Friday 02 Dec 2016

Rusticated a Stove
Jennifer Flaten

We gather here, today, to mourn our dear friend the oven. As hard as it is to lose the oven, we have our memories of all the great baked goods the oven gave us in its long, long, did I mention long, life. The oven served us, well, not us, I am not that old, faithfully for over 45 years.

Although, towards the end, the oven did start scorching the cookies into unidentifiable slabs of sugar and the cook top was down to one working burner. Working might be too generous a word. The burner was either on high or off, no simmer or low boil; it was full rolling boil or nothing, baby.

Although the demise of the oven seemed sudden, at the time, I now understand that it was ailing these past few weeks. W hat I initially chalked up to operator error, a flat cake and undercooked casserole, were actually not my fault. Take that Betty Crocker.

Of course, I can't just go to the appliance store and get a new oven. No, I can only get one with the blessing of my property owner. Naturally, the property owner suggested calling a technician.

A fool's errand if I ever saw one, considering the unit is almost fifty years old. Still, the property owner insisted that they, whoever they might be, are able to fix almost anything, today. Yeah, everything except fifty year old stoves.

I call an appliance repair shop. The woman scheduling appointments asks me to repeat the brand name several times. She puts me on hold, when she comes back on she asks me how the age of the oven.

When I tell her, she puts me on hold again. This time, when she comes back she asks me if I am certain I want to pay to have a technician come. I tell her yes.

The best she can do is a date several days out between 8 am and noon. Why is it always between 8 am and noon? Why is it never between 10 pm and 2 am or how about 9 am to 3 pm?

Waiting, for someone to repair the oven, is bad enough. Waiting for the repairperson, while three small children continuously ask you when the repairperson is coming, is its own special circle of hell. No matter how many times I tell the kids that the repairperson would call first, they continue to ask me every five minutes if the repairperson is on his way.

They just couldn't grasp the fact that the phone had to ring before I would know if the repairperson was on his way.

Positive the repairperson would call the minute I turned my back on the phone, I took the phone everywhere I went. After I dropped in the sink, fished it out of the dryer and lost it in the laundry basket I decided to leave the damn thing on the base.

The repairperson called five minutes after I left the room. Luckily, the kids are Pavlovian dogs. The minute the phone rang all three were racing to answer it. Too bad, it was just the service center telling me the repairperson was running late. I kid.

At 12:30, the repairperson finally called and said he was on his way. I put the kids on standby that we would soon have a repairperson under foot. They took up their posts at the window and gave me a blow-by-blow description of all traffic passing by, until finally the repair truck appeared.

This leads to a detailed account of his entering the driveway and parking the truck, not to mention a most riveting account of his walk up the sidewalk. After I convinced him that the dog would not, contrary to all appearances, eat him I showed him to the kitchen. Where he took one look at the stove and shook his head.

He poked it, probed it, checked his computer, rummaged under the hood, checked his computer some more and finally declared it PNLA, that is, parts no longer available.

He strongly suggested sending it to the big kitchen in the sky and, most authoritatively, told me not to use it. Hubba, here's a reason not to cook. After asking for that in writing, I sent him on his way.

Now I will be waiting for the oven deliveryman. At least the kids will be in school.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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