“Oh my god, Richard, I think the microwave is dead.”
“What do you mean dead?”
“I put the popcorn in, hit the button and it went pop. The lights went out and it’s just sitting there doing nothing.”
We stood there in disbelief. Each of us pressing the buttons on the panel.
Do you remember the last time you lived without a microwave?
Try to live a week without a microwave now.
“We get paid on Friday, we can wait to replace it until then,” said Richard. “I’ll take this to the dump after work tomorrow.”
A gaping maw opened on the kitchen counter. A dust bunny colony lost its home.
Over the next several days, we discovered the joys of extra counter space and decided to invest in a built-in microwave.
Off to Home Depot we ventured in search of the perfect match.
How hard could this be?
There it sat in all its glory, like the Red Ryder Bb gun in Higbee’s Christmas display window. The perfect built-in microwave.
“Fannie, have you got your measuring tape handy?” asked Richard.
“Here ya go,” I said, handing it to him. “So, what size is it?”
“Give me a minute, will ya,” he said.
“Richard, all we need are the rough dimensions.”
He measured the microwave with the exactness of a NASA engineer.
A sales associate could not help but notice our eagerness and approached us, “Can I help you folks?”
“Absolutely, this is the one we need,” said Richard as he ran his hands over the appliance’s smooth surface.
“Give me a few minutes and I will get one from in back for you,” he said.
We rushed home with our new treasure.
The faithful, thirty-year-old Nutone hood perched above our stove.
“You know, Richard, Aunt Verla and Uncle Carl are going to notice this the next time they are over.”
“Fannie, they had to realize when they sold us the house, we’ll make changes as appliances wear out,” said Richard.
“Just remember what happened when I put up the paint swatches on the wall in the bedroom. That’s all I’m saying.”
“Fannie, trust me they’ll get over it.”
Moving the stove out of the way, Richard removed the hood. The aluminum piping connected to the roof vent fell in on top of him. With one arm, he deflected the piping to the floor.
“That’s gonna leave a mark,” he said laughing.
“Are you all right?”
“I’m fine, but now we have a new problem. We need to fix the piping in the attic. Fannie, my shoulders are too wide to fit through the access, you’re going to have to climb up into the attic and attach a new pipe. This one is toast.”
We poked our heads into the attic and discovered a mouse problem as well.
“Yuck, I am not crawling up there with mouse turds and who knows what else without some protective clothing.”
Back to Home Depot.
We purchased new duct venting, disposable coveralls, gloves, safety goggles, knee pads, duct tape and a dust mask. I looked like the Sta-Puffed® Marshmallow Man.
Climbing the ladder, then bending at an odd angle to accommodate the low-pitched roof, I heaved myself into the attic.
“Richard, we have another problem, the plywood only extends ten feet beyond the access. I will need something to span the rafters so I won’t fall through the sheet rock.”
Eight, 18-inch-wide planks of wood later I made my journey to the other end of the house, moving each plank as I went.
Richard fed the extension cord attached to the trouble lamp as I inched my way across.
I froze and did a quick assessment.
I looked around.
Light flashed again.
“Oh, sorry honey, your butt looks so cute, I had to take pictures.”
Thus answering the question, does Tyvek make my butt look fat.
Forty-five minutes later I neared the kitchen. Richard ran into the house and flashed a light through the hole.
Moving enough planks into position I squeezed over onto my back and look up at the roof vent.
Mere inches from the vent, I discovered the hanger attachment to the upper vent missing. Running my hands through the surrounding insulation produced many things including a rat carcass, one less job for Little Black Kitty, but no vent hanger.
“Fannie, hang tight for just a sec.” Richard passed industrial-strength duct tape through the hole.
Taping the ducting to the plywood that supported the vent, I prayed it would hold.
Wrapping duct tape around the make shift anchor, I continued until no light leaked through.
Half a roll later, I fed the rest of the ducting down to Richard. Insulation and possible mouse excrement fell through the ceiling with it.
Richard completed his portion of the duct work and most of the microwave installation before I completed my journey across the attic and back down to the garage.
“Fannie, you’re just in time, help me get this into place. You just have to hold it while I connect these screws,” he said as he strained to reach the screws.
The moment of truth.
Filling a cup with water, we put it in the microwave. Richard punched in five minutes and pressed start.
We held our breath for the briefest of moments. The lights dimmed throughout the house as the microwave roared to life.
“Uh oh, I think we will deal with that later,” said Richard.
“What do you want to do?” I asked.
“For now, make sure only one light is on in the house when you use the microwave until we get the wiring fixed,” he said. “And whatever you do, don’t use it in front of company.”
With our new amped-up microwave, our world could revolve again.