Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Accidents in the Home

I feel that there are too many untoward incidents about the house. Last night, we were lounging in the living room when a muffled fump, sound in the kitchen. I asked Jeff if he knew what that noise was, and he said he had not heard a noise. I asked him to go into the kitchen to see if it was the noise of a potato exploding.
Warily, Jeff went to the kitchen, and upon opening the oven remarked loudly so that I could hear in the other room, “A potato blew up”.
The truth is that he has nearly quit questioning me when I make preposterous statements, because these things are invariably true. As he is truly male; he continues to find my pronouncements suspect, because to him, they just sound ridiculous. He was, in fact amazed not only that I had heard the noise, but that I could accurately identify it. I am not the type who can readily recognize mystery noises from radio contests, and I had never heard a potato detonate, but in fact, that is quite what it sounded like to me given the knowledge that I was actually baking some spuds.
At that point I hauled myself off the couch to see what damage had been done, and what I could do to salvage dinner. The potato, a large russet, had exploded quite dramatically covering the inside of the oven more or less completely. The oven, representation notwithstanding, is NOT self- cleaning. I removed the potato, some fragments thereof, and the other potato, still in its original shape if not condition, and finished cooking the brisket. The brisket did not come out as it should have. They are sending them to the store much leaner than the greasy but delectable wonders that my mother used to cook. I’m sure we are all healthier now, but for congenital high cholesterol in my case, and our taste buds mourn the loss.
Nevertheless, dinner was had, dishes were done, and I closed the oven until the next day.
I have been basking in my unemployment, but keeping the house and accounts in order, and writing the odd tidbit here and there, takes up the bulk of my days. Heavy duty cleaning is not my favorite thing to do but someone has to, and being available makes it my chore.
My oven in our former apartment was low quality and easy to clean. The door actually came off quite easily, and that oven was cleaned every several months and I had not allowed what mom called “the patina” to build up. I felt that the patina would cause more household fires than not, and so did away with it. As I do a lot of baking and roasting, the color buildup is fairly rapid. My new oven in our house is not so easy to clean.
Being that the oven was filled by brown toasted bits, I decided to start by using the vacuum to get rid of the larger stuff. That was a good idea and it worked as well as I had expected.
Now comes the part where the caustics are brought into the picture: I had let the oven self-clean once last year, which resulted in a heavy white ash reminiscent of Pompeii, which needed removal, a task the oven was not willing to perform. After that experience, I decided that I could lower the electric bill by four hours by starting in with the chemical assault. You may find this a tedious and boring story. I find it to be only marginally interesting, and it is about me, so I understand if you have lost patience. I have had one go already with some noxious product, which upon wiping revealed the original crud underneath, and so have had to try another tack. I have left ammonia in the oven. It has worked before, and I daresay it will work again. It is great stuff to use unless you have any desire to breathe while using it, in which case you may have a problem. I know that I have a problem, because I cannot get the door off of this machine, and so have to lean over the open door while trying to mop out the crud while sucking in the unpleasant air. I dislike it so much that I have come upstairs while the fumes work, to write this down. I suppose I could be reading or something, but this appealed more. I have dawdled long enough though. Let me assure you that I do not mean to injure myself when I say, I must go now and stick my head in the oven.

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