Mar. 25th, 2013

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April and I went to Goodwill today, and not needing anything myself, I was just wandering the aisles, counting the ubiquitous bread machines (6.  Pro-tip:  Do not give a bread machine as a wedding/Christmas/Mother's Day/whatever other goddamn holiday gift.  Give the money to me, instead - that, at least, will go to good use).

And then, our eyes/circuits met across a crowded utility shelf.

May I humbly introduce you to the, at long last found, Love of My Life:

This, my dears, is not cheap reproduction.  It is not a knock-off.

It is a genuine, in mint, factory-condition General Electric Model Number 92T82 toaster.

See those handles?
Those are not plastic.
They are Bakelight.
The plug? (not shown, dur)
Plunger-style, also Bakelight.

Best of all -
The finish.
Do you see that gleam?  That luster?
That is the glint of unmarred, entirely scratchless, mirror-finish chrome.

This beautiful little kitchen appliance has been living in some little old lady's cupboard, untouched, since Iwo Jima.

And I was able to bring her home for $4.99.

Wait, I lie -
$4, after the 25% coupon that another little old lady, unbidden, handed us in line.

It was so meant to be.

I have, in all seriousness, wanted one of these for the last 19 years.  Not a brand new, retro-style toaster - I have wanted a vintage, functional toaster of this era since I saw one in the late summer of (mumble-mumble whatever - I do happen to know it was 19 years - I just don't know what actual year that would be).

And now, at last, I have one.
April can confirm that I did in fact did hug the fucking toaster in the middle of the store.

I also got:

Which is awesome, because after 18 years, my little baby 6 cup Sanyo was making half-burned, half-crunchy rice, so I'd stopped using it, and I guess only kept it on the shelf out of misplaced loyalty.  I'm not even going to donate it - it has lived long, served well, and deserves to be taken out back and shot like Old Yeller  a decent burial.

Also got a brand new, in-the-box and still factory-sealed counter-top espresso maker.  It's cute, although it is only one of the 'better' blase wedding gift types you get at yuppie kitchen stores and what not (also - stop buying these as wedding gifts.  If someone wants one, they will buy it themselves.  If they don't, it will be thrifted.  I guarantee you.  So, STOP IT).  These things don't actually make espresso; just a slightly more condensed shot of coffee.  It does a decent job of frothing milk though, and when I'm in the mood for an approximation of a latte, this will do.  I still mourn the loss of the beautiful pump-driven Italian espresso maker I had years ago, but I did quite literally run it into the ground.  I bought it used from my boss after he closed his cafe, so it had seen some, though not an egregious, amount of use, and I enjoyed it for years before it finally gave up the ghost.

All told?

I spent $18 for this unexpected handful of lovelies that make me happy.  Oh, and yes - they all work.  :)

Speaking of coffee - oh my, I forgot to show you the lovely I brought home last month.  Everyone?  Meet my Chemex:

Also, mon ami, my Buono Hario:

This last little beauty is a mother-fucking EXPENSIVE little piece of kit - a goddamn kettle - for $60?  Really?!

No, I did not pay that much for it.
Are you fucking kidding me?

I am blessed to know a saint of a coffee importer, who not only sells me personally roasted micro batches of coffee from all over the world, but also teaches me arcane secrets of perfect coffee brewing.  I kid you not - my coffee is like the representative seating at the United Nations - Ethiopia, Rwanda, Guatemala, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, El Salvador NO I AM NOT FUCKING KIDDING - this is what he does - flies all over the world, sampling and buying coffee to bring home, roast, and sell to teeny-tiny, wonderful little coffee shops.  Also, me.  For about the same as what you would pay for a pound of coffee, weeks or sometimes even months old, from Starbucks.

Anyway - he sold me the Hario kettle, gently used, with the thermometer, even - for $18.  !!!  18 is apparently now my lucky number.  Also, the new glass digital scale, because I want to make my coffee experience as close to being what it should be - an addiction, with the tools to fit the trade.  Also, the used-only-3 times burr grinder - $20.  Because my mother fucking coffee must be as fresh as a sophomore at her first prom.

Anyway - the Chemex.  If you are a foaming-at-the-mouth coffee addict, you know that a Chemex is enchantingly simple - and makes, hands-down, the most exquisite cup of coffee to cross the lips of a human.  It is the polar opposite of french press in every way - coffee made this way passes through a pre-moistened filter that is I think 3 times or more thicker than your usual coffee filter, making it completely free from any sediment or impurities - it is the cleanest, sweetest cup you will ever experience.  Don't get me wrong - I still like French Press.  Just as I like both the original release and the Director's Cut of Bladerunner, they are each dear to me because they are so different and wonderful in their own ways.  The French Press?  She is the slightly slutty cafe waitress who will meet you in the back alley and let you take her against the side of a brick wall.  The Chemex?  The runway model, untouchable and aloof, making her deer-hoofed slink down the catwalk.

I'm kind of into coffee.
Just a bit.

So, yeah.

I enter every expense into a spreadsheet.  If I buy a mother-fucking milkshake, it is an individual line-item, color-coded as "miscellaneous," and counts toward the allowance that I give myself each pay period. Everything - everything -  is budgeted and accounted for.

I buy all my clothing, which is maybe - maybe - once a year - at thrift stores.
(Remember that phobia about shopping?  Yeah, that)>

I don't own frivolous kit like a television set or monster stereo system.

I don't eat at restaurants and make all my own food (you should try my home-made greek-style yogurt with New Mexico hippie-harvested carrot pollen honey that I drove 2 hours to buy because YES I AM AS FREAKISHLY OBSESSED WITH THE GOLD STAR BEST IN HONEY JUST LIKE I AM WITH MY COFFEE) -

I spend very little, so that I can have the finest of a few of my favorite things.

And, because I finally learned to stop thinking and behaving like an impoverished person (money?  there's MONEY in my checking account?  I must buy ALL THE THINGS before it disappears!!!) -

I still have something to put into savings with almost every paycheck.
It may only be a handful sometimes, but I can finally do it.

I live within my means -
And within those means, I live well.

And I make a bad-ass cup of coffee.

Also, toast.
Don't forget the toast.



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