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Making waves…micro ones

I walked their new house, clutching my Dunkin Donuts’ coffee cup and taking it all in. The Great room was great, spacious and bright. There were accents all around the house that suggested that its previous owners were modern back in the seventies, which was the last time anyone had done anything to the place. There was a scary open staircase that freaked me out because I had young kids. Almost everything needed updating, but there were a lot of rooms and a lot of potential.

I hadn’t taken off my jacket yet, and my sister and brother-in-law were walking around with sweaters, hats and scarves. Okay… apparently there was some insulation work that needed to be done as well.

The tour ended in the kitchen.

“Hey, where’s the microwave?” I asked my sister-in-law, “I want to heat up my coffee.”

“We don’t have a microwave.” She said, “You know Corey, he thinks they’re no good. Here, give me.”

She took what was left of my coffee and poured it into a pot on the stove.

I felt like I was on the frontier.

Now I know these people. They didn’t have a microwave in their city apartment. But that kitchen was small and stylized in a way which would severely limit their already limited space. I thought for sure, they’d have one here. Who doesn’t have a microwave these days? I wondered, somewhat disapproving. Oh, yes, I can be holier than thou, just check out my socks.

I knew my brother-in-law could live in a cave as long as there was the NY Times and an AM radio.  That being said, my sister-in-law is a gazelle who fancies expensive boots and fabulous haircuts. I figured they’d cancel each other out and maybe produce a cute, baby microwave. No. Not the case.

“Where’s the Keurig?” I asked, referring to a change of life coffee maker I had gifted them when I realized its magnificence.

“Oh, that.” She gestured with a wave of her hand. “He returned that immediately.” She shook my re-heated coffee in the pot. “Really, this is fine.”

I’m lucky my eyes didn’t get stuck behind my head for all the judging I was doing.

That was years ago, but now I’m officially here to say that I’ve seen the light. Well, it was more of a spark, actually. And, yes, it came from inside of my microwave.

The offending beast

The offending beast

I was heating up some leftover pasta when a flash caught my eye. Was that fire? Electricity? I don’t fully understand what “micro waves” are, so I was naturally a little concerned. The only other time I had witnessed something like it was when I accidentally left a fork on a plate in there. Uh, don’t do that.

Needless to say, I pulled the plug on the microwave. For a moment it was like all the light in my world went out. How would I heat up Michael’s pasta? I stood in my kitchen momentarily confused. It was like the time the ATM didn’t work and I had to withdraw money from an actual live teller. I blanked then too. Technology had been doing it for me for so long, I simply forgot how.

Wait! I had a stove. I had a pot. I could just put the pasta in the pot and heat it! Revelation. And it worked, sort of. Some of the re-heated pasta did come out a little hard, which Michael immediately shunned, but it was mostly okay. I felt powerful. I didn’t need no stinkin’ microwave.

For the first couple of days, I managed fine, until I realized that you need a microwave to make microwave popcorn. That kind of stumped me. We loved microwave popcorn. Another flash, although this one didn’t come with radiation – I would buy kernels and pop it on the stove. I would make Potcorn! I was just bursting with excitement.

After shopping for special popcorn oil, seasoning and spray butter to help the seasoning stick, I was ready. The boys and I watched eagerly, shaking the pot at regular intervals until our eyes and ears witnessed the miracle transformation from kernel to corn. It went on for about a minute or so, but then abruptly stopped. We continued shaking the many kernels left in the pot, but all we wound up with was a burnt pot and burnt potcorn. Bummer.

burnt popcorn

The next snack disaster happened a few days later. Smores. I make smores a lot for play date snacks. It’s always a crowd pleaser. 30 seconds in the microwave and the chips are melty and the marshmallows puffed with gooey softness. Then you just do the graham cracker clap and done. I had six kids chanting for them. Could I make them in a toaster? ‘

burnt smore

Uh, no.

This is not to say that I haven’t enjoyed my month playing pioneer woman, but the real reason I didn’t just run out and buy a new one was because our microwave is built into our wall unit and we’re considering re-doing the kitchen. So I just wound up waiting, which turned into major procrastination, which resulted in burnt snacks and a lot more pots and pans to clean.

So while I will ultimately be getting another microwave, I did gain a new understanding of where my brother and sister-in-law are coming from.  I’ll roll my eyes no more. Except, of course, when I want a hot, fresh cup of coffee.

I couldn't go a day without this baby!

I couldn’t go a day without this baby!

Mornin’ Sunshine

Mornin’ Sunshine

It’s the first thing I want to see every morning. I’m drawn to it like Jen to Brad, like Brad to Angie, like Angie to voodoo. Usually I could find it in the dark, with my eyes half-closed and make it work its magic, but not this morning. This morning, the worst thing has happened, my Keurig is on the fritz.

My Keurig coffee maker has been my morning happiness for over five years now. I see it and Om, which is the exact opposite of my state at present. I’m desperately opening the front hatch and closing it, ineffectually pulling out the plug and restarting, but so far, my dealer won’t deal. I shake it. Where’s my cup full of happiness, damn you!!!

Wild-eyed, I’m staring at the little coffee pods, trying to figure if I can open one, dump out the grinds and just add hot water.  It could work, I reason.  I’m in the process of ripping off the top of one with my teeth, when Tyler catches me.

“Whatcha doing mommy?” Tyler asks, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

Maybe he’ll just think mommy’s madness is a bad dream. “Nothing.” I say in a high pitched voice. I sound wired, when I am anything but. “I just can’t get this dang thing to work.” I fake a weird laugh. Now I’m Snow White meets Marilyn Manson.

“Oh.” He is unaffected. “Can I have breakfast?”

“Sure.” I distractedly put a bowl, a carton of milk and a box of cereal on the table in front of him and turn my aggravation back toward the machine.

Two minutes later, I’m still futzing, repeating the same obsessive tactics to no avail when I again hear, “Can I have breakfast?”

I turn. “Tyler. It’s right in front of you.”

He doesn’t even look at it. “But you usually pour it for me and everything.”

I do? Hmmm. Suddenly even with the fuzzy, caffeine-withdrawn head, I’m having a moment of clarity. “Uh baby, you’re 10. I think you can pour your own cereal.”

“But you do it better.” He almost whines but manages a cute, sleepy smile again.

Two other boys bound in. “Hi mommy!” They chime. “Mommy I want pancakes! And bring them in the TV room. With milk.” Michael orders. “Me too.” Julius mimics. “And I want cereal too. All kinds, mixed together.”

They bound out. I look around confused. Did they just place their order as if I am their waitress? I look to Tyler for validation. He looks at me with an equally dumbfounded expression, then says, “Uh mommy. I’m waiting. And you forgot the spoon.”

Wow. I’m still reeling from the breakfast orders when Howard strides in, talking full steam ahead. “You’ve got to pick up the dry cleaning today. And do you know where Tyler’s chest guard is? If it’s in the dirty laundry you need to have it clean by tonight. I might need you to pick me up at the train and bring a sandwich or something. And remember the bags and water and stuff.”

I nod absently as he rushes out, places a quick kiss on my cheek. “See you later.” He pops his head back in. “We also need crickets for Smiles.” Then he’s gone.

I’m processing my second set of orders when there’s a yell from the other room.  “Mommy!  Where are my pancakes!”

“And cereal!” a little voice adds.

Tyler is still looking at me expectantly. I ignore him. I’m having a moment. I might explode. All it will take is one more…, “Mommy,” Tyler interrupts. “Did you charge my iTouch last night?”

That was it. He has no idea what he’s in for. I’m about to tell him that that if he can’t pour his own cereal, he certainly can’t have an iTouch that he can’t even be responsible to charge! He needs to start doing things for himself. I can’t believe I let this go on so long. What was I thinking?!

“Tyler,” I open my mouth to speak and simultaneously hear the sound of liquid dripping into a cup. I quickly cock my head like a soap opera character listening to her contemplative inside voice. Something is calling me. I cannot resist. I move in and smell the warm, rich aroma filling my cup. Breathe. Breathe. I watch it gurgle to its finish, add a splash of milk and sip. Mmmmm. Om. Happiness. I lean up against the counter, hearing nothing, seeing nothing, just enjoying my moment. I am right next to the silverware draw. Unconsciously, I pull it open and take out a spoon for Tyler. It’s all good.

Mornin’ Sunshine.