Many years ago, when Camera Girl was just a simple housewife. This was before she became a jet-setting companion to a high-powered photographic dynamo; me. One day while I was at work, I got a call from home. She informed me that the fire department had to be called because our electric stove had malfunctioned and burst into flames. The highly professional volunteer firemen had heroically dragged the stove out of the house and it was lying on the driveway like some stricken beast brought low by forces beyond the control of nature. And she further informed me that the meat loaf was still in it and unless I wanted to try carbonized beef we would need to eat out. Now, I know for a fact that she’s always disliked electric stoves and ovens. She claims that only gas stoves provide the kind of temperature control she needs to cook food correctly. I’m not saying she sabotaged that stove but it is true she was glad to get a new one. Even if it was also an electric model.
Well yesterday lightning struck again. At about 4 pm I heard a loud crackle of electricity like something out of the Frankenstein laboratory scene coming from the kitchen followed by Camera girl screaming something incoherently. I ran into the kitchen to find smoke pouring from the oven. I shut the power to the oven and turned on the vent fan above the stove. Then I took the smoke alarm off the wall and put it where it wouldn’t go off.
Sure, enough for the third time in her career as chief cook and bottlewasher in “Chez photog” the heating element in one of her ovens failed. This time I was there so the fire department wasn’t needed. I could see the element was cracked and the sound I’d heard was power arcing over the gap. After gently coaxing Camera Girl off the ceiling fan, I comforted her in her terror and convinced her that all would be well once we got our local appliance store to send a serviceman to install a new element.
But when I called them, it wasn’t as simple as that. After providing them with the stove’s model number they informed me that they would have to order this critical part. And when I asked them when they would be able to send someone to install it the pleasant young fellow on the line said, “In three or four weeks.” I dared not tell Camera Girl that her stove would be out of service for a month so I asked the guy how difficult would it be for me to install it myself. He thought it would be quite simple and foolproof. So tomorrow morning I’ll go and pay fifty bucks for this replacement part and spend some part of the day installing it.
Obviously, this is a double-edged sword. On the up side, I get to save a hundred fifty bucks in service call charges and appear to be a competent and self-sufficient alpha male. On the down side if I louse up the installation Camera Girl will mock me mercilessly.
Well, there’s nothing to be done about it. I must rise to the challenge. I was thinking of watching some episodes of the Honeymooners tonight to see if I can get any pointers from Ralph Kramden’s technique handling Alice’s bouts of sarcasm. What’s the worst that could happen? Where did I put that fire extinguisher?