Yowza! Here's something new and exciting! A Brand New Microwave! Woohoo!
And since I am the one who killed the old one, I am especially grateful to have it.
It's exactly like the one we had before (except that this one is fully functional) and it fits the old space perfectly. Tim ordered it a few weeks ago and it was delivered and installed yesterday afternoon. It is gorgeous.
It's funny how excited I am about an appliance that I rarely use. I understand that it's possible to actually " cook" in a microwave but I've never done it. I'm sure there are instructions about that sort of thing in the lengthy manual that came with it, but I never read those things. I know that I should but I don't. They are just so dang boring even when I try to read them I retain exactly none of it. But I keep the instructions in their original plastic bags just in case there is ever a problem and then I can look it up. And that I will do. But to sit down and read it like a novel? Not going to happen.
So since I admit to only rarely using it, what do I use my microwave for? Well primarily for re-heating things. Like maybe, I don't know, leftover pasta. Occasionally I have a yen for popcorn and so we almost always have a package or two of microwave popcorn handy. And....that's about it.
So why do we even have a microwave? I guess partly because it's kind of a standard appliance nowadays. While personally I could function just fine without one, it would be like not having a refrigerator to most people I suppose. The function that I truly do appreciate about this particular microwave oven and it's position in the kitchen, is that is also functions as an exhaust fan! That part I use. A lot.
If I designed my own kitchen from scratch, it would have an actual real exhaust fan over the stovetop and the microwave would be a drawer. Most microwave ovens (including mine) are either too high or too awkwardly placed to be easily used by me. Over the stove is above my line of vision, I have to stand on tiptoe to put things in or take them out. So let's see, I am reaching UP and bringing DOWN something very hot which, if I bobble it (and with me that is always a possibility) means making a mess and getting burned. Not ideal. But in this particular little gallery kitchen, space was a premium. I would have had to give up storage space to accommodate and there is no way I'm ever giving up storage space.
So when we reno'd the kitchen we soon came to realize that the only place the microwave could be is over the stove. And since it's there anyway, it may as well also function as an exhaust fan. And it did too. Right up until I had a little kitchen fire. What???
Sigh. It's a sad, sad tale, my friends. And I do not look good in this story. Be prepared.
Four years ago, when we bought this house, the very first thing we did was completely reno the kitchen. I mean completely totally and entirely had it torn down and started from scratch. It took 4 long LONG months and way too much moolah, but it was totally worth it. Loveloveloved my new kitchen.
But just a few measly months after it was finished, I was preparing...something...I don't even remember what it was, but I do remember that I was still adapting to cooking on my new stove (and they all have a different feel to them) and in a new (to me) altitude. Or in this case, lack of altitude.
I will explain. We moved to Florida from Colorado. We moved to Colorado from Connecticut. So when we first moved to Colorado, suddenly we were more than a mile higher up than we were before and I kind of had to learn to cook all over again. It affected everything I made but it especially impacted boiling (takes for freakin' ever) and baking. But eventually I got the hang of it. So there we were in Colorado for 11 years. And then we moved here where instead of being thousands of feet up we were now only 7 feet up. Yes that what I said. 7. One more than 6, one less than 8. And I had to relearn how to do things again.
Baking came back to me faster than boiling, apparently because whatever I was making required lots of steps. One of them involved melting something in a little pan on the stove. I turned away to do prep another step in the process (which meant stepping, for what felt like, just a moment, into the pantry) and before I stepped back out there were flames shooting out of the little pan onto the underside of the microwave and smoke roiling through my beautiful white kitchen. Clearly things come to a boil much faster at this lower altitude. Make a note of that.
I stood like there an idiot trying to process what I was seeing (because sometimes I just don't think very quickly) and before I could act, the smoke alarms went off which caused me to clap my hands over my ears and had Tim flying into the kitchen from his office. Now Tim does think quickly. In ANY sort of emergency, he is the guy you want! He turned off the stove with one hand and grabbed the pan with the other. He took the pan outside and put it on the courtyard patio (flames now gone) and came back in the house and began opening windows.
I was still standing in the middle of the kitchen trying to compute what had just happened when Tim checked to make sure I was okay. I was physically fine of course, so he began cleaning. Cleaning? That's when I saw the oily grey nastiness on every surface in my kitchen. I chased Tim out and began cleaning it myself.
I think I partly wanted to do it myself because, well the entire thing was my fault to begin with, so this was certainly a good punishment. But also because it helped me come back to reality from whatever freaked out, alternate reality limbo fugue state I was in. I sobbed while I cleaned because I was sure that I had completely, totally and entirely ruined my beautiful new white kitchen.
Turns out however, that with enough elbow grease, time and the right cleaning products, 99% of the kitchen was fine. And only the microwave was injured in the fire. And not everything. Just the exhaust fan part. Well dang.
Well, we have been muddling along okay without a properly functioning microwave for a few years now. On the rare occasion that I fry something, I would simply put a box fan, facing out, in an open kitchen window. And most of the year that works just fine. But during the summer it's not so good. All of the heat and humidity that is outside needs to stay outside. Once a window is open however, it is going to do it's best to try to sneak back in. And that is bad, very bad.
It's summer again here, despite what the calendar says. (I know it won't actually really be truly calendar summer until later this month) but trust me, it's summer already. So the arrival of my new microwave-slash-exhaust fan is perfect!
And I have learned my lesson. I never EVER step away from anything on the stovetop. I solemnly swear.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.