Saturday, October 11, 2008

Make sure the tubes are tied... To the right section

"You probably have a vapor lock," says the sweet thing from Starbucks' customer service department. Vapor lock? It sounds similar to that special coating the car salesman tries to pressure you to buy. My first instinct was to believe-assume that this was simply a distraction, that it was read from a pre-printed list tacked to the cubicle wall. The manager telling his herd in a pre-clock-in meeting that "If the Barista owner bitches that the pump is not working, immediately go to #6 on the list: vapor lock." The crew nods in agreement and shuttle off to receive panicked calls from jackasses like me.

Damn I hate when I'm wrong! I thought for certain my call would be re-routed to India, where I would have to rattle off the 16-digit serial number. This exercise would last 30 minutes because the person on the other end would repeat the numbers back to me 5 times and get them wrong all 5 times. Instead I was talking to Angie here in the US! I explained my predicament: that life was shallow and depressing because my said espresso-latté-cap machine was not operational. The tiny screw wasn't coming out of the section that housed a filter, which gets clogged, which then renders the machine useless. This little screw no longer than 1/4 inch long that was causing grief and hardship was determined to stay lodged-fixed-stuck. A trip to the hardware store fixed it with the purchase of an extractor set. With certainty I believed that the machine had been fixed, but I got nothing.

That brings me back to the first line in this particular blog entry. The vapor lock sounds more hardcore than it is. All it takes is a few runs through the steam wand and the actual drip itself. Do it for 6 minutes, let it cool. Over and over. Nothing.

A couple days go by and this time I speak to Claudia at Starbucks. She has me open the machine back and check all connections. This is where my lameness gets magnified. At some point after I began un-hitching hoses, cussing, and then re-assembling hoses, the machine truly stopped sucking... water that is. Nothing. No steam, no drip, no sucking (water). "Um, do you have the hoses hooked up right?" says Claudia. "Claudia, seriously?" I say. "Just making sure that you do, you know sometimes it happens," says Claudia. After a semi-detailed discussion about hoses going here and bending around there, and hooking to the mushroom-looking-thingy, it was concluded that a hose was out of place. Now you may be thinking that their must be 15 hoses bending and feeding, sucking and pulling, releasing and such, but instead it's just 3 that go A) here; B) there; and C) right there. One hose out of place. One hose caused grief for 2+ weeks. One hose I pulled from here and assumed it went there. One hose now in its right place because Claudia rocks.

Gone now is the French Press and the Mukka to the deep, dark bowels of the lower cupboard. Back is the automated machine with a new screw replacing the chewed up old one. The morning mood is better, spirits are high, smiles are taller.

- Don't put your hose in the wrong place.
- Sucking is good on an espresso machine.
- The mushroom-thingy needs a hose.
- Starbucks customer service is rad.
- Starbucks customer service is in America, which is super-rad.
- Small screws can cause grief.
- My fix-it skills are sucking (not good sucking).