How Coffee Put Me On Edge (It Ain’t the Caffeine)

For years, coffee made me crazy, and not because of the caffeine.

It was that underhanded coffeemaker of mine.

SunbeamYes, I know:
“Another appliance? Seriously?”

You have every right to ask, after my mishaps with the microwave, washing machine, vacuum cleaner, the revenge of the microwave, and even the navigation system on my car. But hear me out.

I bought Mr. Sunbeam umpteen years ago when we lived in Arizona. That was back when I hated coffee. The only reason I got Sunbeam was so my parents and Brent’s, all coffee enthusiasts, could make their morning brew when any of them were visiting. They would fly or drive clear across the desert to see us. For my part, I’d unearth Mr. Sunbeam, dust him off and set him out on the counter. Oh, and run out to buy the smallest can of coffee I could find.

Years later when we lived in Texas and I worked in our church office, I started drinking coffee myself. Sometimes I even made a little at home on weekends. Sunbeam migrated out of the back of the pantry and into a place of honor on the kitchen counter.

And speaking of “counter,” Mr. Sunbeam had the most counter-intuitive on/off switch I have ever seen. Sure, it sounds insignificant… but with no automatic shutoff, you couldn’t just go off and leave him on all day. Not unless you wanted the aroma of scorched coffee wafting through the house when you got back.

So you’d go to turn him off. The bright-red switch has no light, only a black dot on the top. The black dot was firmly associated in my mind with a hot curling iron. My logic ran something like:

Black dot = hot = ON.

But Sunbeam was too tricky for that. No, the black dot only showed when the switch was turned OFF. For some reason it was a monumental chore to retrain my brain to read:

Black dot = OFF = not hot.

A tiny thing, to cause so much cognitive dissonance.

Fortunately, I was slightly smarter than my coffeemaker. I just unplugged it after pouring the last cup. Problem solved.

Then, our sons started drinking coffee too. When they came to visit I would make extra. Whoever took the last cup would decide the power was already turned OFF since the switch wasn’t lighted, and go on about their business. Hours later, the aroma of scorched coffee wafting through the house would alert me to the truth.

Well played, Mr. Sunbeam.

I got the last laugh, though–starting with a routine trip to Target one fateful day.

Meet Mr. Coffee: tall, dark and handsome. Not only that, he communicates with me. Notice the little green light that announces to the whole world: Mr. Coffee is ON. He’s practically my soul mate, though no one could ever really take Brent’s place.

But you know, I’m beginning to wonder whether Sunbeam really did make me crazy. Because now I sort of miss the aroma of scorched coffee wafting through the house.

Well… I almost miss it.

Thanks for reading,

Today I’m sharing virtual coffee with Jen, over at the Soli Deo Gloria party. Have a cup with us? I promise it isn’t scorched…
AND I’m visiting Rachel Anne and the girls for some “Company Girls Coffee” — so MUCH coffeeeeee….

About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
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17 Responses to How Coffee Put Me On Edge (It Ain’t the Caffeine)

  1. Matt Wallace says:

    Thanks for sharing Jan! This was hilarious! Enjoyed reading! I could understand your frustration w/Mr. Sunbeam not clearly communicating his intentions with you and leaving you to feel insecure about your future together. My mother is crazy, but that’s just because she drinks too much coffee each day. I guess to stay sane, you don’t want to consume a whole pot every day like she does… and in your case, it’s best to have a coffee maker that is truthful and forthcoming with you about how he feels with the relationship! πŸ™‚


    • Jan says:

      Hi, Matt! Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you enjoyed my plight. Maybe I should add an “appliance relationship status” to my Facebook page… ya think?
      PS: My dad would drink 2-3 pots of coffee a day. Yike!


  2. Anonymous says:

    Enjoyed your coffee story, really cute. Coffee makers can give you a fit, but what would I do without that morning coffee? Don’t know what would happen.


  3. I wrote a blog post once about our electric tea kettle and making cups of coffee. These are the things of our lives, eh? So glad you’ve found a compatible coffee partner in Mr. Coffee.


    • Jan says:

      Ooooh, someone ELSE has appliance issues! Can I search for “electric tea kettle” and find that post? Thanks for visiting, friend.


  4. Pastor Tim says:

    Yep. Been there… don’t do that no mo’! My cousin turned me on to a Kuerig and after drinking 3 or 4 cups from it (at breakfast) I bought the Mr. Coffee for the k-cups. I can get the k-cups at Sams for less that 50 cents each. A bit more expensive than a can of coffee… but there’s just something about the taste. I get to work and they have a drip-drip-drip brew and it just doesn’t taste the same. I’ve threatened to get a new Kuerig type and take this old one to work. πŸ™‚


    • Jan says:

      Tim, shame on you. Here I am in a new relationship with Mr. Coffee and you’re trying to get me to cheat on him with a Kuerig! πŸ˜‰
      True confession: I’m still no taste expert. The way I “doctor up” my coffee, I doubt I could tell the difference between the store-brand drip stuff and the K-cup.


  5. Sarah Koci Scheilz says:

    JAN!! You are not the first, friend, to wrestle with a coffeemaker! Deceptive simplicity, am I right? πŸ™‚

    Found you through SDG today — and thanks for the smile!


    • Jan says:

      Sarah, you’ve pegged it exactly. “Deceptive simplicity!” Like the men in our lives, who profess to be all simple and straightforward but we still can’t figure them out! πŸ˜‰

      I’m glad you stopped by. Thanks for taking time to comment.



  6. Jan, I enjoyed your post…I’m a part time coffee drinker…usually in restaurants because it’s difficult to get a good cup of tea there! I had to laugh because I have a tiny little 4 cup maker that sits downstairs on the pantry shelf until one of my kids come for a visit ! Thank you for stopping by and thank you so much for praying for my sister and brother in law. I appreciate it!


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