When I bought my first house, I was only 25 years old. While I was smart enough not to actually take out the maximum mortgage I was approved for, there still wasn't a lot of room in my budget after the mortgage was paid each month, so even the smallest "joys" of homeownership felt
like disasters. My favorite memory is The Great Exploding Stove, which I blogged about on my MySpace account (this happening in 2006 when MsSpace was still all the rage). I logged back into my account just now to pull the story, which probably had Tom Anderson, or whoever owns MySpace now, jumping for joy. The Story of The Great Exploding Stove
(as originally told on 7/24/06)
About a week ago, I created a "His and Hers To Do List". On my side of that list, somewhere in priority after scraping, priming, glazing, and repainting the windowsills before cold weather sets in again and they rot away over the winter, was fixing two broken burners in my 1960s Tappan Fabulous 400 stove, and finding someone that could figure out what was wrong with the big oven and put it back to rights. I haven't been able to bake a pizza since I've had this house, the pizza pan won't fit in the little oven.
Well, in true it-never-rains-but-it-pours fashion, since this was the weekend that I was down to the wire helping my boss meet an important State Bar deadline, this also had to be the weekend that my little oven decided it was going to present a show of solidarity against the neglect of my big oven. And in quite spectacular fashion, at that.
I was on something in the line of my fifth cup of coffee for the day, and had thought a cinnamon roll might go nicely. Heaven knows I wasn't going to find time to pull together any sort of nutritionally beneficial meal until this stint was over, might as well push through on a caffeine and sugar high. I flipped the oven to 350, tossed a bakery cinnamon roll into the Springform pan that happened to be the first thing I found when I opened the cabinet door, and went back to work. Not two minutes later, there was an incredible racket from towards the back of the house, and as I went to investigate, the kitchen was filled with flickering orange light. As I raced through the doorway into the kitchen, I could see that this flickering orange light was caused by a veritable fireworks of sparks exploding within my oven.
Acting on terror and addreneline, I burst across the kitchen and yanked open the oven door. It occurred to me, after this heroic act, that perhaps it would have been wise to throw the breaker before touching a sparking electrical appliance. A check of the breaker box showed that my house's electrical system has more sense than I do, evidently, and the breaker had already been thrown. The sparks danced around like kernels of popcorn in a pan, and slowly began to die out. I stood sentry the fire extinguisher, and a wary eye on the glowing red ember that was my molten oven element, the cause of this great excitement. I didn't want to use the extinguisher unless I absolutely had to, those things make a darned mess, and the oven was already in sorry shape, what with the explosion it had just contained.
Having spent its energy on a showy display, the element cooled down demurely, and I retrieved my cinnamon roll from the oven. After all the hoopla, the pastry was lukewarm, at best.
I took a couple deep breaths, calmed down enough to dial the phone, and called sweetie on his cell to tell him we were minus another oven. I may have been a bit exciteable during this call, he has pointed out to me that the stove did not actually catch fire.
Semantics notwithstanding, it was agreed that the stove was no longer safe, and besides, neither of us felt like scrubbing the oven. Online research and several trips to the appliance stores settled us on a GE 30" ceramic cooktop range. The old stove has been disassembled and hauled to the curb, leaving a lovely view of 1960s wallpaper. Sweetie tells me he painted over that this morning. The man is worth his weight in gold.
RIP my sweet Tappan.