Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Exhaust Hood

Arby is on vacation this week. Please enjoy this post that originally appeared on Arby's Archives.

“Oh my God, it’s a dead bird! Here, take this!” she shouted, handing me the exhaust hood over our stove, which was still attached to the wall by a live hard-wired power cord.

I should leave my blog right there and let you contemplate that one for a few days.

My wife had just handed me a greasy, thirty-six year old exhaust fan that was still attached to our kitchen wall by a live 110 volt power cord and bolted for the other end of the house.

Instinctively, I grabbed the exhaust hood. Sure enough, there was a dead bird sitting on the top of it. Who would expect to drop an exhaust hood that has been attached to the bottom of their kitchen cabinet and find the large, crunchy remains of a dead bird? It certainly wasn’t us. I finally found the answer to a question that has puzzled me for the three years that we have lived in this house. Why would someone install an exhaust hood over their stove, including the duct work to vent the exhaust hood up through the roof of their house, and then not rig the hood to actually vent out of the house? As long as we have lived in this house the hood has vented into the kitchen. For a person my height, that meant standing and cooking with a greasy fan blowing in my face. I always thought the previous owners were just stupid. In reality, the problem was that there was a dead bird in repose on the flap that was supposed to open when the fan started blowing. One glance up the exhaust vent showed that the vent went up into the attic, but was not connected to duct work leading out of the house. There is simply a hole in the attic floor. There is nothing covering the hole. In a way, the previous owners were stupid. They left an open hole for a bird to fall in once it gained access to the attic.

But I digress.

The real question is, how did I end up holding an exhaust fan connected to my kitchen wall by a live 110 volt power cord with a dead bird lying in state? That answer is easy.

I married a panther.

Yes, I am married to a woman whose motto in life is, “Damn the directions! Full speed ahead!” I am married to a woman who took a fully loaded, fully functional Gateway computer that had just been given to us and started a manual file erasing frenzy the speed of which had to be seen to be truly appreciated, deleting a slew of unneeded files left on the machine by the previous owner that unfortunately included a few .exe files that left us with a very pretty electronic paper weight until a computer savvy friend took the unit off of our hands and reprogrammed it to its former glory. That only cost us a steak dinner at the Hereford House, Kansas City’s premier steak house.

We got a wild hair this week. We decided to replace the kitchen floor. We’ve been walking on rather old and degraded linoleum while deciding whether we would repair this house for resale and move into a bigger home on a large parcel of land or add an addition onto this house and stay for a few decades. We chose the former, but decided to make temporary repairs to the kitchen until the Boss returns from Iraq and we renovate. After replacing the floor we painted the cabinets. Well, I painted the cabinets. We purchased a new microwave/exhaust fan combination to replace the existing bird mausoleum. And before I could read the directions for installing the new microwave oven, before I could contemplate the strategy for this repair, before I could finish removing dinner from the stove, the Boss glanced underneath the hood and said, “Oh look, this is only held up by four screws.” The next I knew, the hood was hanging by Romex and the Boss was heading for the hills with the echoes of “Dead bird!” peeling through the house.

She did return to help, a child’s Fisher-Price slide projector flashlight in hand, mildly observing, “Don’t you hate it when she does this?” as if the real culprit escaped through the back door and she magnanimously appeared to bring order to chaos.

That’s why I found myself holding up an exhaust hood by one hand tonight, removing a dead bird with the other, requesting screw drivers and giving directions for turning off the power to the kitchen so that I could disconnect the aviary sepulcher all the while trying to keep my rising temper in check and reminding myself that one day I would be laughing about this whole thing because, let’s face it, a moment like this is vintage “the Boss” and I willingly married her. I started laughing.

Tomorrow we head to the hardware store to purchase lumber. We need to tear-out a cabinet and build in a box to support the new microwave oven. You see, this one is too big for the existing space.

She did promise me and adventure...

1 comment:

CrossView said...

Glad it didn't take long for the laughter! Makes it easier for you. I imagine she was already laughing.... ;o)