The New Espresso Machine

We got a new espresso machine for the store – one of our regular instructors, Catherine, who runs like the energizer bunny and never seems to stop, convinced Marg – a committed tea drinker – to get an espresso machine for the classroom. It arrived – all shiny and new and complicated – and sat unopened for several weeks while we decided what kind of coffee to get it and where it was going to go.

Catherine came in, and was “Oooo – we must set this up!” so out it came from it’s box and off we went and cleared a space, and found some coffee, and then had to locate milk and we were all set – except that no one but Catherine knew how to use the machine, and she had to do some experimenting too. (Hint – not all espresso machine stop dispensing coffee automatically.)

Soon it was espresso making lessons – here at beadFX, we believe in being well-rounded. Beady baristas! Caffeinated and Crafty. Or, at least – well-caffeinated.

In the process of said experimenting, we discovered that the little-used kitchen sink in the class room was – well – not draining that enthusiastically. Note to all – coffee grounds need their own container. (See how much learning was going on?)

Aha – I know how to fix this! The wonder product for this is “One-Second-Plumber” – an aerosol can that shoots into the drain and mixes a couple of chemicals that combine and create a burst of air that rams the blockage out of the way. This stuff is awesome – it is so awesome that I suspect it will go off the market, so I am hoarding it and stashing it at home. Unlike some drain openers, you don’t have to bail the water out of the sink, a definite plus in this case.

Naturally – we don’t have any on hand, so off I go to get some. Next day, first thing in the a.m. – I’m there to clear the sink, and make coffee. I line up the can in the sink, plunge, and whoosh, and all the water drains away. Excellent! High fives all around.

“You know,” Jenny says, “The big sink that Donovan uses isn’t draining well either.” (Donovan is our cleaning dude. Yes – we have a guy that cleans for us. We like it that way.)

Jenny and I troop ’round to that sink, which is in the “online fulfillment” area – packaging and shipping. You want open concept offices? Oh, we got ’em. The only office with walls is the bathroom.

So I run some water into the sink – one of those big, plastic laundry sinks, and yep – it’s not emptying that fast – so I line up the one-second plumber and give it a shot. There’s a whoosh, and not quite as dramatic a draining as I’d like, and a little sixth sense nags at me – because – you know – I’ve been down this drain-opening road before.

“Jenny, can you just check the bathroom?” I say, suspecting that the washroom that is right next to this sink I’m standing at, may be sharing some common plumbing.

Round she goes, and I hear a simultaneous scream and a slam. I follow her and she’s standing in the middle of the office screaming and pointing at the washroom door, “Oh my god, it’s awful, don’t go in there!”

At that point, there was nothing in the world that could have compelled me to NOT open that door. So, braced for the worst, I swing open the door, and it was an impressive sight, to say the least. Black sludge had erupted, Vesuvius-like, from the washroom sink, and splashed up the walls, over the mirror, across the counter, across the floor. Big chunks of sludgey black stuff – looking like a possible combo of more coffee grounds and maybe some accumulated years of bead-release was stuck to everything. The smell was none too wonderful either. However, I remained calm, as my first thought was, “Oh good – the toilet didn’t explode!”

Lee – attracted by the screaming – was now sitting on the desk hooting with laughter and threatening to videotape us and put it on youtube.

Having caused this impressive amount of destruction, we had better finish the job. We had another go at the drain, this time with Jenny firming holding the washroom sink plug in place with one hand, and her resolve not to run screaming off into the distance with the other, and me at the laundry tub. This time, we had success, and all the water ran gurgling away.

That left us with merely the bathroom to clean. Wash the walls, the mirror, the counter, the sink, the floor, clean off the accumulated bottles of soap and lotion, toss the un-salvageables, note that Donovan had been missing a few spots in the weekly cleaning, etc. Now that bathroom is so clean, it’s blinding.

We started the week doing an emergency bathroom cleaning – all because we got an espresso machine. Catherine – this is all your fault.


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