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Little Spouse On The Prairie: My Kitchen Appliances May Be Spying On Me

Last week, I talked about how poor Joel, rather than admit defeat in the face of a broken icemaker, secretly delivered ice from the garage freezer for three years. That takes dedication!  There’s no other trait that Joel displays more than dogged stubbornness, so, while amazing, it’s not surprising that Joel has taken a daily – sometimes twice-daily – sojourn to the garage with an empty bucket and has come back with a full one for three years running.

But the icemaker issues are not the only ones facing our poor old fridge.  About six months ago, the plastic gliders that keep the drawers connected to the shelves gave out.  There was no crash when the drawers fell, because we had so much stuff piled below to provide a cushion of cheese, grapes, and various cold-cuts.

While we did try to fix the issue, the constant friction on poorly repaired gliders, combined with the already-strained refrigerator relations, eventually led to our giving up.  We started just leaving the drawers sitting on the shelves below.  Now, this significantly impacts the amount of space.  The tendency to pile gets pretty hard to resist when we are looking at drawers sitting on shelves.

Even before the shelf problem began, our refrigerator storage was suffering from significant image issues. I’m one of those aspirational shoppers, the kind who always buys more fresh produce than we can actually consume before it expires. If I were realistic, I’d buy two apples and a small bag of baby carrots each time I shop. If I were realistic, I’d admit that I’d be better off buying fruits and vegetables in the form of catsup and chips.

But invariably, I shop with an idealistic mindset, coming home with kale and red cabbage and celery.  Heck, if Clementine is with me, I end up buying items like parsnips and pomegranates, simply because she thinks they look cool. Much of this healthy, fresh food spoils in the crisper long before we actually eat it. Has anyone actually smelled rotten parsnips? That odor is seared on my olfactory glands forever.

When I read Death of a Salesman in high school, I never understood what Willy Loman was talking about when he said he was in a “race with the junkyard.” I get it now.  He was talking about my refrigerator drawer. 

Or maybe he was talking about our stove.  It’s one of those ceramic top electric stoves that looks all clean and shiny for the first eight seconds of use.  I could deal with the permanent splatters from the burned-on foods.  I could even deal with the weird streaks between the panes of the oven door that materialized the first time I baked.  I knew I shouldn’t have tried to make cookies two years after I bought the dang thing.

If I would have waited longer, the stove might look passable yet.  As it is, I’ve had to attach chalkboard contact paper to the front to disguise the flaws.  Visitors say, “Oooh!  How cute!  The front of your stove is a chalkboard.”  In reality, I only put that there to cover a mess, in the same way I put throw pillows over a stained couch cushions.

But I cannot deal with the hot burner indicator light suddenly deciding it doesn’t want to quit. A few months ago, the red light refused to shut off after the burners cooled.  This might be fine for people who never actually forget to turn off their stove after use.  However, it is not fine for people like Joel and me.  Oh, don’t get the idea that Joel even notices the indicator light insidiously glowing.  But I walk through the kitchen, and every single time, I think, “Oh, no!  Joel forgot to turn off the stove.”

Then I fiddle with the knobs until I realize, once again, that the red light is always on, like some kind of evil eye. I’m pretty sure a satanic entity is spying on me.  But who? In fact, I’m a little paranoid, as I write, that somehow this episode is going to let the spies know that I’m on to them.  The light came on about six months ago. I’m trying to remember what they might have witnessed in that time.  If there’s a rerun next week, send help.

Even if there isn’t a rerun, listeners may still have to dispatch emergency aid. After all, I could be under the attack of moldy parsnips at the bottom of the meat and cheese drawer that no longer hooks into the gliders – the one that is sitting on the second shelf.

Host of Little Spouse on the Prairie, a regional comedy feature that airs Sundays at 8:35 a.m. during Weekend Edition.