07 January 2008

How to Ruin Your Mother's Stove & Pot

1. Fill her good Revereware copper-bottom pot with 3/4 c. water. (You know, because you want to make tea.)
2. Turn the stove temperature to "HIGH."
3. Go upstairs and forget about it for 30-60 minutes.

Result: the water will all boil dry and evaporate and the pot will continue to heat up on the burner until the pan cooks and the copper turns black and melts itself permanently onto the stove. Return to find a huge mess. Freak out. Turn the stove off and let it cool before attempting to clean. Forget about salvaging the pot. It's ruined.

You know how when you were little and your mom trusted you enough to stay home alone, and then you ended up doing something stupid like flooding the bathroom or breaking the back of the couch because you and your siblings thought it'd be fun to jump on it? Then remember how it felt waiting for her to come home, hoping she wouldn't notice? Knowing she would and praying she would find it in her heart to forgive your six-year-old self?

Yeah, it's kind of like that. Only I'm 19 and I should have known better. I shouldn't have been so careless to walk out of the kitchen when I had a pot of water on the stove. Fortunately I can replace the pot. When my sister got married this summer, my grandma gave her a set of Revereware. It's these really nice copper-bottom pots that are supposed to be the best. My grandma went ahead and gave me a set, too. You know, in case she's not around by the time I get married...

I went to the basement storage room and pulled open my box and removed the smallest pot, still shiny from never being used. I'll give it to my mom. Oh yeah, and we don't have a regular stove. It's a flat top ceramic glass one so there aren't any coils or anything. Just electric burners. I Googled how to clean one. Unfortunately no one had posted advice on how to fix my situation, but someone suggested scraping burnt food off with a razor blade. After waiting for the stove to cool, I dug around in our tool drawers and found a razor blade. It was old and therefore not very sharp. We used to have some blocks that we used to sharpen knives on; I was going to run it against those a few times, but I couldn't find them.

So, for two hours (3-5pm) I stood at that stove scraping away at this burned copper on ceramic glass, the shavings coming off like dust just particles at a time. My fingers rubbed on the surface and cracked, my pinky blistering at the strange angle my hand sat as I tried juggling the small blade in my too-large fingers. Both index fingers sliced open next to the nails from the still-sharp sides of the blade. The copper filings buried beneath my fingernails. I made progress, slowly but surely, trying not to break down and cry. My hands were cramping. I knew calling my mom was not a good idea; she'd worry about it until she got off work. (Today was layout day at the paper, so she'll probably be home later than usual.) But I gave up. The remaining marks refusing to release their grip.

And so I sit. Trying to figure out how to speak when she comes through the door, hoping replacing her pot will make up for the ruined stovetop. I can't go out and buy a new top. I would if I knew where to get it. I probably have the money in my savings. Oh man...
She came home and I was loading the dishwasher (an attempt to redeem myself as a not-horrible person). I held my breath and it took her a minute to even notice. "What happened here?" she asked. "I burned it..." I held back tears. "What happened to the pot?" I held out my shiny one. "You can have this one," and then I showed her the burned one. I burst into tears "I didn't mean to! I just forgot about it..." and I retreated upstairs. It'd have felt good to lay on my bed and cry but I sniffled up my tears and washed my face and retreated back downstairs. Mom told me I could have my pot back because she didn't want to ruin my set Grandma gave me. "It's an old stove; I'm not mad. I'll probably have to replace it soon anyway." Relief. Last winter Mark was shoveling Mom's driveway and he took some chunks of of the concrete. She said she didn't get mad at him, then. These things happen. Whew.


menard said...

:-( that's never fun. i accidentally parked behind my dad last year in my mom's new car. he backed into it. oops. mom's always show such forgiveness that is hard to contemplate. mom's and jesus are great!

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