The Ten Year Change

When we first moved into our home in somewhere close to 1872, we needed a new oven. We bought the cheapest, simplest model available at our local home improvement store.

Back then it didn’t matter, because a stove’s purpose was to keep us alive. It wasn’t this magical key into a blissful world filled with cupcakes and croissants and other culinary confections.

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During Thanksgiving prep last year, I noticed my oven was not heating up like usual. In the time it should have reached 350°, it was still hanging around 200°.

I willed it into working, because without an oven Thanksgiving breakfast cannot happen. And such a thing would actually have an impact on world order, the earth’s rotation, and, most likely, crime in my neighborhood.

My willpower must be rather marvelous, because I willed that oven to keep going until about a month ago. I came home from my King Arthur class ready to bake my patootie off. Making only a few slight changes to my croissant process, I attempted to make my dough as my instructor had. Keep in mind, croissants are a several day process. So when a batch comes out horrible, it is heart wrenching.

Literally. Heart wrenching.

The dough was already being fickle, but my ultimate defeat came when I pulled the should-be-perfectly-golden croissants from the oven to find flattened, most definitely not flaky, piles of disappointment.

I’m pretty sure that was the day Hubby put it on his agenda to go out and get me a new stove.

I’ve heard ten years is the point where all appliances tend to give up on life, and that, as horrible, awful fate would have it, despite the time each appliance was actually bought, this surrender occurs all at once. The stove goes, then the refrigerator. The dryer, then the washer. The toaster oven, then the microwave, and so on, and so on… We decided to take this power away from our appliances by purchasing a new refrigerator at the same time.*

*Let’s be real. We bought it because: 1.) There was a 4th of July sale going on, 2.) Our fridge was in need of new sealing for both the freezer and fridge doors, and 3.) We’re hoping to relist our house soon and thought updated appliances might help make us more desirable.

I decided to use my oven for the first time to bake up some “thank you” cookies for the gents who delivered my old fridge to a family friend who had use for it. I also decided to do this three hours before we needed to leave for a wedding. It seemed like plenty of time.

What could possibly go wrong?

The cookies were not an issue. I mixed them up, tossed them in the fridge to chill, and started getting ready for the wedding. Hair wrapped with a towel, waiting to be blow dried, I ran downstairs to preheat the oven. Being my first time, and also first time using the convection function, I wanted to get it right. I read the proper manual* and assured myself I could handle pressing the correct buttons. Before rushing back to getting ready, I waited a few minutes to oversee it all.

*Because it came with three, THREE, all of which I read from cover to cover the night before. I know, friends, I have serious, serious issues.

As soon as the heat kicked on, I smelled a scent all too familiar to me: burning plastic. Yanking the oven door open, I practically through my head inside, forgetting everything my high school science teacher taught me about wafting scents, and sniffed in deep, eyes darting left and right for evidence of the burning plastic all while screaming for Lance.

There was nothing.

But the scent was so present, so in-our-faces-unavoidable, I had to turn the oven off, hoping to find a missed packing sticker or some explanation to the scent. Nothing. With cookies waiting to bake and a list of treats needed to be baked the following day, I wasn’t messing around. Ignoring my usual instinct to wait and hope it got better on its own, I called the stove company.

Here’s what I thought: I call, tell my saga, and the magician on the other end tells me everything is okay and this is a normal smell.

That’s all I needed to hear.

No. Instead, I call, give the run down of what happened, and the unconcerned, uncommitted person on the other end says, “This sounds like a problem for a technician.” And before I could reach through the phone and pinch his head while saying, “No. No it isn’t!”, he patched me through to make a technician appointment.

The long and short of how the rest of this experience went involves me dashing from stove to living room, computer in hand, cell phone pinned between cheek and neck, attempting to email the company, while also trying to solve the problem on my own.

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In the end, I learned new ovens have a break in period. A break in period mentioned in most other new oven manuals.

Do you think it was mentioned in mine?

But, just to be sure, I read them again.

And then, I emailed the company again.

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