Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year! Happy New Oven!

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!


Gumbo Lily said...

We re-did our kitchen 3 years ago and we put in a laminate countertop. The reason: inexpensive, many choices and styles, and when we want to replace it, it's not a big deal. If we had spent a fortune on granite or quartz or something else expensive, we'd feel bad for changing it.

There are so many cool ideas out there for back splashes. One I saw most recently and emailed to my CarpenterSon was a mirror back splash. Mainly used, I think, for small kitchens to make them look bigger. I would love to see it in person.

So many choices! Your stove is beautiful. I'm so happy for the Cook(s)!

Tracy said...

Congratulations of the new oven! How incredibly exciting. Do you just stand there looking at how pretty it is? And revel in any opportunity to cook something?

Benchtops....My most coveted benchtop is Caesarstone. It is a manmade version of something similar to granite. I love it because it is Hard wearing, durable...pretty. But mostly durable. And cheaper than granite. I have laminate and have had tile. The tile grout was terrible to keep clean and laminate seems to wear down after about 10 years and needs replacing.

Enjoy that new oven. Imagine me fawning all of it with you!!!

Tracy said...

Oh...splashbacks...I would be adventurous and try glass. That would be easier to clean than tiles too. Unless I found some incredibly pretty tiles I couldn't live without. I don't mind my tile splashbacks at all. You could try wallpaper behind the glass, or just a single colour.

Sandy H said...

Congratulations on the oven! How exciting. And I want the Wood Nymph to come to our house--he sounds fantastic. We have "solid surface" countertops--have a granite-ish look to them but not nearly the cost. I love them because there's no worry about staining, scratching, or burning as there is with laminate. I can put a hot pan right on the counter with no fear--tho I'm still in the habit of using trivets and hot pads. After nearly 10 years, they still look brand new. I think our brand is named Zodiac, though that's probably immaterial.

Nancy McCarroll said...

Happy your miracle came early. We were told new stoves, refrigerators and clothes dryers last only ten years now. That said, our last range lasted seven years, our old appliances over twenty. We shall see how long the new refrif lasts. I sympathize.

Glad your handy dandy fellow did such a good job for you.

GretchenJoanna said...

What a perfect Christmas miracle. Of all the parts of our kitchen remodel of 4+ yrs ago, the stove is easily my favorite. Don't you love the contiguous iron grilles or whatever they are called, to slide pots around on? And your top looks like it is stainless steel? That is what I most wanted in a stove, so that I could really clean it....Joy! Joy!

Susan Zimmerman said...

Congratulations on the new addition to the kitchen family!

We purchased a new refrigerator before Thanksgiving, and I still swoon a little bit when I walk by it. And when I open it, I pat it's little handle and say," Bless you little heart for bringing your spaciousness to my life."

May your love affair with your oven last as long as mine has with my fridge.

We have Corian counter tops, and I love them. I stroke them occasionally and tell them that they are just as worthy of my love as the fridge. I don't want them to become jealous of my lover, the fridge.

Jo said...

Of course I sat up straight and stretched when I got to that line. Irresistible!

I have a caesarstone bench that I love, but I also love the look and feel of my friend's beautiful oiled wooden bench. If I had a choice I would go wood with a marble slab to make pastry on. My caesarstone does make an excellent shortcrust pastry:)

Leslie said...

Your oven is a Thing of Beauty! I would love one, especially a gas stove! And you said Warming Drawer. Sigh. And I am envious of your new backsplash and countertop, too. My kitchen could use some updating. Happy New Year!

Everyday Life On A Shoestring said...

Oh what a shame you don't live nearer - I bought a wonderful baking tray in the sutumn but my eyes were bigger than my oven and it doesn't fit. My spatial awareness is so bad that of course I didn't discover this until I'd filled it with an enormous homemade pizza...trying to transfer uncooked pizza to a smaller baking tray is quite a feat. Anyway if you were nearer you could have had my redundant tray for your lovely new oven!