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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Some things in life aren't that simple, or are they?

  • You can't lump a fan and a coffee maker together, can you?


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  •     Recently, my wife and I determined that it was time to purchase a new fan for our bedroom. It wasn't that it's been overly hot or stuffy in there, because when that starts to happen you just know we're going to both draw lines in the sand in the battle to turn on the central air conditioning for the first time of the summer.
     
        Me: “Why have central air if we’re never going to use it?”
     
        Her: “I’m FREE-EEEEZING!!!”
     
        We have a fan in our room because we need a little bit of so-called "white noise" in the background in order to help us sleep. Too much peace and quiet is simply too peaceful and too quiet, apparently.
     
        The oscillating fan that had soothed us with its hypnotic whirring for several years was starting to perform in a less than consistent fashion recently, and an aggravating little squeak that several squirts of WD-40 couldn't seem to silence was not the kind of background noise that we desired.
     
        So we put the past-its-prime fan on our curbside to be picked up during spring clean-up week. Someone snatched it up before the city truck came around, and the person was no doubt disappointed around 25 seconds after plugging it in.
     
        So I went to the store and bought a new fan. Of course, it wasn't that simple. I walked around the store looking for its fan selection – with, oddly enough, a big bottle of ranch dressing and a huge bag of golf tees in my hands, because our family can never have enough ranch dressing or golf tees – and couldn't seem to find any fans, until I almost broke my face while literally walking into a center-aisle display comprised of a stack of boxes of pedestal fans. So I bought one and soon had it assembled and situated in our bedroom.
     
        Some things in life are so simple, right? You need a device that circulates the air in order to cool you down when you're too warm, and at the same time provides a gentle, background hum that helps send you off to dream land at night? Then buy a fan and plug it in.
     
        But other things are far more complicated.
     
        Do you love coffee? Is coffee an integral part of your daily existence? Is your BCC (blood-coffee-concentration) about .73 at any given moment? When you try to think about a life without great coffee...wait a minute...if coffee is an integral part of your daily existence you don't even consider life without great coffee.
     
        Then, when you need a new coffee maker, you don't just go to a store, trip over a stack of identical, boxed-up coffee makers and grab one, do you? Of course not. That would make you ignorant.
    Page 2 of 3 -  
        A couple years ago we needed a new coffee maker. I conducted intense Internet research in a dark corner of our basement for hours on end, weighing the various brand names, comparing and contrasting ones with burners versus thermal carafes. We'd had a maker with a burner for years and I convinced myself, after reading online comments from people that said a pot of coffee at a temperature of 186.3 degrees was plenty hot, that a thermal carafe that we could carry into the living room would be nothing less than life-changing.
     
        So I pulled the trigger on a Krups maker, after I double-checked to make sure it was short enough to fit on our counter underneath the cupboards. And I regretted it from the first pot it brewed. For one, every time a brew cycle finished, the maker sounded like it was about to blast off on a mission to Mars. As it finished its inaugural pot, I instinctively ducked while reading the newspaper on the couch in front of the living room window, thinking a disgruntled reader was opening fire from behind the wheel of his 1993 Oldsmobile Achieva.
     
        And, no, 186.3 degrees was NOT hot enough. Despite the thick-walled thermal carafe, the fact remains that a drop of coffee in a thermal carafe is losing heat from the second it makes its way through the grounds and the filter and splashes into the carafe. My wife and I would sip a couple sips, and then it would be off to the microwave to heat up our cups.
     
        Then, the mechanism that popped open the top failed, and the only thing in the house able to pry it open was a tiny baby spoon that somehow still called our silverware drawer home, even though it had been about nine years since a baby had eaten anything in our house.
     
        Then, the last straw last month: The coffee maker decided randomly to, a couple days a week, somehow spill the last half of the batch of coffee it was brewing all over the counter and kitchen floor.
     
        It had to go, obviously, because our knees were getting sore from crawling around on the kitchen floor, sucking up the brown puddles through straws.
     
        I knew two things at this juncture: 1. We would be going back to a maker with a burner tray. 2. It had to be less than 15 inches tall in order to fit under the cupboards.
     
        So, with tape measure in hand, I went to a store, found a Kitchen Aid coffee maker with a burner tray and dimensions that met our height restriction, and bought it. I was in and out of the store in two minutes, maybe less. Even now, I?don’t think?I know what it cost.
    Page 3 of 3 -  
        It’s the best coffee maker we’ve ever owned, and it’s not even close. It would seem to blow out of the water my belief that detailed research is necessary before making such a purchase.
     
        It all comes down to the fact, I suppose, that fans blow, and so do some coffee makers.

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