If You Can’t Have The Heat, Go Out For Some Chicken!!

A very horrible, high-class, terrible yet luxurious thing happened to us about a month ago. Our oven died!! I was gonna cook something very important (in other words, I can’t remember want it was), and when I checked on the oven after the preheat, the oven just sat there with that silly room temperature look on its insides. I’ve dubbed all this sadness a “horrible, high-class, terrible yet luxurious thing” because all I have to do is turn on the news and I can plainly see that I am a very spoiled American. Much of the world would LOVE to have their only problem in life to be a broken cooking appliance!

Anyway, I cried and rolled on the floor for a few hours, thrashed about, filled my mouth with soapy water and sprayed it everywhere while yelling great howls of boo-hoo and ickety-boo; and of course none of that is actually true but it was nice fodder for a run-on sentence so I just threw all that in there for the halibut and any other fish that may wish to be included.

Then called our friendly neighborhood repair folks to come to the rescue.

When the guy arrived, I showed him what was going on: everything seemed like it wanted to work, but no heat from the electric ouch elements. “I dunno… maybe a fuse or something??” I offered. Then I stepped back and let the guy do his thing. After about 20 minutes, he said, “looks like your computer is dead. I’ll have to go back to the shop to see if I can find one.” The retired electronic service guy who still lives inside my brain was somewhat in disagreement, but hey, I called the experts for a reason (the reason: I didn’t wanna mess with it!!) so I let it go. I mean hey, the oven is 15 years old and anything is possible.

Got a call a couple days later. “Ken, we can’t find that oven control computer board anywhere. I mean, it’s supposedly still available but nobody has stock.,” my trusted repair guy told me. “Oh flarn..,” I sighed. And yes maybe I used a stronger word, but hey, flarn is pretty powerful, right?? “So the stove is 15 years old, time for a new one?” I asked. “Yeah probably,” he replied, “but because of the chip shortage, everybody has been waiting for months to get parts. I can order you one but I have no idea when it will come in.” “OK, please get one on order for me,” I responded.

Joni Mitchell sang “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.” Ain’t that the truth? Grandsons came to visit; and a regular favorite is frozen pizza. My Beautiful Girlfriend lamented, “oh crap!! We don’t have an oven!!” “It’s OK,” I reassured, “Pizza Hut has an oven.” And they do!! So we did what any other spoiled American would do, we ordered take out pizza. Then came the time when we were hankering for some chicken. Lee’s has chicken!! Pretty darn good too!! And if you go on Tuesdays, you can get two, 2-piece senior meals with mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, and biscuits for ten bucks!! Oh and have you had their pot pies? MMmmmm….

Well nearly a month went by, and no word about a new stove. So again, this spoiled American guy took the high-class route and went hunting for a new stove online. Of course I was being picky… I wanted to stick with American made; and our service folks recommended GE as the top choice. Then we wanted the same basic style: a white drop-in range with glass cooktop. Several places said they had stoves, but when I called to verify stock, there was a resounding NOPE each time. Again, I exclaimed, “FLARN!!”

Finally I decided to break down and put my electronic service guy pants back on and went hunting for an oven control board. Several sites in the U.S. said there was stock, but again after following up it was a big goose egg. My last-ditch effort involved hunting for alternate part numbers and BINGO!! There was an outfit with one in stock, in Ontario, Canada!! I called and the very friendly guy on the other end reassured me that yes they did indeed have one; and offered to take my credit card info over the phone (never do that, folks!!). I thanked him profusely and told him I’d order online. “Oh, OK, perfect,” he said. I ordered the $330 part (way cheaper than a $1500 stove), and it was at my house in less than a week.

With much grunting and wondering I was able to pull the oven out and replace the board. Feeling pretty good about myself, I turned the breaker back on and did a quick test. No heat. I cried again, weeping buckets of tears which I collected and tossed into the air while howling my sadness to the tune of The Funeral March. After a few milliseconds of this whining and saying FLARN a few more times, I turned the breaker off and commenced to remove the back covers to hunt for that blasted fuse I thought might be the original problem.

Yep!! I bypassed the fuse by using a plastic chip-clip to squish the leads together and did another test. This time when I touched the electric ouch element it lived up to its name I just made up! Houston, we have HEAT!! Called Alex Appliance in the Heights. Those folks have always been there for us in a pinch. “Yes, we have the fuse. But we only have the Whirlpool one. It’s fifty bucks.” Got the part, slapped it in, and did the electric ouch test once more for good measure. Success!! I told my eagerly waiting Lovely Wife Lady the news as she sat on the couch, “OK, we’re good!! A little expensive… I don’t remember ever spending $380 on a fuse.” “Huh??” she queried. “Well, $330 for the control board, and $50 for the fuse…”

Called my friends at the repair shop and told them the good news. The nice lady who takes the phone calls asked me how upset I was… and I blatantly and (not even) forcefully said, “not at all!! This was a completely human mistake. Just wanted you to know so that isn’t overlooked if you ever run across it again.” I went on to explain that hey, even though I considered myself pretty good while I was working, I made my share of mistakes. I really was not at all upset.

She was very relieved and then asked me, “Ken, would you like a job??”

I told her no thanks, but if I did want a job, it could be fun to work here maybe. As an observer anyway.