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I have been away from the blog for a bit because of other activities. I’ve been busy, and there is only so much time in the day. I do have some writing in the works, but most of my time has been spent working on the house. We have been living here for a year and have made significant progress. Not enough to totally please the Goddess, yet enough to make it livable.

One of my projects was to mount the microwave oven in the kitchen. Leaving it sitting on the counter was never going to fly.

Our century house was never meant to have a big kitchen, which is sad. I am the cook and would love a well-laid-out kitchen. I will never have one in this house and have come to terms with that. However, I think we can still make our kitchen awesome until we can do a full remodel one of these days.

The room has an exposed chimney with bare brick, which looks cool as hell. But the mortar is beginning to crumble a little and we didn’t want to repair it because that would ruin the effect.

What’s better: new brickwork or 100-year-old brickwork?

My stove sits in front of the chimney, and I wanted to mount our big-ass microwave above it. This was a great plan but not an easily executed one. The chimney is beginning to crumble a little, and I didn’t want my microwave falling on anyone sometime in the future.

I approached this project as an engineer.

  1. There was no place for me to support the microwave from above; it would need to hang from the bricks alone.
  2. There were no commercial solutions that would fit my needs.
  3. I will have to create something!
    1. (Evil laugh while rubbing my hands together!)

I purchased some heavy-duty countertop brackets used for marble counters. They were strong enough to support the microwave alone, but the bricks were not. I would need to provide much more of a connection to the chimney. To give the brackets something to connect to, I purchased some steel strips and drilled them to match the hole pattern of the brackets. I wanted plenty of connection points with the brick.

Old brick has a tendency to crack easily, which is BAD! And I also avoided drilling into the crumbly mortar, I couldn’t rely on it to hold over time. I carefully drilled into the bricks and used anchor bolts to attach the brackets to the wall.

Then together, we hung the microwave and pushed the stove back into place. I still need to vent the fan somehow – venting back into the room doesn’t really do much.

I think it looks amazing. I am very happy with the results.

And, of course, so is the Goddess!

We have lived in the Century House for about three months now and have settled in very comfortably. However, we have been living without a cookstove. We sold the ancient one that came with the house because we knew we had one on the way – soon.  We wanted all new matching appliances and ordered them in January for a March delivery. Two and half months ought to be enough time to get them shipped from ‘wherever’, right?

This proved true for the most part. Everything was fine and in place by the first of April. However, I made the mistake of ordering a super special order stove with an oven that could be split into two, with dual controls. Along with this, my wife ordered a microwave with all the bells and whistles. You clearly see our cooking styles.

The Empty Spot in my Kitchen

The last two items, the stove and the microwave, did not show up on time. However, to add to the story, we were contacted several times to schedule deliveries that never materialized. The supplier both called and emailed us to schedule the delivery of our products but then didn’t show up at all. They were phantom deliveries. It was very frustrating.

Then the Suez canal blockage happened. The container ship Ever Given had run aground in the middle of the canal and blocked delivery of our stove. At least that was the story we were telling.  We don’t know the exact reason for the delay, but it worked well for laughs.

In the meantime, we have been getting by with a $75 microwave and a $25 electric griddle. We tried using our slow cooker to prepare meals ahead, but you know “SLOW COOKER” is not something we wanted to use daily. Instead, we got very comfortable with our griddle and had lots of eggs, salmon burgers, and fish fillets. All of which was fine and tasty, but I really missed a good fried egg or a stir fry or even mac-n-cheese.

$25 worth of saddness!!

Soon after we moved in, we had a technician in the house installing our security system. The control panel is in the kitchen opposite the stove – or where the stove is supposed to be. He had been at it for about thirty minutes before he finally looked up and asked: “Where’s your stove?” It took him that long to notice the odd empty spot in our kitchen.

I found it difficult to adjust to cooking on an electric griddle. I love to cook, and cutting a bunch of vegetables into a stew or a stirfry is very relaxing for me. But cooking on a griddle doesn’t require much for cutting. It was all fish fillets, chicken breasts, and patties with lots of salads. The ‘cooking’ part of cooking was a sad shadow of what I liked to do. I’m sure I could have gotten used to the griddle and eventually felt creative enough to do something interesting with it, but thankfully that time was avoided.

We have a stove! It’s a Samsung gas range with an oven that can be split into two and controlled separately. It also includes an air fryer option that I am particularly excited about. My wife wants me to make wings in the worst way, but I guess there is a chicken wing shortage or something. She was unwilling to trade an arm and a leg for wings. So, that will have to wait.

I am excited about the high-powered burner on the cooktop. It is meant for cooking with a wok. My wok is my favorite pan to use. I make a lot of stir fry and curries and similar recipes.

This is the first cookstove I’ve purchased new, and there is a huge big technology jump in this range compared to what I’m used to.  I can control the oven from my phone! Which is ridiculous! I have never once thought: Damn… if only I could turn the oven on from the mall. I personally can’t see the use of this feature. My wife has offered different scenarios to justify it. Still, none of them ring true or reasonable or an event that would happen more than once in a lifetime. However, my phone is now synced with my stove, and I’m going to dream up some weirdly unlikely situation where I will just have to use it.

Frickin’ WIFI!!!

What is the first thing I cooked on my new stove, you ask? Was it chicken marsala? Or a stir fry or a nice spicy curry (YUM!!) or some other fancy or difficult or iconic meal that would inaugurate my new stove in style. No… That is definitely not my style. Simple cooking is the best cooking. I made fried eggs, sausage, and toast. And it was glorious. I never got the hang of cooking eggs on the griddle. They were never quite right.

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