Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

WEMon August 11, 2014 Mistakes, Gaffs and Goof-ups

Let’s start off with a riddle:

Q: How many home owners does it take to replace a light bulb?
A: None.

None because this home owner refused to replace the burnt out light bulb in the oven when she learned it costs $25.00. That’s right, you read correctly. This particular light bulb in our particular oven cost $25.00 back in 2007. There are four altogether. I have decided to bake in the dark.

This is from the real estate ad. It looks more or less the same today.

This is from the real estate ad.

When I was house hunting and first laid eyes on the kitchen it took my breath away. The real estate agent knew what she was doing when she directed the open house traffic to the rear entrance. It makes a good first impression. Apparently, so I am told, when I stepped into the room, I gasped and said, “This is it.”

The previous owners added the room three years earlier and outfitted the kitchen to suit the homemaker who cooked and baked for her family of nine. This included a double built-in self-cleaning convection oven. Of course, all electronic bells and whistles.

In 2012, right on schedule, as warranties started to expire, so did the electronics. Over a period of weeks, the oven’s touch-screen control panel failed. I called Sears.

When the technician came by to perform the diagnostics, he concluded that the panel’s circuitry was fried, most likely because we live in an area that is prone to brown-outs. Electronic components don’t take kindly to frequent power outages and surges. For some reason (he told me, but I’ve forgotten) surge protection is not an option for this built-in unit.

As the tech was installing the new circuit board, he accidentally snapped off a piece as he was fixing it into place.

We set up another appointment. After a different tech came and went that day, I sent an email to Reiner.

They ordered the wrong part.Three times a charm, right?


The better part of $800.00 and one month later, the appliance works.

You can imagine that the oven was not the only “unit” to experience fried circuitry. I was beside myself with impotent anger about… what? The fact that I have a pretty kitchen that is equipped with such wonderful appliances?


Whose brilliant idea was it, I ask you, to design appliances so that it costs $25 to replace a light bulb? Or a good portion of a month’s salary to replace the critical element necessary to run the dang-blang thing? Whose brilliant idea was it to design something so vulnerable electronically that it is actually worthwhile considering a replacement unit rather than repair it?

I thought, let’s not replace the part. We can get by with the stove-top burners and the microwave. Who needs to bake a cake, anyway? You’re only going to eat it. I could use both ovens for storage that way, rather than just the lower one.

Then I considered ripping out the built-in unit and installing an old-fashioned used stove, efficiency standards be-damned. But that would mean, if not an entire kitchen makeover, at least one wall would need extensive remodeling.

Not in the cards.

I swallowed that bitter pill and paid the nice man.

I love this house. It’s sturdy, 130 years old, lots of hardwood trim. It’s within walking distance of most everything I might need, it sits on a wooded lot, we’ve got great neighbours, and live in a lovely, small town.

So why, therefore, if I love it to pieces, do I spend an inordinate amount of time complaining about the kitchen?

I was duped by razzle dazzle. I don’t like being duped.

 ***   ***  ***  ***   ***


p style=”text-align:center;”>In response to WEMon August 11, 2014 with a nod to Andrew for the subject matter

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40 replies

  1. You’ve got me shaking in my boots. I bought a new stove several months ago…..from Sears……it’s a double oven, one of them convection. We have brown outs. I’m not prepared to pay 800.00 for repairs. But thanks for the warning……if the bulb goes out, I’ll use a flashlight.


  2. Gosh it almost sounds like you need a UPS backup system for your oven!

    That kitchen really does look amazing, I can’t blame you for being dazzled by it.


    • Thanks, Bradley! We already have two similar units on our computer terminals. I was going to say that there isn’t room for one in the kitchen, but we could store it in the surplus oven on the bottom! Hmmm…

      Glad you like the kitchen. It’s very country homey woodsy greeny.


  3. I would totally bake in the dark over paying $100 for light bulbs, Maggie!
    I have already had THE FEAR, when the digital panel went out on the stove in our military rental home! I didn’t have to pay a dime, but it reinforced THE FEAR.
    You can read about my aversion to bells and whistles here

    Annnnd — I think you might enjoy this article I read recently.

    Sorry for bein so linky-posty, but I get so excited when people express opinions that match my own!


  4. Our oven’s panel has been doing its own thing for awhile. When we want to bake we push “convect.” To broil we push “bake,” etc. We are so use to it we don’t even think about it anymore. It fixed itself once when we turned the breaker off and on but now it’s back to its old tricks. We’ve decided to live with its quirkiness rather then pay $$ to get it fixed.


    • Yes, we limped along for some time before the unit gave up the ghost completely. Initially, my resistance was about having to give up a day to the service guy. Little did I know that I’d need to get a second mortgage! (Hyperbole, but you get the idea.)


  5. All I can say is “built-in-obsolescence”. The circuits are designed to have a short lifespan … how short depends on how expensive the appliance was to begin with. It’s a sad tale, but true.

    There must be something ‘in the air’ these days – because I’m having woes with 2 major appliances. My oven (Gilles is in denial about it so my complaints fall on deaf ears) and our upright freezer.
    Having said that, I can’t complain though. Both are of a respectable old age and it’s quite impressive they’ve lasted this long.


  6. The oven in our stove never worked right for baking cookies and such. So, I bought a toaster oven that heats up to 450 degrees, broils and bakes. Cost, about $100.00. We’re gluten intollerant, but I can bake gluten free bread in it, broil a steak, make cookies and just about anything else. Sure saves on the cost of electricity.

    Our dryer started screeching (ear drum breaking) at us, so I asked for a replacement for a Birthday gift. Okay, I’m old and I don’t need jewelry or the such. The new dryer (I think) has a surge control in it and the savings on electricity, amazing. Oh, when we pulled out the old dryer, we discovered the vent thingy had broken and there was about five gallons of lint under it. Lucky it didn’t catch on fire. Oh, and we bought a 3 year extended warranty. Good thing. The warranty that came with it didn’t cover parts, service calls or pretty much anything else.


  7. Why do you complain about the kitchen? Some things are both a blessing and a curse. By the way, I only use candles. But it’s getting extremely expensive to replace them. Especially since I have to have them shipped in from the 18th century.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I think I should submit my photo to Webster so that under the heading “Blessing” and “Curse” they can cross-reference the terms with the illustration. 😛

      18th century candles, eh? “Shipping” has a whole different meaning, there, yes?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Planned obsolescence is right. We bought our old house eight years ago and remodeled the kitchen almost immediately putting in upgraded appliances (not top, top but pretty darn good) and just the other day we noticed the strange noise the dishwasher is now making. And I got the dreaded error message from my front-load washing machine. Yup, $300 to replace a broken door latch after two years. Wretched things.


    • “You get what you pay for” has a whole new meaning, doesn’t it? Even though you pay top dollar, you are paying for the sizzle, not the steak. But this only becomes apparent AFTER you’ve done your due diligence, comparison shopping, Consumer Reports and so on and STILL, the display on the screen reads ERROR.


  9. Your ‘baking in the dark’ comment amused me, Maggie. I could have done with a light in the Wellstood combustion stove I cooked with for 17 years. A glass window panel in the door would have been handy too! Now, so used to baking in the dark, I always forget to use the light in my electric oven. Such a luxury!


    • Here’s the irony about these ovens. Yes, there is a window, but it is half obscured by little black dots. So even if the interior is lit, I cannot properly see the contents from outside! AND! (I’m on a roll!) EVERY time you open the door, the light comes on, in both ovens! There is no way to manually switch off the light.

      LOL. I just listened to myself. What a whiner!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. We got 20 years out of our first iron. When it finally died, I bought the equivalent model (paying exactly the same amount of money, bizarrely) and it only lasted two years. I think governments need to start legislating ‘end of life’ responsibilities on manufacturers so we can get away from this ‘cheaper to buy a new one than repair the old one’ thing we’ve got going on now.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Know what you mean, Maggie. Always a sour taste there, right at the back …


  12. Yes, I use a torch/flash light to view my oven…. Don’t know why the bulbs have to be so expensive. I love my oven though! Glad you managed to get yours fixed. 🙂


  13. Maggie … It’s the little things that send us into a tizzy. In the marketplace, ‘planned obsolescence’ is the gift that keeps on giving to manufacturers and businesses. They’re counting on us to replace the whole dang thing rather than some iddy biddy part.


  14. Hey, I am just grateful to be back on-line where the digital stream flows through this little wire sticking out of the back of my computer…. I am thinking of going totally native at the house near Iowa. We are dumping the condo, as I am dumping my job and maybe I’ll have to farm for my diner.

    A wooden cook stove sounds like just the thing. I think we have one in THE PILE IN THE BASEMENT.



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