Sunday, April 24, 2011

Is the light still on?

Do you think appliances talk to each other?

Is it possible that one might somehow communicate to another: "Hey, she's not treating us very good so let's teach her a lesson and stop working two hours before 20 people arrive for Easter brunch"?

This might explain why the vacuum cleaner wasn't cleaning, the dishwasher seemed to be smoking, and a heating element was disintegrating shortly after we put the ham in the oven today.

The holiday appliance breakdown was so massive, coming on top of a last-minute realization that we did not have enough matching plates or chairs for the imminent onslaught, that all I could do was laugh (hysterically) in between frequent inquiries to Husband No. 1 in the nature of: "Is the preheating light still on or is the $#@^& thing finally hot?"

I wasn't too worried about the vacuum problem because I figured the house would be so crowded no one could see the floor anyway and if they did, the smoking dishwasher might distract them. (OK, I'm exaggerating a little because the smoke was only steam, but you get the point.)

However, an oven working at 50% capacity was a real challenge. The casserole dishes were too large for the microwave and it's pretty difficult to cook a quiche in a skillet.

So when the preheating light went off, we cheered. When it lit back up seconds later, our optimism faded just as fast. To make a long story short, I can report that some brunch foods don't taste quite as good at a few degrees above frigid BUT it is possible to glaze a ham in a microwave oven!

The Easter breakdown reminded me of a Thanksgiving years ago when we discovered 15 minutes before the arrival of another large crowd that the oven had apparently quit working mid-turkey. Let's just say a lot of wine was served that year and we learned a traditional green bean casserole (yes, the kind with Durkee onion things on top) made in a saucepan is not a pretty sight.

Ironically (or perhaps suspiciously), a guest from the first disaster was here for this one, as well as another infamous Thanksgiving where I forgot to remove the plastic bag inside the turkey. This year, Diane brought the ingredients for Mimosas. Do you think she was expecting another holiday disaster? Or maybe she's the catastrophe connection...

Husband No. 1 had another explanation: "God said, 'No, you don't have to come to church today because you'll be too busy dealing with all the curses I'm putting upon you.'"

I prefer to believe in a more Earth-bound and electronics-based conspiracy of revenge. I acknowledge that I am NOT kind to appliances, but really -- having an appliance revolution on an Easter Sunday with a sizable crowd expected is a bit of overkill, don't you think?

I will admit that I am so rough with vacuum cleaners that it's easier to buy the cheapest one possible and consider it a "disposable" because the life expectancy with me is less than two years whether I spend a lot -- or a little. I once had a repairman ask if I employed a housekeeper and when I replied in the negative, he said my vacuum cleaner was so banged up he figured it couldn't possibly have been damaged that way by the person who paid for it. Walmart gets my business now instead of him.

I suppose I shouldn't be upset about the heating element of a 25-year-old oven quitting either, although I am a little perturbed about the timing. Fortunately, the dishwasher is working again.

Maybe the appliances will forgive me. But just in case I'm wrong, does anyone know if it's possible to cook a quiche in a dishwasher?

If you've ever had a holiday catastrophe, I hope you'll share. And maybe it will help me figure out a way to teach my appliances a lesson.

7 comments:

Judi L said...

Pat, I laughed because I've been there! From the blocked up sink that needed to be snaked out by a plumber on Thanksgiving Day, to the broken dishwasher as I was preparing a huge Passover seder, to the oven dying the day we returned from a vacation and the kids made (half heated) lasagne to welcome us back, we have learned several lessons...The outside grill heats things up just fine--just put them in disposable pans or pans you won't cry about if they don't get clean. And with enough wine you won't cry. And paper plates solve lots of things. And sometimes the vacuum problem is simply a hose that came loose (as it did last week when I was once again getting ready for guests to arrive for seder)and if it's more serious than that, wine is yet again the answer. And when your toilet leaks into the basement the night before Thanksgiving and causes 2 inches of water in the finished basement, you just move Thanksgiving dinner somewhere else, and after panic ensues realize insurance will give you a new carpet. And the stitches and broken arms suffered at grandparents homes lead to good stories in later years.....Hope it all turned out ok, as my #1 and only husband says, "it's only money". Great to see you last summer! Hope it happens again before 40 more years go by.....

Anonymous said...

This was a very painful read. Reminded me of the time I invited a crowd for homemade lasagne, in my first Roman apartment, and only realized as the doorbell rang that I didn't HAVE an oven. Luckily, my neighbor was home and accommodating....

PatRemick said...

Thanks for some great stories here!

Jessica said...

Hey Pat if you need new appliances Jason gets a great family and friends discount on GE stuff. Let me know. Love Jess

PatRemick said...

It is a GE -- and I guess 25 years of operation is a pretty good record!

Anonymous said...

Had the kitchen sink completely clog when I was having a bunch of people over for Hanukkah! Had to do the dishes at my neighbor's house. Found out later that potato peelings, egg shells, and onions are the WORST for clogging disposals/drains. (Ever check out a potato latke recipie?) Yup, all there."

Glimmer said...

You need a propane grill outside on the patio.