Well, it finally happened. The old Montgomery Ward microwave that my mother bought back in the early ’70s finally went to kitchen appliance heaven (actually, it went to some scrap metal dealer). It’s sad.

My mother was intrigued by all the lies that the marketers told housewives back then about cutting down on cooking times and the delicious meals that could be cooked using this revolutionary new device. She went out and spent nearly $600 for this 75 lb behemoth.

It was similar to this beast:

It had no fancy digital timers or displays. When it was off it really was OFF; and not sucking electricity to power all those nasty little standby vampire circuits. It would boil a cup of water in about 30 seconds. It probably leaked microwaves all over the damned place, too. I’ve wondered if that’s what’s been causing my hair/beard to turn gray and my eye sight and hearing to diminish. Myeh… I s’pose that could be age-related, though. 😉

Anywho… I used this monster daily for one thing. I brewed my tea in it. That’s about it. Mom and the rest of the family quickly found out just how wonderful those irradiated rubbery meals really were. This appliance was primarily used as a butter/margarine melter, tea brewer, sandwich warmer. Fortunately, due to its longevity, mom may have come close to getting her money’s worth.

At 38 years old (13,870 days give/take a few) and $600, we’re looking a cost of about .04 cents/day. Hmm… seems kinda’ high just to boil water. Well, that was progress, though. So, now what am I going to do to brew my tea. I sure don’t want to fire up at 220vac stove just to boil water. Ah! I’ll run the water through my coffee maker and then pour it over the tea bags and let steep. That’ll work just fine.

The end of an era… sad. I heaved the big bitch off the top of my china cabinet and lugged it out to the street last night. After doing so, I was curious as to how much weight I actually hauled out there. The specs in the owner’s manual said the unit weighed in at a healthy 75 lbs. I guess I’m feeling much better these days if I could lug that damned thing 100′ out to my curbside and not even breath hard afterwards, huh?

Oh, and it was only out there for about 15 minutes. An old guy (older than me, anyway 😉 ) stopped and heaved that baby into the back of his pickup and drove off. I’m sure it was delivered to the local scrap metal dealer this morning. There was a LOT of metal in that thing; hardly any glass or plastic. The power transformer alone could have been used as a boat anchor. The thing was HUGE!

So, I guess I’m gonna’ need to find another microwave now. Anyone have one to spare lying around in the garage? I’ve looked on Craig’s List (Tampa) last night. There were a couple worth calling on, but I didn’t. It was too late in the evening already. Maybe I’ll visit my favorite thrift stores sometime in the next few days. They’ll need to be pretty damned cheap, though. I can get a new one (made in China) at Walmart for about $44.97 + tax. It was a little Emerson 700 watter. I saw it there yesterday when I was buying kitty food.



About V. T. Eric Layton

vtel57, Nocturnal Slacker

3 responses »

  1. There’s been a new development in the microwave saga. You can read the update here –> http://www.vtel57.com/viewtopic.php?p=58951#p58951

  2. PsiCop says:

    Eric, I recall back in the ’70s when my father had first suggested getting a microwave. “But I can’t use that!” my mother would say. “What would I do with it? You can’t roast a turkey in a microwave!” While she was correct about roasting turkeys in a microwave*, how wrong she was about how useful one is. Once you get past viewing the microwave as a replacement for a conventional oven — which it isn’t, but back in the ’70s this was a common misconception — you find it has a thousand other uses.

    My father ended up getting a microwave as a Christmas present for my mother back in 1983. (Not as tacky a gift as it sounds … he also gave her some other good things that year, you could say the Nuker was his gift to the whole family but he just put her on the tag.) It took her a few weeks to get over the trauma, but my mother eventually took to it. Like most people, she now uses hers several times a day.

    * Yeah, I know you can get “roasting pans” to do this in a microwave, but I don’t see how it can compare.

    • Yup. Microwaves did have some uses. In my home though, it just never caught on as a main course cooker. I did/do use it for heating cooking vegetables, brewing tea, reheating coffee, melting cheese and butter, etc. It’s fast and very economical for those uses; saves having to fire up that 220vac stove or oven.

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