My Relationship with Alexa, Mr. Coffee and Other Objects

Earlier this week, my husband received a message from our cleaning people.  One of them had, by mistake, knocked over the Mr. Coffee machine and the glass carafe broke.  And that was fine. Stuff like that happens; quite honestly, I was happy it was not me who knocked it over because I would have had to listen about how I don’t pay attention to what I’m doing.

Mr. Coffee Simple Brew 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker Removable AD12BLK - Picture 1 of 12

Yeah. THIS was the coffee machine we’ve been using for the past fifteen years.  My husband was under the notion that, despite breaking, Mr. Coffee hasn’t evolved into something more complicated!

Worse, however, was that the “machine” part of Mr. Coffee ceased to work, the mechanism must have become loose or one of the little parts must have broken.  I cannot live without my morning coffee. At all.

And so, whilst Mr. Coffee expired, I made some very strong joe with our Nespresso.  The little pods produced an elixir of hot, very strong coffee with a gloriously foamy top.  It satisfied my need for an AM wake-up call to my body.  For my husband, he wanted our friend back.

I usually make myself a fancy cup with the Nespresso in the afternoon. However, it REALLY wakes me up in the morning!

My insincere apologies to anyone offended by my mug. I mean that in both ways!

Since I’m the one not working, it was my unpaid job to head into the car in search of a replacement.

Here’s where Alexa comes in.  My relationship with Alexa is limited to playing music from my Spotify and having her warn notify me when Amazon deliveries arrive. This way, try as I might, I can hide the deliveries from The Frenchman.  However, Barbara Johnson, friend to this blog and now a friend to me, (It is a great story—we met unexpectedly at the Limerick outlets) explained to me the glories of what Alexa can do.

Thanks to Barbara and Alexa, I no longer have to take pen to paper to write a grocery list. I dictate to my new non-human best friend!

Upon finding out, thanks to Barbara, the many talents of Alexa, I spent a good part of yesterday talking to Alexa and setting up various notifications—the best being a shopping list for groceries.  Had it not been for this little orb of technology, I could not have her remind me, like a mother to a child, to pick up various groceries, return a Hobonichi cover-on-cover to the Amazon drop-off at Whole Foods and search for a new tablecloth for the dining room table.

Oh Alexa. Not only do I appreciate your friendship. I also appreciate how well-rounded you are!

Zoom image

Amazon sent me the wrong size cover for my planner. But Alexa took care of that!

I also added Alexa to my cell phone so while I’m out and about running errands, we can speak to each other.   She’s in competition now with Siri, the voice who lives within the steering wheel of my car.  My concern being “Will Siri and Alexa become jealous of each other?”

David Cronenberg Neon Rated GIF by NEON

I honestly don’t want to pit my non-human besties against each other but they may become a bit green with envy!

Then I thought it through. Here I am, worrying about technology-as-humans.  This is crazy.  I’m asking Alexa to add items to my shopping list, and thanking “her.”  I’m thanking an object. As though it were a human and referring to it as a “her.”  Being a liberal-minded, gender neutral-friendly person, I’m wondering if I should refer to Alexa, Siri, and Mr. Coffee as “they.”  Welcome to my new life of overthinking any and all situations. This is what job loss had done to me.

Video gif. Against a solid yellow background, Drew Barrymore puts her hands to her chest in gratitude, and tilts her head as she says: Text, "Thank you." Then, a white illustrated heart rises from bottom of frame.

An my thank you’s are even more appreciative than Drew Barrymore’s!

Back to Mr. Coffee.  My husband is a very “specific” person. Meaning, he wanted the exact model as the Mr. Coffee that expired.  I explained that our coffee maker was over 15 years old and, sadly, could not be resurrected, like Jesus, from the dead.  We would have to search for a new model that was as close to the one that died from injuries.  I did manage to find one, through Google, at Target for $24.99.  However, my Frenchman wanted me to go to Walmart instead, because Walmart has the better prices.

Mr. Coffee Simple Brew 12-Cup Switch Coffee Maker, Black -

Simple coffee maker for simple people. Is that too much to ask?

Off I went, with Alexa reminding me to pick up groceries, to take care of my Amazon return and not to forget Mr. Coffee.  I also had Siri pick out a playlist of Scott Joplin tunes while I was coasting in my car.  Did I mention that there was now a third non-human added to the mix?  I was headed in a different direction to Whole Foods to return my Hobonichi cover. Because I was making a few stops, which were all over the place, I decided to enter the quickest way to Whole foods into my Google Maps.  The directions are led by a female voice.  Another female voice.

There are now three non-human women, identified by voice only, in my car with me.  For some bizarre reason, it made me almost depressed that humans were not in my vehicle. It made me miss the days when my car was the taxi for Oona and her friends to their Irish Dance classes or competitions.

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen, 2022 Release) Smart Speaker with Alexa Charcoal  B09B8V1LZ3 - The Home Depot

Hey Alexa. Don’t mess with me by having to call you “Dot”. Ok?

Apple Working on Eliminating "Hey" from "Hey Siri" Wake Word: Report -

And Siri.  Your aura is a mixed bag.

Google Map पर इस लड़की की आवाज सुनाई देती है gps girl voice - Nmg India

I found the GPS girl. WTF? Did she just get out of bed?

I had a flush of melancholia wishing my mother and my aunts Tessie and Margie were in my automobile cackling like hens and laughing in their high-pitch tones about their lives as children in Howard Beach.  I missed driving my sons to sports practices and music lessons. An inanimate object can never take the place of a person.  But in this case, with three voices and no life, oddly, I did not feel alone.  Lonely?  Yes.  Alone?  No.

All arrows pointing to my mom, my aunt Margie and aunt Tessie.  The icing on the cake would be having my two Ursuline nun aunts, Josephine and Eleanor.  I miss their voices! All three would have been either a great Alexa, Siri or GPS girl–with heavy NY accents!

Back to Mr. Coffee.

Upon entering the Walmart at King of Prussia, I did pick up a few well-needed groceries thanks to Alexa then proceeded to head to the Small Housewares area.  The temptation to add an air-fryer to my cart was akin to Adam’s apple; but realizing that I was now unemployed and my unemployment benefits were better left on necessities, such as the male-themed coffee maker, I passed it by.  When I arrived at the aisle displaying coffee makers the Keurig machines appeared to be the most populated.  My thought process had me, once again, in a stage of over thought.

Had I come home with this, my husband would have dialed a divorce attorney.

Are people that lazy that they cannot buy a tin of ground coffee or a bag of coffee beans to grind that they must have pre-measured cups of weak coffee to perform a component of their morning ritual?  Is that why instant coffee and its substitute Postum are now headed to becoming extinct?   Yes. I am being rather hypocritical—especially since I own a Nespresso and its many fancy pods.  But the Nespresso has George Clooney as a spokesperson. Who does Keurig have?


And George has some impressive French friends like Jean Dujardin and Camille Cottin.  I’m jealous!

Upon perusing the seemingly one hundred types of Keuring coffee makers, I noticed the Walmart brand, Mainstays, ones and was highly tempted, but I was aware that my husband would not even bother to take it out of the box and would return it—regardless of price or how it worked.  I spotted two Mr. Coffee machines on display but there was no inventory. Not a box.  And both that were displayed were digital. I have not comment on that.  Yet.

Mainstays 12 cup Coffee Maker for Sale in Saint Albans, WV - OfferUp

And a phone call would have also been made to a divorce attorney had I come to our chateau with this!

As time is not of the essence for me these days, I had nowhere to go except home.  My decision was to continue this search at the Walmart in Norristown. Off I drove.  Miss Google directions was now eliminated—she was free to help someone else.  Left with Alexa and Siri, the three of us enjoyed some tunes, thanks to Siri while Alexa remined resting her voice. (Since I have a personal relationship with Alexa, it feels disrespectful to say that I put her on mute.  She is one of the few friends I have you know).

My muscial happy place..thanks to..

Ms. Siri–not to be called Misery.  Although that profile of Siri is enough to put anyone through misery.

Exiting my car and walking across the crowded parking lot to the Walmart entrance, I grabbed a rickety cart and headed in.  Tempted by Halloween candy, I was in full over-thinking mode as to throwing the delights into the cart.  Then I realized I’m losing weight and would not want to ambush myself by having a “not working” pity party, therefore eating the candy and having to repurchase.  I passed it by.

Review: Halloween Candy Prices and Selection at Walmart Versus Target

I can’t keep this in the house. Due to my stress level of late, I would Hoover these bags in no time. 

As I entered the Small Appliances and Housewares department. Again, the temptation of purchasing an air fryer had me testing my willpower.  I passed this aisle by.  And then entered the aisle of coffee makers.  With Keurig as that popular sorority girl or, popular frat boy in the lead, I wheeled the cart further into coffee maker land.  And there stood a variety of Mr. Coffee machines.  Mr. Coffee’s relatives all on display.  It made me wonder if there was a rivalry among the relatives.  What appeared before me must have been the “woke” generation of Mr. Coffee’s family because all the machines had digital components.  A little rectangular screen that allowed you to program the time and whether you wanted a mild cup or a cup that put hair on your chest.  In case one doesn’t know how to tell time, there was a digital clock also installed into the mechanism.

Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker, Rapid Brew, Red -

This was the least complex of the coffee makers at my OTHER local Walmart.

At this point, I feared going home empty-handed. If not for anything else, I could read the manual and program our little robotic friend to have coffee at the ready at 6:30 AM every morning. Weekends included. So off I went, not with the $24.99 model but with the woke version at $27.99.  Both made 12 cups.  10 of which I needed in order to be bright-eyed and bushy tailed on my least ambitious days.

Mr. Coffee® 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker with Strong Brew Selector,  Stainless Steel -

I figured I could read the manual and set everything up. My luck we would be having fresh coffee at 6:00 PM instead of AM!

Back in the car, Siri being attentive to the music I wanted to hear, I announced to the girls that we had a new friend in the car.  A boy!  And his name was Mr. Coffee.  Siri, ignoring me, continued to play Scott Joplin.  Alexa, in a most teen-aged way answered “I’m sorry. I don’t understand what you said.”  And I ANSWERED! I freaking answered a non-person with “Just forget it—we’re going home.”

Cant Believe This Leah Remini GIF by TV Land

This is how I answered to Alexa and Siri in my car. Just. Forget it. 

And upon arriving home, my loving husband saw the box that housed Mr. Coffee.  He saw the photo with the digital programing and said “Wha eezz zis?”  “Ou cem ‘ome wiz zis  com-plee-kaht-eed sheet.”

how to work a mr coffee for Sale OFF 64%

And might I add this was three bucks more than the simple version!

Apparently, he wanted a simple machine that one could turn “On” and “Off” with the switch of a button.  I understood because, quite frankly, that is what I prefer.  But times they are a changin’ and everything is more complicated these days.  Appliances, both large and small, are not built to last anymore.  Fifteen years was a long time for our Mr. Coffee to make a great cup of coffee every morning.  There was no figuring out the time to have him do this. There was no level of intensity of flavor. It was a simple push of the button and he was ready and happy to do his duty.

I did mention that neither of the Walmart stores  I went to had the Mr. Coffee at his simplest.  I also explained that Target did have that coffee maker but he did think it would be less expensive at Walmart.  With that, the box remained closed.  And my Frenchman took Mr. Coffee into the car, receipt in hand, drove to Walmart to return it then he stopped at Target to purchase the one he originally wanted.

Target warns of dull 2023 profit as heavy discounts sap margins | Reuters

I didn’t want to say “I told you so…”

And while I’m testing Alexa’s knowledge, Mr. Coffee can warm my innards and wake me up with a simple push of the button!

I sat back and asked Alexa what year the Crimean War ended.  She not only gave me the year, but also the date:  March 30, 1856.  Its daunting when you realize your little orb that sits atop a piece of furniture in your home—one that lacks a brain, knows more than you do.

Timeline of the Crimean War - Historic UK

I’m thinking of auditioning for Jeopardy and bringing Alexa along. Geez. She knows EVERYTHING!

On an end note, I don’t blame my husband.   I look at how many remotes we have. No longer do we get up off our bottoms to turn the TV on; our remote control does that. It allows us to switch from cable to network and does so much more for our entertainment. It also allows us to be lazier.

How Many Remote Controls Are Around Your Home - YouTube

We have double the amount of remotes in our home. It’s shameful. No it isn’t. Yes. It is.

Why the need to speak to a person when we can give commands to machines? Siri is always in the car. Alexa watches over us from wherever she stands in our homes. We no longer get lost because we have the soothing of Ms. Google Maps to navigate our routes.

Sorry. But I want human interaction back.  And I want my household appliances to be non-complicated.  How about you? Now excuse me while I figure out how to install my Roku.


Ahhh..humanity. Where did it go?

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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22 Responses to My Relationship with Alexa, Mr. Coffee and Other Objects

  1. Maryellen Reardon says:

    I don’t use either Siri or Alexa, but I do love Google Maps because I have a horrible sense of direction. Not to get you too intense about Alexa, but I have a friend who tells Alexa to turn on her lights – and her shower! And the shower is at the perfect temperature. I know because I have stayed at her home overnight. Maybe one has to have a new bathroom to do that, as she does, but I have to say I was impressed when Alexa turned the shower on and off with a verbal request. That Alexa can do everything…

  2. J says:

    My husband loves his bagged coffee as well, but we have a Keurig. One of our brilliant sons in law ordered him a stainless steel coffee pod that fits the Keurig perfectly, so he continues to order his Puerto Rican bagged beans to use in it. (Yes, he has an electric coffee bean grinder). I like the Keurig because I’m a tea drinker and the hot water is always ready. Perfect for hot chocolate, too. I only buy the ready made pods when we have overnight guests who might not like the strong PR coffee. Hope you find peace in your current job situation.

    • Catherine says:

      J, I have two coffee grinders. One for the bagged beans we buy every now and then and the other that I use as a spice grinder. I will admit, though, that when I was working, the office Keurig DID make quick tea!

  3. Miss Bougie says:

    Ahh, so funny! I feel for you. It’s so difficult to find non digital appliances nowadays. But at least you walked away with an appliance that has a physical switch. 😉 We moved houses last year and completely renovated the kitchen in the new apartment. New appliances and all. I was lucky to find a dishwasher with buttons to actually push, but my ceramic hob, hood vent and the dryer all have modern touch control. Can’t tell you how annoying the finger smudges on the black surfaces are! Am always wiping them down.
    I don’t have Alexa in my house. I refuse to have one of the GAFA listening in on what happens in my sanctuary. It’s bad enough that Google knows so much about every person that uses their services. I also disabled Siri on my phone. I’m not actively talking to a machine. I do use Waze though, and her dulcet voice only guides me when I don’t know how to get to a certain destination. Very handy in the Paris banlieue.

    • Catherine says:

      We get the same fingerprints on the Stainless Steel. It’s ridiculously annoying to wipe it all off every time we use the fridge, dishwasher, etc. In France we use my Google Maps GPS and Ms. Maps American voice cannot speak French. At all. Her mispronounciations are incredibly funny!!

  4. Barbara says:

    Here’s some human interaction- you should have called ME!
    Cuisinart’s Grind and brew with Costco’s beans ( roasted by Starbucks)
    Come, I will convert you! ( yes, we drove it from Phoenix!-ha)

  5. Susan says:

    I don’t drink coffee, but somehow, I felt like grabbing a cup of uncomplicated brew and sitting down the read the account of events which your shared. I am so with you on wanting to live an uncomplicated life. I’d rather have roll-down car windows, toggle switches on all of the walls (no dimmers). I’d rather just walk to my television and turn the dial thingy… we’ll maybe not. I got an Apple Watch that still sits in the box as I don’t have time to figure it out. I miss the analog world!! Thank you for sharing and for making me feel less alone in the digital world. ~Susan

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Susan. Great minds think alike. I do not own an Apple watch. The timepieces I have are all battery-operated and analog. I feel for my grandsons because I ponder if they will ever learn time the old-fashioned way as opposed to looking at a digital clock or watch to tell them the time.

  6. Juliet says:

    Haaaaaaa. We can never get it right can we. Actually I’m feeling fond of the husband for once so I won’t diss him (I’m in Paris, the friend I was with has gone home in a massive strop after cancelling our uk train tickets etc and only telling me as she was leaving and that she was going NOW, I think any friendship is now toast)….he is driving 2 hours to Manchester to pick me up tomorrow. Anyway I like my stove top Italian thingy- daughter brought home a nespresso beast (no it doesn’t come with George clooney), then took over my stove top as the coffee is the best. We have instructions to use her terrifying beast whilst she is doing a post-PhD trek in Peru. I don’t know if I’m more scared of her or her coffee machine…

    • Catherine says:

      Juliet. That “friendship” is now toast–burnt toast in my opinion. Your husband is a good guy! LOL Sometimes I feel we need a PhD just to figure out all the digital appliances!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Donna says:

    Exactly! I want coffee, not metaphysics.

  8. Monica says:

    The most wonderful coffee machine is a Bunn. We’ve had 2 Mr coffee machines, several keurigs, and a few off brands over 37 years. The Bunn is so easy…pour the water in, put the pot under, and shut the lid. You’ll have a pot in 4 minutes.

  9. Sandra Sallin says:

    Love my Nespresso and it’s pods. Wondering which pods do you use? My daughter loves my Latte’s but would like then a little bit stronger. Do you use a creamer. Is it filled with calories? I love my Starbucks and Chobani flavored creamers.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Sandy, OMG. We have a plethora of pods–all flavors, all different levels of strength. When my kids got the Nespresso for my birthday, they also sent 25 boxes of pods. I have a large supply and they are all good. I don’t use fancy creamers at all. The only creamer in the house is the powdered non-generic brand that is 10 calories per tablespoon. Vincent orders it from Amazon-LOL!!

  10. Penny says:

    We make our coffee with a cafetière so it’s really simple, I would not have a complicated pod thing in my house! But what I do have is an exceedingly complicated washing machine with digital parts to it that I have never used. And don’t start me on the microwave, which I use purely for heating things up. I love the British Ms Google maps though, she’s got a very reassuring voice!

    Let’s see if I can post this comment – fingers crossed! But great post!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Penny! Is the cafetiere the same thing as a French Press? I used to make my coffee with a French Press back in the days over 40 years ago when I lived by myself in NYC. Easy Peasy. Don’t even get me started on the “new” washing machines AND dryers. Ours came with the house. Digital. It’s ridiculously complicated but I’m used to it. The microwave–like you, I only use it to heat things up. It comes in handy to melt my butter and chocolates when I’m baking. Otherwise, it is never used!!

    • anniebridgie says:

      Hi again Cathe, I get my Barry’s tea on Amazon, it’s amazing. I used to get it in ‘Fresh Market’ I don’t know if you have one close by in Philly. I remember Red Rose too, that was good. I’ll have to try Harney and Sons.
      Starbs it is, love it! 🙂 It’s true about Cuisinart, at least when we bought that old drip coffee machine it was. Of course, your food processor is still processing away!

  11. Bridget says:

    I am totally Nespresso dependant for afternoon coffee..heck, I am UK born, Irish descent, so strong Barry’s tea is a must first thing. Love Nespresso, as you say the magic of the wonderful foam top, the creamy liquid..that’s on the days we don’t go to Starbucks to get ‘Americano’ my husband Earl Grey tea, he’s Italian from Rome, so cafe visits are frequent. Nespresso beats Starbucks any day. We have a Keurig, but retired it after a couple of tries, so bitter, I don’t get it. We make morning coffee for husband on a similar machine to your one, Cathe, it’s a Cuisinart, and it’s eternal for now, yrs old. I am Alexa dependant too. We have two dots, and they reply to ‘Alexa’ We have Alexa on the phone too.. 😉

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Bridget. It’s so funny you mention the afternoon coffee Nespresso fix. It’s really the only time I use my Nespresso–especially on the weekends. And it IS more economical and better than Starbs (My shortened moniker for Starbucks). My grandmother used to teeter between loose tea and Red Rose tea . I make loose tea. Harney and Sons Lapsang Souchong–it’s my fave! Here in the States, it was difficult, years ago to find Barry’s and I think that’s why she used Red Rose. Still, any tea my grandmother made always tasted better! As far as the Cuisinart goes, their products are very well made. I had a Cuisinart Food processer that I lent out decades ago and was never returned to me. I’m sure it is still working!

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