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Regarding the kettle

Our guest blogger this week is Dave Atkinson. Dave is a children's author and writer, along with many other roles, including communications officer, broadcaster, husband, and father. You can check out his Wereduck Trilogy - Wereduck, Cure For Wereduck and The Wereduck Code at Nimbus Publishing or locally in Charlottetown at Bookmark.

 

I love the sound of our electric kettle. 

I love hearing someone tap the switch to turn on the kettle when I’m on the other side of the house. I love how twenty seconds later, it begins to make noise. It’s a quiet rattle at first, but grows into a full rumble as the water inside comes to a rolling boil. 

The sound is comforting. It means someone is brewing a cup of tea or making a coffee. It means someone is taking a minute in this crazy day to sit down and have a hot drink.

I love that.

***

I didn’t love the kettle when it first came home.

“It’s glass,” I said. 

“I know,” said Erin. “I didn’t love that either. But it was on.”

On.

That’s our code for on sale. It means she got a deal. 

“Oh, by a lot?” I asked.

She nodded.

“So much,” she said. “It was so on.”

I nodded.

“Cool,” I said. “I can get used to glass.”

 

 

A month later.

“So the kettle,” she said. “Have you noticed the scale?”

“Oh yeah,” I said.

“It’s kind of crazy,” she said. “Like, it hasn’t been that long and look at it.”

We looked.. The silver bottom was coated in a layer of white crumbs and dust.

“Let me run it with some vinegar,” I said. “We’ll see how that works.”

 

Twenty minutes later.

“Wow,” I said.

“Wow,” said Erin.

“It looks brand new,” I said.

“Wow,” she said. 

***

Descaling the kettle became my new favourite job. Whenever any amount of scale starts to accumulate at the bottom of the kettle, I dump in a bunch of vinegar and click the button to let it boil.

“Wow,” I say, every time. “It’s like a miracle.”

And it is! 

It is a dang miracle. Just a bit of vinegar brings that kettle back to brand new. 

“I love this kettle,” I say.

***

Six months later. 

Leo popped his head into the living room. 

“Hi!” he said cheerily.

“Hi, Leo!” I said.

Leo is one of my daughter’s friends. He’s been coming to visit for years. 

We love Leo. He’s like family.

“Do you mind if I make myself an oatmeal packet?” he asked.

“Of course not,” I said. “Do you know where they are?”

“Sure do,” he said.

I heard him clatter around the kitchen. I love that my kids’ friends feel comfortable in our house.

I heard him tap the switch on the kettle. I heard him grab a bowl and spoon. I heard him rustle around with the box of instant oatmeal and rip open an individual package.

A few minutes later, he popped his face in the doorway.

“Is it crazy if I doctor this up with, like, nuts and raisins and stuff?” he asked.

“Doctor away,” I said. 

“Nice,” he said. 

What a good guy that Leo is, I thought to myself. Sixteen years old and choosing oatmeal for a snack.

I heard his spoon clank against the bowl as he took his first bite.

“Hmm,” he said quietly.

I heard him dip another spoonful.

“Huh,” he said.

“Is everything OK,” I said, before making a horrible realization. “OH NO!” I shouted.

I leapt out of my seat to sprint to the kitchen. 

“LEO, STOP,” I said.

He stared at me across the kitchen.

“Leo,” I said. “The kettle… was full of vinegar.”

Leo looked thoughtful.

“Well,” he said finally. “That does explain a few things.”

 

Leo was over to visit last weekend.

He made himself a cup of tea.

Before he tapped the button, he carefully sniffed the kettle to make sure it was water.

Like he always does.

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