Okay, peoples, time for a little bit of show-and-tell. Here’s a photo that endorses the reason why I named this post the way I did.
Yes, those are both microwave ovens. So what, you say? Well, I’m showing these off to tell a personal story. I’ll start with the monstrosity on the right. Yes, it’s a monstrosity, isn’t it? I mean, look at how big it is! It was also my microwave for the past 25 years. Before then, it was previously owned and used by my mother, who one day acquired it from the restaurant where she worked at the time. They were upgrading their kitchen equipment, including replacing this old, industrial, food-service microwave for a nicer, more youthful looking model. Of course, it still worked, or otherwise my mom would never had taken it off of the restaurant’s hands.
A few years later, Mom and Dad bought a newer microwave and since I was just out living on my own and they asked if I would be interested in taking the old one off of their hands. Well, since pre-heating an oven wasn’t the most thrilling kitchen chore, I wholeheartedly said “Yes.” So one Christmas night, I loaded the thing into the trunk of my sister’s car (I didn’t have my own set of wheels yet) and headed back to Green Bay. And if you’re wondering, yes, the microwave was just as heavy as it was big. Thank goodness Sis helped me lift it out of the trunk and carry it the very few steps from her car to my apartment.
As you can see, that old microwave, aside from being big(!), had a little bit of a cumbersome operational design. Here’s how it worked:
- Press that big bottom button to turn it on.
- Place your food inside (naturally) on the tray (no rotating turntable in there).
- Turn the knob to set the time.
- Press that big top button in order for it to heat up your food.
- Pray that the beast doesn’t cause your fuse box to blow (this did occasionally happen while I lived in a previous apartment).
- Wait for the ‘wave to (ZAP!) heat things up.
- Keep an ear out for a single solitary bell (DING!) when the timer was up.
- Check if the food is heated, stirring and reheating if necessary.
- Remember that once it’s done, you have to press that big bottom button a second time to turn it off. Otherwise, you’ll still see a light turned on inside and a loud cooling fan running.
A lot of steps to keep in mind, I know. But when you think of it, it was also a very basic operation (not as many buttons to push). And more importantly, the microwave worked for me for a quarter century! And it was a heck of a lot quicker than pre-heating an oven and waiting much longer for the food to cook (“But I’m hungry now!”).
Fast forward to last month. When my mom told me she was moving into an apartment, one of the things she asked me, aside from whether I still had that old microwave she used to have, was if I could take her current old microwave. The reason she asked was because a built-in-above-the-stove microwave was included in the kitchen of her new senior living apartment. I thought about it for a couple of seconds and said, “Yeah, sure.” Part of my affirmative was due to being a good son, for sure, but I had also been thinking about ditching the old microwave. Sure, it still worked, but I wanted to retire that old, heavy, and likely not very energy efficient thing.
So, when we helped Mom move her stuff 3 weeks ago, one of the things she no longer needed and I took with me back to Madison was the microwave you see above left. As you can so clearly see, it’s smaller and narrower than that old beast of a ‘wave, not to mention much, much easier to lift and carry. And while it has a lot more bells and whistles (not to mention a loud beeping when it’s finished), it does fulfills the same principle need as the old microwave: Heat food up.
Now, my kitchen has a new microwave taking a lot less space on the counter (and a lot less space underneath the cabinets) than the old microwave did. As for the old beast, it’s currently sitting in my storage area in the basement while I figure out how I can arrange for the City of Madison to take it off of my hands and recycle it. Yes, Madison has an appliance recycling program (here is some information on it), but I’d rather not put that big ol’ microwave into my itty bitty car; seriously, that thing is too heavy for my 2-door, engine-in-the-back-underneath-the-storage-area car. (Memo to self: Write a future post about the car.) I definitely want the microwave recycled, so I don’t want to just put it beside the curb for the scavengers; besides, my landlord probably wouldn’t approve of old junk just sitting on the curb outside of their apartment building.
But when I do get around to recycling that old microwave, I’ll think about how rather well it worked for me for 25 years(!). I’ll probably think less about how ginormous and heavy it was, however.
(Oh, yeah, I also gotta think about how to get it out of my basement. Yikes! It’s not gonna be fun carrying that beast upstairs.)