Abby has had a lot of college friends visit lately, which has been a lot of fun. We’ve heard about these kids often, and it’s nice to put faces to names or get to know them a little better.
I have, uh, kind of stopped cooking — I’d say this was a summer thing, but really it’s a life thing. I do a big batch of something or other on Sunday and then we just pick at it all week. But with actual kids coming to visit, we’ve been trying to cook actual meals. Which my own kids seem to appreciate.
Our visitors especially like our view of Mount Hood. She is a beauty. On this side, anyway.
So this fun story begins last Sunday: Eric is barbecuing chicken and ribs on the grill and I’ve got sweet potatoes, potatoes and a chicken breast in the oven. I’ve got about 10 minutes left on the timer. Johanna and I are hanging out in the living room (this is probably a good time to tell you our kitchen, dining room and living room are one space) when all of a sudden, we smell something … off.
We live in orchard country and farmers are burning branches affected by fire blight, so my first thought was that THAT was what I was smelling. But no, the air is clear. I go into the kitchen and check my food. It’s close. I close the oven door and go back to the word game on my phone.
But the smell just gets worse. I head back to the oven and realize in the short time I’d been gone, everything has started to burn. The oven has gone from 350 degrees to supernova. We’ve been watching Stranger Things so my first thought was that my glass oven dish was melting … but it turns out that it wasn’t that hot. 😉 Ah well. It was an exciting 20 seconds thinking I was about to be murdered, anyway.
Eric finally had to flip a breaker because the oven would NOT turn off, regardless of what buttons we pushed. It just kept getting hotter and smellier. We did a little test later on that evening when the oven had completely cooled by flipping the breaker back on, and lo and behold, the oven started to heat again. Rapidly. There was even steam coming from the vent, so clearly all facts point to this sucker being haunted.
I spent all last week without an oven, which also means I spent all last week without a stove. I make my coffee every morning via tea pot and a pour over cone, so this hurt a little, until I figured out I could just microwave the water (think outside the box, TW!) and my routine wouldn’t even miss a beat. Tangent: I kind of prefer this method now because A) it’s faster and 2) I can measure the exact amount of water I need so there’s no waste.
Our oven is 16 years old and I never liked it anyway, so our first thought was replacement. Then Eric did some research and noticed that, because we need a downdraft vent (we have it in the middle of an island so there’s no room for a hood vent), the cost of replacement would be $3,000. Hilarious. Repairperson it is!
Repairperson came Friday and came to the quick conclusion that something in the clock interface zapped out and that’s what regulates the oven’s on/off feature, as well as heat. Estimated cost of part and time: $500. Free: A rant about new downdraft vent ovens and how the companies have changed the hookup mechanisms so repair people everywhere hate them. “Those are the professionals,” Eric pointed out. “Now imagine me trying to hook that thing up.” HA HA HA oh, I am.
The moral of this story is that the repairperson is calling this week to give us a final estimate on parts and time, but regardless, if it’s under $3,000, we’ll go that route. Probably more environmentally-friendly than tossing it in the landfill. I’m telling myself that to stave off disappointment.
What I’ve learned from this ordeal is that my crockpot is a lifesaver and so is the grill. That I can live without the stove even if it’s uncomfortable (no weekend eggs, no cooked rice to supplement my diet of meat and sweet potatoes). But I’ve also realized that this is a kitchen appliance that I take for granted — I was at the grocery store on Saturday checking out potential new items I could add to my diet (that’s another post for another time), only to realize I needed a stove or oven for that.
But really, if your oven is going to try to murder you, summer is a good time for it: Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables that we eat raw, lots of grilling anyway. I feel like I need to come up with a better concluding paragraph than this, but the words are telling me they’re done, so.