Been There, Done That by Laura Nethken

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We've been very patient and I think our wait may finally be over. We should be getting a stove sometime this week.

Actually, our stove wasn't the problem, it was the oven that didn't work.

Somebody told us it just needs a new heating element. Well, it's got more issues than that. One of the small stove burners doesn't really plug in right, one of the big ones only works when it feels like it, all of the burner pans are pretty much rusted or burned up to nothing, and the door is dented from some overexuberant rednecks at a New Year's Eve party years ago.

It was dented just enough that the oven never heated evenly. There went my Betty Crocker Award. Like I baked.

Until just recently, the "baby" (who's now 22) had never had a biscuit with a bottom. He didn't know biscuits were supposed to have bottoms until he had them at my mom's once. They burned, I cut them off. Who needs bottoms?

And with a family full of diabetics, it's not like I'm whipping up a batch of cookies every other day, either. But it would be nice to make a meatloaf without hauling down the roaster oven that outweighs me by a good bit from the top shelf in the utility room that I can't reach without a helicopter.

Or even just a little frozen pizza without digging out the convection oven. I'd like to try one of those square pizzas they swear taste just as good or better than delivery, but for the past three years we haven't had anything big enough to cook one in.

The new-to-us stove is a flat top. No actual burners for crumbs and other unsightlies to fall into. Just a nice smooth surface to wipe off. I first saw one of those in 1985 when our cat "ran away" to our friends' house.

They broke him of getting up on the counters because he accidentally jumped up on the stove once. They said he never jumped up on anything after that. He burned his feet and must have thought the whole place was rigged to get him.

In anticipation of the new addition, we need to get the old one cleaned out. I don't need to clean it up, it's headed for the scrapyard anyway. In fact, it's been on a real low-maintenance cleaning schedule ever since the oven died. It's had one foot out the door for years, why would I worry about giving it a spit shine?

No, we need to clean it out. The drawer is where we keep a bunch of pots and pans and that collection has spilled over into the oven as well. I guess we might as well use the space for something.

Our big problem now is what to do with all those pots and pans while we swap out stoves? Even for a very temporary period of time, there just isn't anywhere to go with all that stuff.

When we had to bring our camper home at the end of the summer, we had to put that stuff somewhere. A lot of it got boxed up and stored at my mom and dad's. That's where I wanted all of it to go until I got silly and started thinking. Maybe we could use some of that stuff at the house until camp season opens.

And of course the stuff I thought we could use was the pots and pans. Now they're everywhere -- in the drawer, in the oven, in the new cupboard, and stacked in the utility room.

The roaster got to be too much to haul up and down, so now it lives on top of the dryer. I thought I could put it back and use that space to store pots and pans, but something else has already slithered into its former spot.

I thought about putting the pots and pans in the dryer. It'd only be for a day or two and that dryer drum is huge. But you just know that someone will turn it on and then we'll need a new dryer.

Someday, we're going to have a ton of storage space. There are plans for turning the now defunct upstairs shower into a linen closet and finally building the walk-in closet in our bedroom.

Then all our clothes could be in there instead of downstairs in the shoe closet. Which doesn't even house shoes anymore. It's now one of the dogs' favorite napping spots.

I can blame the overflow on the camper stuff, but it all comes down to being a packrat. And my husband tolerates it because he's a bit of a hoarder himself.

I came across a whole pile of old car magazines on the shelf of the shoe closet when I decided to get rid of some of our photo albums. I took all the albums out and went through them one by one. And then put them all back up on the shelf. I can't bring myself to get rid of a single one.

At this point, all I can do is hope that the closet gets built before that shelf crashes down and kills a couple of lazy dogs.

Copyright 2014 Laura Nethken

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