<Sarcasm>Ah... The Joys of Home Ownership </Sarcasm>

Last weekend our microwave went bust. It was fine the night before while I cooked. But in the morning when I tried to get some milk hot for the coffee, it started making really loud noise. I need my morning coffee to turn into a human being again... so I let it continue to make the sound. As long as it heated the milk, I didn't really care if it woke up the whole neighborhood. When the timer timed out and I reached for the milk, it was still as cold as a little Eskimo puppy's nose.

We warmed up the milk on the stove (gasp!) and cleared day's calendar to "take care of" of the microwave. Oh, how I missed out old apartment where all I had to do was pick up the phone and call the maintenance folks! Our old apartment had a 24 hour maintenance guarantee - any service order that was not fixed within 24 hours qualified us for free rent until the service was complete. They had a very handy crew and I was so pampered. But sigh, those days are long gone.

I was still not too bothered though, at this point. I mean, if something *had to* break that morning, I am glad it was the microwave. After all, how much can a microwave cost, right?

We have a built in wall unit microwave over an oven. So we had to buy something that matched the oven. We decided to keep it simple by getting the exact same brand of microwave again. Just to be on the safer side, we noted down the dimensions also.

Our first stop was Home Depot. We could not find the same brand as our old microwave. Nor were there any other microwaves with the same dimensions! Even though we hate talking to a salesperson in a store, we decided to give up our reservations and call one. The messenger of our bad news. Turns out, *none* of the companies make microwaves of the size we were looking for and our only option was to buy a new microwave and a new trim for it. Hey, wait a minute, we have a perfectly fine trim at home... this guy is just trying to sucker us in. Let's go look in Lowe's.

Off we went to Lowe's. And then to Sears. Everywhere we heard the same story. It was almost as if every five years or so, the manufacturers of all the microwaves get together in a secret convention and decide to change the "standard" height, width and depth by 3/4 inch. Not so much that it will be obvious, but just enough that anyone who wants to buy a new microwave *has* to buy a new trim too. For those of you fortunate enough to not be in this situation, here is a picture of the microwave with the trim (from home depot website).

There really is nothing to that trim other than the slits for ventilation. And there are some accessory sheet metal pieces inside that hold the microwave in place. And for this "trim kit", they charge the same as the microwave! Any way you look at it, you still have to agree with me that it is extortion!

We refused to buy it that day.... the only other time we have bought a microwave was while we were still students, and we remember we had gone to a Walmart and picked one for $50 or so. And now, it looked like the *cheapest* model would cost us around $300. We got back home to do our research online.

The past few days without the microwave felt like I was forced to cook with one hand tied behind my back. We finally ordered one online. Total damage? $320! (Oh, I have to mention, at one point we were *seriously* considering fitting the old broken microwave back in the hole in the wall, and getting a countertop one from Walmart for ~$50. Somehow, that made us feel a bit like cheapskates and so we decided to just suck it in and cough up the $320.)

When the package arrived, we first checked if we can still fit the microwave in our old trim. Since there is not much value to our old trim now, we decided to unleash our DIY skills on it. After two hours of hammering, plier-ing and generally mutilating the accessories of the old trim, we finally got the new microwave to fit in the old trim. We could make do with it, provided we never wanted to open the the door of the microwave. (Or tried prying it loose with a screw driver). Finally, disgusted, we decided to use the new trim. So now our good old kitchen has a brand new microwave. And a brand new trim. Look how nice they look together!

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Marsha said...

Bummer! My microwave broke this summer, too. In searching for a replacement, I also discovered how the sizes now are all different from when I had bought my old one. *sigh* The old one fit the teeny little counter space just right. The new one: not so much.

So now I'm moving into a house that has a microwave installed, and the new one I bought is redundant.

It's just all crazy! :)

Sistah Ant said...

note to self: when buying my house next year, if it makes sense, don't go for the microwave-in-the-wall. there's nothing wrong with a countertop microwave.

mapgirl said...

Sistah Ant, you will be sorry you made that remark when you find that you have no place to put XYZ on the countertops. TRUST ME on that.

Sounds crazy to have a built-in from what the wrote, but truthfully, having a microwave over the stove, i.e. built-in, is very nice when counter space is a premium.

However, even for a frozen dinner gal like me, I still love to cook and I still have to put my rice cooker and toaster into the cupboards before I start anything in the kitchen. THAT is more annoying than $150 for trim.

ispf said...

Marsha: I am pretty sure (since I am a firm believer in Murphy's laws) that the redundant microwave you have would have fit the hole in our wall *perfectly* :)

Sistah Ant, Mapgirl: Actually, mapgirl has a point! I find the microwave-in-the-wall very convenient and love the counter space it frees up! That said, I wish the wall unit manufacturers would sell the trim and accessories for what they are really worth instead of resorting to highway robbery! It's just the kind of thing you can't find on Craigslist and *have to* buy new :(

Canadian said...

I'm a renter and the microwave is mine, as are the appliances. I've never rented at a place that had a microwave included, though I have had major appliances included.

Dimes said...

Everywhere I've lived we've needed more cabinet space than counter space.

Jonathan said...

Ouch, $320!

The funny thing is, my parent's house came with a built-in above the stove, and it's never been used in the 10+ years we've had the house. We still use the counter-top we brought from our old house.

Next time just stick an LCD TV there, it'll cost less! :)

Poverty said...

Wow.. my microwave has been making this gravel like sound for a few weeks now.

I was actually thinking about "upgrading" to an over the stove wall mounted model in the interest of more counter space.

After you reading your post I think I will reconsider that. After all microwaves don't seem to last more than 7 years -- most less.