Not that loud. But final.

The sound of a microwave oven dying.

I had been in the kitchen cooking all afternoon and all evening (partly to get away from the sound of the roofers ripping off our shingles and tossing them onto the front lawn and garden) with Mama at my elbow explaining that I was doing it all wrong when we heard the *thunk* from the direction of the oven.

Mama had been microwaving bowl after bowl of things all afternoon, one after the other. Packages of frozen veggies that she put together and cooked in her small glass casserole dish so she could put them into the fridge and graze on them all week. (She just started on Prandin, a diabetes medication, and it DOES bring down her blood sugar. FAST.) At least four packages’ worth had been going for up to twenty minutes each. (She can’t do “al dente” because she’s missing so many “dente,” so she cooks to mush.) A couple of simple casseroles that she thought would be easy grazing. Lots of food. The effort was finally too much, simply too much work for a fifteen-year-old microwave oven.

It did a *thunk* and the digital time display went blank and the turntable came to a halt. It just stopped. She pulled the plug and plugged it into another circuit across the kitchen.

Still nothing.

It was gone.

It died with its boots on. It did itself proud; the squash casserole that it had been so bravely working on was ALMOST done and could be finished off in the “real” oven.

I hope it had its two-minute warning.

*a moment of silence*

Someone told me online a little while ago that it could be just a diode, or it might’ve blown a fuse (the fuse is blue? Somebody already pulled that one on me in Circuits I), or it could be something else in the high-voltage power supply, such as the capacitor. I suppose there are people who still repair appliances, although our local shop went out of business a couple of years ago. But! I don’t want to touch a high-voltage capacitor because it’ll still be WAY charged up, what with having run for hours, because that’s the last touch an electrician usually feels as he flies out the back door under the power of a mega-zap! So out it goes. Sears has a GE Profile 2.0 cubic foot 1200 watt oven for around $250, and there are probably other options. (Yet the other stores don’t take the Sears card, and mine happens to be paid off at the moment, so that could come into play.)

Wonder whether a charity would want it? Goodwill used to have people they trained to fix things and then re-sell them. But those days have probably gone. Last time we put out stuff for a charity, they wanted working appliances, wearable clothing, and books in good shape. And I don’t blame them. Just throw away those hol(e)y socks and waterlogged tomes. That probably means I’ll end up throwing away the oven, which still seems like a waste, but still.

This does, however, explain one thing. The other day the Kia dealership where we traded in Hubby’s purple car on that stupid brown one called. They didn’t leave a message. Instead, they mailed me a check for around $450 that they’d overcharged us. I had already paid the car payment that month when they took the car in trade, so they overestimated the payoff. One of their honest accountants corrected the mistake. So I got a check in the mail today. I knew there was something it was intended for, as I never get a small windfall or refund that isn’t needed to cover a broken appliance or some other surprise. At least we can trust that someone up there is watching. It WOULD be nice to get a windfall that I could use to get the house painted or take a real vacation, though.

So . . . the roofers came today, one day early, and I had to run outside to move both the cars and make room for their truck, dumpster, supplies, tools, compressor, Coleman cooler (full of beverages and snacks), and I don’t know what all. Then began the POUNDING. And RIPPING. And the THUDDING of the pages of shingles that they were ripping off. Amazingly, the dog didn’t go crazy.

However . . . I did.

Hubby woke up with terrible nausea and a stomach problem, so he was home sick and lying in bed watching SF movies off the TiVo and playing noisy videogames on his iPad (actually a Toshiba Thrive, which he seems unnaturally pleased with) as I ran back and forth to serve up green tea and crackers at intervals. He couldn’t answer the door when they knocked to tell me they were plugging in to the front courtyard outlet. He couldn’t get up and do ANYthing that would make me less crazy. We think he caught something at the doctor’s office, where he went on Monday for a diabetic checkup. How does the staff there keep from being sick all the time?!

Mama kept up a nonstop stream of worries. “What if it rains?” (It was clear and cold. It rained all last weekend instead.) “What if one of them falls through the roof and crashes through the ceiling?” (Maybe he’ll land on the OLD sofa.) “Have you taken your pills?” (I’m looking for the hemlock. Isn’t it passive-aggressive to always ask, “Have you done this? Have you done that?” instead of just saying, “Do this! Do that!” when that’s what you MEAN?) “Can we pay them when they get finished?” (Yes, we got a check from the insurance company and I managed to get it co-signed by the old mortgage company before they sold our mortgage. But there was a $2k deductible and $2k worth of depreciation, so I had to scrape together more funds. The final $500 or so will have to come out of our budget for this month. Whee!) “Why do you look so stressed? You have big bags under your eyes and all these wrinkles just like all the Gerneth women. Why did you turn out like that side of the family?” (At least I have a different set of diseases from you. Makes it more interesting.)

None of my big plans to declutter the house and fix it up got accomplished, although we got the Christmas decorations down and boxed up. I did manage to get a lot of things out of the closet to try on again. I have a large pile of nice things to give away to charity, and then a smaller pile that is really GOOD stuff. I’m not sure it is worth trying to sell on eBay, though. That’s an awful lot of hassle. I have stuff like designer suede boots that we’ve both (Mama and I, not Hubby and I) tried on once a season for two years but never could walk in because we have weak fat ankles . . . the Missoni-for-Target briefcase/purse that I was always afraid to carry because it came with a tag saying it might have lead in the handles . . . electronics that are just barely out of date . . . and so forth. I never can bring myself to just throw those into the charity bag.

I still haven’t had any time to work on the books that I want to get onto the Kindle. (sigh)

But we’re hanging in there. Tomorrow I’ll have an excuse to get away from the banging. We can go microwave oven shopping at Sears.



Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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