The Maid Doesn’t Wear Stilettos. Neither Does the Cook or Gardener.

Excuse me while I stick my head in the oven.  No, I’m not feeling suicidal.  It’s merely time to clean the oven.

I generally clean my oven twice a year, more often if something splatters or spills because I have smoke alarms that are very sensitive and would wake the dead when they go off.

Oven cleaners may now be scented and come in aerosol cans, bur their effectiveness leaves a lot to be desired.  Even ‘extra strength’ really isn’t.  And while it is very easy to apply – especially the sprays – while squatting in front of the oven, the rinsing phase requires sticking not only your head, but half your body inside the oven to wipe all the foamy stuff off.

Anyone who doesn’t do that has never really cleaned an oven – and certainly  not while wearing pearls and stilettos.

While technology has grown exponentially in the past 20 years, it’s still lacking when it comes to cleaning ovens.  They may market ovens as ‘self-cleaning’ but the reality doesn’t live up to the advertisement and expectations.

Reason #1:  the cleaning cycle takes 5-6 hours.  No time savings there – or energy savings.

Reason #2:  You need to manually clean all the loose ‘dirt’ prior to running the cycle.  (It’s stated in the owner’s manual.)  Hmmm…if I have to clean it first, then it’s not truly a ‘self-cleaning’ oven, is it?  It’s more a feature that lightly ‘rinses’, meaning it’s useless.

My ex had one.  In his mind, it would leave me no excuse for not wearing pearls, heels and chic dresses around the house.  I suspect he never used the feature.  (We won’t even discuss floors or bathrooms.)  He suggested running it overnight.  I was aghast.  I would never leave the house or go to sleep with any appliance running.  Yes, paranoia.   So we started it one weekend day when we were both home – and not dressed for any country club, because

Reason #3:  The smoke.  Cooking temps – even if using the broiler, only reach 500°.  Temps for the cleaning feature can exceed 1000°.  Remember Ray Bradbury’s book “Fahrenheit 451”, the temperature at which books will burn?  What’s the temp for burning down the house?

It didn’t take long for smoke to fill the entire house.  The smell.  The sight.  We opened all the windows and doors to let the smoke escape. And his smoke alarms did not go off, even while we were choking on smoke.  (Another reason he’s an ex, expecting me to live in a death trap.)

I have smoke alarms which would wake the dead (as did my previous house).  And since they’re interconnected, if one goes off, they all go off.  If I were to use the cleaning cycle on my oven and go out for the day, I’d probably come home to find a hole where the front door used to be because my neighbors would have called the fire department.  Think the fire department would replace my door?  Pay for any other damages once they entered?  Think my insurance company would reimburse me when I explain why I need a new door – and assorted furnishings?  And how long will it take to remove the burnt stench from the house?

Which brings us to SmartHouse.  In the early ‘90s (1990s) it was an internet joke about networking your entire house via your computer to cable TV, appliances, heating/cooling systems, power etc. which you can control remotely.  The technology became a reality in the early part of this century.  Sound great?  What happens when a virus attacks your computer or your system is hacked wreaking havoc on your house, turning lights on and off at random, shutting off your heat or A/C, disabling appliances, locking you out of your house?  Think your homeowner’s policy will cover a computer virus?  Want to claim poltergeists instead?  It’s a hacker’s dream target.  (Because it would be fun.)

So put away all those techie toys, gadgets, gizmos, whoziwhats, get down on your knees and climb into that oven and scrub.  Afterwards, you can indulge in the dessert of your choice guilt-free since you’ve worked off all the calories cleaning.  And while you’re at it,  toss the robo vacuum cleaner, shovel your own snow (unless it’s over your head, in which case you’ll need a plow) and mow your own lawn.

Life is too short to omit dessert from the menu, and since I’m not June Cleaver, I’ll stick with a Dumb House that provides plenty of workout activities.

Today I had to shovel snow (again) so I scored bonus points!  Excuse me while I slip into a little black dress, some pearls and stilettos and indulge in the guilt-free pleasure known as dessert.