Androp’s two-year old, $685, Rancilo Miss Sylvia home espresso machine began to throw the kitchen surge protector. After viewing on-line videos of possible fixes (the heating element was implicated), the decision was made not to attempt a fix. Androp has negligible ability in terms of home repairs. It is suspected that his wife was quite relieved.
An elegant, simple solution was proposed and subsequently executed: a Bialetti Moka Espress stove-top coffee maker was purchased. The elegance is sublime: octagonal base and an 80 year old design. The resulting brew is aromatic and less better than a 15-bar pressure pulled shot, but more flavorful than boring drip coffee. Extraction is at 1 to 2 bars pressure. The Bialetti has achieved Androp’s highest level of recommendation: GJGO (Gawd, Just Get One). At around $40, you have not much to lose. .
Androp prepared two loaves of cinnamon bread and was reminded of breakfast on the bike trail. He purchased slices of bread at $2 or $3 each. Five pounds of flour costs less than $3. Of all the things to be amazed by, the fee for a single slice of toast with butter, at $2, seems supremely shocking. The bread was homemade, but not as fresh or as fragrant as what Androp can produce at home.
Lemon filled, lemon frosted, lemon cake was produced for the wife’s birthday.
This required large quantities of lemon juice and lemon zest combined with a great deal of time and effort (but not much skill, really). The result was coma-producing, but worth it.
The youngest grandchild has a new skill: opening and closing the front door. This is both exciting and panic-producing. One more can get away, and this one tends to want to escape. She is a maverick.
Finally, Androp purchased a new bicycle, after months of anguish over prices and styles. No identifiable event tripped the wire toward making the purchase, but it was nonetheless made. Intense self-loathing, post-purchase, lasted about two weeks, and has since slowly faded to simple, intermittent, moderate self-criticism. Decision points included: steel frame (not aluminum), drop handlebars (not straight), semi-upright geometry (not more aggressive; Androp is old), up-graded wheelset, and up-graded (not stock) tires.
The final contestants were the Salsa Vaya, Salsa Fargo, and Surly Long Haul Trucker. Among these, the Fargo had the must up-right geometry and was selected on that basis. About 200 miles are on the bike. One initial frustration: the disc brakes are not as simple to use and adjust as rim brakes. For most uses, rim brakes are probably better, but marketing has made the discs standard on ‘up-scale’ bikes.