March 2008

Lest you think I hate all GE appliances, you should know that I LOVE my GE gas stove top and double oven.  It rocks…it really does.  Despite the fact that I can’t get the self-cleaning oven mechanism to work unless I unscrew FORTY EIGHT tiny little thingamabobs so I can remove all the racks (three in each oven) so that the self-cleaning doohickey will actually work.  Then I have to screw back in FORTY EIGHT tiny little thingamabobs and put back in all six oven racks to I can turn on my oven and practice my culinary arts.   So yeah, if you’re thinking I don’t clean my oven much (if at all), you’d be right.  Don’t let that scare you off from accepting an invite to my house for dinner…I make up for it in other ways (namely inviting scintillating guests who won’t care that my oven is knee-deep in black crud).


One reason I love my GE stove and oven is that it has a griddle.  I love griddles and the ideas that griddles evoke.  Namely, me flipping fresh, fluffy pancakes on a Saturday morning while my happy, well-adjusted family moves serenely through the kitchen, pouring fresh-squeezed orange juice and slicing fresh fruit.  HA!  I can make some killer pancakes alright (along with some to-die-for waffles with my Hampton Inn, Dee-luxe, Kick-Butt Waffle Iron to the Stars), but my family is nowhere to be seen when I’m flipping some Aunt Jemima’s on the griddle.


But when we first moved into the house, I had some Technical Griddle Difficulties (TGD).  After all, I’d never had a griddle before. The problem was the griddle wouldn’t get hot enough and I spent two or three hapless Saturday mornings trying to get that griddle to cook me some killer cakes.  Instead I got wet, sloppy goo. Finally I called a service tech (just the beginning of a long and miserable relationship with appliance service techs).


So Repair Guy shows up and flips off the cover of the griddle and looks starts examining this big slab of iron.  “Let’s take a look at this thang.”  “What are you doing, why did you remove the griddle?” I ask.  And he looked at me like I was some Sandra Lee Semi-Home Kook.  And that, friends, is how I found out I had been making pancakes on the COVER of the griddle. Who knew that I was supposed to remove the cover and that this ugly, pedestrian, industrial hunk of iron was, indeed, the actual griddle?  Do wonders cease, I ask you?


Now, I’m not the greatest cook in the world, but I do like to cook and I have put together more than a few dinner parties.  So I was deeply, tragically embarrassed by this culinary gaffe.  I couldn’t BELIEVE I was makin’ cakes on my freakin’ griddle COVER! 


“Is this going to make your book?” I ask Repair Guy on his way out.

“What book?”


“The book you’ll surely write about all the stupid people who call service technicians after they’ve been making pancakes on their griddle cover.”


“Yeah, lady, you would make the book.”


Aren’t you proud to know me?


I know a blog is not supposed to be a space where one airs all their pet peeves, but why not? And besides, it feels really, really good. So here it goes. 

But first: A sidebar on my recent Half-Birthday blog    I have received incredible support and congratulations on outing this source of suburban banality.  Thank you for your kind words and outrageous stories.  

So anyway, I like wine.  I’m not a wine snob. I don’t seek out extravagantly priced wine at a restaurant. I don’t have to take my own on vacation (but I have done it as the wine at this resort was obnoxiously overpriced).  I don’t drink an everyday house wine that exceeds my tab for a mani/pedi.  I have some favorite wines at restaurants and some favorites at the wine store and some favorites at the supermarket.  I have a general price point that I like to play in and on occasion I will splurge and really live life on the edge.  I love to receive wine as I have lots of friends who have great taste in wines.  I don’t record wines I have enjoyed (or hated – though that rarely happens) and I don’t care to read much about wines, except for well-regarded wines at attractive price points.  

SO when I go to a restaurant and I have snooty wine steward (also know as a sommelier – how do you even say that word after a few glasses of wine, I ask?) and he wants to help me buy an $85 bottle of wine, I kind of cringe.  I mean, I have friends who would love nothing more than to buy an $85 bottle of wine and said friends have even shared it with me.  I once purchased an $85 bottle of wine at a restaurant in Asheville (happy birthday Missy!)  What gets me is when I know for a fact (a FACT!) that the $85 bottle of wine is on VIC special at the Harris Teeter for $14.99.  It kills me.  And I know (from Lettie Teague and from my wine friends) that this might not be the same bottle or the same vintage and blah, blah, blah.  And I also know that the sommelier is part of my dining experience and is there to only enhance that experience by making a flawless wine recommendation to perfectly complement my beef bourguignon.  But I still can’t past the fact that I can get that wine at the Teeter on VIC special.  In fact, once I had the nerve to ask a somelier why he had a wine on the menu marked at $48 when I could get it at the Teeter for $11.  I wasn’t trying to be rude.  I was genuinely, passionately and earnestly interested in the answer – I mean what service is he providing besides a gross mark up on Hess Select?  The least he could do is mark up some wine I can’t get at the durn store and then convince me to drink it.

You know that book Marley and Me about the guy and his lovable lug of a Golden Retreiver who teaches him all kinds of life lessons?  Well, this is the story of GE and Me…a story about a gal and her unlovable piece of crap Monogram refrigerator and the life lessons she learned dealing with GE customer service.  Attached is the customer service letter I sent in January.  Yes, my fridge is now fixed. .  Now, I’m waiting for a service repairmen to come for the THIRD time to fix my automatic ice maker.  Don’t get me started… I need a tepid Diet Coke right now. 

Charla’s GE Letter

The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue hit our house a few weeks ago.  And I have a confession.  In the past, I’ve thrown out what I call the SI Swimskank Issue before Brad even hit the door from work.  I know, some shrink could have a field day with that fraught gesture, but, hey, I’m not proud.  So, I threw the durn thing out.  To his credit, Brad was too proud to inquire.  All told, there are so many things I have to compete with OUTSIDE my four walls and if I can keep something as depressing  and downright mean as the SI Swimsuit issue from INSIDE my four walls, I am better for it.  Brad would contend HE is not better for it, but who cares?  I mean, I’m not keeping a dog-eared copy of Oprah Magazine’s “Hottest Hotties of the Year” issue by my bedside openly mocking my husband and all he’s NOT, am I?

For some reason, this year’s issue slipped by me.  Which is a good thing, because you know what I found out – besides the fact that someone thinks strands and strands of strategically placed and highly colorful beads constitutes a bikini top?  I found out that if for some reason you don’t want to receive the SI Swimskank issue you can call the SI customer service center toll-free and request NOT to receive that issue and SI will extend your subscription by one issue. 

Isn’t that sweet of them?  As if any male on the planet would do such a thing — actually go the trouble of calling a  toll-free number to request that favorite his magazine filled with gorgous and scantily-clad women lounging on exotic beaches NOT get delivered to the privacy of his own home.

I’m only marginally impressed by the gesture which is, after all, buried in the actual magazine on the “Letters” page and posted in tiny print at the bottom of the page.  As if any wife or girlfriend or fiancée is going to locate such a glorious offer and make said call.  So I’m going to help out my girls.  The number is 1-866-228-1175.  I’m calling today to get a headstart on next swimsuit season and to save myself some heartache.