine,” springs to the pot and pays little mind to the fact that most of the coffee just spilled out onto the counter along with the lid. But for a fuzzyeyed person such as me, a coffee mess is grounds for discarding the appliance.

Still, there are those who would argue that we can’t just run out and buy a new coffeemaker every time you turn around. After all, we’re in the middle of a recession; the 401Ks are not what they used to be, and we can’t replace things just because they’re messy and dysfunctional.

What was I thinking?

Things were really brewing last Saturday when, due to a series of unfortunate events, I landed in the middle of a super center with my spouse. Many womenfolk shop with their beloveds looking on, soliciting advice, seeking companionship and perhaps holding hands as they debate paper towels.

Yet, for me, taking the husband to a store makes just about as much sense as dragging a kid along, without a nap and right after he consumed a box of gummy worms.

He flitted here, moved there, bounced from one end of the store to the other without rhyme or reason, as he deemed every purchase unnecessary and every acquisition frivolous. He wondered why we needed fabric softener, if dryer sheets were really necessary, and for the love of all that is frugal, why can’t we live without tin foil?

Being a creative woman, I decided to ditch him. I ducked into the spice section, took a right at the light bulbs and hid in the aisle between dinnerware and waffle irons.

I was just about to move on into laundry baskets when he spotted me. “There you are!” he exclaimed. “I want to show you something.” It was then that I noticed he was standing in front of a coffeemaker. Not just any coffeemaker, mind you, but the Cadillac of all coffeemakers. This one was polished and slick, and if that weren’t enough, the face was a brilliant metallic red.

Suddenly I forgot the fact that this man of mine was no Don Juan. In fact, I’m here to say that I have never felt more in love in my life.

“What do you think?” he asked as he smiled at the machine of my dreams.

At first I was speechless. I looked at the coffeemaker and had a hard time believing that they had come so far in the world of home appliances since we last made a purchase. When I finally found my voice, I could only say, “It’s beautiful.”

“Just look at the features,” he elaborated. “It has temperature selectors, brew-strength control, and a spill-proof carafe. We could get the kids to program this baby to make coffee at 2 o’clock next Tuesday if we wanted to, and all for the low, low price of $44.49.”

Suddenly I felt liberated. I felt as if we were being impulsive and living on the edge. I felt like I was playing Bonnie to his Clyde and ignoring the recession and all of its nasty clutches and going for the gusto by purchasing a coffeemaker just because we wanted to.

“Do we dare?” I asked with the giddiness of a schoolgirl.

“Oh, absolutely not!” he replied. “We can’t just be dropping that kind of cash. I just wanted you to see it.”

And with that and a touch of dismay, he walked away.

I still love him and will stick it out through thick and thin, but I’ll tell you this — if he was a kid, I’d ground him.

Lori Clinch is the mother of four sons and the author of the book “Are We There Yet?” You can reach her at www.loriclinch. com.