Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's Electric!

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.


bearing said...

Fun post to read :)

Tony said...

We had our electric go on the fritz a few days before Thanksgiving two years ago (and you can guess whose house dinner was at).

We had hated the electric since we moved into the house, so my wife decided that she wanted a gas stove. So we went down to Lowe's and picked one out.

When it was delivered, I took it one step at a time, and started running black pipe to a tee that just happened to be in the basement.

I took my time carefully doping each joint, and two evenings later is was ready to go (the evening before Thanksgiving).

The dinner was a success. The stove worked wonderfully. The only thing we've had to do is have the guy come in and temperature calibrate the oven.

I would think that a guy who could install his own hardwood floor would have no trouble running gas pipe. ;)

Enbrethiliel said...


If they gave out Pulitzers for blog posts . . . =)

Christina said...

I still can't believe you paused in the midst of potential fire to take a picture! A true blogger you are . . . anything for the sake of a post!

Gail F said...

Years ago, when we lived in a house that was more than 100 years old, we smelled smoke on my husband's 30th birthday and went down to the basement to discover that our furnace was on fire! We had hot water heat, which we had inspected every year, but the the previous owner had installed the furnace himself and it had an internal leak so the boiler rusted solid. Yes, we probably should have sued the inspectors (a furnace company) but we were young and did not know any better. Anyway, I will never forget the little fire burning merrily inside the furnace!

We should have turned off the gas but we panicked and used the fire extinguisher first. Sadly, we did not think to take a picture.

Dorian Speed said...

I think buying that house was the best investment in your blog you could ever make.

Darwin said...


I've only scratched the surface, baby... Wait 'til the photo documentary of the stacks of records in the closets, or the fashion shoot with the vintage clothes in the attic.

Of course, the whole saga of the hot water was played out behind the scenes here about two months ago. Should have blogged it, but it was just too cold.

We had someone out to look at the slates on the roof, a few of which need replacing, and while he was here he checked out the spot where we'd had some leakage during the last rain storm. That area is covered by a flat rubber roof, and we didn't know whether it had been original to the house or added later. The fellow cast a practiced eye and came down to say, "That roof looks to me more like it's 80 years old rather that 120 years old." And that's how it is here: some things are 120 years old and some are a mere 80.

mrsdarwin said...

And the above was me, unwittingly borrowing Darwin's account again.

Dorian Speed said...

You know, I was startled by the "baby," but I figured - blame it on the times, sweetheart. The crazy, swingin' times people had, listening to those records.

Ojon said...
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