Okay, I guess I can’t give this up after all. It’s easier when I remember it’s not really writing, just a compulsion. It’s good to be back at the dining room table at dawn, clad in khaki shorts and sipping coffee, rhythmically pushing buttons on this device, and seeing something like the inside of my head taking shape on the screen in front of me. Speaking of that coffee, as I’ve mentioned I’ve been off of some of my routines these days. This morning marked the first full morning-exercise/etc. routine in a few days. Usually when I get back from the gym, I feed Zuzu and start the coffee. One of these is easier to forget than the other, mainly because the coffee maker doesn’t hurl itself at my ankles making piteous whining noises (Note to self: possible idea for invention), and, indeed, this morning I forgot to start the coffee before heading up to my shower. This meant that I had to do so after coming downstairs from my shower. While it started brewing, I drank another glass of water, then selected a coffee cup (emblazoned with “Barcomi’s Kaffeeroesterei & Deli: A Cup of Culture, Berlin”) and grabbed the pot to pour a cup while the rest finished brewing. I was startled to see a stream of coffee continue to pour down onto the machine’s burner – startled, because, last time I checked, this was one of those machines that cuts off its flow when the pot is removed. I checked again and even fiddled briefly with the little lever that the pot displaces when it is on the burner, and that presumably is what is supposed to shut off the flow. But even manually pulling it forward did nothing.

This is yet more evidence in my continuously building case for the argument that Coffee Makers are Crap, Especially The “Nice” Ones. I’ve watched my parents go through machine after machine over the years, and always, within a few months after purchase of some sleek number with various nice features, guests have to be told things like “use the little screwdriver by the sink to turn it on, the button’s broken.” My current machine is the first one I’ve had that falls into the “nice” category, and, while there are things I like about it, it just seems bizarre that the “pour while brewing” feature would break so soon. I compare all of this to the coffee machine I bought in the summer of 1999, when I first moved to Baltimore, for about $45. It was made by Mr. Coffee, and the guy seems to know what he’s doing. That machine was also a “pour while brewing” machine, plus it turned itself off after two hours. (The current machine also turns itself off, but after – I think – 17 minutes, which is, admittedly, about as long as you want to apply heat to coffee.) The point is, it was a cheaper machine than the current one – and it worked just fine without the slightest bit of maintenance or even descaling for seven years.

Wait. Is that really a point? Am I really writing about coffee machines?

Some catch-up: The plumbers cancelled for last Saturday but swear up and down that they will come this Saturday. Tonight, the infamous Elmer is scheduled to come replace the tub surround. He claims he can do it in one evening, but I’m not counting on having a useable shower tomorrow morning. I can always rinse off with the hose in the backyard. I’ve started working on repainting the inside of the sunroom, although when I say “repainting” what I really mean is “doing the absolute minimum so that there is no peeling paint visible when the lead inspector comes.” It’s honestly a disheartening task because of how half-assedly I’m proceeding (voids created by once-rotted wood crumbling away? fill with caulk and ignore!), but I think it will accomplish what I need it to accomplish. Once I get the sunroom done, I need to hunt out and cover all spots in the house where any paint is chipped (this should be pretty simple, if time-consuming) and then add a layer of paint to the wood trim-work around the windows (fortunately the windows themselves are replacement, as wooden window frames are a massive liability when it comes to passing a lead inspection) just to be on the safe side. Supposedly the lead inspector just looks for chipped paint (if he sees it, you fail outright) and then swabs the windowsills for lead dust. So if you cover up any chips and clean the sill, you should be all right. There was some talk of leaving this particular task until A.’s parents come up to help on the weekend of the 28th, but it occurred to me that I’m really going to want to have the lead inspection done sometime in the week before that, at the latest, to allow for the possibility of failing and retaking it. They shouldn’t worry, though: I’ll no doubt have plenty else to accomplish when they are here. And over the weekend, I sold the bedroom set and the extra living room furniture, and determined that a neighbor is interested in A.’s old childhood desk for his daughter. (He can just have it.) So there is a little more breathing room in house, plus it now occurs to me how much nicer the dining room would have looked without a freaking couch in it all this time. Why was there always crap all over the dining room couch? Because there was a dining room couch.

Work is work is work. I’ve lined up some more freelance work, which is always good for the stress levels. (Lining it up, I mean.)

Oh and we might have found a house that allows pets but I don’t want to jinx it.

Did I just jinx it?