June 30, 2021 – The not-so-little black stove.

I have a story to tell about a ‘not-so-little black stove’ that has resided in our home nearly as long as we have. This is not a tall tale, to be sure; however, it’s a rather long tale, as that stove has been in our lives for nearly 7 years without ever reaching its full potential. I happened to purchase it before we even moved into our home, long before we even closed on the property, as the existing kitchen appliances were an assortment of colors and brands and all on the cheap side (I’d never heard of a Kirkland/Costco brand of refrigerator before). Once we finally closed on the house and could call it ours, I wanted to have (at the very least) a matching set of quality appliances that would look nice and stand the test of time. And since I have a tendency to over-prepare, immediately after we put in our offer on the house and it was accepted, I ordered a brand new set of matching (black) kitchen appliances from Sears (with the delivery date coinciding with the ‘anticipated’ closing date of the house).

‘Anticipated’, I have since learned, is not a very reliable word. I think about how many times I’ve heard it attached to words like ‘birth’, ‘income’, ‘bonus’, ‘arrival’, ‘departure’ and ‘growth’, and how I usually end up disappointed when what I ‘anticipated’ does not happen. And as Murphy’s Law would have it, our house did not close on the first ‘anticipated’ date, nor the second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth. And each time we were contacted by our realtor to get the disappointing news that the closing date had been extended yet again (due to a VA inspector that continually picked apart the house), I would have to contact Sears and plead with them to hang onto the appliances just a little bit longer. When the closing date finally arrived (nearly 3 months after we submitted an offer), it was a huge relief! Right away, I reached out to Sears and let them know we were finally settled in, and (if I remember correctly) the appliances were delivered within the week.

The first appliance we swapped out was the refrigerator. The French-door-style Kirkland brand refrigerator/freezer (which couldn’t even accommodate a frozen pizza) was whisked out of the kitchen and into the laundry room, serving as a backup and providing additional storage for beverages and frozen foods (excluding pizzas). The next thing to get the ‘heave-ho’ was the dishwasher. I was never so glad to see it go! I think the dishes actually became dirtier when I’d use it. If I didn’t completely scrub the dishes clean before I’d put them in the dishwasher, whatever was left on them would just transfer onto something else during the ‘wash’ cycle. For example, if I happened to leave a couple of spaghetti noodles or part of a meatball on a plate, when I’d open the dishwasher after the cycle was done, the ‘suspect’ plate would appear clean. However, as I’d continue to unload the dishwasher, more often than not, I would make a grim discovery.

Ok, maybe ‘grim’ is a bit harsh. It sounds like I stumbled upon a murder scene. ‘Gross’ is probably a more accurate depiction. And what I mean by that is when I would use the dishwasher to clean something (a plate, for instance) without washing it first in soapy water and rinsing it off, whatever contents were on it would simply reattach to something else (a cup or bowl or utensil). There’s nothing like filling up a tall glass with ice water, only to find a dried-on spaghetti noodle lurking in the bottom (when attempting to take a drink). Things like that have a tendency to spoil the experience as far as I’m concerned. So, no, I was more than happy to put that dishwasher out to pasture where it could join all of the other appliances that had seen better days. The last time I glanced back at it, I could swear it had sidled up alongside a leaky washing machine, a refrigerator that had lost its ability to cool, and a microwave that would consistently shut off after ten seconds (no matter what time it was set for).

What I have failed to mention thus far is the not-so-little black stove, the one appliance remaining. When the refrigerator was installed, the stove patiently waited in the garage, knowing full well that it would have its turn someday soon. And even though it thought it was next, when the dishwasher skipped to the head of the line, the stove didn’t take it too bad. “Surely, it won’t be long before I will get to leave this spider-infested garage and take my place in the kitchen, too. Someday, I will be used to help create the finest meals. Even if I am only used to heat water in order to boil a couple of eggs, I’m totally ok with that. Anything beats hanging out with all of these creepy crawlers!” it would often tell itself. Each time the garage door would open, it would get its hopes up. “Is today the day?” it would ask itself. Ultimately, the garage door would close and the not-so-little black stove would remain in place, growing dustier as the days turned to weeks and the weeks turned to months.

And then one fine day, the garage became ‘too full’ and something had to go, so the stove was moved to the all-purpose room. It was shoved into a corner and onto it was placed a radio and several odds and ends (including a wire hanger). From the all-purpose room, it was able to see the kitchen and its old friends, the refrigerator and dishwasher, and it really believed that it ‘wouldn’t be long’ before it crossed the threshold into the kitchen, finally taking its rightful place under the range hood. Days became weeks, weeks became months, and months became years (two precisely), and that stove dutifully and patiently waited in the corner. And then ever-so-abruptly, without any forewarning, it was returned to the garage, back amongst the spiders and Harley parts and assorted tools. “What the heck?” it thought to itself, “Did I do something wrong? How the heck did I end up back out here?!” No, it didn’t do anything wrong, it was just time for the all-purpose room to get a makeover. Which, in a few month’s time, it did.

Once the makeover was complete, and the all-purpose room was converted to an indoor gym, the not-so-little black stove was returned to the space. This time, rather than being shoved in a corner, it was shoved in a closet. And just as before, days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months, and months turned to years. People would occasionally stop by, notice the appliance in its unusual location, and ask the homeowner, “Why do you have a stove in your closet?” The homeowner would usually respond by shrugging his shoulders and saying something to the effect of ‘not having had a chance to get around to it yet’. Fast forward to just under a month ago when we finally decided to move. “I’m getting rid of that damn stove,” I told my husband, “All it is is a giant paper weight and/or dust collector. I don’t want to pay to ship it because we don’t even know if it’s going to work in the house we eventually buy.” With that said, it was returned to the garage, where it sat/stood awaiting its fate.

An ad was placed on Craigslist and there was no interest for nearly 3 weeks. And then out of the blue, someone finally responded. They offered to purchase the stove for a reduced price. An agreement was reached and a pick-up date was scheduled and then the whole deal nearly fell apart over a misunderstanding. Alright, let me cut to the chase, and not drag this out any longer (although I’ve really enjoyed writing this rather long tale). What happened was that I didn’t get any interest in the stove where I live so I posted it in the nearest big city (which is 2 1/2 – 3 hours away) and the guy who responded to my ad didn’t initially realize this. When I provided my address in order for him to pick up the stove, he said he no longer wanted it because of the long drive. “What if I bring it to you?” I offered. Well, that changed things. If I was willing to deliver it, he would be willing to buy it. All that said, that’s how I spent my day. My husband and I loaded up that rather heavy, not-so-little black stove (after I literally spent hours cleaning it), and hand delivered it to its new home.

The new owners seemed pleased and I’m so glad it is gone. Hopefully, they’ll put it to good use. Needless to say, I’m exhausted. It took us nearly 4 hours to drive there (due to 40 minutes stalled on the highway over a downed tree as well as going through a construction zone) and another 2 1/2 to drive back. Anyway, I’m going to bed. It’s been a super long day and my old bones need some rest. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again tomorrow.

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