Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Stove

My husband is an unreasonable maniac. He simply hates it when I set our stove on fire. Especially since this is the second time I’ve done it. The first was on the eve, literally, of our first Thanksgiving here in town. The cranberry sauce had boiled over and the sugary residue combusted (who knew?). The flames were as high as the ceiling but the firemen came quickly and all was well. Somehow, we managed to pull off a holiday meal despite the hoopla of the previous evening.
So, sixteen years later, I did it again. There was less damage and smoke and we were able to contain the flames ourselves but after my normally calm husband bellowed at me, arms waving like a windmill, for several minutes, we realized that the stove had been damaged beyond repair. Goodbye old stove. Don’t let the door hit you in the tuchas on the way out.
And, hello new stove! Hello sleek stainless steel, double ovens, warming burner, griddle-friendly, convection capability. Hello funny little touch pads that light up and make chirping sounds. Hello fabulous pies, cakes and cookies browned evenly by  circulating air. Welcome back pizza and pancakes and scones—oh my.
Uh-oh—what’s this?! Hello, demon stove that suddenly starts beeping twenty minutes after it’s delivered and hello again to the delivery men who must return and are instructed to remove the new stove immediately. Old Stove, all is forgiven, but I am told you have already been sent to wherever old stoves go these days. Hello nine days with no stove at all, eating weird things from the microwave and ordering take-out with enough sodium to sink a ship or, at the very least, give it puffy eyes followed by a massive stroke.
Hello polite phone calls to a locally owned appliance store (whose name I cannot mention but call me because I’d love to tell you). Hello to having no idea when a new stove will fill the void in my kitchen because not once is a phone call returned. Hello non-existent customer service and having to drive to terrible, no-good store and be publically cranky when I am told by the disinterested salesman that there will be no stove in my future for another week. Hello public tantrum followed by sudden announcement that a new stove is available after all and will be coming the next day. Hello suspicion and distrust.
Hello second (or was it?) new demon stove that starts acting erratically the very first day. Hello to anger and frustration and more phone calls and still more abominable customer service. Hello stove shutting down or starting up randomly and taunting me daily. Hello, sledge hammer in garage…no, forget that. No sledgehammer. No, no, no.
Hello having the awful, horrible store wash their hands of my plight. Hello phone calls to the manufacturer where I speak to no less than three billion people until my ears bleed from the Muzak being played to test who really had the mettle to remain on hold and not become a serial killer later that afternoon.
Hello, service man who decided that there was nothing wrong with the stove because it was clever enough to behave itself throughout the 17-minute window during which he lounged in my kitchen. Hello to still more phone calls and mounting disgust. Hello thoughts of joining a heavily-armed and isolated extremist cult because, at this point, it seems like a sensible thing to do.
Hello, finally, to yet another stove and to abject mistrust of an appliance. Hello to fear that the third stove won’t work correctly and that Rod Serling will pop out of my pantry, smoking a cigarette, and make reference to the stove-killing force field that apparently surrounds my body.

But wait! Hello stove that works beautifully. Hello to relief, happiness and cookies that are evenly browned on both bottom and top. Hello, hello, hello!

So, the saga of the stove is over.  This one has been in my kitchen for three weeks and amiably does its job every day. Its stainless steel façade glows reciprocally as I massage its ceramic top with Soft Scrub. The memory of the turmoil fades as we bond with each gentle stroke of my non-abrasive scrubbie. My dishwasher has been acting up lately…….wish me luck.

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