Today, I said goodbye for the last time, to a dear old friend. When I moved into this house over 17 years ago, I went to Wal-Mart and purchased a brand new Sharp Microwave oven. At a mere $45, she was a steal. She wasn't anything fancy, and at only 700 watts, she wasn't the most powerful microwave on the shelf, but she was just the right size for the little corner counter top, where I wanted to place her in my kitchen. I used her several times a day, every single day that I was at home for the last 17 years, and she always did exactly what I expected her to do. She cooked my morning oatmeal, my omelets, and the ham, egg & cheese for my breakfast sandwiches. She warmed the soup for my lunches, she steamed my vegetables, and cooked my fish, stews and chili for supper. She boiled my pasta and my rice, she reheated my coffee, and whenever the power went out in a storm, I missed her so!
Today at lunchtime, I tried to reheat some leftover chicken gumbo. I set her timer for two minutes, and pushed her start button. Her light came on, her fan began to blow, and her turntable began to spin. Two minutes later, her bell went off, and I opened her door, and pulled out a cold container of soup. She's an old girl, I thought. Maybe she just needs more time. So back into the microwave the soup went for another two minutes. When her bell went off for the second time, I opened the door once more, only to find that the soup was still cold. She tried so valiantly to do my bidding, but she just couldn't muster the energy to heat my soup. It was her magnetron, the very heart of a microwave oven. The old girl was done for. I felt so sad for her. She had served me so well for nearly two decades, and I took her for granted the whole time, rarely ever cleaning her as I should have. I shall now take her to the county recycling center, where I will donate her skin, organs and skeletal remains. In her honor I began to think of the Chinese factory worker who so expertly assembled her. Being paid no more than a pittance, he/she probably assembled thousands of microwaves over the last two decades, and raised a family on the meager wages earned doing so. Thank you, whoever you are! You did well!
Sad as her death was for me, life must go on, and that means I still need to cook, so off to town I drove this afternoon, in search of a replacement for my good and faithful servant. Wal-Mart is always a good place to go for a good price on appliances, so that's where I drove to. They had several models on display. I felt sort of like Goldilocks, as I looked them over. Some were much too big, and others were much too small, but in the middle of all of those, I found one that was just right! It was an Emerson, about an inch bigger in all directions than what it was about to replace, and at 1,000 watts, 300 watts stronger than my now defunct Sharp. A bit prettier too, but can it give me the service of my faithful old girl? Only time will tell. Here's a picture of the new girl, next to my very old and extremely faithful Sunbeam Hotshot hot water dispenser. That appliance has been plugging away for close to thirty years!
The old microwave had been sitting in this exact location for 17 years. When I pulled it out, I found some very old foil packs of ketchup, and clear plastic packs of soy and duck sauce from various take out restaurants. They had all been gnawed into, and had their contents devoured by mice. In return for the delectable sustenance I gave them, the little ingrates left me their droppings! Needless to say, before the new oven was put in place, I donned elbow length rubber gloves, and scrubbed the entire counter with disinfecting 409 kitchen cleaner.