Monday, April 2, 2012


G-d is a woman, and She has a warped sense of humor.

For those who are accustomed to the insanity brought on by the week before Passover, I need not explain that one does not mess with a Jewish woman who has started Passover prep. You already know that the further you are from the kitchen where this is happening, the better your odds of survival. To those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, I'll give you the short version: first, every crumb must be removed, every piece of leavened bread, every smidge of anything that is not declared kosher for Passover, all gone. Then, you box up your entire kitchen, "sell" the non-Passover food, dump everything in the fridge, fire up your stove and oven for purification, then unpack multiple sets of dishes, flatware, pots, pans, cooking utensils, small appliances, and table linens right after you've spent way too much money on replacing the food you just packed up or threw away with Kosher for Passover versions which are 1) not bargains, and 2) not usually exact substitutes. So the least comic thing on the planet you can do is to dump a truckload of aggravation on a woman when her kitchen is torn to shreds. No one in their right mind thinks this is funny....

.....except G-d. I'm just guessing here, but I suspect She must find this sort of thing amusing. 

In an attempt to use up the last of the flour and the maple syrup, I made pancakes Sunday morning. After I turned off the burners, there was little gas smell. I checked the knobs, made sure they were all the way off, but there was still this slight gas smell. When the junior son and wife arrived to shlep boxes up from the basement, the first thing he said was, "Do you smell gas?" My daughter-in-law sprang into action and called our crack utilities company, Xcel, who said they would be over in a little while. 

Officially condemned by Xcel
And amazingly enough, the Xcel truck was at the bottom of the driveway within the hour. When the inspection was over, the cooktop was declared a hazard. It needs a new burner valve for the top right burner and the Xcel guy said the part might no longer be available. Meanwhile, he turned off the gas explaining that if left on, the valve would continue to leak, fill up the house, and don't want to know.

I may not be making seders this year, but I still have to cook! I’m still having a houseful for Shabbat Pesach And I don't have time to fool around; Pesach is serious business. There are women out there clucking in sympathy... as well as a few who will call within an hour after this is posted to ask 1) if we're okay, and 2) do we need food?  Even though I know they’re just trying to use up chametz (food not for Passover) I appreciate the gesture. For the record: yes, we're okay, and no, we don't need food, but thank you.

Good thing I took this whole week off to get ready for Pesach. It wasn't like I was planning to loll about, eating bonbons, waiting for the Exodus to begin.  No! I have to a kitchen to dismantle, mantle, dismantle, then remantle. It's confusing I know but this is what traditional Jewish women do. And I've said it before: this is payback for that little episode in the Garden of Eden - the holiday cycle from Gehenna.

So, this morning, I called the Jenn-Air repair guy. I had all the model parts, numbers and information he needed to figure out if the patient was worth saving. After a short but very direct conversation, it was apparent that all four valves should be replaced and that the cost was more than half of a new cooktop. And, explained the repair guy, not that he wanted to throw away a nice service call, the thing was 23 years old and the new tops are much more efficient and much easier to maintain now that they have sealed burners. He suggested that I go look at them before deciding.

Good thing my federal refund came last week; that'll just about cover the whole shebang. As much as I hate to spend money on something as frivolous as a stove that does not leak gas, I did. I went to our usual appliance guys, had a whirlwind tour of what was new and immediately available, and to be honest, they actually had what I wanted and it will be installed on Wednesday. 

About the only upside to this whole misadventure? I won’t have to kasher the stove for Pesach.

4/4/2012 UPDATE: Some sense of humor....
the cook top is too short for the hole. 
NOW I'm in trouble!

Wifely Person’s Tip O’the Week
Always save appliance booklets and specs together in one place.
Having them handy makes life much easier.
Publish Post
The original Jenn-Air manual


  1. Having read your tale of woe, I can only say that it is soooo obvious what we good Jewish women will be doing from now on: replacing our stoves every spring so that we will not have clean them for Pesach... what a wonderful idea!

    And of course a new oven & refrigerator wouldn't be so bad either. Dayenu?

    1. Yeah, well, be careful what you wish for....I looked at a new Sub-Zero today and almost had the big one right there!

  2. Dismantle, mantle, dismantle, then remantle - Love it!

    i will also not tell you that we have a Pesach kitchen set up by the rabbi & rebbetzin who lived here before we did!

    Glad to hear that you are OK (somewhat!).