The Term Home Improvement is Forever Banished from My World

Or: The Stove Saga Part II

When I last left the brand new stove I had dropped a half gallon of paint into, as described in my last blog, it was in about 50 pieces. This is no exaggeration, counting screws and bolts (and including one important bracket piece that was missing)

Those of you doing Home Improvement can relate to my angst. Here’s what happened.

I had called some local repair shops and explained the predicament of spilling latex paint inside the stove but I got the “we won’t touch that” response even though I was begging them to rip me off. One told me to just buy a new stove. However, the last guy suggested we call the manufacturer and so we did – later I found out that the manufacturer is an 800 number and an anonymous person takes your info down, then promptly ignores it and sends an unprepared sub-contractor with no parts available.

We waited two days with paint hardening in all sorts of crevices and places in the stove – some accessible, some not.

The auto call that the serviceman was arriving came in at 8 am after a late night with great friends. The congenial sub-contractor walked in before I was awake or had my coffee and when I asked where the insulation we had specifically requested was, he feigned ignorance which put me into attack mode.

“Let me get this straight,” I barked. “We put not one but two calls into GE, with specific instructions, and they assured us you keep insulation and other parts on your truck, and then we emailed them the situation and parts needed and then they send you out to look at it, with no parts to repair it? This for $88 for a service call????”

I concluded my tirade with, “I am writing to the president of GE.”

He assured me he could order the parts, it would take a few weeks and then the charge for today’s visit would be applied. I told him we would not be back for a year, as we lived in Houston. The service man then looked at me funny, but he sensed my desperation.

My husband Gary gave me the evil eye, and I moved away while they pulled out the stove. Gary had taken the top (burner and burner tray, as well as the next layer which I assume is a grease or catch tray, and the wire elements were exposed as was the soaked-with-latex-paint insulation inside of it.

Service guy looked up the parts: insulation, the missing bracket etc, and came up with $350 in charges including labor. We told him that’s what the stove cost.

Gary was proposing having parts shipped and then installed when someone from the building office could let him in but we all realized that would be ridiculous.

The guy saw my anger was not subsiding so he snapped into a helping mode. He told Gary that he could buy acetone and wipe off all the paint. He told him that we could buy the insulation at Home Depot and he would order the part missing under our warranty. Service guy then dismantled the entire stove – putting in on the floor in about 50 pieces and showed Gary how to replace the insulation and put it back together.

Then he told us he was covering the call under warranty and that all we had to pay him was $20 in cash for his lunch.

Gary and I happily paid him though I looked at the puzzle pieces that were once a stove and doubted it would be as easy as he claimed.

I was right of course.

After going to two home improvement stores (And by the way I am banishing the term “home improvement” from my life, and that includes immediate changing of the station if a Home Depot or Lowe’s commercial comes on, or if I happen to click on reruns of the same titled TV show) Gary decided that the fiberglass insulation (that looked like every other fiberglass insulation) might be “different” on an oven, and did not want to put “different” fiberglass insulation in a stove if it was made for other purposes. Of course none of the stores had the exact match of fiberglass and foil anyway.

That’s when Gary and the store employee had a conversation and Gary had an “Aha” moment. He decided he could peel away the portions of painted insulation we unwrapped from the stove and rescue the rest. We bought heavy duty aluminum foil to wrap around it.

Our mission over, Gary and I worked our tails off with the acetone, and got the stove and wires and pipes paint-free. He laid out the insulation, and took out the paint-soaked pieces, piecing it back together and wrapping it with four layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. He assembled this on the interior of the oven without a problem.

Then he stared down the 50 pieces.

The serious cursing began shortly after.

Two hours later I had to leave for the airport to catch my flight – Gary was staying a few more days thankfully.

He was stymied on one piece so I begged him to take me to the airport and deal with the *pieces of stove* later.

The entire way to the airport, I was wondering how on earth he was going to figure it out. He is handy and methodical – but this was a huge challenge for even the handiest of guys.

I called him upon my arrival back and he said he tried to put the first major piece on backwards which is why it wasn’t working. Once he reversed it, everything started falling into place.

“It’s all together and I am about to turn on the gas and see if it works,” he said.

So hopefully, our brand new stove will not smell of paint or acetone, or gas or anything else, and my next report will be that we once again have a brand new working stove.

My hero! The total cost of my major calamity of spilling a bucket of paint in a brand new stove: lecturing by my husband on my carelessness, acetone, aluminum foil, an exhausted husband, hours of work and labor, and $25 bucks to the service guy. (I gave the guy an extra $5 for being so bitter with him in the beginning)

Update: Gary turned it on and it works perfectly! Did I ever tell you how awesome my husband can be? Saved the day, or the stove, once again!

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