Basic Instincts (and coffee)

On a cold November morning in 2009, a bad thing happened.

My coffee maker died.

Since it was one of the relics from my marriage, it was top-of-the-line as far as java cookers go. That thing was yuuuge (go ahead, say it in a Donald voice) and sleek and looked like something you'd see on a counter-top in a swanky Euro kitchen. It made espresso and cappuccino and frothed milk like a mother effer. My ex loved shiny expensive things and this workhorse was no exception. How it ended up with me, and not lovingly ensconced in his starter love-nest is a mystery.

Anyway. It died. I remember going through the motions that morning: filling it up with water, grinding the beans, pushing "BREW" and then gasping in sleepy horror as a pool of water started spreading out from beneath the vessel. I did what every self-respecting addict did in those days and immediately posted on the facebook about it.

LOL@ Angie

Juliana, a friend for a long time, came to my rescue and dropped off a gently used machine that morning. It was a Krups, just like the now-expired beast in my kitchen, but a much more basic model. It did one thing: make coffee. It also told time but I never did get around to setting the clock. It was white, had seem some life and many brew cycles. I took the gold mesh filter from the dead machine (of course it had a gold mesh filter. OF COURSE IT DID.) and placed it in the "new" one, went through the motions and pressed "BREW".

And there was coffee. Not espresso, not cappuccino, not a frothed concoction. Nope. Just straight coffee. Hot and strong and gloriously basic.

Fast-forward 7 years. Different house, different kitchen, different life. Same coffee maker. Every single morning, without fail, that hand-me-down Krups coffee maker does what it was put on this Earth to do. It makes my coffee. I can't vouch for how decent of a brew it makes, since I have atrocious taste in many things, coffee included. But one of my kids has started pilfering it, so it must be okay.

I am firmly entrenched in the Ain't Broke? Don't Fix It camp. Always have been and probably always will be. When you think about it, that may be one of the reasons my marriage didn't work. Aside from the adultery and all that stuff, but still: I was married to someone who wanted more. Newer, better, prettier, fancier. Always on the lookout for the next big thing, he was. While I was the opposite. The polar opposite: why buy new when you already have one that works? Older doesn't mean obsolete, it means quality. To me, spending time and energy to replace something that works JUST FINE is silly.

I get it, though. I understand wanting to make improvements and being lured by the promise of something just a bit faster and edgier and better. That's why I don't have a flip phone, people. A now almost antiquated iPhone 5, yes, but it's still kind of smart even though the guys at the AT&T store regarded it with mild amusement/curiosity and warned me to avoid doing any more updates on it: "Lady, it will just stop working. Don't do it!".

As some of you here have reminded me, other people's money is not ours to spend. If you have the means, or even just the desire and decent credit, go for it. I'm not judging those of you who do want shinier and newer and possibly more efficient. Gadgets are fun. Buying stuff is fun. The smell of newness is always fun. I will admit to feeling something that is probably envy when I see someone with a nice car and I'm sitting behind the wheel of my well-loved, still-running vehicle that is held together with duct tape and solidified mid-life sweat thanks to the non-functioning air conditioning. But then I remind myself that as long as the car drives, it's all I really need.

Just like my beloved hand-me-down coffee maker. And really, I guess, just like a lot of us.

Basic. Gently used. Been through a few brew cycles. But we do what we're supposed to do. So don't write us off just yet.


  1. If you ever marry someone else, make sure he is JUST LIKE what that hand-me-down coffeemaker gives you - someone hot and strong and gloriously basic.

    1. I love this comment so much. So, so much.

    2. That was totally my response, too, such great advice!

  2. That really was the perfect comment!

    1. Actually, I really thought that was what Jenny was thinking when she wrote that line down!

  3. That's why I still have an iPhone 4...

  4. I just met you(via Google search for "how to get over my cheating exhusband) and I think I love you already. You are hysterical and relatable. It's awesome to know I'm not alone in my own kinda crazy...if that makes sense. Can't wait to read more blogs...

    1. Awww big hug Shauna! Welcome to the insanity.I'm sorry you had to find us the hard way :( Hopefully you are doing alright for now and on your way to enjoying the new normal.

  5. I think BD and my ex-husband are related. Love this post! Have a Galaxy S3 (would a S5 do any better than what my 3 does honestly? All I use it for are calls, texts, emails, few pictures, and less than a dozen apps?) and a "looks like new" Calvin Klein jean jacket that I paid $5.00 for at a thrift shop. The car I got in the divorce is now ten years old and 100k miles is on the horizon but it runs! Sure, buying something shiny and new is fun but in time it will look like everything else.

    PS-"Hot and strong and gloriously basic" would be a fantastic dating site profile what you are looking for line. Just saying.

    1. Do you ever look back and wonder how in the holy hell you ended up together in the first place?? I mean, did I change or did he? Or were we woefully mismatched from the start and were just too naive to see it?


      Girl. I'm wearing a pair of big girl jeans from target (50% off w/ Cartwheel), a $9 sweater from old navy and a (free) pair of hand-me-down Danskos. Leaves me more money for fun things like electricity and vodka.

      I'm seriously considering putting up a profile on Match using those words. You guys will be the first to know.


  6. Love this -- and SC's take on it.
    I brew my coffee by the pot at home and work so I have money for ice cream and beer.

  7. OMZ (Oh, My Zeus - I really don't care if I offend the Zeus-worshippers).

    This is SO me - I have the "use it until it dies" attitude, too. My husband is also of the "trade up to a better model" POV.

    Now I'm starting to get worried. We've been teetering around the edge of splitting up for a few years. He just stormed out of the house, angry because I hadn't also made him bacon (he was in bed, and I had just checked that he planned to stay there for a while).

    It's not about the bacon - NOTHING I do is right.


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