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The time to return to Toronto approaches (urgh), and with that comes the imperative to revisit the Big Hairy Problem left bobbing in our wake upon departing last July, just a few days ago, it seems. The stove. God save us, the stove. Avid readers will recall the saga of our new slide-in range, how it was precisely 30 inches wide, which made it exactly 1/8 inch too wide for the exquisitely tailored space left behind by its 29 and 7/8 inch-wide predecessor, and how this left us with a brand new appliance sitting awkwardly in the middle of our kitchen floor:

That’s how we left it, and I’m assuming that meanwhile, no benevolent deity or deities have interceded on our behalf. I’m assuming that it’s still there, waiting, implacable, defiant, insolent, and no more willing to squeeze itself into the available space than it was when we left. Which is kind of funny, actually, looked at in a certain way, though Kathy doesn’t think so. Nope, she doesn’t think it’s at all giggle-worthy. Intolerable, would be more like it. Intolerable, and in need of a rapid fix, and If I thought we were going to be living with this issue for weeks dragging into months after we get back, I needed to give my head a good long shake. She’ll see us both hanged first, capisce?

So we’re making phone calls, trying to line things up for when we return, hoping to get our kitchen back just as quickly as possible, after which we can put it all behind us and never speak of it again, to which end, believe it or not, there’s good news! Yes, the guys who produced the diamond-hard Caesarstone ™ countertop assure us, the stuff can be trimmed. It’s not really tougher than diamonds, you know. They’ve got just the circular saw for the job, no worries, I mean, It’ll cost a few hundred, not gonna sugar coat it for you, but sure, it’s doable. Likewise, yes, the cabinet guys tell me, calling up the schematics for our very kitchen, still stored on their system – really helpful guys, I should add, and worthy of a plug, the outfit is called White Knight – anyway, yes, that piece of trim on the side that determines the width of the space is definitely detachable, it’s screwed on from the inside, not glued as I’d feared, and I can do it myself, the drawers come out easily to give me access. If there’s any unsightly space after the new stove slides in, they can give me a new, thinner piece of trim, no big whoop, wouldn’t cost much. I was so happy I could’ve kissed the guy. Hooray!

“But back up”, he says to me, “I don’t understand why the stove won’t fit”. So I give him the story again, how the old stove actually wasn’t 30 inches wide, as claimed, but 29 7/8, go figure, and can you believe it, etc. 29 7/8!

“Sure”, the guy says. “They all are”.

Pause.

“Say again?”

“They all are. All slide-in stoves are 29 7/8.”

Pause.

“The Hell you say”.

“Always. Geez, we wouldn’t leave you with the chance you couldn’t fit a new stove if you had to! You sure you didn’t buy a freestanding model by mistake?”

Oh, shit.

But I checked, and no, it wasn’t a freestander, it was definitely a slide-in, and it definitely wasn’t 29 7/8, I remember measuring the thing over and over, double, triple, quintuple-checking the reading on the tape measure, and no two ways about it, 30 inches. Otherwise, it would’ve fit in the space, right? WTF?

So I rushed into our kitchen here in Mahone Bay, which also features a slide-in stove nestled amid Caesarstone ™ . The tale of the tape? 29 7/8 inches. No less, and not a hair more. Like the guy at White Knight would have predicted, because, after all, they all are.

Hunh.

Yet surely that couldn’t be true! Surely they aren’t all 29 7/8 inches wide! Ours sure wasn’t! So to settle the matter, we visited the local Home Depot, where they have a broad selection, all the major brands, Samsung, LG, Maytag, Frigidaire, whatever, and there I am with my tape measure, flitting from stove to stove like a busy bee hopping between flowers in a garden full of carnations, and yup. Son of a bitch. Every frigging one of ’em. They’re all 29 7/8 inches. Invariably. Just as if it’s the standard industry spec. or something. Sure, they all say they’re 30 inches, that’s the brochure stat, but you know, two-by-fours aren’t actually two inches by four inches, either, it’s a term of art, see? When it says “30”, read “29 7/8”.

So how the Hell is it that the one sitting there grinning at me in the middle of my kitchen floor is verifiably and exactly 30 inches wide? Seriously – how is that?? Dunno. Beats me. Beats everybody else. I get shrugs. Nobody even has a suggestion. Manufacturing error? Not likely, actually not a chance, not these days, you know, sir, those things are built mainly by robots, out of pieces made precicesly to spec. by other robots, and it’s not like they vary from lot to lot or anything like that. Look, how could they? These things have to be interchangeable. The folks who put together those high-end custom kitchens, without which these snazzy stoves would have no reason to exist in the first place, have to be able to rely on the standard dimensions. Think about it. They aren’t about to go running around to all sorts of appliance stores, continually making sure that the new models are all still the same size, just like they were last year, are they? Can you imagine? Nossir. All the same width, depth, and height, buddy, that’s how it has to work.

Silly.

I guess we managed to get the only one of its kind on the whole damned planet. Dumb luck, that.

Not sure what to do now. I don’t want to spend several hundred bucks to pound our kitchen into a non-standard shape, which’ll only make things difficult the next time we need a new stove. Yet we can’t return the one we have, not now, not for any price. I figure we just give the bastard away. Kick it to the curb, maybe (Toronto’s magical that way, you can put anything out front on the sidewalk, literally anything, whether it’s broken, or smells bad, or takes a crew to move, doesn’t matter, you could dump a blacksmith’s anvil out there, and five minutes later, poof, it’s gone). Or maybe Goodwill will want it. I suppose, though, it wouldn’t be right merely to kick the can somewhere it’ll just turn into a ball-breaker for the next poor sucker; I suppose, in all good conscience, I’m going to have to slap a warning label on the frigging thing.

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