Oh. My. Gosh.
Did someone change Wednesday to Monday, and just forget to send me the memo?
Yesterday was absolutely insane.
First, for anyone who may not know, I stay with my Mom during the day. She had a stroke my freshman year, and is wheelchair bound. So, while my younger sister is at work, I stay with her , and help her take care of the house, and etc.
Well, yesterday, I went over there, and while making breakfast, I noticed that the igniter on one of her stove burners wasn’t working. So I called my older brother, (he’s 15 years older than me, he helped our Dad with most of the handi-work around the house growing up. I preferred to watch. Looking back, big mistake.) and told him what it was doing.
He told me it probably just needs to be cleaned. Which, is easy. I can handle that. So after we eat, I soak the stove down with some water and Comet, and then get rewarded by a lovely call from US Cellular.
Turns out, my bill is overdue. Which, is nothing new to me. Their automated machine has been calling me twice a day as of late, telling me, that it’s overdue. So this is not news to me.
What they do, finally decide to tell me is, if the bill is not paid today (or at least half) the phone will be shut off tonight.
Well gee, thanks ever so much for the advance notice, guys.
So, since I’m sure some poor, phone representative doesn’t want to hear why my bill is late because of a misunderstanding with my bank on a loan holiday, and massive budget rearranging, I simply say, “I understand, I know the balance, and I’ll have the money to pay it when my husband gets paid Friday.”
From then on, here’s the gist of the conversation.
-“Well, can you pay the bill today, over the phone?”
“No, I won’t have the money until my husband gets paid Friday.”
“What about a partial payment? We need at least half to keep from interrupting service.”
“Sorry, I don’t have the money right now. I’ll be paying it Friday, at 5.”
“Can you just put like, 20 dollars down today?” (Which, psst, US Cell? If it would take half to keep service on, what good would a 20 dollar payment do? I mean really…logic says to not threaten me with cutting off service, if you’d do it for 20 bucks….”
“No. I have ten dollars in my wallet. I can pay it Friday, at 5.”
I kid you not, that’s almost word-for-word how this call went. And it’s almost EXACTLY how it went when I called them back, to figure out exactly when service would be cut off. The only difference was that the first rep who helped me was a wonderfully nice guy, who sounded like he genuinely wanted to help. Then, I got transferred to someone who was no help at all over at Financial Services. His speel was the same as before, only this time, this gem was included:
“Couldn’t you ask a family member or a friend to loan you the 75??”
Yeah. Because everyone I know is so wealthy and fortunate that they have an extra, spare 75 dollars floating around to loan out to me. I wanted to reach through the phone and smack him. I should have asked HIM for the loan, come to think of it….
But anyway, after a few calls back and forth, we found a way to make it work , and are going to have half of the bill [aid today, so our service will “be uninterrupted.”
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, the stove’s been soaking in a water/Comet mixture. Normally, we use de-greaser, but for some reason, it was AWOL today. Figures. Anyway. I started scrubbing away at the stove… which was such a mess, it soon coated the sponge I was using. I had to wash the thing out with dawn ever 5 minutes- if it lasted that long.
So… I was kinda stuck. Switched from Comet to Dawn, thinking it might cut the grease better….
Ok…. So… I’m trying to figure out what to do now, when one of the igniters starts clicking.
Which, is pretty normal when they get wet. It’s nothing I haven’t seen before, even though it’s a bit unnerving. Especially when you see it spark. Even still, I kept attempting to clean to stove, while trying to ignore it.
It stopped after a while. Then, started up again. Then, sped up. Then stopped.
As if that wasn’t fun enough, the stove started making a weird rumbly noise underneath that I’d NEVER heard before. Oh goody…. then stopped. Then it “clicked” and “sparked” some more. Sigh. By now, I’m beginning to see the appeal of the fancy smooth top stoves that can boil water in 90 seconds, and have the fun Bewitched music on the commercials.. Or is it I Dream Of Jeanie? The Comet is kinda getting to me by now…
Then, all of a sudden — there’s more rumbling. And then —- more sparks! Only these, are ACTUAL sparks, and are up by the stove knobs, not any burners. And it’s like someone set of a cracker bomb (or crackling ball, or festival ball, pick your terminology here) went off. And it left a small electric burning smell behind.
Lovely. Oh, and did I mentioned I jumped, panicked, and threw baking soda all over it? (Which, I did have the senses to grab when the stove first started making these weird noises.) But fortunately, there was no fire, and now, the stove is covered in grease, Dawn, Comet, and Arm & Hammer.
Sigh. Really now? And what to do about the stove-fireworks? This can’t keep up….
So after a few panicked calls/texts between my sister, nephew, husband, and back to my older brother, we figure out how to take the drawer our underneath it, and just unplug the stove. My brother still thinks it’s just because it’s wet , and after its clean and dry, it’ll be fine.
So the drawer and it’s contents are sprawled over the floor, including pans we haven’t seen in years. Mom gets to work sorting through those… while I try to figure out how to get the stupid stove clean.
So now we’re back to the scrubbing problem. We couldn’t find any scour pads or steel wool…. and the degreaser I mentioned was still very much AWOL…. so what do we do now? Hm. What about a toothbrush? Yup. That might work….
I went and grabbed the spare toothbrush I keep there (yes, seriously. I eat breakfast and lunch there, so yes, I keep a toothbrush there… ) and went to work scrubbing away. A few minutes later, Mom realized that she had an extra toothbrush as well.
So. We’re both pretty much scrubbing the heck out of the stove… each of us with little shot glasses filled with dawn soap to dip the brushes in. Mom took a few breaks, and I kept switching back and forth between Dawn and Comet. Cause neither one was really working amazingly. At one point, I had both toothbrushes, and was trying to use them both at the same time, while trying (and failing) not to trip over the pots & pans drawer behind us.
Now, a full 2.5 hours later than we started…. I remember I’ve seen an article online about using coffee grounds to help clean things. Now, it’s an online article, and could be complete crap, but at this point, we’re pretty desperate. So, we grab the old coffee grounds from breakfast, and throw them on the stove.
And then, I had a mild coronary when they, mixed with the Dawn, did better than the Dawn or the Comet did. Why did I not realize this 2 hours ago? I’m supposed to be semi-obsessed with coffee/espresso anyway, why would this not be a thought that occurred to me earlier?!?
Ah well. Anyway, We get the stove finished up, eat lunch, and clean the little grates that went on top of the stove. Those, were terrible to clean. But! my niece and nephew showed up, and my niece thought “it looked like fun” hahahahaha. So, she jumped in to help.
Soon, we’d added baking soda to our mix of Dawn and coffee grounds, and now it fizzed a little when you scrubbed. No idea if it helped, but by then, just thinking it did was therapeutic.
Then, Austin showed up. Who of course, plugged the stove in. The rest of us safely outside the kitchen, (me clutching the baking soda…. gun-shy, I guess) he started playing with the burners.
And of course – everything’s fine! The one burner, the igniter still isn’t working, but it’s not a big deal, our old stove used to do that too. So, everything worked out, no one died, and no one totally lost their sanity.
Unless you count the point of the afternoon where my sister, her friend and I randomly broke into song. “Fifty Nifty United States” makes for a great stress reliever…..