It started with the extractor fan. A faint, annoying buzz when it was on. Then it became the annoying buzz when it was just sitting there not doing anything. After months of switching it off at the wall each time it was not in use, we asked the electrician to look at it and it was declared dead. That’s how it stayed for quite some time. At one point after an extremely smelly roast of pork, we spent an entire morning going from shop to shop looking at extractor fans but somehow that slid into also looking at ovens and cooktops… and that was a step too far. So we didn’t get a fan. But recently my supply of scented candles got down to nubs (extractor fan – tick). I looked at the rest of our tired cooking appliance. The oven still worked despite the sagging rubber flange and the dead lightbulb we couldn’t change. I realized I had a ‘flatting relationship’ with my oven. You know the sort of relationship where the burnt bits and the splatters of past meals carrying on cooking and smell out the house for days and yet it never occurs to you that it would all go away if you just got out the rubber gloves and cleaned it. I didn’t want to clean that oven anymore. (New oven – tick). And then I looked at the old ceramic cook top with it’s welded on crysalized deposits. Bits of fake silver were flaking off the nobs. Who still used ceramic cook tops? (Induction cook top – tick). Yep, three ticks. Time to start hunting. The only trouble with that was the memory of the last morning trudging from here to there with nothing to show at the end. When he suggested an Appliance Warehouse, I said yes, little understanding how my life would change.
This warehose is literally that – a warehouse. You walk in and all the staff are wearing puffa jackets. The first question they ask is if you have something warmer in the car. I was wearing a singlet. No need to go into details. Our first item, the fan, was easy. We want the quietest one you have. She took us to there and turned it on. It barely made a sound. I held my hand underneath to make sure it was sucking. It was. Job done. The oven was chosen because it had two wire racks (unlike the one at home) and an interior light that worked. Another one ticked off the list. Then came the cooktop. That was a trickier, mainly because I found myself being steered towards three burners (or inducers or whatever they were), because the sales woman didn’t think I cooked. Excuse me! I even make my stock. But how many times do you use all the burners at once? she countered. I wasn’t going to answer that. I like things even. I chose one with four. When she totalled everything up, it seemed ridiculously cheap but if millions of Chinese people are cooking on this stuff every day there is no reason it shouldn’t it also work for us, right?
But wait, there was more. If we spent another $107 we could save money! Hmmm. How did that work? It was something about a discount. I stuffed my hands back into my gloves and went hunting out the back where my husband was looking at things like electric switch plates and LED lightbulbs. He understood the discount concept immediately and knew just the thing we should buy. He lead me to a kettle that takes up half your available bench space but is constantly on the boil. I countered with a pressure cooker I didn’t know I wanted. And that was about it until we saw the microwaves. Surely our microwave needed replacing? It certainly needed a good clean and hadn’t that been the reason I needed to get a new oven? I googled ‘what sort of microwave to buy’ and lo and behold – there was one on the shelf in front of us. We snapped it up in an instant and that should be the story of our trip to the Appliance Warehouse. But you know it’s not. You know that when we got the fan home and fitted, it sounded like the engine testing facility at Boeing. You know I can’t work the controls on the oven and that every time I touch it, it beeps. It beeps when it goes on, when it sets a temperature, when the door opens, when the door closes, then the light goes on, when the light goes off. It’s worse than a two year old discovering the word why. I would love to tell you about the cook top failure-to-fire and the mislabelled microwave but they haven’t arrived yet – which I find really strange. Maybe they are still looking for more magnets for the cooktop but I distinctly remember chosing the microwave based on the fact that there were a pile of boxes containing these exact same microwaves, sitting under the shelf. Perhaps they were empty. Just like our heads when we went shopping.