Tuesday 27 Sep 2016

Stoves and Vacations
Matt Seinberg

Our family vacation for 2010 was to Hershey, PA. It was a disaster. I do not want to have a repeat of that in 2011.

Marcy, my wife, and I started to look at cruises to the Caribbean months ago. We found we liked. About six weeks ago, we decided to go on the Carnival Miracle through the Eastern Caribbean. Of course, Marcy wanted to wait until we got our tax return back, which was our one and only mistake; it was a big one.

When we were ready to book it, we find out that there are only five cabins left, on the ship, all on the lowest passenger level. To add insult to injury, the price also went up about $600, over a few weeks. I was stunned. I wasn’t paying more money for a lower cabin.

At the same time, Marcy says, “By the way, the stove isn’t working and it’s been that way for about a week.” You can only imagine the stunned look on my face. I saw dollar bills quickly flying out of my wallet.

That night we shopped for a stove. Marcy finds one she likes and goes to look at it at a local store. There are two models, one with four burners and one with five. Naturally, my wife feels the need for five burners. She’s much like a young man wanting more horsepower in a car to go fast. She says that with five burners she can cook more at the same time. Yeah, that’s right. When I see it, I’ll believe it.

I stop a store we’ve purchased from before and see the same salesperson. Bill is a nice fellow that has been with the store twenty years; he and always gives me a good deal. Marcy had called the day before and spoke to another salesperson; he gave her a price with delivery.

Bill ends up giving me a better price, but delivery and installation is an extra $25. It turns out that was the cost for the new gas flex hose. I also take the extended warranty for $125, which Marcy said she wanted. I did not tell Marcy I made the purchase, figuring I’ll surprise her when she comes home on Friday.

The next day, when I’m at work, Marcy calls me and starts yelling at me about the purchase. She snooped in the drawer where I keep stuff. I know to find a new spot. She wants to know why I spent $25 more on delivery and bought the warranty. I said, “Because you wanted it.”

I call the store to cancel the order, but I really feel I got a good price. The owner reduces the delivery charge to the $100 someone quoted Marcy and the warranty comes off, too. Marcy is happy, again; the world is now revolving properly on its axis.

The stove arrives on Friday. It looks very nice. Very bright white and all the burners work. Now here’s the kicker to this grand adventure.

I go to load the dishwasher, which is on the other side of the counter. The door hits the front of the new stove, which, it turns out, is about two inches deeper than the old one. I stare in utter disbelief at this problem and try to figure out a simple way to deal with it.

I lock the front door, with the lever used when the cleaning the oven. I leaned against it with my hip. I now open the dishwasher door, but slowly, carefully. I don’t want to scratch the front of the new stove. This is not an elegant solution to the problem, but it works.

When Marcy comes home, I explain this little problem. She says she didn’t realize it was deeper than the old one. I didn’t think about it either, so there is nowhere to point a finger. We’ll learn to live with it.

Okay, back to the vacation. We find another cruise we like, the same time in August on the Princess Caribbean. Instead of going south to the Caribbean, it goes north to Canada and New England. It’s also $1000 less than the Carnival cruise. In my mind, that’s the money just paid for the stove. How’s that for a rationalization.

We put a hold on the cabin, which is on the main deck of the ship, near the dining room. At least it’s not on the lowest passenger deck. Marcy and I have to get our vacations approved, at work, before we can actually pay for it. We do that the next day.

Finally, I see light at the end of the tunnel. The stove installed and the cruise is booked. My bank account is also quite a bit lighter, but I feel it is money well spent.

Take my advice; when your wife tells you about a broken appliance, other than the television, let her do all the work. No matter what we do, we’ll be wrong and she won’t be shy about reminding you about that fact whenever she can. When it comes to a vacation, hold your ground and book it when you see it.

The vacation you lose may be the one you truly want. It’s much like your first girlfriend; the one that got away and you never forgot. That’s something you can remind your wife about when she screws up. Turnabout is fair play after all, even if you end up sleeping on the couch.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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