Thursday, October 11, 2012

The White Elephant in the Room

Jason recently gave me the definition of “white elephant.” as something that is not what it seems.  He also explained the phrase “the elephant in the room” as an issue no one wants to address.  I truly feel this covers both bases.

On a recently family outing, I took Jason to Bargain Hunt.  If you’ve never been, it’s a store similar to Big Lots.  It has everything you never knew you needed and a couple of things you might actually need.  All of which you could live the rest of your life without.  The pricing in the store is based on the date on the price tag.  Items tagged in July would be  around 75% off now.  Jason and the boys went to look at toys and sporting goods while I looked at shoes and specific baby gear for Tracie.  An hour had passed and I found them again.  Jason came around the corner with a smile on his face and a large object in his buggy.  When I looked down questioningly, he started in.  “I called my mom and she said it was a good deal!” he said before I could even ask.  “What is it?” I inquired.  It’s a pressure cooker he tells me.  An electric one.  For canning.  Um, what exactly am I going to be doing with a pressure cooker?  He convincingly tells me we can can tomatoes (ok, maybe) or green beans.  I argue that we don’t grow green beans and even if we did, I wasn’t interested in picking them, washing them, snapping them and then para boiling them before going to all the trouble to CAN them.  I’m pretty sure, I’ll just buy them at Sams club.  I could already tell this was a battle I had lost.  He found something that he was certain was a great deal and it was coming home with us.  I had to just accept it. I may or may not have texted my sister with the announcement and added “Help me!” at the end.  This wasn't a cheap purchase and to be really honest, I didn't want it.   I wasn't opposed to canning.  I just don’t know one thing about it and outside of tomatoes, we don’t have a garden.  So, as we load our 25qt ELECTRIC pressure cooker in the truck, I call my granny.  I told her about our find and asked her what exactly I was going to do with an electric pressure cooker.  Her exact words were, “Well, hun, I just don’t know.”  Ok, red flag number one.  My canning all her life grandma doesn't know what to do with this thing.  Red flag number 2 was when Jason called his dad and he proclaimed he’d never seen an electric pressure cooker but he’d like to see this one.  We bring it in and Jason places it on the counter.  It takes up my entire counter space for the night.  The next day, I get up and see it and am reminded we have a a giant pressure cooker and I need to know what to do with it.  Later that afternoon, I google it with few results.  I got up and look at the label and got more specific in my search.  I kept being taken to sites concerning “ clinical fungi cultivation” sites.  Lab grown mushrooms, I was confused.  I dug further, changing my google search terms and reading on forums when I noticed that kept calling this model a “steroclave” instead of pressure cooker/canner.  There was discussion of converting it which proved to be dangerous and not recommended.  That’s when I finally found it.  I found the exact model we have at “”  Strange.  As I read further, I find the uses for this equipment include sterilizing and sanitizing dental instruments.  Yep, it was finally clear.  We have ourselves an autoclave.  Working in a lab for years pre-children, I am familiar with autoclaves and sterilization but not of this exact variety.  I was laughing at my realization but needed concrete proof for Jason that I wasn't making this up.  And there it was, at the bottom of the page.  It clearly states in italics “this is an autoclave and not a pressure canner.  They look very similar but they are made very differently.” 
Ok, I think I have my proof.  You can’t argue with that.  When Jason got home, I delivered the bad news about his white elephant and he was surprisingly humored by our mistake. 
In his defense, he knows a good deal when he sees one.  It was about $94 at Bargain Hunt but it was $648 on Lion’s Dental.  Now that’s a good deal.  If you needed an autoclave.  We don’t. 
Who’d have ever thought we’d be the proud owners of an autoclave.  It makes me laugh. 
Luckily they have a 30 day return policy.  

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