Friday, May 20, 2011

Everything Old is New Again...for Me

It's no secret amongst my friends that I've made good friends with my inner Little Old Lady and often let her lead me around by the arm. She's got good taste. All those Desert Rose dishes in the cupboard? The first cup and saucer were a gift from a friend, and my Little Old Lady jumped on that. They were so cute! So her! The  Django Rheinhart and Stefan Grappelli records, the jazz cds found in every stack? That's my Little Old Lady, happy as can be when they're playing. Dainty teapot, the vintage 20's glass martini shaker with sweet white cherry blossoms and matching small tumblers? Totally her style.

The more practical side of her, though, understands that technology has made a few improvements over the years. So, a Cuisinart sits solidly on the counter top and my laptop hangs out with the microwave. I think they might commiserate on how sometimes, the Younger Lady within is a little lazy and spends too much time here at the oilcloth-covered kitchen table on the computer. However, in other areas, technology has made but few improvements, and here I direct you to our newest kitchen additions: a toaster and blender.

Big deal, everyone has one of each, right? But I'll bet a lot of them suck. Ours did. Our last blender committed appliance suicide with panache: the gasket all of a sudden began to leak like crazy during a Smoothie Session and juice poured into the motor housing, which was all of a sudden sporting a crack. Frankly, I was thrilled because this was my indisputable evidence that a new blender was needed. Costco had a sale on one brand, so we did some research: the reviews weren't favorable; one person claimed he'd bought three of them and still wasn't satisfied. (Slow learner, eh?) Joe hit eBay and began warming the cockles of the Little Old Lady's heart by researching the vintage blenders. I wasn't interested in the popular beehive model: I wanted a workhorse, not counter candy. Enter our new-to-us Osterizer Cyclomatic Galaxie blender. This little chickie is a beast, with 700 watts and a glass carafe--it lives to work. This machine was made in the 60's and has a work ethic built in, I'm pretty sure. So much better than those slick, pretend-vintage pieces of junk that pretty up the place but need replacing a year or two later.

On the other side of the kitchen sits, patient and triumphant, Jeeves, our new toaster. He is a silver Sunbeam model from the 30's, something wonderful and refined. Drop the toast into the slot and it magically lowers and raises itself with dignity, hence the name*.  This fancy-pants technology comes with just a lighter/darker knob and no other frills, no desperate 'ding' at the end trying to grab your attention like our old brushed nickel Black and Decker toaster oven, which is now slated for an upcoming garage sale. While the rejected toaster oven shouts like an attention-starved child "Look at me! I made toast for you! It's burned on one side, again! DING!", Jeeves is sophisticated and serene. "Your toast, madam." And it is toasted to perfection. Little Old Lady smiles upon Jeeves with benevolence. Jeeves, you awesome toaster you.

Later today, I'll go back to being my ungrateful Younger Lady, cursing the idiots who can't seem to build a weed-eater friendly for short women and their tired backs. Not everyone who works in their yard is 5'5" or taller, y'know. Older is better, and like a peasant, I have a sharp sickle to help me. The work becomes methodical and slow, but it saves my plants from getting destroyed by an indiscriminate machine. In the meantime, the Little Old Lady is happy for the oldest of the old stuff as well as the newer stuff that does work. Like the Cuisinart. Or our 92' Honda, which gets better gas mileage than a Prius and only set us back two grand. It's a marriage in our house, the old and new. Some of that marriage will be eventually given away (The beta machine and the box of video cassettes?... adios, amigos!) Some will be hopefully adopted by new families, who will appreciate them. And some will stay right where they are until they die of old age and good use and take their well-deserved place in appliance heaven.  Blessings.

* "Jeeves" is one of the titualar characters from satirist PG Wodehouse's "Jeeves and Wooster" series. Jeeves is the composed, intelligent and incredibly competent valet to rapscallion scion Bertie Wooster, which should have been the name of the last troublesome toaster. In the 1990's, Masterpiece Theatre offered us a series based on the books, featuring the hilarious and  incomparable  team of Hugh Laurie and Steven Frye as Wooster and Jeeves, respectively.  Joe wasn't sure about naming the toaster Jeeves, but with the happy associations the name brings to me,  I got my way. He wanted to name the toaster Estelle, but I reminded him that he'd already bestowed that name to my funky paper lamp which is shaped like a lady from the 60's, with big hair and cat-eye glasses. Yep, we're kinda freaky like that.

2 comments:

~Robyn Coden (robyncoden@gmail.com) said...

I think I may be watching a little too much of "Beauty and the Beast" because all I keep seeing are personified appliances in your house...walking and talking and dancing. "Your toast, madam. Would you care for some butter?" I love this and I adore you. Thank you for your time and your words of wisdom today. It is amazing to me the amount of hits I get versus how many people actually comment. Thank you for coming forth. I read your words more than once and I decided I am good with what you wrote. Good enough to take the post down and wrestle through it myself. You are an inspiration to me and you are appreciated very much. Know that. OK?
~Robyn
(from www.dimsumanddoughnuts.com)

Hazel M. Wheeler said...

Awww...Robyn, you totally made my day! I think a lot of other people gave you good advice too. Writing is many acts of bravery, sometimes unrehearsed, being performed in public.

And yeah, I know what you mean about the "lurkers". Oley oley oxen free, but dammit, they won't come out, will they?:)

hz