Cheap things

#!@# #!@@#!   I am absolutely sick and tired of CHEAP things!

The saga of how I came to hate cheap things began innocently enough, just three short months ago, with a purchase of a brand-new, space-saver microwave. Little did I know that while saving me on space, this alien creature in my kitchen would cost me much more…my sanity.

From the minute I brought my bouncing-baby microwave home from Target and painstakingly removed the layers and layers of plastic and Styrofoam that encased my new household addition, I knew he/she/it was different. The microwave was so lovingly embraced in all this bound-for-the-landfill refuse that I could swear I had brought home a human infant. And I was soon to discover that I might as well have gone through nine months of pregnancy,  twenty-four hours of ferociously painful labor, and been slapped with a $20,000 hospital bill, for what I indeed got was the most whining, ill-behaved, temperamental child of the worst kind…a micro-baby.

The first sign that something wasn’t right was about a week into my new relationship with my micro-baby. I needed to heat up a small amount of soup and pressed “4” then “5,” but the “4” didn’t take. I tried it again, assuming an error of finger placement, and again the number failed. After the third try, and because my grandmother always said “third times a charm,” I was cursing my grandmother in her grave. After calming down, I shrugged it off with the small consolation that I could always get away without using the number “4” on a microwave. Now, if it were the “1” or the “5” that could be really annoying, but the “4” was hardly a number I’d miss.

So two more weeks went by, when what did I awake to find happening to my baby’s control panel? Yep, the plastic coating on all the numbers was getting a little worn and cracked, almost like that of a much older microwave, say a ”micro-teen.”   At this point I was so bonded with my micro-baby that I told myself that maybe my baby was just a little different, even a little disabled,  but she was still MY micro-baby. Besides, I would never throw a disabled human baby out with the bathwater! So I made up my mind right then and there that I would fend for my micro-baby at all costs. Nothing would be too great a task, or too large a sacrifice to make for my special little micro-baby.

Then another two weeks went by and I awoke one morning with a strange urge for a nice warm cup of vanilla soymilk, so bleary-eyed I stumbled, in early-morning darkness, toward my micro-baby sleeping soundly on her countertop. I opened the delicate, little door and placed my soymilk-filled mug inside. I fumbled around on the control panel for what seemed like eternity trying to press the correct numbers to get this “baby” rolling when I suddenly realized that I could no longer see the numbers.

Completely panic-stricken, I tore through the house, tripped over the dog, and groped frantically in my desk drawer for the reading glasses I hadn’t worn in years. This time I cursed myself for not wearing them, and my grandmother again for having said “if you don’t wear those your eyes will go bad!” After squeezing the glasses onto my face, which had evidently grown wider over the years, I ventured back to the kitchen to finally heat up that mug of soymilk. Suddenly, my heart skipped a beat and I realized the situation was much worse than I had originally anticipated. Even the reading glasses could not bring those control panel numbers into focus. In desperation, I reached for the phone book, hoping that I could find an eye doctor who could help me before it was too late.

While perusing the physician listings it occurred to me that I could easily read the fine print. I slammed the phone book closed and eyed my micro-baby suspiciously. Yep, it was true, my micro-baby had been completely de-faced. Sometime in the night each and every number had melted away, never to be seen again. The culprit, I assumed, was the environmentally-friendly cleaner I used in the kitchen the previous day. But still, my stove didn’t lose its numbers, my digital clock could still tell accurate time, and my coffee-maker was still adorned with its small and delicate digital controls. So, I did what any sensible consumer would do. I reminded myself that the numbers were laid out in a standard arrangement, like that of a telephone, and that all I had to do was remember that arrangement. And presto, I had a nice warm cup of soymilk.

Over the next week I got very good at punching in all combinations of numbers, except those including  “4,” on my micro-baby. I even told myself that being able to punch numbers without a visual cue could be great practice in the event of a life-threatening situation, say an armed burglar intruding on my house at night. I would be able to dial “911” with the ease of, well, having used a speed dial button devoted to that exact number.

So far everything was going along quite smoothly, I thought, as I smiled at my micro-baby with true affection. I decided I would celebrate our sixth week together by popping some vegan-light popcorn and using the specialty button marked “popcorn.” I’ll admit, I cringed at the thought of trying a “specialty” button, especially since everything was going so well on my Braille number pad, but “what the heck” I thought. An immense wave of relief swept over me as I tapped the button and saw my little micro-baby light up and start blasting that popcorn. While waiting for the timer I left the room to complete a few small chores.

Out of nowhere I began to hear a slightly muted whining and panic shot through my veins as I realized I had not seen my dog in quite some time. I ran out to the yard screaming “Sadie, Sadie!” Neighbors looked over their fences and began to join in the search of my missing dog. Exhausted from the panic, I settled down in the middle of the lawn bawling over my lost dog when someone suggested I check inside the house to see if Sadie had returned. Hesitantly, I went inside and found, much to my disbelief, my girl was sleeping soundly on her dog bed like nothing had ever happened.

Later that night, I settled down in front of the TV for a healthy dose of Netflix while waiting for a mug of water to heat for my evening tea. Suddenly, the hair on my neck stood at attention as I was again subjected to an awful, yet familiar, whining. This time it was definitely not the dog, as she was snuggled comfortably at my feet. I thought, “No way! It couldn’t be! Not the micro-baby!” As if to avoid being seen by an intruder I crept up quietly towards my micro-baby. As I inched ever and ever so much closer, the whining got ever and ever more loud, until it reached a deafening howl that I was sure would send out the fire brigade. I lunged forward and covered the “Stop” button with one hand, while thrusting the door wide open with the other. The crying stopped.

Inquisitively I closed the door again and pressed “Start.” Silence…relief…until I walked five feet away and then the intense howling began anew. “What could be causing my micro-baby to scream so?” I pondered. And then I noticed that with every spin of the revolving platform, she let out a squeal that could send bats from their caves. Good. At least I had detected the root of the problem, and surely this could be fixed. So, I reached inside, tugged at the turntable a little, and shut the door. After twenty minutes of “noise” testing my baby, I felt confident that she could sleep soundly through any heat cycle I imposed on her. I too slept soundly that night.

The next morning was a busy one as I rushed around making phone calls and cooking my breakfast. Three minutes into a phone call with my friend whose two-year old child kept screaming in the background, I got the ultimate revenge. My micro-baby let out the most blood-curdling scream to date, prompting my friend to ask “Can’t you please quiet that micro-baby down?” I smiled wickedly as I hung up the phone and almost hugged my micro-baby until I realized this kind of behavior was just not acceptable on a daily basis. Sadly, the tone of the moment turned from hilarity to sadness as I knew what I had to do. This micro-baby had to go back from whence it came.

The problem was, I had already lost the receipt and thrown out the box and bedding. So I marched right down to Target, purchased a twin micro-baby, and set aside the packaging and receipt for my “older” micro-baby. It was a very sad day indeed, and I felt like a mother turning over her child to an orphanage, but it had to be done. Maybe she would get the help she needed and be rescued by another loving family. Yes, it was the only proper thing to do. So with that, I packaged her up, drove her to the store, and waved a teary-eyed goodbye as the clerk made secretive eye contact with the security guard.

As I made my way to the exit, I noticed a blender on sale. It was the exact blender I had wanted for months, but was too frugal to purchase. Since I obviously needed cheering up, I grabbed the package, walked gallantly up to the register,  and within twenty minutes I proudly brought my new addition home. That evening while preparing my first vegan smoothie, a tortured clamoring, followed by a puff of gray smoke,  arose from the base of my new blender. Tears caressed my eyes as I knew, without a doubt, how this story would end.   THE END

(Note from the Author: Be glad I didn’t tell you about the bum Duraflame log I bought for my fireplace. If wood is wood and fire is fire, how on earth could there even BE a bum Duraflame log, or a Dura-dud, so to speak?)

1 Response

  1. LOL….Time for “luxury” appliances. Thank you for the nicely written AND comical morning read. 🙂 Have a GREAT day!!

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