Ghosts of Appliances Past

Our microwave died last week. I’m starting to think we should get a trailer to haul off scrap appliances. We got another, half the size and half the power–quite a change.You will be missed. If you’re keeping track, that’s January–dryer, February–refrigerator, and March–microwave. We’re on a roll here!

My parents gave us our old microwave for our first Christmas here in 2005. My mom’s always been big on gifting me small kitchen appliances. I lived on my own for probably three years before I first had a microwave (she bought it). And since I’m not a big coffee drinker, I didn’t have a coffee maker either, until she stayed the night at my apartment when she came up to interview someone (she bought one of those, too). I also mixed my bread dough by hand until I was 24-ish and received a stand mixer for Christmas (thanks, Mom). She also got us our Keurig, what, four years ago? Another Christmas gift.

Let’s see, she got me a pressure cooker about twelve years ago. It’s in their garage or kitchen now; I never got into pressure cooking. You can’t see what’s going on in there. She gave me a microwave rice cooker that I used the heck out of until she gave me an electric one. She gave me a lovely fluted Bundt pan, which I only got to make one cake in before my roommate stole it when she skipped out on our lease. That is a whole ‘nother story, my friends, and I should share it sometime. Do remind me.

It was marvelous visiting while they downsized their kitchenware. One of the benches at our dining room table is packed with cookie pans, cookie cutters, shaped cake pans. When the boys were little, they used to host cookie parties, where my stepdad would bake and all the kids would sit around the dining room table and decorate. Even after loading my and my sister down with cookie odds and ends, they still have a ton.

What else? Knives. I’ve received two full sets of kitchen knives, nothing fancy, but one had a cleaver that Ian and his brother enjoyed slicing Taco Bell sauce packets with one day. The other included the steak knives that we still use. And I got the old silverware when they bought a huge new matching set to replace the hodgepodge of forks, butterknives, and spoons that formed when they combined households.

It hasn’t just been my mother stocking my kitchen over the years. She rubbed off on my youngest brother. He gave me a Christmas-themed set of dinnerware when he was six or seven. All the mugs and bowls have broken and been tossed, but I still have one salad plate and three dinner plates, which I cherish and use year-round.

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Oh, I almost forgot about the crepe maker. One of those as well. It hasn’t seen the light of day in quite some time, but I saw a beautiful crepe cake on Create last night that’s begging to be made. The best crepe story I have is about her crepe maker, however. Keep in mind that my mom has a Kirby vacuum older than I am and a Bernina sewing machine nearly as old. Her crepe maker was quite ancient as well, and it sparked and caught fire while in my hand. I think that was the last time I made crepes, actually. Who can blame me? I finished the batch in a pan on the stovetop while Ian and my stepdad attempted to Frankenrepair the poor thing. No malfunctioning electrical device can be properly laid to rest until one of that pair has a go at it, and the repair is usually followed by a loudly vehement ‘I’m not using that thing!

I could have sworn I wrote a post about about my Sunbeam stand mixer. But alas! It seems I have not. I’m glad I checked the post I was going to link to, because the only thing about the mixer it contained was you should ask him about the Frankenmixer sometime. I must have tweeted. Nope, didn’t tweet, just wasted ten minutes searching there as well. Hm. Anyway, my stand mixer, the one my mom got me all those years ago, kicked the bucket the week of Thanksgiving in 2011. Ian decided he was going to fix it. And yes, technically, I guess he did? I mean, it ran after he got done–but only on one speed. Lightspeed. I’m not one for meringues or whipping cream, so I had to tell him that simply wouldn’t do. Or I might have loudly, vehemently proclaimed that ‘I’m not using that thing!‘ Sorry, babe. That Christmas I got a KitchenAid hand mixer. I love it, y’all. Never had a hand mixer before, always a stand, but I do love this little guy.

I think I may perhaps have had more Christmases involving appliance gifts than not. It’s cool, though. I like kitchen stuff.

But I am amused that the photo I chose is of a plate.


Death of a Fridge

We’ve lived here nine years this November, and in that time we’ve gone through our share of appliances. Let’s see, two stoves, two washers, two dryers, one stand mixer, four or five-ish window units, even a thermostat and a blower motor for the 1978 heater. Does that count as an appliance? Don’t get me started on the plumbing and wiring. If it could be done half-assed, it was.

Last weekend, it was the fridge, our second. I don’t know when it died; I worked mostly evenings last week, so I don’t know the last time I was in the freezer before Sunday afternoon. Maybe Thursday?

I opened the door and thought, ‘hm, that’s funny, I could have sworn the freezer was packed.’ Then I touched the bag of ham stock. and it was not hard, or even very cold. Crap.

I quickly checked the refrigerator, which was still pretty cool. There’s that, at least.

I had to get Siri to text Ian because I was getting too frustrated with autocorrect. When he called, I was one-tracking away at him. The freezer is broken. We need a new fridge. The fridge is broken. I don’t know what I’m cooking, whatever’s most thawed.

Nothing gets to me like wasted food. Food is not cheap, and it’s stuff you have to have. Some weeks I live on leftovers because certain others in this household don’t want to eat it if it’s ‘old.’ ‘Old’ meaning more than an hour for some things, I’m not talking days or weeks here. Ahem.

Alas, goodbye yummy ham stock. Goodbye chicken stock. Goodbye chopped onions. Goodbye cream cheese ice cream (good stuff!). Goodbye zippy bags of soups and stews and beans. I cannot eat you in time to save you from the raccoons. Feast, raccoons, before the famine! For no trash shall be had next week.

Flour, yeast, and chocolate chips, thank you for being tolerant of this temperature shift.

After a trip to the trash can outside, the situation was not as dire as I’d feared. I asked Ian to bring home some ice and said we could go get the minifridge from storage in the morning. We hadn’t gone shopping for a while, and weren’t planning to this week, since we’re leaving Friday for a week at my parents’. Still, we had to get to eating.

Sunday night we had pork loin with a side of pork chops.

Monday night we had pork loin with a side of unfrozen frozen corn and unfrozen broccoli and cauliflower.

An aside of advice: buy the big pork loin and cut it up yourselves, guys, it’s cheaper that way. And you can make it the perfect size. Also, frozen corn tastes way better than canned.

Tonight there’s a slab of ribs in the oven and corn fritters to be made, leaving three packs of hot dogs in the cooler. They’ll snuggle up nicely with the juice, cheese, carrots, and condiments in the minifridge. And the inevitable leftover ribs.

At least Abby’s not here to whine about the small selection. She’ll be happy enough with chips and hot dogs Thursday night. And I’m sure she’ll enjoy peeling the photos off the old fridge with me.

Fortunately, the guy we got the dryer from last month is giving us a deal on a fridge next week when we get home, since he’s happy that Ian helps him unload the new one and load the old one. Make friends with your local secondhand vendors. We get a good deal on tires too.

Still, I had to throw away food. Ugh, that chaps my ass.


The Repairman

Don’t call him. Guess what I did today. Go ahead, guess.

I put the washing machine back together all by myself.

I know more about skate plates and agitators and drive motors than I ever thought I would. I spent a good bit o’time this morning googling about our washer. It spins, shall we say, halfheartedly. That’s a bit of exaggeration. When it gets to the spin cycle, it doesn’t. The motor runs, but unless you give it a little helping hand, nothing. After a kickstart, it does not pick up speed. It chugs and coasts, like it’s trucking up and down gentle, rolling hills.

Did you know that not all washing machines have belts? I didn’t. Ours does not. It’s a direct drive. When Ian got home, we started taking the washer apart. After we checked all of the usual culprits for a slow spinner by deconstructing the poor thing into its component parts, Ian figured out that it had to be the clutch. You know what? You don’t even have to take the cabinet off to get to the clutch. Not that we ran out and bought one. Ian did what we always do. He found a way to make it work with what we have. So we’ll be roughing up the clutch a bit to see if that’s enough to keep it from moving like it’s not supposed to.

I insisted that he take a break, so we sat in the living room for a while, then had a few minutes to snuggle in bed (I told you we were cute. Doesn’t it make you sick?) before he had to go back to work. I assured him that even though I’d left the room to go check schematics several times during the disassembly,and so had not witnessed where each and every screw came from, I was quite capable of putting the whole thing back together by myself while he was working.

Ian’s not a fan of me fixing things; that’s his job. You should ask him about the Frankenmixer sometime. I try to tell him that I did live all by my little lonesome for years, but he always points out that I don’t now. Which is, of course, true. But I do so like fixing things. Mostly to thumb my nose at all the arrogant men who think I can’t because I’m just a girl.

So I chipped my Fiji Purple polish throwing that thing back together.

PS Washing machines are absolutely disgusting on the inside.