There’s another pesky birthday on my horizon. I’m usually nonchalant about birthdays, but this year I’m being more upbeat. Frankly, I’m just amazed I’ve made it this far.
A few months ago, I started a fire in my oven. I most likely went out to the garden while toasting bread under the broiler and completely forgot about it. Fortunately, my fire alarm was connected at the time (reminder to self to buy new battery), because it was pretty ugly. When I ran inside, I saw two burning lumps of coal through the oven window, and smoke spewing from the vent. I pulled the stove away from the wall, unplugged it, and just watched until the fire died out. It had been so intense that the flames burned through the upper heating element in three places. Aside from minor smoke damage – and a dead oven – all was well and I did the most logical thing I could think of: I ignored the damage and bought a toaster oven.
This past weekend, I began preparations to renovate my kitchen. The first step was to bring the oven out of retirement and replace the broiler element. (They aren’t cheap, by the way. $100, including shipping. Lower elements are considerably less, as I can attest after starting a minor grease fire on the oven floor a few years ago.) The replacement process is actually simple. Unscrew two screws, pull out the old element, plug in the new element, replace screws, done. Unfortunately, I pushed the wires through the back wall and had to remove the back panel to get to them, ripping my hands to pieces on the thin metal sheeting. Still, I managed to plug in the new element, put the back on, plug in the stove and test. No sparks, no fires! But somehow along the way I managed to twist my back in some ungodly fashion and spent the rest of the day on the sofa with a heating pad. Still, I felt victorious. Cut, bruised and disfigured, but I am an engineering genius!
But then came the oven racks. Here I am, seriously impressed with my electrical prowess (and luck for not burning down my house – again), and I can’t figure out how to put the stupid oven racks back in. I tried unsuccessfully for 10 minutes then resorted to pulling up a tutorial on YouTube. Yup, an actual oven rack tutorial. I am a genius.
So, just to recap: I am an awkward, accident-prone, fire hazard of a dim-wit who can’t insert an oven rack. OR MAKE TOAST. And yet I’ve survived this treacherous planet for nearly 48 years. I think that’s something to celebrate.