Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Deadly Microwave of Fatal Doom

Our trusty old Sharp Carousel microwave gave up the ghost. To be slightly more precise, it became unreliable. It might or might not engage when we hit the start button. The aggravation was getting on Charlie's nerves, so we got a new one.

Since the old Sharp Carousel lasted 12 years, we got another one, this one model R-331ZS. It is quite snazzy, with One Touch Cook and Auto Touch Cook and a higher wattage than the old one.

Amazingly, I managed to make popcorn in it with the One Touch Cook control. Pushed the little picture of popcorn and, in about half the time as the old one, we had excellent popcorn. And we eat a LOT of popcorn.

However. You knew there was going to be a However, didn't you?

The Auto Cook had me buffaloed. Naturally, I didn't read the instructions. I mean, I know how microwaves work, right? And, when an instruction manual has a full-page Installation Guide with an illustration of plugging the plug into the plug place....

Okay, so the Auto Cook button has a list printed next to it, right?
  1. bread
  2. soup
  3. baked potato
  4. fresh vegetable
  5. frozen vegetable
We also eat a lot of soup, so we put a bowl of soup in there, pushed the Auto Cook button twice, pushed Start, and the soup got hot. Way hot. Just the way Charlie likes it. "Perfect!"


Where I come from, pardner, "potato" is singular.
So tonight, I decided to make a baked sweet potato for supper. Yes, one. Yes, we eat light. No, I don't know how I can eat light and still be fat. It's one of those mysteries of life I plan to ask God about when I'm dead.

ANYWAY, I put the potato into the microwave, pushed the Auto Cook button three times, pushed Start, and went about my business cutting up apples and celery for apple salad.

Suddenly, Charlie shouted and ran into the kitchen. I turned around, and white smoke was roiling (the perfect word for smoke) out of the microwave and up to the ceiling.

I opened the microwave door which, of course, stopped the power, and much, much more smoke joined us in the kitchen. Well, in all the house, really, because smoke is just all kindsa like that.

We opened all the doors and windows and turned on all the fans, and the house still smells like scorched scorchiness. When the remains had cooled, I removed the fossil and threw it into the yard, where Joe can use it as a chew toy.

The microwave seems to be unharmed and unmarked, inside and out.

I just read the manual, and it says the Auto Cook setting for baked potato is for "3 units of baked potato".

Oh. Really.

"3 units"? Is that, like, three POUNDS of baked potato? Three TRUCKLOADS? Three BARGES? It wasn't one, anyway, that's for darn sure.

Well, we live and learn, don't we? Oh, the pizza setting? The one with one slice of pizza drawn on it? It's for a whole, entire, large, 14" pizza. That's just mean.

So remember, children, when you get a new toy, always RTFM. That stands for Read the Fine Manual, of course. The Fine one. Yeah.

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes


Holly Jahangiri said...

I'm a technical writer.

(Confession time: I write the darned things - I don't actually READ them any more diligently than the next guy. Hence the occasional bouts of self loathing, but I get over them quickly.)

I always thought the F stood for "Fan-freaking-tastic!!" I have the RTFM mug. A friend who lives in Oregon has the license plate (yes, she's also a technical writer - or was - I think she's in recovery, now).

Gayle said...

Too funny, Marian! Great post!

Marian Allen said...

Holly, I trust and hope your technical manuals are more helpful than this one. They should have skipped the illustration of how to plug something in and had a full page saying WARNING!! POTATO MEANS THREE BIG POTATOES, NOT ONE!!! PICTURE OF SLICE OF PIZZA MEANS WHOLE ENTIRE GIANT FROZEN PIZZA!!!!

Gayle, our house may always smell like we put the steam iron down on it and went to watch Days Of Our Lives.


Edith Maxwell said...

This is SO funny on so many levels. One. I am also a technical writer.

Two: Units? UNITS, o anonymous tech writer? How about, uh, POTATOES?

Three: I just got a new microwave and it said to always pierce potatoes...

Marian Allen said...

Oh, yes, Edith! If you don't pierce the potatoes' skins before putting them in the microwave, they tend to go pop, just like they do in the regular oven. Yes, I've done it in both devices.

That wasn't the problem here, though; this was overcooking, pure and simple.