Friday, September 30, 2005

Redmum's pressure [over] cooker

IF possible I never ask my landlord to do anything around my flat, having been burned by previous experience. That means no DIY, no decoration, and certainly, when I can help it, no fixing of things that I can fix myself.

Then on Sunday my oven blew up.

It was pre-heating ready for a lovely rib-roast, Sunday dinners are a sacred thing in my book, when I turned on the kettle… Sparks, smoke and crazy crackling noises later, the oven packed up completely and utterly.

I think it has been threatening to kill itself for sometime now. First one hot ring went but I could work around that.

Then a second hot ring blew up, so I told the landlord. I may be no cordon bleu chef but I do like to cook and a cooker that works much in the same way as a camping stove is no use to me at all.

Then the oven blew up on Sunday, I think it took one look at the rib roast and just lost all will to live.

Now let me explain something about my landlord, he’s alright. I know others who have lived in this house over the years would not feel the same. But he is, just do not get him to replace something.

I made that mistake some years back and learned the hard way that this is the house that Jack fixed with coloured wires, silicon and gaffer tape.

Some years ago my sink was beginning to show the shines of rust and I asked him to have a look, thinking it would be replaced.

Well come on, how much does a sink cost? And I am not talking about a brand, new spanking wonderful designer malarkey.

He came over with gate paint. I didn’t see this until I got home and I was gobsmacked. Was I supposed to wash dishes, etc, in a sink which has paint on it!!!

He left a basin perched on the side of the sink telling me not to use it for 24 hours. Three days later the paint was still tacky to touch and I just went feck this and since then there has always been a basin in the sink.

Well would you wash dishes in that?

Or there is the time I needed a new fridge cos my own one was absolutely and completely knackered and he brought me over the one the people who lived downstairs had discarded.

It was colder in my flat than in the fridge. I started to keep milk out on my windowsill. Thankfully one of my mum’s friends got a new kitchen and I got her old fridge freezer. It is knackered but generally works. Oh and it is a deluxe model in comparison to the shit he left me with before.

So now I needed work on my cooker.

He came over last night and obviously was not able to fix the cooker, it was marked DNR.

So I came home from work to find him fitting a new cooker, oh sorry, did I say new, I mean old, decrepit in fact.

If only!

When he left I started to try to clean it up, the dirt on the knobs alone would not come off. Then I realised there is absolutely no calibration on ANY of the knobs, including the cooker.

At the time (and experience has proved otherwise) I thought this wouldn’t be such a problem with the hot rings but it would be a big problem with the oven.

So I called the landlord back into the flat and told him.

His solution was ‘will I draw a line on it with a marker’. WHAT!

Sure couldn’t I do that myself? How fecking thick does he think I am?

But that won’t solve the problem of what fecking temperature the oven is. Only I know men who would agree with me I would say only a man would say that. So instead I will just say only someone who never cooks would say that.

So I argued the point and he just didn’t get it, then he left.

I turned on the oven on full and 20 minutes later it still felt less than hot. It was at that point I saw the spider running for its life. Yum.

Needless to say what should have taken 20 minutes to heat actually took an hour and 20 minutes.

Since then I have realised that it is even worse than at first inspection. The rings and grill don’t turn off properly, at all. You know the click when a cooker knob is turned off or on full, the clicks on the knobs defy all logic.

I realised this last night when I thought…ha… that I turned the grill off. Until 15 minutes later the room started to slowly fill up with smoke.

Where was it coming from, I opened the oven. And then I realised it was the grill. This has happened a couple of times. Can you imagine the young wan left loose on this cooker, oh God no. I must remember to tell her again to leave it alone.

So I have been turning it off at the mains constantly since just to be sure that it is off.

I am so pissed off. How dare anyone he think that’s okay. It’s not. Not at all.

I phoned him earlier and told him that I need a new cooker, that this one doesn’t work. I don’t need a brand new one, but I would prefer one that hasn’t sat in his garage for bloody years.

I need to move. But seeing as how the housing ladder has evaded me until now, I can’t see that changing in the short term anyway.

Ironically, I pay as much in rent, more in many cases, than the repayments friends I know who were able to get a mortgage pay.

But it is time to move, I have been here ten years and I never thought I would still be here.

I found this place years ago and that particular flat hunting phase was the first time I did so while on the dole.

In all my other flats up to then (there were four moves in one year alone, urgg), I had been working. It was hard enough to find a flat with and suitable for a child, let alone find one as a student (as I was at the time) AND claiming social welfare. So when I came to find here I was starting to get desperate as no one would touch me with a barge poll.

In one case I went to see an awful, awful place. But we needed somewhere to live and I remember looking and looking wondering what on earth I could do to the place to make it home.

The prospective landlord looked at my pal who had come to see the place with me and asked was it for us two and I told him no it was for my daughter and I.

He said: “So you’d be on social welfare?”

Me: “Well ehm yeah”

Him: “I don’t want that type here, no offence!”

Me: “Well offence taken and let me tell you I am only looking at this hell hole because I am desperate due to your TYPE.”

Cue one pissed off Redmum. Then I found this place and I cannot believe I am still here 10 years later.

Since we have lived here, my daughter has started and finished primary school, started secondary school, I finished college and started the big world of work within the year.

Seven years on from finishing college I have a good job, okay salary (couldn’t it always be better) its not fantastic but I am much better off than before, and much better off than loads of people you see everyday.

Yet I cannot afford a home of our own. In the not too distant past it was not unreasonable to keep a family and home on one salary. That’s certainly not the case in post-Celtic Tiger and booming economy Ireland.

We need to get out of this flat, we need a home with a garden, more space and storage. But it has been our home and we will both miss it. Well a bit anyway.


Sunset in my garden
I'll miss my lovely big window.

Roll on the lottery.


doris said...

I'm with you on the cooker situation. Our cooker came with our house and looked an impressive range type with 8 hobs! BUT oven temperatures are a joke and I was in the store the other day looking at oven thermometers and reckoned I'd have to have at least two because I bet the temp is very different at the front than the back.

As for the housing market... it is very hard. And it is most likely you pay more than those of us on mortgages. But it is supposed to be a buyers market at the moment.

I have a friend with 4 kids who was so financialy desperate one year and living in a council flat. Somehow and out of nowhere, they suddenly found the wherewithall to get on the housing ladder that by the next year life was very different in their own house. You gotta have a dream to make the dreams come true :-)

thordora said...

Crap. We bought our first house last year, and every appliance was somehow screwed. I FINALLY convinced my idiot husband we needed a new stove 10 months later. The other one was much like your "new" one. It burned EVERYTHING, including itself.

You don't have any kind of renters trial or anything there do you? No organization that will advocate for you? We had one shite landlord once-NEVER again. I feel for you. It's a sick cycle...

I'm sure all of us will vouch for you as references however!

Boliath said...

You've made some seriously good grub on that oul cooker for all it's foibles. I can't believe it's been 10 years since you moved in there. Hope the house buying project works out for you, you wouldn't know yourself with a wee garden, the doggie would be beside herself!

Red Mum said...

I dont think anything could beat those chips I made for you and me the first time you saw me as a mummy, all those years ago in that other flat.

Remember in between cooking the chips, I made a stack of bottles, as you performed your own friend duties?

Lovely lovely memories.

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