Just to give you a clue as to the scope of my housekeeping skills, it has been 9 years since I’ve cleaned my oven.
In other words.
I’ve never cleaned my oven.
In my defense, when we purchased this particular oven, the big draw, for me, was that it was “self cleaning.”
That’s my kind of oven.
However, I soon learned as the years flew by, that “self cleaning” is really misleading. There are buttons to be pushed, muck to be scraped, and flammables to be removed before the oven actually cleans up after itself.
I was more than a little afraid. I had a vague memory of a girlfriend telling me that her oven caught fire when she used the “self cleaning” function. I suppose an actual fire would do a terrific job of incinerating unwanted pizza drippings.
I also heard a rumor that you have to leave the house for 4 hours while the cleaning occurs, because of toxic fumes.
Well, I did the math on that one. I’d have to have all 3 of my offspring OUT OF THE HOUSE for 4 long hours, while my house burned to the ground in my absence.
So, I did what any respectable procrastinator would do. I did nothing. For nine years. When I was single, I actually used my oven for storage. But, since marriage and subsequent children, I use it daily. Often several times daily.
Nine years. Several times daily. Do that math.
As you might imagine, eventually there would be an oven crisis of such a magnitude, that Fiddledaddy would finally put his giant size 10 foot down and say, “Today, the oven must be cleaned.”
Saturday was that day of reckoning. I was cooking some wheat/gluten/egg/dairy/soy free chicken nuggets (not easy to find, btw) for Jensen. When there arose such a terrible stench, that windows needed to be opened.
This is Florida. In July.
Fearfully, I peered into the oven, to see several pod like growths bubbling up from the bottom. They appeared to be breathing. I turned the oven off, and with long metal spatula in hand, attempted to remove these alien pods. It was as though someone had planted marshmallows on the bottom of the oven.
I shot an icy glare over the bar at my family, but then realized, that these were not marshmallows at all. But rather, sweet potato drippings from a batch that I had been cooking the day before. My bad.
I placed my bugging eyes back in my head, and continued with the icky gooey clean up. During this time, Fiddledaddy had retreated into the deep recesses of the house to hunt for the stove paperwork. He came back, victorious. He read the actual instructions (of which I seldom have need of), I cleared out the flammables, we finished with the scraping, and he turned it on.
Then I said a prayer. “Dear God, Please don’t let us die in a fiery inferno. And I’m not just talking about hell. Amen.”
The instructions did indeed say that the house must be well ventilated. But, the fumes would not be all that toxic. Thinking ahead to the next 4 hours of complaining (mostly mine), Fiddledaddy did what any intelligent father and husband would do. He packed up the children and took them to their grandparents to swim.
Thusly avoiding any unnecessary brain damage to the children. I am beyond hope, so it was determined that I would remain behind, with fire extinguisher in hand.
WOOHOO. The whole house to myself. I had visions of much cleaning and occasional bonbon eating. But then I began to sweat. Because the air conditioner was off and the house was open.
This is Florida. In July.
The house soon reached a balmy 91 degrees. Humid degrees. A humid heat is much worse on the hair than a dry heat. I won’t even go out to the mailbox when it’s 91 degrees. I’m not a fan of the heat.
And yet, I continued with my vacuuming, mopping, and tossing of tiny Polly Pocket accessories. Something I can only get away with when the Polly Pocket Police are not home.
It was a veritable workout.
At long last, my oven was finished cleaning itself. And it was time to cook dinner. Not wanting to heat the house up any more than the already sweltering 116 degrees, I decided to fire up the grill to cook burgers.
Fire may have been an unfortunate choice of word.
Because interestingly, the grill did indeed catch fire. Flames were shooting out from places that fire wasn’t suppose to be. The grill? Not self cleaning. We’ve owned the grill for 9 years. Guess how long it had been since I cleaned it. So the grill joined with the oven and rebelled.
My trusted appliances are turning on me.
I simply look upon all of this as a sign. And it’s a sign that reads “Carrabbas.”