Everything in my house is new! Well, almost everything. I have a new stove, computer, humidifier, vacuum cleaner, and garage door opener. No, we didn’t win big on The Price is Right. Everything is new because a short time ago, everything was old, and it all quit working at the same time!
If you’re a regular reader, you might be saying, “Hey wait! Didn’t your oven quit working a long time ago?” Yes it did, which is why I hinted in every holiday column for the last three years that a new stove would make a great gift. Nobody listens to me!
I’ve continued to use my old, unreliable oven because three years ago, the repairman told me if I would add 30 degrees to whatever temperature setting the recipe called for, I could get by for a long time, especially as little as I use the oven.
Then shortly before Thanksgiving, adding thirty degrees didn’t work anymore. Adding fifty degrees didn’t work either. I threw away a pan of half-baked cookies and went shopping. There were only a few stoves in stock that would work for us. But I decided buying a new stove just because it was in stock and I needed to make Thanksgiving dinner in three days might be hasty, especially since I didn’t want to cook Thanksgiving dinner anyway. (I know what you’re thinking. What could be hasty about taking three years to replace an oven?)
One issue was color. I’m no designer, but I wanted my new stove to match my ancient refrigerator, the one thing in my home that was still working. But appliance manufacturers no longer make anything in avocado. I’m JOKING! My refrigerator isn’t avocado; it’s almond, which is only slightly more common these days. The industry updates colors regularly so that when you buy a new stove, you feel compelled to buy a refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, washer, dryer, and maybe even a pair of shoes to match. It seems to me, if you buy all that, they ought to give you the microwave—and the shoes.
I didn’t want to replace all my appliances, so I asked if, since we were buying a stove, would they throw in a vacuum cleaner? Ours had died recently, and I didn’t care if the new one matched. No, they would not. “Okay,” I said, “What if we buy a vacuum cleaner and computer, would you throw in a stove?” It never hurts to ask.
And we did need a computer. Our antique PC had started dozing off at inopportune times—much like I do. Of course, a computer is outdated the minute you drive it off the lot, but this one really was ancient. I think whatever we were using just prior to it may have had a carriage return and a ribbon.
Just when I thought I couldn’t take another thing, our humidifier started wetting on the carpet and my garage door opener developed an attitude. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t—meaning sometimes I could get into my garage and sometimes I had to call someone in the house to come open the door for me. It’s hard to say which of us found that most annoying.
There we were, with everything falling apart around us like a beach house in a hurricane. We replaced the computer first, as most important. We followed with the vacuum cleaner, the garage door opener, the humidifier, and finally, after three years of adding 30 degrees to everything I put in the oven, we bought a new stove. It’s a hard habit to break—I’ve already set off the smoke alarm three times. And after several very expensive months, we’ve managed to replace everything, ensuring that eventually, it will all quit working again at exactly the same time.