"My oven is broken"
Any normal person would automatically reply with much sympathy, "What's wrong with it?"
However, if you were related to me your first response would most likely be, "Why/How do you know that?"
There is one truth about me that my family knows, but most of my friends do not. It is well known by my relatives but rarely discussed. (because of the shame factor)
I don't cook.
I know what you are thinking, "She doesn't cook, because she is probably horrible at it". "What female doesn't cook?!!" "That's blasphemy! Julia Child is now turning over in her grave!"
I very well may be a horrible cook, but that is neither here nor there, because the fact of the matter is, I don't cook. I simply don't do it. It's not fun to me. My official duty on Thanksgiving and Christmas is "taste tester" and "drink maker". I am quite handy at both. I blame my mother. She is an amazing cook. Therefore I never had the inclination to take up cooking. Eating is much more fun.
Okay so one day I was bored and hungry and decided to give my oven a go when it became abundantly clear that it was in fact broken. At which point I made a vow to never attempt that whole cooking thing again. Who needs casseroles anyway? I mentioned to my mother, the chef, that my oven was broken and of course she wanted to know how it was that I knew that my oven was broken. All of which she found highly amusing, but she pretended to be sympathetic as I described the cookies I baked that came out burned on the bottom and doughy on top. (I was really craving cookies so it wasn't until after I had eaten two that I realized something was screwy with them) Okay so a month went by and my mom mentions that I probably need to have someone come look at my broken oven and fix it. Of course my response is, "Why?" To which she replies, "What if I decide I want to cook something while we are staying with you over Thanksgiving."
I called to place a work order immediately. It was then that this situation got interesting. I will relay the conversation I had with the nice lady who works in the office of my apartment complex.
Me- umm.. Hi, I am a resident and I was wondering if you could send someone to look at my oven. Is that a repair you can handle?
(Side note: This is a legitimate question, I'm not sassing her. We went back and forth a few months ago about them hooking up my washer. Get this, if there is water damage in my apartment I could get sued for it, but because of some liability issue they cannot hook up washing machines!)
Office Lady- yes it is. Of course, we are responsible for the repair of all of the appliances.
Me- Of course. Okay. Great.
OL- Umm… what's wrong with your oven?
Me- Oh. Well, the top part doesn't heat up?
OL- Okay, you mean the stove? The burners on the stove aren't heating up?
Me- No, I mean the oven. Inside the oven, the top part doesn't heat up?
OL- Okay…. the burner, right?
Me- No. I mean inside the oven. You know the part that heats up inside the oven?
Me- Well, the top part doesn't heat up
OL- uhh… explain it to me again. Because I still don't understand.
Me- I baked some cookies and the bottom was burned but the top was still doughy.
OL- Okay. So the broiler is not working?
Me- No. not the broiler. I was baking.
OL- Okay, because the cookie thing confused me.
OL- Okay, I am going to go ahead and fill out a work order….
Me- Would you have someone call me before they show up to look at it?
OL- Umm.. sure okay.
Two hours later the repair man calls.
RM- Yeah, I am going to come and look at your oven, is now a good time?
Me- Yeah, I actually wanted to try to explain to you what the problem is
RM- Okay. It says here on the work order that the burners are not working.
Me- No. it's the oven.
RM- … the oven?
Me- Yes. Inside the oven, the top part, I don't know what they are called, but the top part that heats up inside the oven doesn't heat up.
RM- ummm.. okay, I am going to have to talk to my supervisor….
Me- okay. Listen. Just go check it out. Turn on the oven and you'll see what I am talking about
RM- uhhh, okay.
So when I arrive home that evening there waiting on my kitchen counter is my work order with a note at the bottom from the repair man that reads, "Try it now and let me know if it doesn't work".
So, I turn on the oven, open the oven door and watch and wait in anticipation. Nothing happens.
So I turn up the temperature.
I get closer.
I know better than to touch it so I put my hand out and feel warmth coming from the bottom of the oven, but not the top. I am now really annoyed.
I reach toward the heat thingy at the top. There is no heat coming from it.
I tap it. It feels cold
I grab it. It's cold!!
I rattle it a little. Still cold.
Briefly a line from a movie comes to mind about someone's crazy mother being so fed up that she stuck her head in the oven. I smile at the memory and try to remember what movie it's from and if it is appropriate that I am smiling because I seem to remember this leading to the mother's death. It then dawns on me that I look crazy. Good thing my oven is electric and not gas. (note to self: find out where that whole "stuck head in oven and died" thing came from)
Since this incident I have done extensive research and come to what I believe to be an accurate explanation for the previous note to self. It turns out that Sylvia Plath committed suicide by sticking her head in the oven. Does this concern anyone else? First of all, that is soooo not funny. Second, I am not suicidal. Third and most shocking, I think, is "why would I know that?" I have never read The Bell Jar, nor have I invested time or energy in learning about her life. (Note to self: do not fall asleep while watching Jeopardy) Wait….No….. I know…. Pheobe Buffay's mother committed suicide that way. And because Phoebe Buffay is a character on Friends …and not a real person ...it's funny.
To prove that I am not crazy I decide to take the nice office lady's advice and turn the temperature knob to broil. I am now sitting on the floor directly in front of my oven staring into its cavernous blackness like it is suddenly going to reveal the secrets of the universe. Then it happens. The heat thingys at the bottom that were only a few minutes ago glowing red are now slowly turning black. They are cooling off!! WHAT!! I am not crazy. I am not crazy. So I keep sitting and staring. I am staring so hard I think I am imagining that the heat thingys at the top are turning red. I close my eyes. I open them. Oh my gosh!! They work!!! They're not broken!
But why don't they heat up when I am baking?
So I did what any accomplished adult does when faced with a situation that is baffling and too embarrassing to involve friends- I called my mom.
(For your reading pleasure, please take note of the unspoken, inner thoughts of both parties which appear in italics in the parenthesis)
The Chef: yes
Me: are you asleep? (please don't be asleep)
TC: No (not any more, thanks a lot)
Me: you know how I said my oven was broken? Well, I don't think it's broken, I think
TC: What?!!! (that's so sad…. no wonder she's still single…. My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me…. Will I ever have more grandchildren?.... This girl is making me lose hope… I am not getting any younger…. I wonder if we could adopt a married girl in her twenties to be our daughter…. Is there a lot of paper work involved in something like that… I've Got it!!! I'll adopt Katie H. She can be my new daughter and that would make Reese my grandchild!!....Excellent idea! How should I brake it to Katrina?... WAIT. I can't believe she woke me up for this?!)
Me: Mom, bare with me. When you turn your oven on does it heat up on the top and the bottom?
TC: What? The burners? You mean the burners on the stove part?
Me: No, inside the oven, mom. (you have got to be kidding me)
(My mom is confused and yet trying to be supportive while not laughing at my stupidity)
Me: just tell me
TC- Well, I think so.
Me- well, mine doesn't. Only the bottom part heats up
TC- Did you have it on broil or bake? (…Katrina's ignorance is somewhat endearing….. maybe we'll keep her)
Me- Remember I told you about that one time I baked cookies and they came out burned on the bottom and doughy on top
TC- Oh. You probably had them on the wrong rack. So what did you do with all of those cookies? (she probably ate them all. This girl and her dad will eat almost anything)
Me- What!? (Seriously?!) No, mom, it happened a long time ago. I was just trying to explain what's wrong.
TC- So, you have oven mitts and everything?! (She is so making this story up)
Me- Yes, mom I have oven mitts.
TC- Well you're oven should have a bake knob and a broil knob.
Me- WHAT!! Mine has one knob that has all the temperatures and then broil.
TC- well, you just have an old stove
My oven is not broken. Just vintage. It has officially been named Maurice. Maurice is old, temperamental and totally a native of France. (nothing against the French, but why do they hate absolutely everyone except other Frenchies?)
Either way this just proves further that unless my building is on fire I should avoid interacting with the people that work in the office at my apartment complex. And in the future when looking at apartments I will ask how new the appliances are even though I will probably never personally be using them.