Thursday, March 03, 2011

Sloppy Coffee and Clumsy Fumblings

Mrs Krups has let us down again.

The first time it was my birthday and I naively thought that it'd be as easy as Maggie the magna's half-yearly service - a quick fiddle and back home again.

Alas no. Three weeks of to-ing and fro-ing from the Extended Warranty Wallahs and another couple to order the part in.

She returned home in good condition and was prepared to go back to work. Well, for a month. Our trip back from South Australia to Melbourne (yep, along with the three humans, the Christmas presents, a small rabbit and a dog, she also merited inclusion) must have literally rattled her, because when we plugged her back into the kitchen at Chateau Lockett, she defiantly whizzed all over the counter.

The second visit back to the Coffee Machine Centre took another four weeks; most of those spent liaising (or making many phone calls only to have none of them returned) with the Warranty Wimps.

The third visit was today, a mere two weeks after she returned. She initially seemed slightly quieter and a bit more defeated but had started dropping wet, sloppy pats of used coffee grounds in socially-unacceptable places which made the coffee weaker than a cup of hot water that was merely looking at an unopened jar of Nescafe.

The Warranty Wankers were unmoved. "Sorry Mrs Lockett," she said in that rushed and mumbled 'I couldn't care less' voice, "Your policy states that the product covered under our insurance needs to break down more than three times due to the same issue before you get a replacement model or your money back."

This time I didn't give Mrs Krups a small pat before they took her behind closed doors. I was dismissive and cold, whirling on my heel towards the gourmet food part of their warehouse, seething at possibly another five weeks without a proper Six-AM eye-opener.

Still, I pride myself on trying to see the positive side of things and was soon immersed in attempting to read the back of Italian talc boxes, German toffee slabs and figuring out that the French jars weren't holding albino Twistie snacks but were a creative interpretation of dissolvable anti-acid tablets and was thirty bucks for a pretty box of nougat really worth it and if so, why....

CRASH! My humble shoulder bag had brought down a stacked display of jars. Broken glass and sludge was all over the floor as I turned around to take a closer look at the product I'd just destroyed. 'Choc Ezy Nut-free spread.'

Ah. Perhaps it could be something I could review for GoneChocco, but I really didn't want....

"Are you going to pay for zat?" The assistant was at my side, smiling grimly.

"Er, I wasn't because it wasn't something I was going to buy, and I'm so sorry about this mess, but I have got some tea bags here and I've just dropped off my machine over there..."

He stared steadily at me as my voice trailed away. My hand groped for one of the few jars still intact on the shelf. "I might get this one." The word 'one' ended on a high note; more of a question seeking his approval and my escape.

He nodded. Things looked right in the world again but I had to do it.

I had to.

It was a question that needed - in my view - to be asked. "Um, I have a discount card for here. Can you please swipe it?"

He didn't bother to look at me this time, instead choosing to sigh loudly. "Is my first day on ze job. How do I do eet?"

I had no idea. "Hey, don't worry about it. I shouldn't have asked and I'm sorry again for the mess."

"Is okay. Enjoy ze spread."

Back in the car, I read the label. First ingredient: cheese. In a nut-free, chocolate spread that I'd just seen globbing slowly across a polished cement floor like an ageing brown bathmat. Great.

At Woolworths, my attention was focused on finding and buying foods that were slightly more practical. "Here darl, have a go at this, um, Antee Pasto here." The name plate said Cheryl and the pink lipstick slashed unevenly across the mouth said I'd rather drink the pickle juice than eat what it's preserving.

ACK ACK AAAAACK! The green olive - roughly the size of my fist - wasn't stuffed with red capsicum but a birds' eye chilli and my sample ended up being unceremoniously catapulted out of my shocked, coughing mouth and splatting somewhere in the open cheese cabinet nearby. Eyes streaming, I weakly pushed my trolley onwards, with Cheryl saying, "You get ten percent off if you buy three deli products this week, darl!" Ten points for optimism.

At the check out counter, an elderly lady was struggling to load her groceries onto the conveyor belt and keep hold of her walking stick. "Let me help you," I said, flashing her my 'I'm a Nice Person and Not a Robber or Rapist' servant-of-the-people smile.

She hurriedly looked away, muttered "I'm okay thanks," and promptly dropped a 2 kilogram bag of baker's flour on her own foot. We narrowly avoided clanging heads as I beat her to the bag, miraculously intact. "Here."

"Ta." Her posture made it clear that she wasn't comfortable facing or making eye contact with me and my smile faded. Ah well, let her fend for own fussy self then.

Fussy Flour Femme was forgotten a few minutes later when I was pushing my own trolley down the slope towards the car. It was spitting slightly and I'd forgotten my sunglasses. Damp and glare with a side order of unpredictable wind gusts made the trip dodging commuters just off the nearby train platform and impatient drivers looking for a carpark particularly challenging.

I cursed. Poo Bum Bugger Shit Fart; the stupid damn key wasn't working in the lock.

I tried again. Still no luck. Dumb, hopeless, poxy crappy key. If this was a sitcom I'd be tempted to let the trolley wheel away and start kicking at the bloody ...

Oh. It wasn't my car.

Mine was three parks away.

As the engine was warming up, the rear vision mirror showed that several angry red chunks of chilli were smeared across my teeth like leftover entrails. Instead of smiling, servant-of-the-people it was more akin to dead-baby-brains-for-breakfast. No wonder Flour Femme got across the carpark with such unusual speed.

It was time to slink off home and see if I was brave enough to open the jar of unwanted Choc Ezy.


The Elephant's Child said...

Ooooh. Some days should be spent velcroed to the carpet under the bed. Though your description brought a broad smile to my dial (does enjoying other people's vile days make me bad?). Tomorrow has to be better.

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks EC. It was actually rather funny while it was happening to me: there's far worse things to deal with than being a klutz with food-infested teeth :)

River said...

Poor you Kath. You've had such a crappy day. Tomorrow just HAS to be better.
But...cheese in a choc spread?
CHEESE?? What were they thinking?
Oh. Wait.
Chocolate cheesecake is nice....

Kath Lockett said...

Crappy perhaps, but still slightly amusing, even to me, the Crapp-ee.

Andrew said...

Mrs Krups. There is the problem. Men make better coffee. You need a machine with a more masculine name.

Elisabeth said...

What a day, Kath, sounds so grim - unwanted choc spread chili olives and a broken coffee machine. Too much. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Vanessa said...

Sounds like you need a quality coffee.

drb said...

How many jars did you break? Luckily the shop didn't have the 'You break it, you buy it' policy. Mrs Krup just have to break down one more time and you'll have a brand new Mrs Krup II.

Jackie K said...

Obviously a cautionary tale not to venture out without a good morning coffee - the whole day spirals.
The PLUNGER (or these days, "French Press") is the way to go - get rid of the machine and take the plunge!

Kath Lockett said...

You're right, Andrew. Sidney Sunbeam or Gary Gaggia are both looking like pretty attractive options right now!

Elisabeth the final humiliation was being told - at 11pm - that I had garlicky breath (from the olives). And the chocolate spread? Not horrible, not delicious, just bizarre.

Vanessa we still managed to have a decent coffee this morning via a Greek coffee maker on the stove top. The second coffee (during my 'writing break later this morning) will be via a Melitta coffee filter bag and ground coffee and is also pretty darn nice. It's actually Love Chunks who can't handle the alternatives to his beloved Mrs Krups.

Seven jars, drb (still blushing as I type this). I don't know if we want a Mrs Krups II - perhaps a coupon to select a different machine of equivalent value. Darryl Delonghi, Ian Ilve, Barry Breville......

Jackie we've done coffee pot, stove top Greek and drip filter but the plunger is the one thing that makes LC's bottom lip droop. He's rather particular about his morning heart-starter and for some reason the plunger just, well, plunges him into a well of disappointment, sadness and longing for Mrs Krups. Yep, he's a complicated mystery even after all these years.

Pandora Behr said...

Snigger, snigger, like this one. As an owner of a Greek/Italian coffee pot I know at least they don't break down - but Mrs Krups really did make a great cup of coffee. She'll be back.

Baino said...

What? Cheese? Gawd, I hate shopping for that very reason and the day someone designs a trolley that actually progresses in an orderly forward direction, I'll have a heart attack. So, so, glad you tried to open the wrong car. I have done that er . . several times.

Hannah said...

I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth when I read about the cheese in the spread. And then I thought about my recent canned chicken debacle, and realised that I would have intentionally bought that chocolate spread for its grossness...

Carmel said...

mmm... scary out there in the burbs! and wait till you step out the front door ;)

Wally The Walrus said...

We haz ze ultimate coffee maker. If you have a gas stove, the old moka pot works a treat. Nice coffee and nothing can go wrong, go wrong, go wrong.

EXCEPT if you leave it on the stove and walk out the door and spend 1/2 hour futzing around pulling weeds. Or shut the door and get on the phone. The SMELL when they boil dry is not pleasant.

(I do rather like the EC description of a day where you should velcro yourself to the floor under the bed.)

nuttynoton said...

what a day in the life of the blurbs, I like the idea of being velcroed to the carpet beats working, Brilliant description again, makes my trip to Lidl in Barton upon Humber seem mildly easy

Kath Lockett said...

Pandora, the Greek coffee pot has been pressed into action again. I do miss my 'froth' though

Glad to hear that I'm not the only unwitting car thief, Baino!

Hannah the chocolate spread is not gross exactly, it's well, nothing. Just moist, gloopy stuff. I'm not sure if I'm going to officially review it for GoneChocco or not.

Carmel, just wait until you read some future blogs I have in draft form about the conversations I overhear on the tram.....

Oh Wally, that would be awful. I'm too scared to venture out of sight of our pot.

'Mildly easy', Nuttynoton? Oooh what wouldn't I *give* to have mildly easy! :)

Deep Kick Girl said...

Um... one of those days Kath?! Only funny in hindsight unfortunately.

Wally The Walrus said...

I was quite sure I had rooned our pot when I boiled it dry. It has this nice silicon rubber ring that seals the top bit to the bottom bit. Being silicon rubber I had thought they were indestructible. Well, with enough heat the are very destructible indeed.

The poor thing was a sort of different colour - all the stainless steel discoloured and went a kind of browny-gold colour.

I let it cool before washing it several times, boiling water in it, and we bought a new silicon rubber sealing ring. And its still being used each day. Right about 10:30 am. :)

So the smell mighta been bad but it was tough, tough I tells ya. Its still going strong.

eleanor bloom said...

Days like that make me cackle too. I mean, what's more fun than scaring people, yet (having good intentions) free of bad karma?!

Kath Lockett said...

Deep Kick Girl, even during the day I couldn't help but smile a bit (even if it was with chilli remmnants smeared across my teeth).

Wally, your persistence is commendable and our Greek Pot hasn't let us down yet either. All we're missing is the cappuccino 'fluff' but a solid flat white does the trick at 7am and again at 10.30am on the days I'm working from home.

You're right Eleanor and I scared a few people today as I brandished my long-handled BBQ tongs in what I thought was a friendly greeting to others as we met up for Clean Up Australia Day but seemed to be misinterpreted. Ah well.

J Bar said...

Always enjoy a yarn about coffee.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

The Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

CHEESE AND CHOCOLATE????? How dare they taint the taste of cheese...

That is a crime punishable by several hundred kicks up the backside.




Word Verification of the Day:

POOILL - Presumably the after effects of eating that disgusting sounding spread.

The Elephant's Child said...

Hi. I have just awarded you a Stylish Blogger Award - not least for your wonderful description of the day from hell. You can check it out at