You may not know this, but I enjoy a small amount of fame in Franklin County. I host a very popular Saturday-morning radio program that many, many people listen to. In May, on that very radio program, I mentioned to my listeners that I was in search of a proper gas stove and they should call me if they had one they were selling.
I got a few calls, but only one stove was white, and since I want white appliances (I suspect that this stainless steel thing is going to go out of style and everyone with their expensive, stainless steel appliances will be sad and sorry), I made a trip out to see the stove.
The people who had the stove were out in the country, and it turned out we had a friend in common. Hooray!
They opened the garage to show me the stove. It was in almost-new condition and they only wanted $50 for it. This was just what the doctor ordered! Just then, the matron of the family lifted the top to show me the inside and she saw a mouse nest.
She was mortified, but said, "If you still want it we'll replace the insulation
Fantastic. A few short weeks later, my mom, dad and niece met me there with my dad's truck and we loaded the stove up onto the back of the pickup. I paid them extra money since they replace the insulation and were already giving me the stove for a steal. As we were finishing up business, the man told us which insulation was replaced and casually said something along the lines of, "When you first fire it up, you might smell a little something, but it'll burn off in no time."
If this story were a Lifetime movie, right at that moment, there would be a swell of music to indicate foreshadowing.
We moved into the house at the end of June. It was too hot for baking, so I made our dinners using just the stovetop
. In early July, however, I really had a hankering for pizza. I made one, fired up the oven and threw it in. I was making a salad when I was suddenly enveloped in the grossest - and I mean grossest - smell I've ever smelled in my life.
It was kind of a cross between Kirkland Avenue (in Northampton, where all the drunks pee and it shows) and the rottenest, smelliest infection your lady parts have ever seen. Times one thousand. And HOT.
I immediately started gagging. I had to go outside. I started barking orders to Scott. "Open all the windows! and "Turn all the fans so they blow out!" Even outside I was still gagging. I called my father. "What do we do?"
He told me that once the pizza was done, we should just leave the oven on for a while at 250 to burn the smell off.
(Aside: The smell was coming from the stove but did not originate IN the stove, so our pizza baked without contamination.)
The smell didn't subside and indeed grew worse as the oven burned on. Sweet god, we didn't know what to do.
The man who sold us the oven told us he didn't replace the insulation on the back because there was no evidence of soilage
, but he did replace the insulation on the top and sides. My dad and I thought that maybe replacing the back would help.
Where the hell do you get insulation for the back of a stove? Great question. Turns out the only place that has it is the Internet. It took about a week to arrive, and when it did, The Artist came by, tools in hand.
When he took the back insulation out, there was no sign of soilage
, but he put the new one in anyway. It's a miracle, we thought. Christmas is saved!
My father fired up the oven and I almost immediately caught a whiff of something. But it wasn't as bad. I knew that it would increase over time, though, and I opened the kitchen windows, then turned on the ceiling fan in the kitchen.
Suddenly, I was overtaken by the smell of one thousand hot, rotten vaginas
. I started to gag. I had to run out of the house. My father had to run around turning off the stove, opening the rest of the windows, turning on fans, and doing all the rest of my bidding. I stood in the driveway gagging.
I couldn't even go back in. I just went to JBo's
house. She took pity on me and the one thousand hot, rotten vaginas
. Mission Unaccomplished.
I was ready to give up and call the scrap man. I wanted him to take the oven away and melt it down and make it into other ovens for other people.
But my dad, The Artist, was not able or ready to give up. He said, "One more try." I said, "I ain't got one more try left in me, Pops." He said, "C'mon
!" I said, "Oh, alright."
He came over last Friday night and took the oven apart. Apart-apart. There were pieces of stove all over the kitchen.
He made me relive the horror. He asked me where I smelled the smell the strongest. I told him. He detached a part of the stove and handed it to me. "Is this the smell?" he asked.
I am a fool. I wasn't even thinking. I just buried my nose right in the piece and breathed deeply. And then came the gagging. Holy sweet mother of God, he found it!
Turns out on the inside of my stove, there are thin layers of insulation between any pieces of metal touching other pieces of metal. If my father weren't taking things apart bit by bit, we'd never have found this horrible, horrible smell.
I started running hot water on it, and just a bit of hot water began to stir up the angry, hot, rotten vagina smell. I was gagging again, as you can only imagine, I'm sure.
Aside: I wonder what it looks like to watch me gag? We saw Ghost Town
a few weeks ago. Not a feat of film making
, but totally entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable. At one point, the main character (Ricky Gervais
) was drinking that stuff they make you drink before a colonoscopy
and watching him try to drink it made me gag. When he actually started gagging from it, I nearly had to leave the theater.
What happened, we think, is that mice were in the stove for so long that their urine soaked even the most remote and tiny pieces of insulation. Some of the mice might have had terrible lady infections. This is just my guess. When the nice man replaced the insulation, he did not notice these tiny pieces of urine-soaked goodness. And then they became MY tiny pieces of urine-soaked goodness.
Imagine my delight.
Some of the tiny pieces of urine-soaked goodness were attached to parts we couldn't take out, so instead we sprayed them down with Clorox bleach and soaked the Clorox out of the insulation with paper towels. The paper towels came out black. I threw them in the trash. Then the trash became so filled with urine-soaked goodness that I couldn't even go near it for the gagging. Poor Scott had to come down and play trash man.
We got to a point where we couldn't soak any more of the one thousand hot and rotten vaginas
out of the insulation any more and we had to call it a night.
The next day, we started soaking the insulation with bleach all over again. You wouldn't believe it, but it wasn't all up. We kept spraying it down and soaking it up, spraying it down and soaking it up. What a chore.
Finally, we got to a point where we felt like we could put the stove back together. By WE, I mean my father put the stove back together.
We fired it up and held our breath and...And...AND...
I wish I had better news, but it still smells, but now it only smells like on hot, rotten vagina. We're making real progress here, friends! My dad is convinced that now all we have to do is run the stove for a while and the smells really will burn off this time.
I'm not so sure. But more than not so sure, what I really am is afraid. Afraid that after all this work we're still going to have to buy a new stove.
My father was really trying to sell me on the progress though. The smell is just the remnants of the bleach cleaner burning off. Yeah, that's the ticket. In fact, he's sure of it!
I have to test it all out tomorrow night, though, as I begin preparations for Saturday night's dinner. Kelsey
and Jaime are coming by for dinner and I'm hoping for an incident-free, hot-rotten-vagina-free meal. That's why I doing all the baking the night before. Imagine me welcoming them into our home with gas masks and air freshener
Will report back.
Labels: fear, the Artist, unholy stink