Being thankful….no matter what

I don’t even know how to start this one. We know this year has been insane and we don’t know what may happen next. But through all of this, we remain hopeful, thankful, and I truly hope, positive. By the way, they’ve changed this program AGAIN, so I’m sure this post will be a bit wonky as I figure it out…again.

My kids and I were all last all together in mid-March for their birthdays. The following weekend, life as we knew it completely changed. COVID hit, the world shut down, and I was suddenly working from home. We were only going out when needed, for groceries and things, and my somewhat solitary life, became more of a period of complete isolation. We immediately set up a weekly Zoom call between my kids and myself for Sunday afternoons, at least this way we could see each other and feel a bit more in touch.

Finally, things started to loosen up and Mike planned to come visit for Thanksgiving weekend. Yes, it was going to be a much smaller celebration, given that the government was encouraging limiting indoor groups to a maximum of 10 people, so it was going to be just the three of us. I’d planned on turkey dinner for Sunday, which I do every year. Mike had also picked up some gluten free pie crusts for Kate on his way to visit us. We planned on her making her pumpkin pies on Saturday, and I’d do mine Sunday morning and then we’d head out for a nice Fall walk after I put the turkey in the oven. 

So far so good and everything was going to plan. Sunday morning arrived and I started making a couple more pumpkin pies. I’d checked them a couple of times while they were coking and, when they were just about done, set the timer for another five minutes. After the timer went off, I headed back to the kitchen to take them out to cool and start on the turkey. Wait a minute! What the hell? The oven door wouldn’t open. I’d opened it just five minutes ago! I tried again. Nope, the door was not moving. I have a double oven and each door locks, but only when you set one to self-clean. Neither one was self-cleaning and I’d just turned the bottom oven completely off, since the pies were done. OK, this is ridiculous! I guess I have to pull the stove out and unplug it to reset the lock. Nope, that didn’t work. Maybe if I flipped the breaker on the panel in the basement. I flipped the switch, left it off for a few minutes and flipped it back on. Nope, that didn’t work either. I took a look inside and, damn, those pies looked good, but I had no way to reach them. I decided to wait a bit, to see if the oven cooling down would trigger the lock to open, no such luck. Just a note, my son slept through all of this morning excitement.

I then decided to do two things: Google to see if there was anything I hadn’t tried, nope, I’d covered it all; and post a message on a local “helping small businesses” page on Facebook to see if anyone knew someone who might be able to do a service call, and not charge me an arm & a leg on a Sunday. I was going to need that big oven for the turkey shortly. First I’ll say that those who know me, will be able to see my facial expression as I typed some responses to comments made. I’m extremely independent and you can guarantee that, if I’ll reached out for help, I’ve explored all other options first.

Remember that my post said I was cooking two pies when the door locked, this was very clearly stated. One response, “Did you check online for trouble shooting for your oven brand? It’s worth a shot before calling in a repair man.” No, I just figured I’ll reach out to a bunch of strangers on my computer before using my same computer to find a simple fix. Another response, “Ovens only lock during self clean function, you shouldn’t have to worry about your turkey being locked in your oven.” (Insert the appropriate facial expression here.) My response, “I’m aware of this. It’s obviously malfunctioning because I was baking pies and it locked.”

Another comment, “Ours, a GE brand, did the same and we simply did a 2nd self clean cycle as per something my wife found on GE’s website and at the end of the 2nd self clean, it did unlock.” (Go ahead, just imagine the facial expression as I typed my response to that one.) My response, “I can’t do a self-cleaning cycle. I was baking pies and the door won’t open to get them out. If I put in on self-clean, I’ll have a fire and no way to open the oven to put it out.” Do these people read before “offering” help??

I must say that I did get some helpful suggestions, like picking up an electric roaster, all of $38 at Walmart, and even the offer from a complete stranger to loan me one to save buying it. Mind you, I also got someone trying to sell me a deep fryer??? A last-minute, first attempt at deep frying a turkey was not on my bucket list of the day.

So, I decided to pick up the electric roaster and more supplies for more pies, after all, I still had my top oven available. Dinner was great, the roaster worked well, and yes, I was thankful to be with my children, we are all safe and healthy.  I was also thankful for the comments that were actually helpful, and even those that were just entertaining, I mean, you have to laugh or completely stress out. 

After my son headed home on Monday, I started doing research. I figured it would be cheaper to buy a new stove, than the cost of the service call to determine the issue, ordering of the part, and second service call to install it, all for a stove that was 18-years old. I soon found that deciding on what I wanted was the easy part. With the mess of Covid, factories have cutback on staff and there are long delays for getting stock, such as appliances, in. I had appointments all day Tuesday, so Wednesday I went to a few local stores and quickly found it would be mid-December to early January before the stove I wanted would be available. OK, so I could make due with my small oven until then, and I still had the burners, but the two pumpkin pies sitting in the bottom oven were going to get pretty damn ripe in two and a half months. By this time I’d even tried to figure out a way to just take the door off, which is not possible unless you first….open the door. My next attempt was going to be a sledge hammer.

After having visited two stores, I knew the questions to ask and I took some time to do some more research on pricing, and made plans to call a few more places Thursday morning. I loaded my new electric roaster with the makings of cabbage roll casserole, and hit the phone to find a new stove. My first call was to a local independent appliance store. I told him what I was looking for and he immediately rattled off the model number and said, “I’m looking at one right now. We just took it off the truck and unpacked it and I was just wiping it down. It’s here if you want it.”

Are you kidding me??? I asked him to put my name on it and said I’d be right there. I was at their door within 10 minutes. Yes, it was exactly the model I was looking for (mine but 18 years younger and in stainless steel that would match the fridge I bought last year.) Not only was it available, it was $50 cheaper than other locations, and they could deliver it Tuesday!

So this year I am thankful for many things not least of all my family, and to this list I add the community I live in that has rallied around those who have truly suffered as a result of this pandemic. They are very vocal in supporting local, small businesses and helping others do so as well. I’m also thankful that I’ve been able to continue to work and, while I hadn’t planned on replacing my stove at this time, I was in a position to do so. As my son said, those were some expensive pies!