Well, we only actually burned
$100, in the literal sense of the word. This story is a tad bit longish, but it involves a small explosion and a guy with a huge facial scar.
When I went to wake TH this morning, he asked if I would fix him some breakfast while he took a shower. I was in a good mood, and I bounced down the hallway to the kitchen, almost eager to dive head first into some domestic, wifely chore. Funny how that comes and goes.
Our stove is an electric one with the coils. It was here when TH bought this house, and we knew that one of the burners didn't work. Since then, the other three have become unreliable. Most of the time I can get at least one of them to come on, even if I have to jiggle it and grit my teeth. It usually clicks on right as I'm on the verge of declaring that we simply must buy a new stove immediately. This morning, the bastard wouldn't work at all. Oh, it finally worked, but in the time I spent jiggling and gritting and cussing, I could've prepared Thanksgiving dinner for a family of twelve.
When TH was getting out of the shower, I was just getting a burner to heat up. I was also just hanging up from a phone call I decided to make about an ad I'd seen for a used stove. It sounded like a young girl, she said the oven was only 2 years old, was the same type as the one I already had, worked fine, she was replacing it because her husband was remodeling their house and she got a fancy new flat top stove. They wanted $150 for the old one. I figured $150 was less than I would end up spending on dental bills if I didn't get rid of our old one, because at the rate that I was grinding my teeth away I would need dentures within 3 years.
When TH came in for his breakfast, I told him I wanted us to go look at the stove before we did any of the other two dozen things on our agenda for today. Perhaps sensing that future breakfasts were at stake, he agreed. Reluctantly.
While TH examined the stove, I stood there and listened to the girl go on and on about her fancy new flat top stove. I made fun of her enthusiasm on the way home. Her enthusiasm for flat top stoves, and her neon green house. I had no sooner finished mocking the poor girl when I felt the cold chill of karma creeping up behind me. Do you ever just know
you're going to pay for something you did wrong?
We ended up buying the stove for $100. We brought it home, pulled the other one out, and started the process of fitting the new one into the space between the two counters. It was a tight fit. Real tight. It measured the same width as the one we'd just taken out, so we couldn't understand why it wouldn't go in. It would fit between the counters, get almost all the way to the back, then stop, so about 4 or 5 inches of it were sticking out past the front of the counters and there was that much space between the back of the stove and the wall. It looked retarded, and I insisted that if he couldn't make it fit, he had to take it out and put the old one back in.
We didn't realize that the 220 plug on our wall was installed too high, and that the back of the new stove had a metal panel that was pressing into the huge plug instead of slipping over it like it was supposed to. So when we tried to force it, we pinched something electrical on the back of the stove, and there was a small explosion.
Those seem to happen when I'm around lawn mowers or other large appliances.
The loud pop scared us, but what really scared us were the sparks and the smoke. As this tragedy unfolded, we couldn't see what was happening behind the stove. All we could see was smoke and flame, and the flame went out of sight as quickly as it appeared, so we didn't know if the stove was on fire or what. TH went into panic mode and started pulling the oven out from the wall as fast as he could, in an effort to keep the fire from spreading to the actual house
. While he was doing that, I ran to the cabinet and grabbed a fire extinguisher. TH got it pulled away from the wall, and we realized that there wasn't a fire. Just lots of smoke, a busted oven, and some frayed nerves. There were burn marks on the back of the oven, and it smelled like burned plastic. After more measuring and looking and checking and discussing, we realized what had happened. Well, kinda. We still don't know exactly what blew up, but we know it's because we pushed something against something else, and that it wouldn't have been a problem if the 220 outlet had been installed correctly.
Sooooooo at this point there are two stoves in our kitchen, and neither of them works. We've spent $100, wasted about an hour and a half, we still need a freakin' stove, and this was supposed to be a quick job that we would get out of the way before we got to the important things we had to do today. Oh, and now instead of one appliance to throw away, we've got two. Unfortunately, we don't have a giant sinkhole like Hillbilly Mom has out behind her mansion, and we live in the city limits so we have to pay to have this kind of stuff hauled off. I think it's $25 per appliance.
As I surveyed my smoke filled kitchen, I suddenly felt like a complete bitch for trying to take charge and make something happen, and I started apologizing. At that point I didn't even care anymore. I was ready to just stick the old crappy stove back into the space and march forward into a future where having nubs for teeth would be my punishment. TH, being the sweet husband that he is, insisted that it wasn't my fault. Shortly after that, we were in the truck and headed for the appliance store.
We decided we'd rather spend our money at a locally owned business than give it to the corporate sh*theads at Sears, Lowe's, or Home Depot, so we went to an appliance place here in town. The lady who was working there knows TH because he's bought other items from them, but she wasn't very friendly. That was disheartening. We've just watched $100 go up in smoke, we're still willing to spend more than necessary just to support a local business, and the bitch can't muster up a smile? That just rubbed me the wrong way. Luckily for her, I was already too tired to put up my usual anti bitch fortress and demand that TH take our money elsewhere. We found a stove we wanted, and when she told us that Delivery Dude Denny could not only deliver it today, but he could also move our ill-placed 220 outlet to accommodate the new stove for only $25 extra, that sealed the deal.
It's a fancy flat top stove. The irony burns, doesn't it? (I know. I'm full of puns today.)
TH wrote a check for $520, bringing the day's total to $620, not counting the $50 we're going to have to pay to have the old ones hauled off. (So make that $670.) We went home to wait for the arrival of Delivery Dude Denny. He showed up an hour or two later, and immediately announced that the $25 extra we'd paid only covered his labor and not the kit he had to use. The kit was another $10. By the time he got done charging us for cords and parts and whatever else, we had paid him $60 total, bringing this project's total cost to $730.
I don't think he was screwing us. I mean, he did have a scary facial scar (actually, it looked like someone had tried to kill him with an axe) but he worked on that outlet for a long time, took the time to show me all kinds of things on the stove that he didn't have to show me, and he really loved Pookie. He spent about ten minutes playing with him before he left, and he had the biggest smile on his face. How can you not trust a guy who appreciates a spunky kitten?
I'm about to go cook dinner. In my fancy flat top stove.
Suck it, lowly coiled-stove users!