Friday, January 28, 2011

Unsung heroes

In everyday life there are many opportunities to give thanks for special people, fortuitous events and such.  We have traditional holidays, like Thanksgiving and Mothers Day, and Hallmark continues to crank out new "special days" every year.  These are (in my jaded opinion) just excuses to prompt us to buy cards and candy for people who need to feel special.  Why anyone would feel special receiving a mass-produced, pre-printed, unoriginal thought on cheap cardstock, signed, folded and delivered with candy made in some factory by machines that squirt out millions of identical chocolate cublets per day, I honestly don't know.  But I love receiving cards and candy, despite the fact that I know my reaction is a result of consumer conditioning and lifelong brainwashing.  Hmmm - I'll have to flesh out that thought in another entry.

So yes, we can give thanks to the people in our lives with very little cost and effort to ourselves.  But how, I ask, can we thank our inanimate objects that make daily life bearable?  Hallmark has greeting cards for dogs, for heaven's sake, so how about a thank you card for something really useful, like my dishwasher?  I mean, my dogs and my dishwasher display roughly the same level of literacy, and my dishwasher works much harder than my dogs and doesn't try to lick my face.  Doesn't it deserve a card?

As long as we are going to be "sheep to the slaughter" when it comes to buying greeting cards, I think Hallmark should look into marketing greeting cards for appliances and other labor-saving machines and devices.  In fact, I'll start by attempting a little poetry for my car:
 You always start in any temp,
 You never balk at weather.
 Target, Walmart, school and work,
 We go everywhere together.

 You don't care if I've got b.o.,
 Or if I'm feeling mean.
 I'll always try to treat you nice,
 And keep you lubed and clean.

Okay, so it's not Helen Steiner Rice, but I didn't have much time and I want to focus on other inanimate objects that I love. 

My favorite "unsung heroes" of the inanimate variety are well-known to my family and friends.  In fact, I've often said (because repeating yourself is much easier than coming up with original thoughts - just ask Hallmark), if the house was on fire, Eric and the kids are in charge of pets, photos and other mementos, because I'll have my Keurig under one arm and my other hand rolling out my dyson.

I probably shouldn't admit this, but when I wake up most mornings, my first thought isn't for the welfare of my husband or children.  It's not about what I have to do that day.  And unless I had a really good dream, I don't even think about my own night's sleep.  No, my first thought is generally about coffee.

And this gorgeous piece of equipment is my personal barista:

This is the Keurig B70 Platinum in dark red.  She'll brew a delicious, fresh cup of java in under a minute to your temperature and strength specifications.  As a person who recycles water bottles, washes ziplock bags and mends clothing, I consider this form of coffee brewing to be wasteful and decadent.  However, that's exactly why it makes such good coffee. When I score a deal on the k-cups, it costs about $0.35 per cup - expensive when compared to $0.20 for a whole pot of moderately priced ground coffee in a home drip system, but dirt cheap compared to Starbucks, or even 7-11.

This machine is my personal indulgence in luxury.  When my first one broke, I made it exactly one week on drip coffee, then I bought this beauty.  I will even go so far to say I didn't have one cup of coffee on the cruise ship that came close to the perfection this machine delivers approximately six times per day for me.  I know I could easily survive on cheap coffee from a cheap coffeemaker; I could even survive without coffee, period.  But it wouldn't be living.  My Keurig makes drinking coffee an event, or as my dear friend C. S. Lewis always referred to our debates over cigars and port, "a pleasant little occasion."

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that my Aunt Sissy and Uncle Dick set me on the road to this particular addiction.  Eric thanks you for that, I'm sure.  And for my many fans who are always asking if they can send me gifts instead of money, Tully's Kona Extra Bold (prominently displayed in the caddy next to the Keurig) is my favorite roast.

On a less serious note, I suppose it courts disbelief that someone who writes about her aversion to housework could wax romantic over a vacuum cleaner.  And if you've never used a dyson to vacuum the fur of two dogs from an extremely thick area rug, it makes sense that you'd doubt my seriousness.  But the fact is, I actually enjoy vacuuming with my dyson, and I vacuum much more frequently than I did when I used my old upright (though that's not saying much).

This baby handles like a dream - she hugs corners, reverses with ease, has a very tight turn radius, and gets an EPA-estimated 45 mpg.  Seriously, it's very low-maintenance and easy to clean, and tool-switching is a breeze.  I'm starting to feel self-conscious - if it's as great as all that, you ask, why is my house such a well-documented pigsty?  I've already covered that ground pretty thoroughly, so I'll just hypothesize that motivation and consistency play a role in helping the dyson perform to it's fullest capacity.  Like the infomercials say, individual results may vary.

But it is an excellent product, and I say that knowing that my endorsement of any cleaning appliance doesn't carry much weight with anyone.  I should add that both the dyson and the Keurig are rather expensive investments, and I was only able to justify splurging when I worked at Kohl's and had the triple advantage of early sale alerts, a coveted 30% off coupon, and an employee discount.  The rest of you need to figure out your own rationalizations.  I've done my best to arm you with the "emotional need," which studies show to be the primary trigger of major purchases.

I've always enjoyed trying to turn people on to my two favorite products.  When I worked at Kohl's I was constantly annoying people by singing the praises of Keurig and dyson appliances (usually to the tune of "Camptown Races").  And I hope you will share this blog with your friends, so that I can help boost sales of these wonderful products, and possibly get an endorsement deal or be asked to write a celebrity testimonial.  That would certainly make this housewife drudgery more bearable, and blogging a bit more profitable.

So be sure to hit "Share"!  Do it now!  Then run to Kohl's and get your own Keurig Coffeemaker of Happiness and dyson Vacuum Cleaner of Bliss.  (Celebrity endorsement not compensated - yet.)

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