Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kettle Conundrum

Here are pictures of my old tea kettle (the silver model) and my new tea kettle (the flashy red ultra mod-style). I've had the silver Revereware kettle for nine, or ten years. It was a gift from a girl, now a grown woman, who rode with Jonathan and I for many years. I don't even remember what the occasion was that prompted her to buy us a tea kettle...maybe a birthday, or our wedding? Anyway, I've had this kettle a long time and I know it's not rational, but I tend to bond with inanimate objects, and I love this kettle. It has faithfully boiled water for my coffee press every day, never once giving me any problems. I am the kind of person who doesn't buy something new just for the sake of it. My stuff has to completely self destruct for me to replace it, even then I will try to get Jonathan to put whatever has broken back together with his superior skills for improvisational repair work. I guess you could call it Yankee practicality, or call a spade a spade, I'm cheap and weird. So, just imagine my horror when a box of birthday gifts arrived from my parents and when I opened it, I found inside a brand new flashy, red tea kettle. I felt the air suck out of my lungs for a minute when I first laid eyes on it. I quickly glanced at the old kettle, sitting comfortably atop the stove, on its burner, imagining that it had a sinking feeling, like it knew what I just seen in the box. I felt instant guilt and I didn't even want to unpack the new kettle, but then again it was sort of cool looking, in a glitzy sporty, ultra mod kind of way. My guilt magnified, because I had allowed myself to think the new kettle was better looking than the old one. In a panic, I replaced my guilt with a renewed loyalty and denial. I shall not use this new, shiny kettle! It shall remain in a box, until I see fit to retire Old Silver. God, now I wasn't only getting older, I was having ridiculous conversations in my head about tea kettles and their tender emotional states. I opted not to share my thoughts with Jonathan. These are the sort of things that I usually keep from my husband. He already has to listen to my continual singing and chatting with the cats and dogs in our house. I can't let him know that my peculiarities extend to inanimate objects as well. I would just have to put the new kettle on the stove and let the kettles kibbutz for a while. Maybe Old Silver would be relieved to see this red kettle show up. Perhaps, it was tired after all these years of boiling and whistling, boiling and whistling. I decided to give Big Red a chance and ignore my imaginary tea kettle conversations. Really, enough is enough, I told myself.

I began using the new kettle the next morning and though it made me feel a sharp pang in my stomach, I put Old Silver away in a cabinet. Over the next few weeks, I began to bond with the new kettle and its funky, ergonomic handle. I was adjusting to listening to its strong, steady whistle when the water was boiling. I'm such a coffee junkie that basically anything to do with my morning coffee mojo eventually becomes sacred to me. The red kettle was winning me over...then tragedy struck. It was late one evening and for whatever reason, Jonathan noticed that during the preparation of dinner he had splashed the entire cooktop with flying grease particles. He is one of the world's messiest cooks, so this is not a rare occurrence in our kitchen. The rarity of this is that he observed the mess and became insistent about cleaning it up. I was at the refrigerator door when I heard the mighty crash. I looked over and there was my new kettle, prone on the floor, with small bits of broken black plastic scattered around it. Oh no, due to it's slippery covering of spattered oil, Jonathan (with his constant butter-fingers) had dropped it! The mighty new kettle has been ruined!! As it turned out, it wasn't ruined, just scarred a bit. It's fancy handle now no longer had the ability to hold itself up on its own accord, but after a quick test I saw that it could still do its job. Jonathan was contrite, but his comforting words extended to report, "what a cheaply made kettle!". I was angry, then bereft, then angry again. "How could you be so clumsy!!", I shouted. This was a rhetorical question, because Jonathan is prone to dropping things on a constant basis. Finally, I sighed the sigh of a resigned, but loving wife. As I picked up the scattered broken black plastic pieces, I swear I heard Old Silver snickering from the bottom cupboard. "Who's shiny and perfect now?", it seemed to be saying. I really need some therapy for this kind of thing.

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