Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

McClellan: We Needed an Oven Door, Anyway

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

McClellan: We Needed an Oven Door, Anyway

Article excerpt

One day not long ago, my wife mentioned that the oven door no longer closed. I mean, it closed, but it didn't close securely. You could push it all the way shut, but it would push back just a little bit.

To be honest, I had not noticed, and had I noticed, I would not have been concerned. The door closed almost all the way.

If things were left to me, lots of things around the house would be a little off, and some things would be a lot off. The best way to prevent little things from becoming big things is to fix them promptly. Living in an old house requires constant vigilance.

I am fortunate to be married to a constantly vigilant woman. Also, a woman who can fix things. But apparently, she was unable to fix the door.

"I'll call the GE man," she said. "What's a good day for you?"

I am not able to fix things, but I can hang around the house. Mary has a fixed schedule. From each according to her abilities. To each according to his needs. That's how our household operates.

Like many repairmen, the GE man cannot be precise with an arrival time. Morning or afternoon is the best you can get.

I am not complaining. I understand. When a repairman makes a house call, he cannot know with any certainty what problems he will confront. He is there to fix things. It might take him an hour. It might take him 10 minutes.

A few months ago, he fixed one of our burners. We have four burners on the top of the oven, and one quit working. I was not bothered by that. Three still worked. How often do you use all four burners, anyway? Mary could not get the fourth to work, so she called the GE man.

He fixed that fourth burner.

What would be a good day for me? This is how a successful marriage works little courtesies. Truth is, any day works for me. Mary knows that, but still, she asks.

"I think I can make Wednesday work," I said.

"If Wednesday doesn't work for him?"

"I think I could make Monday or Tuesday work."

Wednesday morning worked for the GE man.

He looked at the oven door. He pushed it shut. It pushed back a little bit.

"Maybe it's the hinges," he said.

"That would be my guess," I said.

He opened the door and looked at the hinges. …

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