Irons and toasters and bread machines, oh my!


For some reason, my husband and I have purchased and pitched more small appliances than seems possible. Maybe it’s true that they just don’t make things like they used to. After all, according to one of the Car Talk brothers, the 1967 Dodge Dart is the most perfect car made because it was so simple. Today’s cars are so complex that the maintenance and repair is challenging.

But I digress….sorry, just listened to Click and Clack this morning and the Dodge Dart was on their minds. Back to small appliances. In our household, an iron can work fine one day and the next day be totally useless. Nothing more frustrating than turning on the iron and coming back a few minutes later to find it still cold.

This is true also of toasters, breadmakers (we’ve been through five in the last 20 years), hairdryers, dust busters, and alarm clocks. I think my parents had the same toaster and iron for the first 40 years of married life. In fact, I think my mom gave me her original Sunbeam iron a few years ago. I killed it. Don’t tell her.

Fred’s dad’s theory was that we didn’t take care of them. This is probably true, especially of the bread machines. I use it a few times a week and most times, “forget” to clean it out. So…things get crusty in there. But still.The death of the first bread machine was no one’s fault. It was my all-time favorite one, because it had a glass-domed top, so you could really see it rising. It also looked like R2D2.

One afternoon about 20 years ago (this was in house number two or three…I’ve lost track), I’d fired up the bread machine and was upstairs minding my own business. Looking back, I realize I should have stayed nearby. I remember that it seemed a bit off balance while in the kneading cycle, but I ignored that. Awhile later, it seemed like the whole house started to shake and then we heard a loud crash from the kitchen.

R2D2 had decided to take a walk off the counter, breaking the glass dome and spewing bread dough all over the floor. We all had a good laugh and put that one out to pasture. Subsequent machines have never been quite as entertaining, but certainly less expensive.

Anyway, our iron gave out a few months ago, and the thrifty part of me fetched one from Et Cetera, our local thrift shop. It weighed about 50 pounds but worked semi-okay. Today I decided it was time for a new one — thriftiness forgotten — and found a nice, lightweight replacement at my favorite local hardware.

I figure if something goes wrong with it, I’ll go visit my favorite hardware store owner. Or call Click and Clack…maybe their skills with cars extends to irons.

Next purchase…a toaster that toasts in less than 10 minutes.

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