Wednesday, October 17, 2007

hilde and the new stove

We are finally getting a new stove. I love craigslist. We found a thousand dollar stove for 300 bucks. I say "finally" as though I've been waiting to get a stove that meets my high standards for home appliances. Nope. I've never had a good stove. I've always had stoves (ranges) that I didn't mind the oozing blackberry goo piling up in the bottom, smoking and starting on fire. I always had stoves that had some burners that worked and some that didn't, that sat at odd angles; ovens with tempermental temperatures. Hot in the front and hotter in the rear. Slanted, although it was often the floor that was off by an inch or so in either direction. So, getting a new stove is really a first for me.

So K calls to check it out.
"Do all the burners work?" he asks.
She assures him they do.
"And the oven?"
I'm baking bread in it now," she says.
I roll my eyes.
He makes arrangements to view the thing, and off we go.
"There is a picket fence," she says.

Of course there is.

So we get to the picket fence house with steam in the windows from the baking bread. I'm singing under my breath, "Our house is a very very very fine house."
And she answers the door.
Beautiful girl. Two beautiful children. Blonde boys. Brown baked bread on the countertop. "Smells good," I say.
"Yes," she says, and corrects one of the children in German. "We have a grinder."
I turn. Look at the grinder, the rows of glass jars full of grain.
"You grind your own grain?"

And it isn't that I am jealous, I couldn't be. I'm not even in the same domestic ballpark. She, it turns out, moved here from Germany yesterday, boxes everywhere, and she is grinding her own grain making her own fucking bread, homeschooling the next arian brotherhood with not a hair out of place.

I was never like that. Had I moved from Germany yesterday, I would still be in bed, eating bon bons that I'd had delivered, waiting for the cable to be hooked up.
The only leveling moment was when one of the boys toddled into the kitchen, his hand blue and his mouth dripping the same colored drool. "Oh, my" says Hilde, "Have you any children?"
I really wanted to say, "Yes, but I broke mine." But I just said yes, I raised one.
Then the wanted to know if ink was toxic. And this is where the gray area of life always eludes me. Scale of one to ten? Not too bad. Somewhere between white sugar and rat poison. "Ah, not really," I say. "He'll be fine."

And I believed it as I said it, but toxic, to a woman who grinds her own grain and bakes her own bread, is such a far cry from the toxicity of my life. Of my child's childhood.

Toxic indeed.

So, I guaranteed Toffler's safety, and made the deal on the stove. It will be two weeks until she gets her new one, but if we want it now, they'll be fine. They will chew raw grain for two weeks. But we didn't want to take Hilde's stove away from her and her children, so I'll be burning things on my old stove for another couple of weeks.


Roy said...

I hope they live in a forest, so she can remove fallen limbs the moment they land, and sweep the ground.

Anonymous said...

what an excellent story. and true. so funny. your views are diamonds glinting in the sun, J.

Anonymous said...

i have one of the former stoves, now.

someone said...

You still have that stove??? Wow. Even it is so much better than the one I have now.