Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Home Without A Range

Here is a little story about hunting down a range/stove/oven for my family. The whole ordeal literally almost killed me.

The harvest gold colored range that used to be part of the Stream family (up until this last Saturday) had to have been at least twenty-five years old. Like I said, it was harvest gold, and only two burners worked, the bottom element inside the oven did not work as well. Reminiscing a bit about the old range I get a little sentimental only because of the memories of learning to be a creative, think out of the box, family cook. Pizza at the Stream house always had that super soft, almost not done, crust. The oven yielded the best gooey center crust with completely crisp toppings. There was always the fine line to watch for between burnt toppings and cooked enough to eat crust.

Resources for a brand new range are slim to none, cash flow just does not permit it. But thank God for my wife and mother who are always on the lookout for free "things." My mother is always on the lookout for things she knows we need. She once tried to hook me up with an "opportunity" as she called it, a potentially free vascetomy. But this time she had marching orders from my wife to find a range and a dishwasher.

Leave it up to the two resourceful (and beautiful) women, next thing I know I am driving up to northern Wisconsin, a good 80 miles from where I live, to pick up a free range and dishwasher. My mother got a line on the two appliances from someone she works with. The story this women told my mom had something to do with the items being "very nice and in good shape." Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? Thankfully I had a witness to the fact that even though the two appliances may have "worked" they certainly were far older than the ones I already had. I politely passed on these two free things. My witness helped corroborate the decision as I called my wife to tell her we were starting the trek home.

Feeling like an incredibly worthless husband when I got home I felt the man-need to "do something" to prove to my wife that I will always provide for her and the kids. I went to work inspecting the old harvest gold stove, I "knew" (another relative term in this context) the problem had something to do with the wiring. The very first thing I did, opening the oven and entering in with a screwdriver, should have been the second thing I did. With in seconds I learned what I should have done first. I realize now I was so focused on the goal of fixing the range that I didn't think of protecting my life.

Somehow as I was pulling the screw driver away from connection point of the bottom heating element a high powered electrical arch was created followed by a crushingly loud boom and several puffs of smoke. I was completely amazed how fast my entire arm flung from the front side of my body to the back side. I also couldn't believe how far the screwdriver flew across the kitchen, nearly missing my two year old's head. It was precisely at this point I realized what I should have done first before touching a live appliance that was connected to a 220 source outlet. I checked for opened wounds and didn't find any. I felt ok other than the slight sensation of a charlie horse in my right shoulder, but that was no big deal. I thought to myself, "Crap, I just took 220 to my body and I am still alive, wow!" Now I needed to go to the basement and reset the breakers that were blown. Turns out I blew the whole house out and so I needed to reset the main breaker. I still can't believe all I felt was like a punch in the arm.

I need to go workout now and so I will post the rest of the days events later.


Anonymous said...

Patrick, my son.....this is your mother....I try not to tell you what to do (and I think I do very well)but, pleeeeeeease, get to the rest of the story!!!


ron said...

Is it possible that like spiderman you experienced something that will give you superhuman power? Maybe you will become Electroman! Remember... with great power comes great responsibility.

Joey said...

Not exactly 220, but I had a toaster incident once. My mom always said to unplug the toaster before trying to fish the bread out of it if it got stuck. Of course, the "fishing" tool was always a knife. I was too dumb to know that my mom was smarter than me, and I stuck the knife in the still plugged-in toaster. Felt it all the way down to my big toe.

I feel your pain...

kristi noser said...

Or half of it Joey...