In fact, she steadfastly refused to admit any gas-related negligence, and accused the neighbors of telling tall tales. For their part, her neighbors were, quite understandably, concerned that one day soon she would blow them all to kingdom come. Relations had reached an unpleasant impasse, when OL's doctor (who also has an office in the building) came up with an elaborate plot.
She visited OL one afternoon, and told her (completely untruthfully) that she smelled a little gas. Since all the burners were turned off, the doctor suggested that the stove itself might have a leak. Consequently, OL became convinced that a gas leak actually existed, and that her allergies, previously attributed to the carpet, might in fact be due to a decade's worth of leaking gas. Building maintenance was summoned, and, fully involved in the plot, said they were turning off her gas until the 'leak' could be fixed.
It's been a little over a month, and somehow, they just can't seem to find the right part. OLgrumbles about their slowness, but is actually only marginally inconvenienced by her lack of stove. See, she's never really cooked, and previously used her stove for exactly two things: boiling water for tea, and frying eggs.
Boiling water is easy enough with other kitchen appliances, but the eggs, well, the eggs have been a problem. Her son recently bought this plastic gizmo for poaching eggs in the microwave. OL took one look at the thing, pronounced it "a piece of junk," and refused any further attempts to involve her in egg making. Giving up on his own efforts, her son then sent me an email, requesting that I do my best to get her to use the device.
Thus, on Monday I opened up the packaging and read the instructions. Let's all bear in mind that I don't actually eat eggs, and consequently have no idea what a well cooked egg should look like. However, after a certain amount of trial and error, I got an egg out of the microwave that looked exactly like the egg on the packaging. OL had distanced herself from the proceedings and sat on the couch looking sour.
I brought the perfectly poached egg over for her to admire. "Looks undercooked" she muttered. Back into the microwave it went. I carried the results back to the couch. "The middle's not done." By this point, the perfectly poached egg looked a bit...scrambled, and was putting out a characteristic eggy smell that has always made me rather nauseous. Nevertheless, I bravely stirred it with a fork and stuck it back in the microwave for further cooking. I heard OL muttering from the couch, something about contraptions, idiot sons, and stubborn girls.
The microwave beeped, and this time, I was sure we had a winner. I triumphantly took the egg, still in it's plastic container, over to OL. She begrudgingly admitted that the egg looked about right. We both stared down at the eggy mass, and I was about to suggest that perhaps OL give it a taste. At that exact moment, the two halves of the egg-cooker came apart, and the whole thing dropped straight into OL's lap.
The look OL gave me at that moment probably had to be seen to be believed, but it contained about equal parts surprise, disgust, and delight at being proved so very right. I slunk back to the kitchen to get a towel, and have not brought up the whole egg thing all week. OL, on the other hand, has mentioned the incident repeatedly, with quite an emphasis on the words 'right' and 'junk.' I'll have to email the son tonight, and tell him that this week, well...this week I guess the egg is on my face. *
* Man, I've been waiting the whole blog post to pull that one out.