In all of my years of shopping thrift stores, salvage yards, eBay and Craigslist, one thing always remains the same: you’ve got to have patience. There’s no guarantee that you’ll walk out with that precious find every time, or immediately score that one thing that you set out for. But when I recently clicked on Craigslist, I finally came across this:
I’ve been looking for a 48 inch stove for over three years. My old Viking that I had for 14 years was dwindling down to its last burner, and the oven door had a hard time staying closed. This happens with age, even for the best of us. I made due with what I had, holding out for the deal of the century. Of course a brand new stove would be the cat’s meow and certainly a heck of a lot easier, but when has easy ever been my jam?
We borrowed Uncle John’s box truck and one hefty dude, and headed one county down to pick up this free stove. The previous owners could not have been nicer, but I couldn’t help fumbling my words and dialing in on the shape that the stove was in. Grease and grime for days. Just looking at it, and the thought of having to clean it, kind of made my stomach feel weird. Still, we loaded that heavy thing on the truck and headed home.
Unloaded, it lived on our back porch for weeks. Literally. It was the thick of summer and vacations were planned, kids schedules needed to be abided by, and work was work. Most of all, procrastination played a big role. The grime…
I rolled up my sleeves at 6 a.m. With my tried and true supplies; a case of SOS pads, a giant thing of Dawn dishwashing detergent, rubber gloves and a three shot espresso, I got to work. I cleaned and scrubbed continuously through lunch and took a break to order a couple pizzas for dinner. Eight hours in and a little more than halfway cleaned. Four hours the next day, and with Sean cleaning the grill, the stove was clean. Puts a whole new spin on elbow grease, and my hands looked a little worse for wear.
We got the stove moved into the kitchen without a single curse word, but then had to figure out the new gas line, converting from natural gas to propane situation. Since we were already set up for gas, this was the most cost effective, and we hired a plumber to run a new, larger line to accommodate the large stove. To keep our costs down, we had to work with DCS to send us converters for each burner, the grill and both ovens. That was a separate guy to hire.
We picked up the stove the end of June and we’ve been in cooking business for only a couple weeks. We made due with a single burner and our charcoal grill until now. With each scrub of my hand, I kept reminding myself that it was free. Well kind of. Still, it has been worth every SOS pad. The other night I had one oven going and four burners. With my fresh and fabulous manicure, I felt like a queen.
Patience really is a virtue, especially when you’re shopping second hand. So along with patience, good vision, and a strong stomach are the names of the game. It did take me three years of searching, and I finally found the stove of my dreams. Yo Craig, thanks for the list!