Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Applied Sciences of Appliances

"His name is Connor. John Connor. Your son, Sarah, your unborn son."

We are nearly settled into our new home.

Well, we live here at least. Half of our stuff is still stored at the last house, but in general, we're here.

Remember back in the fifties, when a new house filled with brand new shiny appliances was a dream come true?

(Well no me either, I was born in the 80's, but I've heard stories of cooking with ease, after walking home barefoot from the market, up hills both ways with a dragon under the toll bridge, um or something like that)

Well dream no more, because the modern day updated kitchen, with their electronic clocks blinking 12:00, and their installation manuals rivalling the Lord of the Rings trilogy, is an invariable nightmare.

They come completely computerized. Everything is digital, you know to make things easier.

Now when I want fry an egg, instead of doing it the laborious old fashioned way (turning the dial to 4).

I get to do it electronically.

Press "on", select size of burner, select Hi- Med- or Low, then adjust down to four with a series of beep-beep-beeps. Yes that's right, I can cook an egg just as easily as a 70yr old can text "The quick fox jumped over the lazy dog"

Wow, I can't believe we went for so long doing it the old way.

Then we move on to learning the oven.

Prior to owning this appliance I knew two ways to heat things,make it soggy in a microwave, or crunchy in the oven. Now apparently I have 16 different settings in my oven.

I can control where the heat comes from like the greek god Eurus controls a hurricane. I have no idea what any of the settings do, but I have found the secret code for crispy french fries.

If I manage to hit "convection", "preheat", "start", "4-2-5", "start","time on", "1-5", "start", I can enjoy the most delicious fries (Well, I can enjoy them in between the six times I get up to try and turn the timer off, because we never seem to be able to do it right the first time).

Do I need to mention the timer on the stove??

The other day I put potatoes on and set the timer for five minutes. Fifteen minutes later they were turned off, with the timer reading 4 hours and 45 mins.

Well, has all that cooking has made you thirsty?? How about a glass of ice water from the door in the fridge.

First stick your glass under there and press a button.

When nothing happens press another, and then a third… you're pressing them blindly because as soon as the LED lights come on you can't see the writing on any of these "buttons"

(I use the term "button" very loosely, as there is no actual button. It is just an area that has some print on the surface that you are supposed to magically hit every time. )

You will eventually realize ( i.e. as someone else explains it to you) that although there are five "buttons" on our fridge, only one is useful, you must press it once for ice cubes, again for crushed and again for water.

All those other buttons you pressed actually control our fridge door alarm, fridge temperature, freezer temperature, and the stock value for oil overseas.

So every time we have guests over and we get lazy and make them get their own drinks, we end up with frozen milk, thawed chicken and an oil crises in Istanbul.

Moving on to the dishwasher… all I have to say is gawd knows.

I jam everything in, put in dissolvable tab, and hope for the best. There are 13 buttons ( I'm not actually exaggerating, I know I sometimes do, but I just got up and counted.. 13) of those buttons some of them can be pressed together, so you can make a combination of about 45 cycles…. pots and pans, turbo zone, smart, wash, heat dry, licked clean by trolls.

All I know is I turn it on and anywhere between 1 hour and 4 hours later (depending on how slap happy I got with the settings)I have clean dishes.

And lastly there is our microwave. seemingly harmless (well unless you're a bag of popcorn, then it can really do a number on you).

I understand that some appliances all have their kinks, little tricks you need to master.

Our kink was that #4 "button" was stuck. (I know, how does it get stuck when it's not a button??)

One morning it just decided it liked four minutes... no reason at all, we were in bed, asleep (as you should be at 5 am) when I heard the microwave going.

I got up and unplugged it, trying to silence my Angel watching brain that was warning me it was possessed.

Actually we had just watched "Evan Almighty" and all morning as we plugged and unplugged the stupid thing I kept having this nagging feeling that we were supposed to find chapter four in the bible and sacrifice a goat or something.

We wound up sacrificing the microwave, right back to the Walmart where it came from, and now we have a new one, which means another three weeks of re-programing ourselves just to be able to heat up some left overs.

Maybe we've watched The Terminator a few to many times in this household, but all I know is if one more appliance becomes smarter than I am in this house, I am going to go back to flint and steel.

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