Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Time for a new timer

I don't know what other people talk about in the privacy of their own homes but in our house we spend an inordinate amount of time talking about kitchen timers. How none of them work. How we need to stop wasting money on timers that don't work. How the ones that do work invariably get lost in the house. How the jangle of most timers is so unpleasant. How Lindsay has a knockout idea to improve timers that one day he will patent and make us as rich as one of those "inventor moms," like the one who came up with the Snack Trap or the one who invented that shopping cart cover-thingie for babies. How I'm skeptical of Lindsay's idea but I'm going to keep it to myself in case one of you totally steals it and makes a success of it and quits your day job and moves to Kaui and I will never hear the end of it. Talking about timers invariably leads to talk about the folly that is our expensive, defective Bluestar range and how we need to replace it. This is never a discussion that ends well.

But what a ball of sunshine this timer is, huh? So radiant, so ’70s, so very, very big! You can't tell from this picture but it's the size of a lunch plate and meant to be mounted on the wall. In other words, the sort of kitchen timer that's very hard to lose should we (Lindsay) ever actually mount it on the wall. It's just been sitting on the counter for the last six months, you know, untouched, waiting for someone to mount it on the wall.

I pried the timer off a wood-paneled backsplash in a standard-issue avocado kitchen at an estate sale. It was grimy with 30 years of kitchen splatter but I've got a strong stomach and willed myself not to think what the results might reveal if I had the thing swabbed and sent to a lab. Until I dropped it—and for a half second all the estate salers milling in the kitchen froze and gawped at the greasy hairball mass that had accumulated inside the timer. Ugh. The moment it split in two, I'd committed to buying the vile thing for $2.50. We break it, we cry; you break it, you buy, blah blah yeah whatever. But as you can see, there's a happy ending: The timer wasn't permanently damaged, and I managed to clean it with half a bottle of Greased Lightning and a roll of paper towels. Was it worth all the effort and the trauma or even $2.50? I'll let you know, if we ever start using it.

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