Everyone has flaws and endearing peccadillos; mine is that I have an inexplicable tendency to burn water.
It started with a Michael Graves tea kettle that was a gift from my uncle and looked like a piece of artwork, it was so brilliantly designed. It had a whistle shaped like a little red bird, so it was a perfect “Robin” kettle. It came to me when the kids were toddlers, and it met its demise one busy morning when it sat on the stove with its little Robin-bird whistling her heart out as I ignored it while tending to a screaming child until the water burned out completely and the cute little whistle-bird melted into the pot itself. I was crushed because I loved that tea pot and doubly crushed when I went to replace it and discovered its cost.
I received a replacement Michael Graves kettle for Mother’s Day, and I got to enjoy it for only two months before I burned that one. As a punishment to myself, I did not replace it but boiled my tea and French-press coffee water in a basic pot on the stove instead. However, since a plain old pot does not come equipped with a whistle, it’s even easier to burn than a tea kettle. I burned four perfectly good 1.2-quart pots until I decided it was time to go back to kettles. By then I had saved up enough money to buy another Michael Graves kettle that I so loved, and I gave it to myself for Christmas, with the silent pledge that if this one burned, I would not replace it.
You guessed it. This one burned, too. But it wasn’t by me this time! It burned on a babysitter’s watch.
I put it on the cabinet-top ledge where it stood as decoration with its fallen brothers. And I decided it was time to go the route of electric tea kettles.
I was well-chuffed with a glass version that boiled water efficiently and expertly, until after a year, it suddenly stopped. I replaced it, and its replacement broke. I replaced it once more and, true to my rule of three, gave up the electric tea kettles when the third one broke.
By this point, it had been about a decade since my burning-curse began, and I’d lost at least 10 pans and teapots along the way. The electric-kettle interlude lasted long enough for me to rekindle my hankering for old-fashioned kettles, and as karma would have it, I found the most perfect one on sale at HomeGoods. It was a nice solid shape, with strong shoulders and a hefty base, plus it was robin’s egg blue, so it became my new perfect-for-Robin tea kettle. It was a color so unique and so wonderful that the ladies in the checkout line with me gushed over it, while I stood in smug satisfaction because I had snagged it for myself.
Every day when I walked into my kitchen and saw it perched there in its spot smack-dab in the middle of the stove top, complimenting my kitchen décor with ease, I felt a light lift of spirit.
I had a new favorite, and I didn’t even think it was possible.
How long did it take me to burn this one? Exactly eight months. This time, I truly mourned because I had completely fallen for it.
I disciplined myself with plain old pots again and went online searching for a replacement, with the sinking feeling that its charming color had been discontinued. And I decided that I’d start scouting HomeGoods again, just in case.
I found a stainless-steel kettle that looked dashing on the HG shelf, and I bought it, but I never could bring myself to use it because it was so lackluster in my own home. When I returned it, I scoured the store once more, and lo and behold, I spotted my very same blue kettle, high on a shelf and on clearance because its lid was lost. Eureka! Fortunately, even though my first blue kettle was useless, I had not moved it because I couldn’t bear to walk into a kitchen bereft of its cheery blue self, and thus I had a lid that perfectly fit this new topless kettle.
Sometimes, things work out.
And maybe, just maybe, this one will last.
…or maybe it won’t.