Some people have wonderful gifts. They can play a violin with such pathos that it brings tears to your eyes. Others can write poetry that expresses the deepest longings of our hearts. Still others can fill a canvas with paint in a way that makes us see the common in a new way. All of those people have constructive gifts.
I have a special gift, only it’s destructive. I have the gift of stove/oven destruction. I didn’t realize I possessed this special ability until about 11 years ago. Though there were warning signs—like when a Pyrex dish of chicken exploded in the oven and the chicken fell onto the heating element and caught fire. But 11 years ago my gift came to the fore. We were living in Hamden, Connecticut. I had a nice roast in the oven and then I noticed an odor, a burning smell. I hurried down to the kitchen. The heating element in the oven had burned a hole into itself. Normally, such things are supposed to short out. It didn’t. Turning off the power worked though. Sadly, the roast was a bit rare, but our guests were understanding.
Another time, I put a kettle of water on the stove to boil for tea. When the kettle was steaming, I picked it up. The burner came with it. For reasons I cannot comprehend, the burner fused itself to the kettle. Both were thrown out—we couldn’t get them apart. You’d think that replacing the burner would take care of the problem. You’d be wrong. Another day I was cooking dinner and one of the burners exploded, throwing molten metal through the air. I have burn holes in my apron to prove it. Thankfully, it didn’t get my skin. Needless to say, we got a new oven. I don’t know how that new oven did because we moved soon afterwards.
Our house in Chattanooga had a stove when we moved in. It worked for about a year until the burners stopped functioning. Apparently the “connections” were old, and it would be cheaper to buy a new stove. So we bought one. After two years, the burners stopped working one by one. Cal and I popped the top of the stove to figure out what was wrong. The electrical wires had fused. Maybe they’d caught on fire at one point. Who knows? But when individual wires fuse together, it’s a bad thing. I assumed that the stove was still under warranty. Nope. (N.B. appliance warranties are only one year. Apparently, manufacturers know they make crap.) Time to purchase another stove.
We bought a new stove. A better, more expensive stove. Surely, you get what you pay for. Or not. On Sunday I was broiling garlic bread when I heard a thunk from the direction of the oven. I glanced over. One side of the handle was lying on the ground and the oven door had separated into three pieces. Apparently the handle holds the oven door together. Am I the only one who thinks this is a bad engineering idea?
Cal and I fixed the oven door on Monday—of course, the screws aren’t normal sized and it took some ingenuity to find a tool to repair the door. We have a red gadget that is now the official “fix the oven door” tool. And it’s in a handy spot because I’m sure we’ll be needing it again.