Wednesday, December 19, 2012

We Strove for a Stove

I'm almost uncomfortable, now that I think about it, having to admit that I've had a broken oven for the greater part of two years.  We do have a toaster oven and a microwave, not to mention the stove works, so we were generally ok.  I terribly missed my wife's Xmas Cookies of Death but we must do what we must do.  Anyone can make or buy chocolate chip cookies but my wife makes them something special. I make a point of not having nuts in cookies but I don't mind when my wife does it.  They're even better than my mom's cookies, which is saying a lot.

Out of the blue, a stove/oven dropped on us.  Not in the same way the deer dropped on my car; more of a surprise exchange.  Since we knew it was coming, we were able to make plans to get it in the house, make room and see about installation.  Since installation was two hundred and fifty dollars, we opted for the Dad Fix (Dad would come over and do it).

Making room looked to be the most difficult part of the program.  You'd think it would be a matter of removing the old stove and moving in the new one, but we don't do anything normally.  Suffice it to say that clear floor space is at a premium (which is a nice way of saying that we're just a few square feet of space away from an episode of Hoarders).  Days of cleaning and moving stuff ensued, spearheaded by my ever-moving wife.  Since the kitchen is at the back of the house, we decided the oven would exit and enter by the back door (with the dog and cat).

The fateful day arrived and I took off work.  Dad arrived and took the wife to Lowes, where my wife likes to spend money.  When they returned, we unhooked the old stove and took it out.  And when I say took it out, I mean it wouldn't go through the back door, so we had to put it on a cart, wheel it through the house, out the front door, and around the back of the house because we can't leave it out front.  We have to call the township to remove it.

After much cursing, we got the old unit out then brought the new unit all the way around, up the front steps and through the house to the kitchen.  More cursing.   Then Dad discovered he had purchased the wrong size plumbing: the house had 3/4" gas lines because it was put together by drunken monkeys, piece by piece, over years.  More cursing and another Lowes trip later, we had all we needed.

I learned all about taping threads, shutting off the gas to the house, screwing things on and the liquid that looks for leaks (LLL).  I also learned not to shut off that other valve because that's not gas.  Fortunately I did not learn like I normally do - the hard way.

We turned the gas back on, tested the burners, pushed back the stove and we were off!  For some strange reason everything worked.  Since it was the beginning of winter, we were in a bit of a hurry to restart the water and house heaters.  Water came right back up but the house heater, which is at least as old as me, took longer.  If called upon, I could absolutely not remember how to start either of them.

My dad mused that this one hour job took four, which is about right.  The wife was thrilled that we had a working stove.  It even had a digital display and timer.  It was white, which will no doubt change quickly.  My back was saying nasty things to me in a rather threatening tone, so we all went out for lunch (at 4 o'clock).

An oven is nice but it's an awful shame about the plumbing.

The plumbing?

Yes, the plumbing.  My wife informed me that there was rather a lot of water in the basement sink.  It was going nowhere and apparently was backing up, due to the internal kids flushing paper towels.  No amount of plumber's helpering would clear the mess.  She got out chemicals, which usually work but also failed.

The wife consulted my dad, my brother and the Home Depot Handbook.  We borrowed a snake, which also failed.  Finally she flushed some RidX down the toilet and within hours, we had no water in the sink.

Let's face it - I'm a knowledge worker.  I wasn't built to move boxes or do plumbing.


We took the car to the insurance-approved collision center.  They immediately got upset and said it shouldn't be driven.  We should hear back today on the status.

Venison: it's what's for dinner.

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