Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Or Do Without


My parents, bless them, are cheap. Not about everything. (This is not entirely true. My father in all actually is cheap about everything. He has been known to bring cars back to temporary life through the use of a paper clip and gum wrapper. I ordered off the kids' menu until I was 15. "Frugal" doesn't even begin to describe the man.) But there are some modern luxuries the rest of us enjoy that my parents feel can wait. A DVD player, for instance, didn't make its way into their house until recent years. My mother was amazed by the apple cutter she used while visiting my sister's family and begged me to price one out at the store for her. Some of this behavior is a direct result of my mother's absolute repulsion to shopping. She loathes it. My dad loves a good discount grocery store; but beyond getting a steal of a deal on food stuffs he'd rather gouge out his own eyes a la Oedipus.

To an extent I admire their make-do attitude. Luxury items, after all, are not necessary. To simplify is no easy task and yet they've gone with the simple my entire life. While the rest of the country indulged in excess during the past 15 years, my parents chugged along in blissful ignorance of the iPod. Things have never been their, well, thing.

But our greatest strength can also be our greatest weakness. You see, about five years ago my parents' circa 1970's oven died entirely. I say "entirely" because my father kept it functioning (with paper clips and gum wrappers, no doubt) for several months. In the five years spent without an oven, my parents have discovered "alternatives" to what most in the mainstream culture deem a necessary major appliance. In those five years they have acquired rotisserie cookers, turkey roasters, toaster ovens, and much, much more. An industrial shelf to house these many appliances has been wedged into their already-cramped kitchen. In the past five years they have cooked entire casseroles on the outdoor grill, baked a mere 4-5 cookies at once in the toaster oven, and essentially driven those of us who understand that functioning ovens are neither luxurious nor excessive stark raving mad.

Now I ask you, dear reader, who does this? Who views this "little blip" in nearly every recipe as a slight challenge? For a woman who hates shopping, my mother has certainly grown familiar with the small appliance aisle at Sears! I've tried an intervention. I've tried sending her links of reasonable used and new ovens advertised on Craig's List. Still she insists on the oven-less path. My mother, the one most likely to see the possible value of a DVD player, is hellbent on not getting a new oven more than my painfully tight-wad-ish father (he misses cake).

So what does a girl like me do? I think I'm in over my head. I think I need to find an affordable oven and show up with it strapped to the roof of my car, unannounced. I think their entire kitchen needs a makeover. I think I better find a fierce paper clip and a heavy duty gum wrapper.

6 comments:

Eva said...

oh, that sounds so much like my family!
There were no showers allowed in their house for years. Literally years because repairing the cracked tile on the shower wall was to daunting a task/expenditure. Meanwhile everybody is pouring cupfuls of water over themselves in order to get clean.

my word verification is "Monalog"

Heidi said...

Oh Bevan and Adelle. I love your parents. I think if I were you I would get them an oven but I might let someone else deliver it. I wouldn't want to be the one to heft it on top of my car. Has your dad not found the microwave cakes???

Jen said...

Crazy! I want to be more toward that side of the pendulum, though not quite that far. May the Lord bless your parents with an oven soon.

Terresa said...

Funny! My mom kept on schlepping by with lame kitchen mixers. One after another, all cheapy lame Sears-type pieces of crap. I kept on applauding my Kitchen-Aid. For years this went on. Finally, she caved. Sweet relief that all my hard work paid off!

Lisa S said...

At first I thought you were my daughter and you were talking about me! hahaha! I hate shopping and my oven died exactly a year ago. I have used my toaster oven for baking everything along with using the stove top and a crock pot. I don't even have a microwave, or a dishwasher! I've had them before but just not in the last 12 years. Probably this next year I will replace the oven and even get a microwave.

Amber said...

They might not even take a donated one now. I think mom is relishing in her obstinance on this one. I would tell you to just let this one go but I think that would be a waste. Good luck with this!