Back To The Dark Ages

Our household is in an uproar! Are we without power? No. The water stopped running from the faucet? No…and our toilets are still flushing. Have we started hunting for our food? Nope – we still drive a car all of the 3 minute distance to the grocery store where the food is nicely packaged and refrigerated (if necessary) and there is an abundance available on the store shelves…if we don’t already have it in stock at home. So what is the big deal?

It’s the microwave…it isn’t working. One would think that we had taken the kids to live out in the desert or up in the mountains with no more than the clothes on their backs, a pocket knife  and a bow and arrow…or maybe arrows. The most frequently asked question used to be “what’s for dinner”…now it’s “when is the microwave getting fixed?”

I will admit that I feel slightly handicapped without one.  A microwave in my kitchen is more important to me than almost any other appliance – okay, not more important than my stove or refrigerator, and I wouldn’t want to give up my Kitchenaid, but definitely more important than my dishwasher, which doesn’t work anyway, and is used to store my plastic storage containers.  (Secretly I like washing dishes – I like to get my hands in the hot, soapy suds!) 

Scott surprised me and bought me a microwave during our first year of marriage…almost 34 years ago.  It was this huge, extremely heavy, boxy thing that took up a large portion of my limited counter space. It wasn’t pretty, but it was pretty wonderful and I was one of the first lucky ladies in the neighborhood to get one.

It’s hard to remember how we used to manage in the kitchen before the invention of microwave ovens.  Before microwaves, if you wanted a hot dinner, you sat down to eat when the meal was prepared.  That was the way families did it.  Be home on time for dinner.  If someone was going to be late, the food would be put on a glass or stoneware plate and left on a low temp in the oven…or you ate a cold dinner.  That was great incentive to be home on time.

Not any more!  I cook a lot of meals, at least 4 or 5 a week…okay, Naylor kids…usually!  Sometimes I cook what the gang is in the mood for, so being able to act last minute is key.  I also like to make a big meal with leftovers in mind and then the food can be re-heated in a matter of minutes.  We also have lots of convenience foods at our house for those “fend for yourself” nights.  You know the kind: add water and microwave 5 minutes…or poke 4 holes in the bag, place on microwave-safe place and nuke for 3 minutes, turn and nuke for 2 more…or remove from packaging, tuck inside sleeve and microwave for 2 minutes.  

Without a working microwave, you have to re-think meals and do some advanced planning. Frozen meat needs to come out of the freezer the night before and put it in the refrigerator for about 24 hours  to defrost – you know you’re not supposed to leave it out on the counter or thaw it in hot water anymore, right?  But I’m okay with thinking ahead a little.  If I don’t remember, I can always cook something without meat or run to the grocery store to get what I need.  I can adjust, I can adapt…I can deal with it.  Scott is pretty tough – he’s even fine with eating leftovers cold…he says he doesn’t need to waste electricity!  It’s the kids that have the problem!

It brings a new light to an old complaint…there’s nothing to eat!  I have made it my business to fill my shelves with loads of good food, even though it might require a little preparation.  What they really mean is that there’s nothing quick, or quickly delicious, or worth their time and efforts to make.  If I thought the kids were a little on the lazy side before, my worries are now confirmed.  Maybe it’s  that I have made things too easy for everyone.  Now might be a good time to delay fixing that microwave, to teach everyone to be a little more self-reliant.  The only problem is that without a microwave, I won’t have as much free time to play, rather, play with paper.  I mean, what if I wanted to do this… 

or this…


or even something different, like this?

Decisions, decisions…what’s a mom to do?  A saying comes to mind – “Let them eat cake!”  Wait, wait…I better think this through…and not lose my head!

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