Of all the mysteries in the kitchen, by far the greatest enigma is the stove. With all of its knobs and settings, multiple burners (in various sizes), LED lights, and options for a vast and baffling array of activities, not to mention the damn oven portion, with not one, but TWO adjustable racks, and a whole separate bank of buttons and questions about what you want it to do for you today, the kitchen stove and I have a long history of lines drawn in the sand.
One day, while Kenny was outside clearing branches off the yard from a recent windstorm, I decided to pitch in on the home projects by tackling the oven. Normally I leave kitchen jobs to Kenny (at his repeated, and only slightly condescending, request), but since the baked-on cheese on the oven floor was a result of my attempt to remove a large, hot pizza from the upper rack with a tiny pie server, succeeding only in flipping the gooey pizza upside down inside the oven and upending the entire mess onto the oven heating elements, it seemed cosmically fair that I clean it up. Vaguely remembering something about not using oven cleaner spray on self-cleaning ovens, I searched the front panel on our stove to see if, in fact, we HAD a self-cleaning oven or if I needed to make a store run for a chemical spray specifically formulated to dissolve melted pepperoni.
Smiling happily when I found the “Clean” option, I also popped all the stovetop pieces inside the oven and fired it up. Two hours later, Kenny came inside, looked in the oven window, and said, “Gee honey, this is great, but I have to ask. Did you remove all the little rubber guards on the burner racks?” “The what?” “The rubber pieces that protect the stove from scratches.” “Uh, since I have no idea what you’re talking about, I’m thinking no. But I will next time.” Kenny looked at me and replied, dryly, “3 hours at 500. Yeah, they’re buh-bye.” (Well, they could have put THAT in the manual.)
This morning, the house was brisk and Kenny had left for work, so I dug out his favorite oversized (and ridiculously overpriced) Gonzaga sweatshirt to make breakfast in while the house warmed up. Got the toast buttered, but as I held the frying pan up to scoop out the eggs, my arm was directly over the gas burner (note to self: turn stove OFF when eggs are done), and the sleeve caught fire. (Apparently clothes stop being flame retardant after age 5. Whose idea was THAT??) Fortunately, previous experience with kitchen fires has made me a black belt in response time. (I was the “Stop, Drop, and Roll” queen of my third-grade class. Epic cosmic foreshadowing.) I immediately shoved my entire arm under the faucet with the cold water on full blast and used my non-flambe arm to bust open the window over the sink to roll the smoke out. A little Febreze (okay, an entire can) neutralized the smell of roasted cotton, but Kenny’s beloved Zags sweatshirt, alas, looked more like half a crispy vest. Knowing that once he got past the “SERIOUSLY??” phase, he’d never stop laughing, I tore down the hall to my computer and ordered a new, identical one (original price, doubled for express shipping), arriving within 48 hours. For now, it’s “in the laundry.”
And so my lifelong stove battle rages on, with Stove 68; Vikki zip. Someday, Stove is going to make a mistake. I’m practicing my Jumbotron dance for that glorious day when I WIN. Boom chicka wow wow.