It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Posted by mwallach on April 10, 2011 in Crazy Follows Me Everywhere, Happy Holidays, New To You |

Dear That’s Life,

Every chag is marked by certain traditions. Before Rosh Hashannah, I take time to prepare all of the simanim (signs) that accompany the meal, the fish head my least favorite of the group. There is a specific kind of challah that is also part of that preparation which I do not make any other time of year, topped only with cinnamon and sugar. While Pesach is no different and has its own array of specific dishes, I wonder why this holiday has to have one annoying and frustrating tradition that I could certainly do without: the breaking of my oven.

I call it a tradition because it has happened more than once. Not only did it happen today, but it happened last year as well. I learned the hard way that on commercial grade ovens made for the home, the ‘self-clean’ mode is a bit of a catch-22. It will clean your oven for sure, but it is also likely to singe the computer panel which allows the oven to operate because the oven reaches such a high heat during that cycle. In effect, it kills itself and you will be left with no working oven and, on top of that, a locked door because the oven suffered its melt down during the self-clean, during which it is always locked.

When the oven repair man came last year, he explained the problem and said that this holiday marked his busiest time of year. “Why do you all have to clean your ovens at the same time?” he asked me. “And is it really necessary?’ I assured him there was a method to the madness and yes: we all needed to clean our ovens for this holiday. He recommended I use easy-off and skip the self-clean option altogether. Clearly, I did not listen. On the other hand, he was also the gentleman who told me he wasn’t keeping all eight days of the holiday this year because he was just too busy and did not have the time. (“Three, maybe four MAX,” he said.) I liked him a lot and he fixed my oven, but clearly we were not speaking the same language.

Misery loves company so I posted my ‘oven status’ on Facebook. Within minutes, I received similar stories from friends about losing their ovens right before Pesach, all due to the self-clean mode. One friend told me that when she called the company, she was informed that she must have set the self-clean for longer than they suggested. The self-clean cycle is pre-set, she explained. She could not set it for longer than the allotted time, because it could not be altered at all. It set itself. Instead of fighting with this yahoo, however, she paid the repair man because, at the end of the day, she had no other choice. Another friend told me her mother loses one major appliance each chag and so I was in good company. Someone else wrote that the burners on her stove seem to shut themselves off at will and another friend said her oven shuts itself, while something is still baking.

Of course, one other friend of mine wrote, “Didn’t this happen to you last year?!” I replied that yes: it had, and thanks for pointing that out. Ho-hum, I said to myself. I get by with a little help of my friends.


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