Let me reprise the kitchen stove odyssey: The day before Thanksgiving, our kitchen stove started tripping the circuit every time I used the oven and burners at the same time. So cooking the big meal was dicey, but I got it done. Early the following week, a young repairman arrived, turned on the burners and oven, went downstairs to look at the fusebox, and told me he could hear a noise in the box and that this meant there was something wrong with the connection there. He charged me some money and departed. I texted all of this info to Tom at work, who tracked down the electrician, who showed up late in the day and tightened the connection. "Fixed?" you ask. We thought so, and so we returned to our old-fashioned oven-and-stovetop cooking habits. But more was in store. On Wednesday, smoke and foul odor began emanating from the back of the stove. I called the appliance store again. Appliance store owner said guy cannot come out till Monday. I began some mild whining. Appliance store owner relented and made her husband show up on Friday. Show up he did: he pulled the stove away from the wall, unplugged it, and instantly discovered char and melted plastic on the prongs. "It's your outlet that's bad," he announced, and kindly did not charge me . . . given that his employee maybe ought to have pulled the stove out and unplugged it in the first place. However, it was now clear that we should not use the stove at all. I texted Tom with all of this information, and Paul and I began making plans for surviving for the weekend without a stove. We don't own a microwave, but Paul unpacked an electric kettle from his dorm-room days, and we found a panini maker and a waffle iron in the back of a cupboard. Our meal planning took on a comic tinge (e.g., Brussel sprout waffles), but we figured out how to make do.
So Paul went to work, and I thought about frying bacon in the panini maker, when Tom (the hero of our story) walked in after a long day spent trying to jack up the corner of a cantilevered building, climbed down into the gap behind the stove, took apart the outlet, confirmed that it was full of char, studied it, climbed out of the stove hole, drove to the hardware store, acquired another 220 range outlet, installed it, plugged in the stove, pushed it back into its cabinet cubby, and went off to take a shower.
And the family warmed up yesterday's leftovers in the oven, and they all lived happily ever after.
So let's offer a virtual cheer for the doughty Handyman, our household god, who labors all day and then returns to solve our emergencies with nary a stomp or muttered expletive. A gutter collapses, a tree falls, an outlet smolders . . . never fear; he'll figure out what to do next. He's a marvel.