I donâ€™t know exactly long we have had the same stove (part of which is an oven â€“ not one of those fancy schmancy wall ovens), but itâ€™s probably at least a dozen years old. During that time it has been cleaned several times, always with lots of elbow grease and perhaps once or twice with a stinky spritz-type oven cleaning product, which really didnâ€™t do much more than create noxious gas.
Today, Mrs. Parkway decreed that we would try out the ovenâ€™s self-cleaning function. Being Mr. Doesnâ€™t Pay Attention to Lots of Things Domestic, in the dozen years we owned the stove, I never noticed the button on the front that said quite clearly, â€œCLEAN.â€
Before embarking on this adventure, Mrs. Pâ€™way located the book of instructions that came with the stove. They were a little scary. Because of that, she insisted that I be part of this operation so that it would be MY fault if we ended up having to call the Fire Department. Go figure.
The instructions made it clear that a few things had to be pre-wiped clean before one should push the â€œCLEANâ€ button. Once that was done, one selects the time for cleaning (three hours are recommended). Here was the scary part. Once the oven reaches â€œcleaning temperature,â€ the word â€œLOCKâ€ appears on the little dashboard on the front of the stove. This means that one cannot open the oven during the cleaning process. I envisioned the stove turning into something like Steven Kingâ€™s killer car, Christine, and my not being able to stop the killer stove. Later in the instructions (in the Question and Answer portion), one is told how to stop the process should the house become full of acrid smoke. That made me feel a little better about the Christine Thing and the Fire Department Thing.
What happens next is that the oven reaches temperatures that must come close to that of the surface of the sun or perhaps the depths of hell. When the three hours are up, the oven shuts off and the word â€œLOCKâ€ disappears, letting one know that it is OK to open the oven door without fear of incineration.
I took a deep breath and pushed the â€œCLEANâ€ button.
Preparing for the worst (including the possible Fire Department call), we retired to the deck to read, with occasional glances into the kitchen to look for billowing smoke. There was none.
Three hours or so later, the word â€œLOCKâ€ disappeared and, sure enough, one could open the oven. It worked! The oven was nice and clean. I felt a bit like a Third World guy staring at a clean oven, marveling that it cleaned itself. Hot Damn!
Of course, that got me to thinking what other inventions would be sweet. How about these?
Self-driving cars (peeps are working on this one)
Then there are these:
Self-blowing noses (some kind of a warning beep would be a good idea â€“ then again, maybe thatâ€™s what a sneeze is)
Self-zipping flies (I wouldnâ€™t want to try this one until all the bugs were worked out)
Donâ€™t ask me how I got from cleaning an oven to self-wiping asses, for I have no idea. I do know that I canâ€™t blame it on the fumes.