Monthly Archives: November 2019

When Stoves Go Bad…

It was a rough night…
The stove decided to give up the ghost
…and it tried to take me with it.

Fahrenheit 451 – Bad Hair Edition

Where there’s smoke…there is a good chance of singed hair.

I’ll never know exactly how hot the stove got, because the hand-held oven thermometer only went as high as 600 degrees and now it no longer says anything.

The stove killed it.

Stopped clocks are right twice a day, but this thing will only be correct while on asphalt in Tempe, Arizona on record-breaking days in July and August.

At the time, opening the door to the burnt chicken and charcoal fries, it felt like the stove had gone nuclear.

Before this happened, I was debating whether to get my bangs trimmed or let my hair grow to save money. The near-death experience with the stove decided it. I had to get the melted crap cut out of my hair so I’d stop smelling like a forest fire.

Admire my new cut. I call it The Flaming Pixie:

Just in time for freezing cold winter weather.

So, I’ve been hunting for the perfect replacement stove…only to discover white is no longer popular. I would even have to pay more on certain models just to get a white stove to match my existing appliances. On one model I liked, it would cost $700 more just to get it in white!!!

I tell the saleswoman, “My father would haunt me from the grave if I paid extra to get it in white!”

“Let me show you the model in slate! Maybe you’ll like slate?” She says with nary a hint of desperation at my weird requirements.

I loathe stainless steel with a passion most people reserve for politicians or maybe boy bands. I only hate kale more.

It took me a minute to get this one…let’s see how long it takes you to spot “Charcoal Kitty.”

Not to mention I have some weird preferences when it comes to a stove. With an autistic child I’m not looking for what the average consumer needs.

“No, I don’t care if it is self-cleaning, but it needs to have a lock as well as buttons that can’t be yanked off. Oh, and no rubber seal on the inside of the stove. My kid likes to chew on rubber tubing.”

And last of all, I need a new fan/vent hood installed to prevent future incidents of smoke inhalation and open-window hysteria from happening. This has me debating the merits of getting a new hood installed versus putting an over-the-stove microwave in place–one my son can’t as easily sneak into the basement and set for 99 minutes with nothing inside it.

But I will pay whatever it costs so I don’t have to hear my son’s heartbreaking cries when I have to leave the windows open to air out the house again…in winter.

As crises go, this one is bearable. No one got badly injured and, while I had to drug the kid insensate to recover from the trauma Sunday, he bounced back the next morning like nothing had happened.

What I dread most is making an adult decision. I went, I saw, and I failed to find the perfect stove on my first two tries. I have yet to decide between a hood or a more-complicated microwave installation. So I’m doing what I do best–avoiding the issues. (I could be a politician–but I’ll never be kale. That’s some consolation.)

Doleful and discouraged, I’m looking at other people’s stove disasters online. I ‘borrowed’ a few pictures for this post.

(Memes are my solace in a lonely world.)

I’ve been laughing like a loon at things I found at BoredPanda. Enjoy.

In Honor…

I want to tell you about some incredible people I met at the Veteran’s Administration office building in Wyoming, MI a few weeks ago. Two nice gentleman had set up a table and were hoping to reach out to the community to invite members to join the Kent County Veterans Honor Guard through Operation Honor Guard U.S.

To be honest, I wasn’t drawn to the table by a strong desire to re-connect with my military past. No. There were other motivating factors…

You had me at ‘CAKE,’ Ron!

Ron Hayward and Ernie Fiebig may be the last of a generation of selfless individuals who go beyond the call of duty and serve their fellow men and women. In fact, they go all the way to the grave to salute the fallen and honor their memory.

Ron talked to me for a while as I enjoyed a slice of cake. He was proud when describing the dedication of the volunteers and he stood a little straighter when admitting how many ceremonies he had participated in.

“I attended over three-hundred services myself in the past year.” Ron said.

And then he mentioned that they were looking for a few good men and women to join their crew of about sixty veteran Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, as well as Coast Guard servicemen and women. (Where have I heard that before? It sounds so familiar…)

“All you need is to be an honorably discharged veteran and able to attend a minimum of two funerals or ceremonies a year.”

There was hope in his voice. Many of the members were getting up in years. It was getting harder and harder to meet the demand; they sometimes had to turn families down. I suspect he’s given this speech to hundreds of people before. I wonder how many had listened, heard the pain of not being able to serve everyone.

I hated to break his heart, but I explained how my son requires my full attention and I can’t be sure I could even commit to the minimum expected. I really hated that I couldn’t say “Yes.” So I made a promise to get the word out.

“I’ll tell everyone about it on Facebook.” I assured him.

He handed me a flyer, letting me know the history and requirements of joining. Here is a summary of what it said:

Let’s hope autobots can’t read these digitally scanned phone numbers!

According to the tri-fold pamphlet: “The Honor Guard has two units serving northern and southern Kent County by supplying members for over 500 funeral services per year as well as for participation in ceremonies on Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and other events honoring veterans.”


“The Kent County Veterans Honor Guard invites all honorably discharged veterans who share our commitment to join this organization. It is not necessary to have served in a combat situation.”

“Prospective members are required to attend two funerals as observers and two monthly meetings before being voted in and provided with uniforms. There is a $50 copay for the uniforms.”

“The Honor Guard meetings are held at 7 pm on the third Tuesday of the month at selected American Legion and VFW Posts in Kent County. “

If you are interested, contact them at:

They can also be found on Facebook: Kent County Veterans Honor Guard

During elections, you often hear politicians and campaigns loudly proclaiming that they support veterans. Perhaps they do.

But if you really want to witness selfless support of veterans? Search out your local veterans organization. And, if you are a veteran and can stand up for the fallen, become one of the volunteers who march in memory.

So, the next time a parade goes by with service men and women, carrying the flag, holding the ceremonial rifle, please, give your attention when those sentinels go by to honor those who didn’t come home.

According to the above Facebook page, you can have the chance today, the Kent County Veterans Honor Guard will hold a parade in Grand Rapids in honor of Veterans Day:

If you think it’s cold out…just imagine trying to march in formation holding a metal flag pole in this kind of weather!

A final thought:

It is very hard to give of one’s time and energy. It is much easier to salute a flag or drop a donation in a kettle than it is to slog out in horrible weather, to face bereaved families, or, worse, a funeral where a service member had no living relatives or family left to remember them. If you cannot give of yourself by joining this community, find your own way to serve.

I’m sharing a link to a friend’s post on the topic of Veterans Day. She and I met at basic training in South Carolina thirty-four years ago. We’ve discussed how awkward we feel accepting anyone’s thanks for our service–seeing as we both served during peace time. But, as I like to think of it, I am accepting thanks on behalf of my fellow servicemen and women. Even if I don’t deserve gratitude, they certainly do.

I’ll share her post which includes ways in which to really support the troops if you want: Mythmaking and the Veteran.