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GARY SMITH: Addicted to cheap

But the first step is recognizing the problem by Gary Smith | May 7, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

As I have frequently and without shame or hesitation admitted, and as those who know me will certainly attest, I am very capable of error.

Big, little, in between. Too hot, too cold, just right. If given the chance, I can and will likely blow something sky high. And my only excuse will be to point out that, well, if you wanted competence, you probably should have gone somewhere else, so whatever has happened is sort of a "you" problem.

I also will freely admit that I have perfected yet one more aspect of error. When faced with an obvious mistake, I have learned that, instead of cutting my losses, it's best to double down. Like legendary NBA basketball shooter (and sometimes scorer) World B. Free, I've determined the answer to a slump is to keep shooting. You're bound to start hitting again sometime.

This time, it's about coffee.

I like coffee, specifically coffee drinks made from espresso. OK, it's not Pumpkin Spice, so you can withhold your scorn.

Just a few asides about espresso. For one, despite the fact that it's always been spelled that way, it's a fairly recent development that I realized no "x" was involved in either the spelling or pronunciation. You learn something every day.

For another, it's the worst-tasting thing you can ever imagine paying five bucks for and drinking out of a thimble. So, yes, another case of, "it tastes bad and there is so little of it."

It does, however, taste pretty good if you toss in some chocolate, milk and ice. So good that I've been picking up a couple (seems I'm not the only one who likes them) at a local coffee shop. But, that can be an expensive and time-consuming pursuit, and since I am spoiled yet cheap, I decided I would start making my own at home.

First, I had to buy a machine to make espresso. And since I relied on advice about that purchase from one of my children who is, as we say, seldom right but always certain, I paid a lot of money for a device that does exactly one thing, once a day. And requires expensive pods to do even that.

But wait, there's more!

Apparently, to make my coffee like they do at a coffee shop, you can't just use any old chocolate. And since the point was to duplicate the coffee shop experience from my kitchen, well, what choice did I have but to order expensive syrup to go with the nasty-tasting espresso generated by my expensive coffee machine using expensive pods that also have to ordered?

Yep, still shooting here. And still bouncing them off the rim.

Now, one thing about ordering stuff online: Periodically, if you're not really paying as much attention as you need to, you might not notice that things come in various sizes. And, if you're not paying close attention, you may potentially buy something in a size that is perhaps a little larger than anyone not operating a business might need.

Perhaps the pump should have been a give-away ...

So, to recap: To save money, I have spent too much money on a coffee machine that only does one thing at great expense, then spent more money to buy additional expensive chocolate in a quantity so large I can't really store it in my kitchen and probably can't use up before it spoils, unless all I drink is espresso-based drinks. I mean, I'd likely be awake for enough hours to do so, but ...

Technically, I am now able to make coffee-shop quality drinks. Of course, according to YouTube, I'm now qualified to remove my own appendix. It's just that, in either case, I may not be 100% satisfied with the results.

After some quick back-of-the-envelope calculations -- allowing for future supply purchases at a rate that likely couldn't be farther from the truth and dubious tax deductions even I am not stupid enough to take -- I have determined this will all pay for itself about the time my grandkids head for college. So I just have to play the long game here.

Is it worth it from a taste perspective? Meh ... I mean, I guess. Sort of. But I've studied up and determined that the key may be the actual coffee I use. So, if I grow my own coffee beans, and get that roaster I've found on line, and we buy a cow to assure fresher milk ...

"He shoots, and ... CLANG."


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