Thursday, January 15, 2015

Hitting Our Boiling Point

On today's episode, we'll be playing the game


Or maybe we should call it


Or maybe even 


Let me tell you the story, and then you tell me.

So back in November our microwave stopped working. I can't remember exactly when it was. I know it was definitely before Reagan's surgery, so I want to say it was early to mid November. I don't think it was as far back as Halloween, but I can't be sure. Anyway, it's been a while. Definitely somewhere around two months - maybe more, maybe less.

Now, we've had trouble with this microwave since we purchased it. I won't go into all the details, but it was an absolute beast to install and has already died once - right after the warranty expired. I was simmering something on the stove and neglected to use the vent. Suddenly our above the range microwave was completely dead. We unplugged and replugged, we let it dry out, but no dice. Three weeks, two repair visits and one large check and we had a new panel. And the ominous warning that we "probably shouldn't boil anything" on the stove anymore.

You mean without the vent, right? Don't worry, I learned my lesson.

Well, the vent helps (claimed the savvy repairman), but basically, he said that over the range microwaves, especially those with the electrical panel on the bottom (like ours) are pretty much doomed if you do any sort of cooking that produces steam.

So that was good news.

Anyway, I used the vent and covered all the pots and treated steam like the enemy, and for five years, we were good.

Then, out of nowhere, totally unrelated to vent usage, our microwave panel died two months ago.

The thing was, it didn't totally stop working. I mean, most of the panel is completely dead. But, for some reason, two or three numbers and the start button work. And sometimes the clear button. Once, for a glorious week, even the light worked again.

At first, we said we'd go get a new one. They're inexpensive enough, we had the money, and it would be easy. We looked online and we talked brands. But we'd just bought a new dishwasher and we'd just bought a new stove and we were frustrated and we couldn't get it together to go. For the first week I cooked stuff on the stove and whined about the lack of a microwave, but we still didn't make it to the store.

Then we realized that technically the microwave was functional. I mean, the function of the microwave is to warm your food. And our microwave warms food. So maybe only the 3 and 7 (and the all important start button) worked when we realized this, but with some basic math knowledge and clock watching, you can find the combination you need.

And now it's two months later.

As of this morning, the buttons that work are 1, 3, 4, start and clear. For a while it was 3 and 7 and that was it. We had a bad day last week when the 3 and 7 stopped working, but we gained the 4. When 3 came back it felt like an old friend gave us a second chance, and 1 felt like an absolute gift. We had a great week when 0 worked and we could do round minutes, but we didn't get too attached, which is smart. And for a while, clear stopped working, which forced us to get creative. It's not always easy and requires more thought that most people put into their microwave cooking.

But the point is, it's been two months and we're making do just fine. And now that we've made it two months, we are deep into the stubborn phase. Now we want to see how long we can go. I mean, we've made it two months, using a barely functional appliance daily. We can totally make it three. And if we can make it three, we can make it four. It's a challenge accepted sort of thing.

Last night, Adam and I were discussing which buttons worked (we need to stay up to date) and I commented that most people (with the means to do so) would have replaced it by now. It's a little silly that we haven't. But really, it heats food. And it looks perfectly fine, so we're not embarrassed when people are in our house. They may occasionally notice that the clock isn't on, but most visitors don't just dive into to your appliances. I mean, sure, it was a little embarrassing to explain to the babysitter that she would have to get creative when she heated her dinner, but her dinner got warmed. So really, there's no issue.

OK, let's play the game. Are we financially responsible or fanatically ridiculous? When will we hit our boiling point once and for all?

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