The Moving Chronicles: Part One

Reclaiming the Microwave, or I should have just bought a new one

About a year and a half ago, my brother received my microwave on loan. At the time, my place had a built in version and Little Brother didn’t have a quick way to thaw a pork loin. I figured I would be the benevolent older sister and let him borrow the spare one sitting in my basement. Big mistake.

I recently reclaimed possession of my microwave. For several days, I strongly considered giving it back.

When Little Brother initially borrowed it, the microwave was only about 3 months old. It was pristine, white, and didn’t smell funky. All the parts were in working order, and the tray rotated flawlessly. When I got it back, there was an unidentifiable sticky substance on the top of the microwave. I didn’t open it since Little Brother had recently moved back in with my parents. I figured he would have cleaned the microwave before he transported it back with him. After all, that’s what logical people do, right? The sticky stuff on should have tipped me off that something was not right.

A few days after moving into my new place, I was fitted out with Clorox wipes and a strong scrubbing arm, ready to get rid of the sticky stuff. After two hours, I’d tried the wipes, Soft Scrub, Windex, Spic and Span (yeah, I know that’s for floors, but I was desperate), rubbing alcohol, plain old soap and water, and some organic nature-friendly cleaning stuff that I inherited from my last room mate. I was high from the chemicals and there was no progress on Operation Reclaim the Microwave. In desperation, I got a butter knife.

As a single girl, I don’t have a lot of tools. Sure, the basic hammer or screwdrivers are stashed somewhere. But I don’t own a putty thing or a scrapper of any sort. Ingenuity is what single women are known for. Need to shorten a shelf and no saw is handy? Try a kitchen knife. It’ll take a few hours and the knife might suck afterward, but it works. I know; I’ve done it. Need to snake a drain RIGHT NOW and the hardware store is closed? I recommend wire coat hangers and some duct tape. Works just fine. So, when I was unable to scrub off the sticky stuff, obviously I looked around my kitchen for other options and landed on the butter knife.

I chiseled away at the sticky stuff for about an hour and I finally got it all off. It was a little irritating that my brother had gotten it on in the first place, but I was not about to be defeated by some unknown substance when I had a butter knife and elbow grease at my disposal. To celebrate my victory, I brought out a bag of microwave popcorn and opened up the microwave.

I think I passed out from the smell. Bionic Kitty ran and cowered under the bed. Upstairs. It was so bad that I almost called the military to let them know Little Brother had grown a new chemical weapon. I let the microwave sit with the door open for a day before the smell had dissipated enough for me to get close without seeing black spots. Red and green things were growing in there. It was the worst food based science experiment known to humankind. It was in my kitchen, in my microwave, and like an idiot, I decided to clean it.

It took an entire dispenser of Clorox wipes before I was even willing to use a sponge in there. Of course I don’t own plastic gloves so the whole procedure was done with plastic baggies scotched taped on my hands (I was not about to risk them coming off). When I eventually deemed the microwave clean enough to clean it with baking soda, the soda started to turn green. That’s the point where I realized it might be good to turn the machine over to the EPA. Just in case.

It’s clean now. But I have serious doubts about cooking food in there. I haven’t used it yet, and I walked down the microwave aisle at Target this weekend. I noticed that I could get a decent looking model for under $50. That’s must cheaper than a stay in the hospital for Ebola, so it might be a prudent investment. Still, what I really want to know is if my brother really lives with a microwave like that, what woman in her right mind would ever consider dating him?

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