Contrary to the title, this is not a dyslexic commercial for Rice Krispies Cereal. This is the story of cauliflower, a microwave, a couch cushion, and a very patient man. Fun fact, the word “cauliflower” derives its name from the Italian word cavolfiore , which means cabbage flower; it is also listed in Ancestry.com as a last name. Aren’t you grateful that you weren’t born into the Cauliflower family? If you aren’t grateful, maybe you should be because in this story the cauliflower is kind of the bad guy.
It was a Sunday morning and, like almost every morning, I asked Cliff what we were doing for lunch-supper. I’m very food oriented. We had decided to cook a simple meal of marinated flank steak, roasted potatoes, and cauliflower. Cliff would take care of the meat. He enjoys cooking now and comes up with some pretty tasty recipes. This marinade was one of his best! I would take care of the roasted potatoes and cauliflower, because how much harm can someone do with an air fryer and a microwave. How much indeed.
I tossed the potatoes with a little olive oil and some spices and dumped them in the air fryer. No problem. I placed the frozen cauliflower in a bowl with a little water and placed it in the microwave. No sooner did I turn the machine on than we heard a loud “POP” and then everything went black. Our 13 year old microwave had crossed the magnetron bridge and was no more. The cauliflower had killed it. We don’t know how. Maybe it was the freezer burn or the lack of a plastic wrap cover? Whatever it was, it was a quick death and for that we are grateful. It took me a few minutes to remember how to cook vegetables in a pot, but eventually it all came back to me. We ate our lupper and contemplated our plan of action.
The next morning, we went shopping to Home Depot and Lowes and Home Depot again, because they had the microwave in stock and we had a 10% off coupon. Cliff was confident that he could install the microwave himself. He’d done it before with couch cushions stacked on the stove and felt he could, successfully, do it again. What he forgot was that I didn’t help him last time and that would be our undoing.
We came home and Cliff prepared for the “install”. We cleared out the kitchen, he removed the deceased microwave, and placed it in the garage. He retrieved the sturdy couch seat cushions from our somewhat decrepit, but still usable if covered sleeper sofa stored upstairs in a room nobody sees. He strategically stacked them on top of our stove and he was on his way. At least, that’s what we thought. I asked if he needed my help. He didn’t so I retreated to the adjoining dining room to work on a puzzle. I did periodically check on his progress and ask if he needed my help. At one point, when trying to place the seemingly gargantuan sized new microwave on the itty-bitty clips that were on a metal strip that he’d attached to the wall, he said yes. And so, I did my part. I got my step stool, because well, you know, and I leaned into the cushions to hold up the microwave and tilt it onto the clips. I thought I was doing a great job until I smelled something weird and heard a “CRACKLE” sound. I jumped off my stool and we pulled off the cushions.
So, evidently, while leaning into the cushions to hold up the microwave I turned on the front burner of the stove and cooked my cushion. It wasn’t on fire yet, so that was good! I put it outside because burning foam does not smell good. Since the somewhat decrepit sturdy couch cushions were no longer useful, we decided it was best to pull out the stove and work from the ground. Knowing we needed someone less vertically challenged and much stronger than myself, we called our son-in-law, Thomas, who lives across the street. He said he’d be right over, I told him to wait about half an hour because the house was still smoky and smelled pretty bad since I almost burned it down.
We had been working on this installation for quite some time now. Thomas showed up as promised and eventually, the microwave was tilted and landed on the itty-bitty clips with a “SNAP”. The screws, which had to access the microwave from inside the top cabinet, were another matter entirely and telling their tale completely, would take a small book. Suffice to say the entire install was not done in a “SNAP”. Suffice to say the entire install took 6 hours.
SIX hours and not once did my husband lose his cool. Not once did he seem frustrated with the install or with me, even when I almost burned the house down. Not once. He just kept plodding along, thinking about what he should do next, finding new ways of measuring impossible holes for obstinate 4″ screws, and developing a renewed appreciation for the handyman who does this kind of thing for a living. It was a hard job, but in light of all eternity, it was really not that big a deal!