Ramblings: Battle with the Oven in Mexico



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By Judy Ristity

It’s hard being an oven in La Paz. My owner (aka SHE/HER) hurries among Sink, Fridge, and Microwave. Sink gets treated to a daily bubble-bath. Microwave has her buttons pushed at daybreak when SHE warms Milk for HER coffee. And Nespresso Machine erupts into the most god-awful groan, as if he resents being awake early, but SHE treats him as if he’s a $5,000 Professional machine instead of a tiny Pixie. I’d rejoice, if SHE appreciated me that much. Instead I sit in the kitchen ignored most of the year. But I get even. Here’s the long, sad story:

Last May SHE and HE (aka Alex) entered Electra and walked up to Bertha. THEY oohed and ahhhed. Then SHE noticed that Bertha had only one rack and complained to the salesperson. THEY were told that in Mexico ovens come with only one rack. Finally, SHE said to HIM, “Let’s give away Old Oven without her rack. Then WE’LL have two.”

Satisfied, HE paid with Credit Card, and then laid Bertha on her back in Big Blazer. Bertha almost popped a leak because she was car sick, but controlled herself; she wanted to make a good impression. Later, Bertha told me she wished she’d gotten sick all over that car.

THEY lugged and tugged poor Bertha into their tiny kitchen and paid a plumber to hook a propane gas line into her backside. Ouch, that must have hurt, but she was so happy to have a home she didn’t complain. She was innocent back then. This was to be her first opportunity to get heated up. SHE placed her hand on Bertha’s knob and looked carefully. SHE yelled, “This oven has no numbers! Let’s take it back.” Poor Bertha was devastated. She’s been sitting in the showroom for two years waiting for someone to adopt her, and now she was called, “it.”

When THEY shoved Bertha back into the store, the salesperson said, “We don’t want Bertha back. YOU bought her; YOU keep her.” SHE got all upset and whined, “It’s defective. It doesn’t have numbers. I can’t bake my deliciously famous rum-chocolate cake using a dial that says, ‘Bajo, Mediano, and Alto’. WE will pay extra for an oven with numbers.”

The salespeople went into the back room. That’s where I was kept, so I heard this conversation:

Salesman #1 – Who do those foreigners think they are? They’re always complaining. Never satisfied. Thinking their money will buy whatever they want.

Salesman #2 – Look, Bertha isn’t bad looking, someone will want her. Let’s sell the Gringos Pricilla. She’s been sitting in this warehouse for decades. She’s old and grumpy and can’t be trusted. THEY deserve Pricilla. Take their money.

I was offended but the thought of getting out of that ugly warehouse made me temper my rage. I was driven to pretty House, hooked up and felt happy. I waited. Nothing happened. Why wasn’t I being used? What about HER claims of baking HER famous rum-chocolate cake? Then one morning SHE said to HIM, “Its top is beige. Our counters are white. Let’s paint its top white.”

I was horrified. My beige top was classy. What was that crazy woman complaining about? Then HE said, “You can’t use just any old paint on her. It must be baked enamel, done by a professional and I doubt that anyone in La Paz does that work.” I breathed a sigh of relief.

She said, “Let’s take its top to States and have it painted.”

Oh, no. They were going to unhinge me! I tried to hold myself together, but He ripped my top off, put me into Blazer and drove me up the Baja. What happened in that paint shop is too horrific to describe – the heat; the chemicals. I still have nightmares. In the end, I was so white I felt invisible.

HE was happy because SHE was overjoyed, but THEY underestimated me.

I waited – I’d gotten used to waiting — until the time was right. The weather turned cold in December. Christmas was coming. SHE turned my dial to 350, lit me, and put Cake inside me. I soared to 500 degrees. When SHE opened my door, I was so hot HER face almost caught fire. SHE swore and turned down the dial to 325. I cooled to 275. When Timer rang, Cake’s bottom was black; her inside raw. And to add to HER misery, Cake oozed all over HER precious second rack. SHE said the F word really loud and slammed my door. Then, SHE did the unimaginable – SHE grabbed a can of Easy Off and sprayed my insides. I couldn’t breathe. But I got even. When SHE wiped off Cake’s chemical-laden goo, the harsh bubbles burned HER hand. SHE deserved it.

Once, SHE lit my top burner, turned the flame very low, and put a pan of rice on me. When SHE walked away I blow myself out. SHE returned, noticed there was no flame so SHE touched Lighter to Burner. I exploded and burned off HER eyebrows! The Dummy didn’t know that gas was still flowing. SHE smelled like singed chicken feathers for days. Since then, we’ve waged a private war. SHE ignores me until winter. Then SHE needs me, but I know SHE’s afraid. Good, let HER sweat. My dials are as untrustworthy as a politician’s promises.

There is an upside to this tale. HE’s had a change of heart; HE is nice to me. Sometimes HE washes my top with a nice warm cloth. And HE uses me, even in July. I can tell that HE loves me by the gentle way HE turns my knobs. And in return, I adjust my heat to whatever number HE turns me to. It drives HER nuts. In fact, SHE’s convinced HIM to leave La Paz from July to October. SHE’s won that battle, but not the war.

Doesn’t SHE understand that I have feelings and one of them is revenge? If SHE would treat me with respect and pay attention to me, I wouldn’t hold a grudge. I’d do my best to keep my fluctuations under control. It’s up to HER.

Judy Ristity finds humor in the ordinary, then looks again and discovers the poignant.

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