Daily Archives: August 6, 2010


We threw out the toaster this morning.

It was a huge four-slot jobbie, with two separate dials to adjust each pair of slots. We inherited it from my parents years ago when they downsized to a toaster oven. (That should give you an idea of the size of it, as well as the age.)

The toaster’s been acting up for years. Sometimes the dials gave you the same degree of toastiness if you set them both to the same setting, but most often they did not. For three years the left dial only yielded warm bread or charcoal, no matter where you set the dial. It changed its mind last year for some reason, and we thought it had moved past the adolescent unreliability and rebellion, settling into responsible adulthood. Still, sometimes the springs stuck, sometimes you had to toast things twice; it was always an adventure with this toaster, the kind of adventure you usually aren’t physically prepared for at a certain hour of the morning, waiting for coffee to finish brewing and your breakfast to be ready. We observed it and learned its little foibles, adjusting our technique and approach to match its output and needs as they evolved. Despite its capriciousness and unreliability we treated it well, wiping it down and shaking out the crumbs regularly.

HRH and I idly discussed replacing it every year or so. But a toaster isn’t really high on the list of priorities when there’s food to be bought, shoen to shoe your ever-growing progeny’s feet to be purchased, utility bills to be paid. After all, it worked… some of the time. To a certain degree. Even if that degree was undetermined on any given day. Then a couple of weeks ago we made a sweeping decision: we would not move this toaster. No, we would toss it in the bin when we left this house, a symbol of leaving make-do behind, and we would Buy Ourselves a New Toaster with which to celebrate the purchase of our first house.

Today, the toaster died.

HRH set it to make toast as usual and went about the rest of breakfast-making. Except the toaster didn’t jauntily toss its toast in the air with the sudden snap-release of the internal mechanism. No, it wasn’t until HRH poured his coffee and turned to manually whack the lever up. Because sometimes, you know, you have to do that with this toaster. It only works to a degree, remember. It’s part of what we do when we use it: we don’t think about it, we just do it if it needs doing.

A slab of charcoal rose to the top of the slot. So, too, did a leaping blue flame from the elements and wires inside. And that was that.

We’re in the market for a new toaster a bit sooner rather than later, it would seem.