Friday, December 3, 2010

Home on the Range

The Bionic Man did a very nice, award-winning husband type of thing right before Thanksgiving.  Two words:

New Stove

Yep, the Bionic Man suggested that we get the stove we've been meaning to get BEFORE I cooked Thanksgiving dinner.  Before I tell you the story of how this came to be, allow me to introduce you to my new friend, Julia.  (Her namesake?  Julia Child, of course!)
Just for the purpose of comparison, let's view a picture of the old stove (nameless, I only name things I like) and bid it a polite farewell:
Technically, there was really nothing wrong with the old stove.  It just never performed like the stove I had in our Connecticut Cottage.  It also didn't match the rest of the appliances in the kitchen.  (Note the white microwave.)  When we moved into our current home, literally every appliance was a different color: white, bisque, black, and stainless steel, to be exact.  The Bionic Man, bless his heart, can't stand inconsistency.  So, along with replacing all the household doorknobs and light fixtures so that they would all be the same type of metallic finish (oil rubbed bronze), he planned to replace the kitchen appliances, too.  Appliances cost more than doorknobs, so we replaced them as they wore out or when we had money saved up.  Appliances do not, unfortuanately, come in oil rubbed bronze (at least, not in our price range), so we have gradually replaced the old kitchen appliances with new, white appliances.  After five years, this stove was all that was left.

We started stove shopping last spring, when we had to replace the broken microwave.  I didn't have a clear direction, other than it had to be white (of course), it had to have a glass top (I don't do coils), and I thought it would be super fun to have two ovens.  

After shopping at our favorite bargain appliance source, the Sears Scratch 'n Dent, I discovered that even scratched and dented glass top stoves with two ovens were going for over $1000.  Then, I had to think to myself, "How often do I need two ovens?"  My answer was, "Maybe twice in the five years since I've lived in this house.  And even then, I found a way around it."  So, the list of requirements was shortened to two requirements: white, glass top.

We had a busy summer, and I really don't bake very much in the summer, anyway, so we kind of forgot about the stove.  Every so often, the Bionic Man or I would take a look at Craigslist, looking for white glass topped stoves.  You see, the microwave and stove we had in our Connecticut Cottage were used.  We found them in the for sale ads of the local paper.  (Connecticut friends, can I hear an AMEN for The Reminder?)  Someone was getting rid of them to make way for a kitchen remodel.  I swear, that sweet convection-capable oven had never even been used, and we got the set for $225.  A steal.  

Well, I'm not sure if he was trying to reward me for the fantastic kitchen transformation I made with the new paint, or if it was the paint fumes themselves, but the Bionic Man woke up three days before Thanksgiving and decided that his wife should have a new stove for Thanksgiving.  He immediately began to go through Craigslist with fine-tooth comb, and called me from work to let me know he was taking me stove shopping that very evening.  

What the Bionic Man had discovered, on Craigslist, was that there was a little mom & pop shop downtown that sold remanufactured appliances.  The word remanufactured doesn't scare me.  My kitchenaid mixer, that I love dearly (his name is Mike) was remanufactured.  I'm down with that.  So, off I went with the Bionic Man to bring home a new (to us) stove for Thanksgiving.  

At first, we had some difficulty finding the address as it was listed on Craigslist.  It wasn't in a part of the city that we were familiar with.  In fact, it was what you might call The Wrong Side of Town.  The very wrong side.  But we didn't let that stop us, if a deal could be found!  After driving around a little, getting a feel for the local flavor, we saw a fading sign that said, "Appliances  Furniture  Mattresses  Water Heaters".  Thinking that must be our destination, we parked the Sienna and marched in.  Inside, we were greeted by a guy who never mentioned his name, but I'm guessing goes by "Meaty."  Meaty grunted when we asked about glass top stoves, and told us they'd all been sold earlier in the day, but he had plenty of stereos, if we were interested in those.  

Uh huh.  We hustled back out to the Sienna.  At this point, I should probably mention that the Bionic Man's father, Duane, had accompanied us on this little adventure.  Welcome to Indiana, Duane!  I'm sure that by this point, he was thinking that his son and daughter-in-law were out of their minds, and who would raise their children?  We drove down the street a little further, with the Bionic Man wondering why they didn't tell him the stove was already gone when he'd called.  Duane asked casually, "Are you sure we went to the right address?"

I replied, "C'mon, how many of these little remanufactured appliance shops can there be around here?"

Apparently, more than the one, because just down the street we saw a sign:  Lady J's Appliance.  Words can't do Lady J's justice.  You have to see a picture.  Not knowing that this adventure was going to be blog-worthy, I hadn't brought my camera with me, so Google Satellite is going to have to do the honors.  (In hindsight, it was probably a blessing I hadn't brought the camera.  I'm not sure if Lady J would have taken kindly to me asking her to pose in front of her store.)  
When I say the Bionic Man and I will do almost anything to get a good deal, I'm not kidding, am I?  We actually got out of the Sienna and went inside Lady J's, in search of a white glass top stove.  Lady J herself, cigarette dangling from her wrinkled, red lips informed us that "uh, yeah, the glass top sold earlier today."  But she did have some real nice stereos, if we were interested in those.  

There was a door off to the side of Lady J's fine establishment with writing on it.  This is exactly what was written, in black permanent marker:

pLEasE kNOCk FirST

Just for future reference, I think it is good practice to be cautious of doors marked this way.  Especially considering the use of quotation marks.  "REST ROOM" as in: it may or may not be a restroom?  this is what we call our restroom, but it has no toilet or sink, only a drain?  this could be a restroom or it could be the entrance to our meth lab?  

Needless to say, I didn't investigate the quoted claims any further, nor did we purchase anything from Lady J's.  The Bionic Man said, after we were safely several blocks away, "I don't think I could bring anything home from that place without sending it away for complete fumigation, first.  How do we know those stoves weren't being used in a meth lab?"  (Or, for that matter, a "Rest Room".)  He considered these possibilities for a moment, with a shudder, then turned to me and said, "How about we go take a look at the Sears Scratch 'n Dent store?"

That was where I met Julia.  White, glass top, five burners, and fully equipped for traditional or convectional baking/roasting, she's even more than I was hoping for.  Admittedly, her price wasn't quite as low as Lady J's remanufactured "stoves", but she was still a bargain with no visible flaws and a price 60% off of retail.  We packed her up, brought her home, plugged her in, and she proceded to bake some of the best pies in the history of my kitchen, not too mention the rolls, ham, and pumpkin bread pudding.

The moral of my story:  it never hurts to shop around for a bargain, but you gotta know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em, if  you know what I mean.  

And a question:  do you think that the Bionic Man took me to Meaty's and Lady J's first on purpose, and only pretended that the trip to the Scratch 'n Dent store was a spur of the moment idea?  I'm beginning to wonder.....I really am.
P.S.  If anyone in the midwest is looking for a black and bisque glass top range in fairly good condition for under $200, email me: triptoholland (at) gmail (dot) com.

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