Darwin was going to go all high-falutin' here and post about Augustine, but real life has just been smokin' here.
When we moved in, we inherited not just vintage clothes in the attic and records in the closets, but a thirty-year-old stove, a venerable and hulking piece of junk. None of the burners was even. The timer did not work, but no matter; the equally old microwave, though a bit tetchy in the heating department, worked well as a timekeeper. Immediately the stove showed its evil genuis, as all the knobs for the burners were in reverse positions from our old unit, which meant that time and again we walked in to find the coffeepot sitting cold on the back burner while the front coil glowed maliciously. The tilt of the burners meant that omelets cooked unevenly and the pancakes singed. The stove was thorough in its catalog of inconveniences: the oven handle was not designed for the hanging of towels, although it was situated just across from the sink. We yearned to replace it with a plummy gas stove, but the time was not right. Not yet.
Last night after dinner, Darwin noticed smoke coming out of one of the burners and found that the inside of the oven was retaining an unusual amount of heat. To the vast delight of the children, who were pleased to congregate at our elbows, we took out the electric coil. We took out the round drip-pan thingie underneath. We lifted the cooktop. And there, through the disintegrating surface, smoke was drifting up from the no-man's land above the oven. So we broke out the the screwdriver and the crowbar and the flashlight and banished the yelpers from the room, and there nestled in the insulation, were glowing embers emitting acrid fumes of the sort that give one chemical headaches. And here all day I'd thought that the source of my headache was caffeine withdrawal (I gave up tea for Lent), but it turns out that I'm just too quick to dwell on my own privations.
And lo, we had a fire extinguisher on hand for perhaps the first time ever. The kids were clamoring at the doorway to see the fun as I bellowed at them (through the pounding in my head) to get back before the stove exploded and singed their faces. They squealed with delight. There were lights, and there was action, but one thing was missing.
"Darwin, get the camera!" I ordered. "Let's post this!"
One day we'll spring for a fancy gas stove, but this day Darwin went down to the scratch-n-dent warehouse and picked up one of the cheapest electric models on hand. It's a win-win situation: we spend less money, and anything, anything is better than the Smoking Stove of Wrath. And the warehouse said if we brought down the old stove, they'd give us twenty bucks for it, which is twenty dollars more than it was worth.
This morning I hauled out the old stove to the back porch, assisted only by a hammer and a jump rope. And nestled against the wall, where the stove used to lurk, I found a silver spoon. Truly, this house contains wonders.
Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone
4 hours ago