So I got a new oven the week before Christmas, which was perhaps the closest thing to a Christmas miracle I've ever experienced.
My old oven--my old, cruddy, much-hated oven--started giving up the ghost in mid-December. The oven itself still worked, but its computerized control panel was slowly losing its way. Instead of turning a dial to set the temperature, you hit numbers on the panel, and one by one the numbers had stopped working, until I was down to 3, 4, 7 and 0.
You can do a lot with a 3, 4, 7 and 0. You can set your oven temperature to 347, which is practically 350, or 374, or 400 or 430. That covers a lot of territory. But every day the threat loomed larger--what if we lost the 3? All would be lost. And Christmas was coming! What if we lost the 3 on Christmas Eve? No Christmas pudding! No Christmas roast beast!
Why not just get a new panel put in? Because the panel for this particular model is no longer made. At some point, somebody at GE realized what a horrible little oven it was and stopped making replacement parts. Can't blame them, really.
Okay, so why not run down to Home Depot and buy a new oven? 1) The old oven was a 27" oven. If I was going to get a new oven, it wasn't going to be a tiny 27" job, and 2) to put in a new, reasonably sized oven, we would need to reconfigure the oven space. Which would mean a carpenter and an electrician and a gas man. Which would mean finding a contractor. Two weeks before Christmas.
Enter the Wood Nymph. Yep, that's his name, and carpentry and contracting is his game. He came over, looked around, said "We can make this happen, and we can make it happen before Christmas." He quoted an entirely reasonable price. He recommended we buy our oven at a local dealer that he liked instead of a big box store. When the local dealer told us he couldn't get the oven we liked to us before December 22nd, the Wood Nymph laughed, made a phone call, and our oven was delivered on the 18th.
Not only that, but the WN's crews--the carpenters, the electricians, the gas guys--all showed up when they said they would. The oven was delivered on time, and the installation crew arrived about fifteen minutes later.
As I said, pretty close to a Christmas miracle.
And what joy to have a new oven! It is a 30" oven, which seems huge to me. I roasted a whole turkey for the first time in seven years, and it was delicious. I baked cookies on standard size cookie sheets. I baked multiple items on multiple racks. I put rolls in the warming drawer and they stayed warm.
It wasn't convenient, of course, to put in a new oven the week before Christmas, or to have work crews in the kitchen the week before that, but doing things this way was almost like ripping off a band-aid--better to be quick and decisive about it. Who knows how long it would have taken us to decide what to do if we'd had a choice about it.
New Year's resolutions? Stand up straighter and stretch more (though not always at the same time).
Will gave me a lovely notebook for Christmas, and I'm going to try to use it as a daybook, where I record what we ate for dinner, and maybe one or two things about the day (worked on a quilt, walked the dog, etc.). I did this once many years ago, keeping up the practice for a couple of months. It was neat to have a record of the small things that don't merit a journal entry and are easily forgotten. We'll see how I do this year.
Here are the things I want to focus on this year: dailiness and showing up. Sometimes when I think about the time that may or may not be left to me--let's say thirty years, bar accident or illness--I get a panicky feeling. That's hardly any time at all! But if I take it one day at a time, paying attention to the day at hand, why, it's practically an eternity.
The quote the Wood Nymph gave us included new countertops and backsplashes, a project we'll get started on in the next couple of weeks. What's you advice on the best sort of (reasonably priced) countertop? We're having a hard time deciding, and I'd love some input!
I'm a writer and a stay-at-home mom who keeps meaning to mop the floors because I think it would make me happy if I did. I love books and music and writing, spend entirely too much time in the dentist's chair (I bet I have more crowns than you do), and used to think I was sort of bohemian, but now I wonder. No tattoos. Minivan. That story.