Bewitched

 

You know that all is well with the world when a man comes to clean your oven.

I found my oven cleaning man in one of those ‘daily deals,’ although if the truth be told, it was actually my Husband who found him.

My Husband has tackled the cleaning of our oven several times in the past, and made a Saturday morning saga out of the job. He always used a very smelly spray that took hours of cooking to burn off, plenty of elbow grease that was accompanied by deep ‘poor me,’ sighs and when he finished, the considerable mess on the floor (and in the sink and on the walls around the stove top,) made the delight in a clean oven seem hardly worth it. So, it was unsurprising that my Husband was keen to try a fresh tactic.

We paid online and printed out our payment form and rang the man to make a time. He sounded pleasant and yes, he would come that very afternoon.

I arrived home from my few chores just after midday to find a stylish, silver Hyundai parked by my front door and a gentleman with matching silver hair waiting for me. He looked like the sort of guy who was a friend of my father-in-law, so it couldn’t be the oven cleaner. Could it?

‘Are you here to clean the oven?’ I asked from my car window. I could hardly keep the disbelief out of my voice.

‘Yes, I am. When you’re ready; no hurry.’

I couldn’t let him in fast enough.

Mike swept in with a baby bath full of cloths, spray bottles and chemicals of various colours. He set his things down and we both looked at my oven.

I felt ashamed.

As he began to work, I couldn’t help stealing glances at him — crisp cream shorts? A navy polo? Were they brogues? I wondered if I was being scammed. Perhaps he was a serial murderer and he posed as an oven cleaner to get in the door.

While I was letting my imagination run away on me, things were progressing with the oven cleaning. Mike spread a quality pink and blue beach towel on the floor. Did his wife know about this? Did he have a wife? I then found myself running through my catalogue of single older women friends because it is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good cleaning ability must be in need of a wife?

Here the story veers off piste for a while, as my oven was dirtier and more clapped out than most ovens he usually deals with. But still, he soldiered on and instructed me to get the seals replaced, washers on the screws and did I know my light bulbs weren’t working?

The light was working in my brain and I could see with great clarity that I’d stumbled upon a rare gem.

It took Mike nearly two hours instead of one. The house didn’t smell like a pharmaceutical company by the time he’d finished and he gave me some useful advice as regards putting the filters on my x pelair into the dishwasher.

He wiped over the floor, cleaned every last fingerprint off the surfaces around my now sparkling oven and left.

I half expected him to waggle his nose, or exit like a wizard, or do something extra-ordinary but this gentleman put his card on the bench, bade me farewell and said he would call again in a year.

I wonder if he does vacuuming?

 

Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man

There’s only one thing I can write about this week, and that’s my father, Kevin Hayes Watson. He died just recently and although it wasn’t a shock, it’s always a shock.