Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm afraid of me 30 years from now

In the process of re-doing the old roommate's room and transforming it into a home office/guest room, I became obsessed with throwing things away and buying stuff. It was like "Trading Spaces" took my apartment over, except they forgot to give me money and someone else's place to ruin.

Well, I haven't ruined anything (yet). The home office/guest room is coming along nicely (will post photos of it once I'm done, no doubt). I've dubbed it the "boogie down" room as I'm going with an old school hip hop theme. In the meantime, I've got some nice pieces in there, repainted the ceiling a crisp white and then one wall a gorgeous sky blue.

While I was in Target getting a new power drill to put the corner desk together, I passed by a stack of microwaves on sale for $40. Hmmmm.

I thought of the big, brown microwave in my kitchen, the one my Dad gave me waaaaaay back in '97 when I moved in with my boyfriend. Bigger than most compact cars, the microwave was already a fossil when he gave it to me -- but, it worked. And that, with my experience in childhood poverty, was enough reason to keep it for the next 11 years.

But here was Target offering little white ones for $40 (yes, they're made in the USA - I checked). The proverbial angels appeared on my shoulders to duke it out, except they were Rachael Ray and Suze Orman:
"Aw, it's so cute and only $40!"
"Yes, but the one at home works."
"True, but this one would perfectly match the other things in my kitchen."
"So what -- since when does one need to accessorize in the kitchen?"
"I do! Plus, the cute one will free up much-needed counter space."
"Okay, but what would you do with the extra 2 inches?"
"What WOULDN'T I do with an extra 2 inches?"
"Is this just for the kitchen?"

Finally, Rachael Ray won and I bought it (along with the power drill and a box of Goldfish to inhale on the way home).

It was a much harder decision than one would expect about a microwave. Part of me felt a sentimental attachment to the old microwave with its faux wood paneling on the sides. After all, my Dad had given it to me. It was like a family heirloom (that zaps the living shit out of things).

(L) The old microwave--with a water bottle nearby for perspective--awaiting its removal while the new microwave (R) leaves ample space for whatever it is that one does in the kitchen.

When I got home, I delicately opened the new microwave's box, just in case I had second thoughts and decided to take it back. But once it was on the counter top, shiny and white and taking up a significantly less amount of space, I ditched the box. Getting rid of the old microwave was a different story, though.

Placing it in the hallway to be removed by the super the next day was tough. I put a Post-It note on it boasting, "I work!" with a happy face below, just in case a neighbor wanted it (or collects first-generation microwaves from the '80's). Thankfully, I didn't see it tossed outside on the sidewalk with the other trash so perhaps someone adopted it after all? (sigh) I'd like to think so.

Every time I use the new microwave, I'm overcome with a terrible fear as I wait for the food to cook. What will I be like 30 years from now if this is what it's like for me to part with stuff at age 34? I don't want to be one of those old ladies with plastic on the couch (because it was the first one she bought) and who still uses her first toaster. I don't want to smell like moth balls, either.

And I've been waiting a while for food to cook in the new microwave, ironically enough. It doesn't have half the nuking power of the old one (I guess they really DON'T make them like they used to). Things such as popcorn and soup take twice as long to heat (Suze Orman's angel is cursing me for the money I'll now be wasting on electricity).

But, it's nice to have something smaller that matches the fridge, blender, toaster and coffee maker. That's the price of progress and fashion, I guess. Sorry, Dad and Suze.


Amy C said...

You crack me up. I understand being sentimental to something your dad gave you. I won't get rid of anything mine has given me. My dad knows this about me and thinks it's absurd. So, one day, he decides it would be funny to buy one of those hideous rugs that people sell on the side of the rode...the ones of African animals, Elvis, know what I'm talkin about? He figured there was no way in Hell I would throw it out and I would be forced to place it in my living room. Thank God my mom stepped in and stopped him....because it would be downstairs right now :-) BTW...thanks you soooo much for your words of encouragement on my blog...I so need to hear stories like your Aunt and helps!

Marni said...

This one really hit home! I finally parted with my family's 80s microwave (which was in impeccable condition, by the way) when I moved into my place here in the W. Village last year. I could no longer afford the counter space. It was tough to do, but I donated it to the Salvation Army with pride in the fact that some other family would enjoy something that was such a crucial part of my family life -- anyone who knows my family knows that no other kitchen cooking appliance was ever used!