Boom Boom Boomerang

One of the reasons why downsizing is difficult at our very middle age is the dependent child.  He is not quite ready to be completely independent since he is in law school and not employed. I was married at his age, working full time, supporting my husband who was in graduate school, and walking to work on crazy cold mornings and wickedly hot days. This, however, is not the point.  Law school son came home briefly yesterday to pick up his old Apple laptop which he gave to his dad when we purchased his new Apple laptop as a college graduation gift when he started law school.

You are now instructed to sing to yourself or hum the now politically incorrect 1910 Fruitgum Company’s hit “Indian Giver” to yourself.

Law school son’s new laptop has a problem, and he wants his old machine back while he waits for the new one to be fixed.  Earlier in the school year, I let him take my sad cell phone for about a month while he had his zippy smartphone in the repair shop since he dropped it on the tile floor of a posh bar in Washington, DC late in the summer.  A few months later, he needed to put the phone back in the shop again for the same recurring problem, and this time my husband let our son use Dad’s even-sadder-than-mine personal cell phone. Last night, I asked law school son what he would do if we weren’t here or if we were in Chicago. He said he would have to figure it out, but in the meantime, he said, “I will exploit you, and get dinner out of it.”

Indeed he did, and we had a lovely dinner, just the two of us.

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Crazy about Quasar. Wave Good-Bye!

On Saturday, we said good-bye to our best appliance ever.  On January 4, 1986 at Friedmans in South Square Mall in Durham, North Carolina, we purchased our first microwave, the Quasar MQ7785YW with Insta-Matic and Variable Power.  It still works today, twenty-six years later, but it no longer fits in our life. It was a monster in size and power, and it held the memories of a lifetime.  I was a little sad when my husband loaded it in the car with our old Dell computer for a trip to an electronic recycling event.  Downsizing strikes again with its powerful memory conjuring power.

We were latecomers to the microwave world in 1986.  At the time, I complained that we were the last people on earth to get one.  Folks were microwaving leftovers at work, and popcorn smells were wafting though the office since the stinky bags had not been outlawed or frowned upon at that time.  I had to have to one of these splendid machines. Even my mother had one before I did.  With Christmas money and good yuppie jobs finally kicking in, we bought the Quasar for $399.95.  It had a touch pad – no dial – and a feature where one just pushed a button, and the machine would “bake” a potato instantly. It may seem silly now, but it was a godsend for a girl who loved but didn’t have a lot of time to cook.  I even took classes at Friedman’s so I could learn EVERYTHING about cooking in this newfangled oven.

Over the years, I learned that not much cooking is really done in a microwave, and most of what I learned to “wave” in the class is still better if it is cooked or baked the old-fashioned way. Cinnamon rolls cooked from scratch and “baked” in the microwave were awful. Vegetables were nicely done, eggs were a good bet, and chocolate sauce was a cinch. Exploding food became an occasional event with lots of yelling and cursing. Before we learned about the carcinogenic properties of microwaved plastic, a few container meltdowns occurred. There were sparks and small fires  —  and then we had a baby. No more unsafe waving fun.

The old Quasar was a lifesaver for heating baby food, warming the obese dog’s diet veggies of canned french style green beans and sliced carrots, making hot chocolate, boiling water and keeping Stouffer’s in business. A 13 X 9 glass pan fit with ease in the cavernous oven. Corn-on-the-cob, fresh asparagus and green beans became a summer habit because it was so easy to cook them perfectly.  My son makes fabulous peanut butter chocolate fudge at Christmas mostly using the microwave.  We threw out the old   plastic containers eventually and repurposed the old Corningware casseroles that I got as wedding shower gifts years ago.

After a while, I was mildly concerned about the door seal and ventilation of the aged Quasar, but it was still a better machine than any of the newer microwaves that I tried.  It sat away from the “kitchen triangle” on its own wooden cart under which we stored big items like the crock pot, blender and food processor.  I told my son to “move away from the wave” when he stood in front waiting for the something to cook.  Duncan, our late beagle, would sit at the foot of the cart and bark while he waited for his veggies to be heated and added to his diet dog food.  I believe we were still safe from the evil waves.

Three years ago, we gutted the kitchen and renovated which was the beginning of the end for the Quasar.  We moved it into the dining room and used it to get us through the applianceless and waterless construction for about 6 weeks.  The dog was confused at first, but he caught on.  Then, we got a new microwave to go in the new kitchen and the old Quasar went into the attic.  Now we have a sleek GE microwave in our Richmond kitchen under the island at knee level and a clunky, weak, over-the-stove Frigidaire model in our Chicago condo. I oppose over-the stove microwaves because I believe in big, industrial strength range hoods with awesome exhaust properties.  There will changes in Chicago.

I miss the old Quasar, but it was time for it to go. Out it went with the worthless 2001 Dell computer which did not perform nearly as well or as long as the 26 year old microwave. Off they went to recycle land, but I thought it was worth giving the longest-lasting-appliance-ever a somewhat doddering but ever grateful tribute.

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Dreading Search for New Dentist

When I was in Chicago a week ago, I kept looking at dental offices around Roscoe Village and the Belmont corridor. There are probably ten different offices within easy walking distance of our condo. Today when I was driving home from an appointment at my Richmond dentist in an unnerved state, completely numb on the left side of my face with tears flowing, I thought I might be better off walking.  A dentist within walking distance should be a nice perk as a result of moving and downsizing.

I still think of dentistry as a middle age science. Remember the SNL skit with Steve Martin as Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber?  I loved this skit.  My childhood dentist did not use novacaine, but I was always rewarded at the end of each wretched visit with a large roll of Bazooka bubblegum. It was kind of like the middle ages at the dentist office in the early 1960s. Some things have changed in 2012, but there’s still an awful lot of drilling, scraping, smoke and “pass the powder of staghorn.”

Wish me luck and give me recommendations for a new dentist in Chicago.


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And so it begins …

Moving is never easy at any age. About a year ago, my husband and I purchased a 3 bedroom condominium in Chicago where he works. We have lived in Richmond, VA (actually Chesterfield County) for 22 years and are now faced with downsizing from our 3 bedroom suburban home in central Virginia to a much smaller, urban condo in Roscoe Village in the city of Chicago.

We’ve spent 50 years collecting stuff and now must spend the next 50 getting rid of stuff. I don’t think I’ll live to be 100, so I have less time get rid of all the stuff from one son, two dogs, four deceased parents, eight deceased grandparents and one deceased great aunt. I have even less time to empty our house here in preparation to move to Chicago. I am not ready to take on this daunting project, but I hope to use this blog as a form of self therapy and place to vent my frustration and joy.

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