Susanna J. Sturgis   Martha's Vineyard writer and editor
writer editor born-again horse girl

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The Coffeemaker's Tale

August 21, 2005

See, ever since I saw the board of health's list of violations committed by the family camp (for details, see earlier blog, "Tenants from Hell, Go Home"), I have been grumbling that these regulations, if applied across the board, would have shut down most of the places I've lived in (none of them dumps, by the way) and would turn the Vineyard's current housing "crisis" into a catastrophe worthy of federal intervention. However, no year-round renter with a brain in her head is going to rat on her landlord just because the dumb smoke detector doesn't work or there's no screen on the front door. Borrow Lady Justice's scale for a moment. Put "faulty smoke detector" and "no screen" on one side. Put "homelessness" on the other. No-brainer, right?

This past week, however, I noticed little dots of mold floating in my coffee. (My morning drink is strong black tea, with milk, but in summer I make pots of coffee, let them cool, and drink it iced.) First I blamed it on half & half left out too long, but no, there were also little blue-green dots in the coffee carafe, which no dairy products ever touch. If the health agent caught wind of this, he could shut me down -- not too mention that I was just a tad grossed out by my own slovenliness because I hadn't washed the water well of my coffeemaker since I bought it used three years ago. Yes indeedy, you could say its walls were a little slimy and possibly hazardous to the health of a person who had a pre-existing sensitivity to mold. That, need I add, would not be me: I seem to be pretty impervious to almost everything.

So I washed it out and ran a mixture of vinegar and water through the coffeemaker (a trick I did not learn from my mother or either of my grandmothers), then ran clean water through, and voilà, a spanking clean household appliance. Now the carafe is full of fresh hot coffee that later this afternoon will be cool enough to drink iced. (No blue-green dots are floating on it at the moment, but I think it's still too hot.)

If I ever come work in your office, you might want to think twice about asking me to make the coffee.


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