If your condiment shelf on your refrigerator door is held there by the grace of duct tape. And glue has stained the face of your microwave for fifteen years, even though it did not repair the handle. And your husband just said to you, "All ovens lose heat after they are on for a while."
It is time.
That is what I said to my sweet Sven.
And that is why the two of us walked into the appliance store on Main Street.
Sven began weaving his way through rows looking for price tags that matched the lower end appliances they were attached to, while I headed straight for the glittery section, paying no heed to numbers.
"We don't need a new dishwasher," he said when he found me in the middle of a discussion with Mary. "Our dishwasher is fine."
"But it won't match the other appliances I have picked out," I said.
"The dishwasher is on the other side of the room," he said.
"Our kitchen is six feet wide."
I looked in Mary's direction for help.
"Mary, I can't have a dishwasher that doesn't match my other appliances. Can I?"
"No. That will make you nuts," she answered.
The sale took place at the end of September, 2021.
Of course with all the shipping issues the world has been facing in this pandemic era there was no telling when the new appliances would arrive.
"It could be six months out," Mary warned.
"I don't care, " I answered. And then danced out the door and climbed into the truck.
I was on a, there are new appliances coming to my house, kind of a high. I was filled with a, Merry Christmas to me, type of euphoria.
During the next few surreal months of shiny appliances in my future, my sweet Sven spent his time defending the old kitchen in earnest.
Our oven for instance, the one with little holes rusted through the bottom, the one that takes more than an hour to bake whatever the hell you stick in it, the one with a stove top with only two working back burners. And the right one being a baby burner for those looking for just a whisper of a flame.
"Well, it's not the best, but it still works," he said.
"It is just a matter of time," I said with a smile.
He went on, "Well, other than the duct tape on the refrigerator, it is in pretty good condition. How many years ago did you tape that up?"
"Seventeen," I answered.
When cuss words came flying out of the kitchen he said, "You have to push that button on the bottom edge if you want it to preheat."
And when I hollered about the temperature control not cooperating, he said, "It'll change directions after a while."
I do not however recall him sticking up for the microwave during this period, or anytime for that matter. This may have been because that microwave always got him in trouble. When you have a habit of not being able to bring yourself to cover your plate before you punch in a minute on high and your food spins around forty-five seconds and then explodes, it is in your best interest to remain silent.
It was a nostalgic time for Sven as I dreamt of a whole new world coming my way.
But the truth of the matter is, other than his relentless frugalness, I believe there was something else that was bothering him about these foreign appliances that were sitting on a stalled container ship out on the pacific ocean.
You see, Sven is a bit of a celebrity around these parts.
Nobody makes chocolate chip cookies like he does.
He preheats our old unreliable oven to three hundred and fifty degrees and then he pushes just the right amount of walnut pieces into the cookie dough that he purchased in a tube and then sliced with a knife.
Sven never uses a timer.
He says he doesn't need to..
I think it is because it would probably take longer to set that son of a bitch then to bake the cookies.
Sven relies on his instincts as he zones out in front of the golf channel in the next room.
When he pulls the first sheet out, he sets it, cookies and all, on the counter top to continue baking as they cool.
This gives them a balance of crispy bottoms and chewy tops.
It also takes the least amount of effort on his part.
He places the second already prepared sheet into the oven and resumes his virtual reality existence somewhere in a warm setting with green grass, birds singing and golf clubs swinging.
Because he is a humble Norwegian, he does not care for any clapping and would never consider taking a bow.
But since I am married to the geezer, I know that secretly he does not mind his celebrity status and that he had to have been a little worried that his gorgeous wife might be right.
Perhaps other ovens, especially ovens of the newer variety, keep a constant temperature once set.
Would this shiny newcomer that soon would be parked in his kitchen let him forget all about his cookies while he gets lost in a world of dimpled balls?
What if this new show off of an oven were to burn his claim to fame?
That it is why Sven set about slicing up a batch of perfect cookies, while Tuna our teenage punk of a cat, sat on top of the pulled out refrigerator, smacking me every time my washcloth came near him. And Hunter, our dog who never stops barking, stopped barking long enough to watch all the kitchen action. And Grandma Meow Moses, the furry old woman in pearls, was calling out from her downstairs assisted living apartment, "Hey! Is anybody ever going to come and get me?"
You see, a week before Christmas I received a phone call from Mary.
She said, "Hey Millie, your appliances are in. Do you want us to install them tomorrow?"
And I screamed, "YES!"
Right into that poor girl's ear.