Saturday, July 31, 2010

The kitchen makeover: Doors to manual

Yay, I have a new kitchen (well almost, apart from yet another coat of paint on a cupboard door that's been sanded down a million times but refuses to give up its streaky look).
I'm not trying to say the decorators were here for a long time, but it did get to the point where Colin fed the cat and took in the post when he arrived in the morning.
The main aim of the revamp was to instal new appliances - fridge, freezer, oven, hob, microwave. This means I am now frantically ploughing through the manuals to find out how they all work.
The microwave manual completely defeated me. It's about half an inch thick, but only two pages are devoted to the English explanation - which was, of course, unintelligible. The rest of the book is made up of French, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Hungarian, Czech, Polish, Russian and Slovak explanations. I hope they're clearer than the English one.
The thing that annoyed me most was the diagram that showed you what your control panel looked like. It may look like this, it said, or on the other hand, it might look like that, or it may look different again, depending on which model you bought. Well, thanks a bunch! But what does it DO? There didn't seem to be room for that bit.
This is where sons come into their own. My son, like any self-respecting undergraduate, can operate anything that has a digital display of some kind. The conversation went like this:
Me (after an hour of poring over the manual): "I can't get my head around the microwave - I think we'll have to keep the old one on the counter for a few days until I have time to ring the manufacturer."
Rory (without even glancing at the manual): "It's quite simple, Mum." (Fiddles with buttons for a nano-second)
Me (nervously): "So what are those numbers?"
Rory (patiently): "They're the different power levels, Mum"
Me: "So how do you set it to cook something?"
Rory (with another flicker of fingers over the control panel): "Like this, Mum"
Me (screaming): "No, no, don't operate it when it's empty! You're not supposed to use it when it's empty! Where's the Stop button, where's the Stop button?"
Rory (unerringly selecting Stop button) "OK, Mum, calm down!" (Puts headphones back on and departs, rolling his eyes and shaking his head.)
Me: "Erm, shall we go out to eat?"