My 97 year old father-in-law has always said, “One boy is one boy but two boys are half a boy.” He doubtless developed this theory because he had two sons 18 months apart. After five years of that fiasco, he and his wife must have been desperate to improve the balance of civilizing forces (add a girl) because they tried again. Apparently, they wisely realized it was so, so time to quit when a 3rd boy joined the delinquents. To this day, the brothers are still led magnificently astray by the eldest, John. Not that there have been no attempts to dethrone him.
Boys will be boys, but men are hilarious. I fully realize they claim to be rendered deaf and dumb over time from dealing with women and maybe if you’re the one married to me, there’s a tiny point in that. But really. Let’s say your microwave dies. Just dies. Let’s say it’s a built in, so any replacement logically should be of the same dimensions. That sophisticated notion made perfect sense to me. So did the wild idea that one would be available in the same dimensions since the old microwave was only seven years old. My husband didn’t see it that way.
Frigidaire doesn’t make the same model anymore. Naturally. Thanks, Frigidaire. The closest replacement, their customer service rep said, was two inches longer. I, the one in the family with an eye for aesthetics, observed that not only would that make it hang well below the cabinets, which would look plain stupid, but it would be too close to the stove burners. An advanced chef such as I, who regularly forgets to turn the heat off from under minute rice, finds this alarming. We already have an extra smoke detector and two fire extinguishers in the kitchen.
My husband said “No problem, we’ll just buy the microwave rice. Problem solved.” He is really enamored of dysfunctional solutions. I think it runs in an all-male family.
There was one microwave that fit our space, but he didn’t like it. First, he was suspicious because it didn’t cost enough not to blow up. Second, it “didn’t have all those buttons (that we never once used) at the bottom.” Third, we’d have to wait six weeks for it to come in because the store would have to order it. There was no way we could go six weeks without a microwave, he said. Did I mention that the microwave died in October? I do believe that was about seven weeks ago. Oh, actually the death certificate says it was eight weeks ago yesterday.
My husband spent six weeks looking for another microwave that fit the space, cost enough not to blow up, and had enough buttons that we will never use. And was immediately available. He finally found one that fit the space, will likely blow up, and lacks the buttons we never use. We had to wait a whole 6 days for the store to get it in. He picked it up a couple of days after the store got it. Turns out you can burn more with pots and pans than just minute rice. Who knew? This baby (in a box the size of a Honda Civic) sat in our garage another four days.
Next came the installation. Yesterday, our friend Hardy came over to help my husband. Here’s where the “one man is one man but two men are hilarious” comes in. Especially when both men have doctorates but were possibly weak in 4th grade math, the microwave weighs about 250 pounds, the “brackets” for the previous microwave don’t fit the new one, neither man posseses a studfinder or the correct size drill bit. What I really needed was another women, a bottle of wine, two glasses, and recording device. Home Depot would have bought the video up for their comedy series in a hot minute. Of course, I also would have made a mess as red wine spurted out my nose when I heard my husband say, “It says here to use a 4/8 drill bit. That’s the same as 1/2, right? Oh well, I don’t have that either.” I seriously thought the microwave, which had to be precariously balanced at an angle, slid up and sort of hooked into place, was going to slide right back down, conk them both in the head, bounce off the stove, and land on their prone bodies. I knew the town emergency services would have a truly astounding turnout when I told them that this time I could definitely produce not one but two possibly dead bodies (see last post), but I did worry about whether the damn microwave would crack the ceramic floor tiles. Now those would be expensive to replace.
So why am I collecting these stories now? I’m lit up with the idea of a semi-comic novel. I’m thinking about a widow (hmmm, how did her husband die?) who keeps chickens. If you’ve read past blog posts, you already know about the chickens, their gynecologist, and that whole rich source of setting. Thinking about and note taking for this is becoming a distraction from my current project, so I’m considering writing about the widow while ideas are popping like corn. I’ve done that once before; Where The Trail Grows Faint was the result. When Trail was finished, I went back to the novel I’d left half-done with a fresh and enthusiastic eye. Sometimes the writing life is like that; you seize the material and go with it. That’s the fun and flow of it.