Potties, Flames, and Springs, Oh My!

On Sunday we bought a potty at Ikea.  It’s a turquoise plastic thing that could double as a centurion helmet (minus the horsehair crest).  After Baby Harbat’s bath on Monday she said, “Potty? Potty?”  I’m eliminating the rest of the five hundred repetitions, which she thinks are required for any communication in case there’s ANY CHANCE we didn’t quite get it the first 499 times.  So we set the potty down and she sat down and went to the bathroom.  There was much cheering and smiling.  I guess she has known for a while how to do it, and was waiting for stupid parents to catch up.  The rest of the evening she wanted to sit on the potty and scoot it around the floor like a legless horse.

The rest of my evening involved taking apart pieces of the new stove.  The clock has been ticking loud enough to hear across the house, a fairly ominous sound since the whole thing smells of gas anyway.  So I took apart the clock to find a solid steel and magnetic clock mechanism.  This is how you build things!  It must’ve weight a full pound and despite binding slightly on the casing (thus the ticking noise) it had been spinning and running since the early Atom Age.  Next stop:  thermocouple.  Despite the Futuro-sounding name, it’s just a metal rod with a copper wire leading to the safety valve.  In principle it gets hot by sitting next to the pilot light, transfers some heat up the wire to the valve, which allows gas to flow to the oven.  If the pilot is blown out, the thermocouple is cold and thus the valve shuts off.  In principle.  I blew out all four pilots last night and one-one thousanded up to sixty.  The pilots relit instantly, which means the gas never shut off.  Which means if the pilots somehow get blown out, the gas will slowly continue to leak out.  I’m going to test this again tonight to make sure I’m right.  If they don’t work, we’ll need to have both rebuilt.  Though I’m a penny-pinching Scot, the idea of not having any safety backup on our stove makes me reluctantly open my wallet for the stove repair place.

I did manage to get the left oven working again by moving the thermocouple to one of the burner pilots.  I was briefly excited when the oven sprung to life with a whump of blue flame.  Then I tested the burner and a cloud of blue flame puffed up by the dials, since a burner had been on but not ignited.  A tendril of smoke curled from the front of the oven, and I had to go change my shorts.  Okay, lesson learned:  don’t leave gas valves open without lighting the pilots!

I did manage to repair a broken spring with, wait for it, a metal coat hanger!  Bam!  I just saved $13.  I was working on the stove until after 10 pm, lying on the floor with my head in the oven.  Not once did my wife come in and inquire about my health.  Not once.

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  1. doug said:

    after reading the two sentences of the last paragraph, i actually clicked on the 'fanfare' button to end your blog with 'ta-dah," fanfare.

  2. Babs said:

    Yikers!! I think little Ms. Potty Harbat had more success with cheers included than the near explosive results of losing an offspring! Congrats with the coat hanger, however…very creative and worth at least an additional 10 pts.

  3. Ta da! I didn't light my hair on fire! Thanks for the laugh.

  4. Hmmm….there was little time between when we finished dinner and when we were out looking for the meteor shower so I know that you didn't have your head in there for long. Why exactly was it in there?

  5. No, that was the night before last. I was fiddling with the thermocouple. And feeling dizzy from the gas. And sleeping with my face in the broiler pan.

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