About a year ago, our 7-year-old microwave, originally bought at Walmart for $100, began to flicker.

“Hmm,” I thought. “Is it beginning to go?”

Microwaves have been the longest lived of our kitchen devices, or at least the longest lived without any problems. We’ve kept refrigerators and stoves long past their “use by” dates, but that was because they are expensive and we had to come up with the money.

In between the flickering, we’d acquired a new stove and an almost new refrigerator. The microwave kept flickering. Then, one day, it wouldn’t run. Blown circuit. Except this is a circuit that never blows. First we worried that our wonky electricity was going to need fixing — a terrifying idea. Rewiring is a huge amount of rebuilding, tearing up walls, floors and ceilings.

Then I realized my toothbrush had a dead battery the last time I tried to use it. I found that puzzling, but it’s one of those special “bathroom” circuits that protects against water. So, I popped the red button and the toothbrush recharged. For reasons no one has been able to explain, the outlet in my bathroom — which backs onto the kitchen wall — is the same as the circuit that runs the microwave. You can’t run my hairdryer and the microwave at the same time. It makes the hair dryer explode. I know. I’ve had a hair dryer explode in my hand.

It crossed my mind that the blown circuit was also why my electric toothbrush hadn’t charged and then, in a moment of homeowner epiphany realized the flickering microwave, the blown circuit in the kitchen and my bathroom were probably connected.

We needed a new microwave. A total shock? Not exactly.

Owen disconnected the old one, then we had about two weeks to wait until I had enough money to get a new one. This was when I realized how convenient the microwave is and how annoying it was doing without it. I wasn’t ready to plug it back in because I had a feeling that something had been going wrong for a while, the kind of thing that creates fires.

It’s funny about microwaves. They can last forever or seem to while quietly developing problems you don’t notice until you have a fire in your wall. I was glad when Owen disconnected it. Who knows what kind of electrical arc it had been sending — and for how long?

The only motto of the story is that the lights in the microwaves shouldn’t flicker. The lights should be steady and it should work consistently. If the machine isn’t working the way it used to work, something is wrong. Don’t wait until a fire start.

No one repairs microwaves. Or at least, I’ve never heard of a microwave repairperson. Have you?

Categories: #gallery, #Photography, Anecdote, House and home

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1 reply

  1. And then I also bought a new A/C because the old one was full of mold and we still haven’t had the money to buy flowers.


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