The Latest Lost in Suburbia Column: The Mom Did it, In the Kitchen, with a Microwave

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Usually when one of our appliances dies, we get some kind of warning. When the dishwasher went, it started flooding. When the refrigerator’s time was up, it started slowly getting warmer. And we knew the oven’s days were numbered when it started smoking and I wasn’t even cooking anything.
But there was no sign that our microwave was on its last coil until it simply went kaput.
This is what they call in the industry, just plain SAD (Sudden Appliance Death).

Since it was a relatively new and rather expensive microwave, I was hopeful that maybe we could save it. With hope in my heart, I called our go-to appliance fix it guy, Larry.

Larry: What’s going on?

Me: It’s not cooking anything. Can you come over and fix it?

Larry: No.

Me: Why not?

Larry: In my experience, Microwaves don’t break. They just die.

Me: Can’t you use a defibrillator or something?

Larry: Read it it’s last rites and go get a new microwave.

I stubbornly refused to believe our microwave was dead. I wondered if maybe it was in a coma or had Post-Traumatic Microwave Syndrome from the last time I accidentally tried to cook something in aluminum foil. But eventually I had to admit it was beyond saving, or even reheating, and I called it.

Me: Time of death: 3:39pm

Larry: Can I interest you in a Convection oven?

Me: That’s harsh, Larry. The microwave’s not even cold yet.

Since I had to have dinner on the table in three hours and I don’t ever actually cook anything, I just warm things up, I realized I needed to get a new microwave fast. I headed over to our local appliance store and told them my tale of woe.

The appliance guy (who was also named Larry) shook his head.

“Sounds like the magnetron died,” he declared.

I stared blankly at him

“The Magnetron?” I echoed back. “What is that, like, a Transformer? Did Optimus Prime kill it?”

He stared blankly back at me.

“You know, I think that actually happened in the movie ‘Transformers 3,'” I continued. “Shia LeBoeuf cooked one of the little Transformers in a microwave and it burned out the magnetron.”

He shook his head.

“No, you’re thinking of ‘Gremlins,’ when they cook one of the evil gremlins in the microwave.”

“I think that was a blender,” I argued.

“It was both,” he declared.

I thought about this useless bit of movie trivia and decided that if there was any hope of heating up a dinner tonight, we probably needed to move on.

“So, how exactly does a magnetron in a microwave die, anyway,” I asked Larry, the appliance guy.

He looked at me suspiciously. “It happens when you use the stovetop without a fan.”

It took me a minute for this accusation to sink in.

“So you’re saying I killed the microwave, Larry?” I responded.

“Possibly,” he said.  “Or maybe it was Gremlins.”

©2013, Beckerman. All rights reserved.
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11 responses to “The Latest Lost in Suburbia Column: The Mom Did it, In the Kitchen, with a Microwave

  1. We held a memorial service for a microwave that outlived our expectations. Most appliances do not make it past the 5 year mark. RIP.

  2. Love this story. You’re lucky that your microwave didnt start a fire in its death throes and melt all the dishes in it like my sister’s 3-year-old dishwasher did!!

  3. I think would panic if our microwave died! Sounds like you handled it well…

  4. Ugh, appliance issues. As I am typing this, my fridge is shuddering and making a sputtering, wheezy kind of sound. Can you send Larry over?

  5. Sudden Appliance Death and Post Traumatic Microwave Syndrome – hysterical! Aren’t you the one with all the back-up coffee makers? Didn’t think to have a back up microwave, did you?

  6. Sad and funny at the same time. Thanks for posting. Now I know what is happening to my appliances. sd