7QT:Microwaves, Ants, and other House Musings

Once again I'm linking up with the ever-inspiring Clean Up Link Up at Real Housekeeping. Thankfully this week's challenge was nicely small and manageable: cleaning out the microwave.  Small, manageable, and gross.  Ick.  The inside of ours was not nice but I've seen (and cleaned) worse. The microwave in my school classroom?  Pretty sure that thing had not been cleaned in a couple years, and with all the Easy Mac, Cup o Ramen, and God knows whatever else middle schoolers eat encrusted on there…not fun.

It was actually funny timing that Rhonda picked microwaves for this week because (before knowing that microwaves would be the challenge of the week), Allen and I decided that we were going to give back the microwave to his grandpa, the person we'd been borrowing it from for the past however many years.

One reason for this was that it took up way too much space in our tiny kitchen with absurdly insufficient counterspace.  Another reason was that it was just an ancient and crappy microwave.  It never, EVER heated food evenly.  The edges of the bowl would be hot enough to burn you and the center would be cold; maybe tepid if you were lucky.

"Why not just be old fashioned and reheat things on the stove or in the oven?"  we asked ourselves.  It really doesn't take much longer since our oven and burners heat up very quickly.  Having decided to return it, the right thing to do would be to give it back in its original condition…or better.  I can't remember if it was clean to start with.  I'm thinking not so much, given how hard I had to work at some parts of it.

Here are the before pictures of that bad boy:
Hogging space (and becoming an ersatz shelf)


It probably took me a good 15 minutes and multiple different cleaning tools and products to get that thing looking decent again.  I used a rag and Murphy's Oil Soap Orange Cleaner Spray (love that stuff), Lysol Wipes, Q-Tips, a wooden skewer, and makeup remover cotton pads.  There was a distressingly blackish substance in the creases and corners which had to be scraped out.  Yechh.  I also ran the glass rotating dish through the dishwasher with the rest of the dirty dishes.  Here was the final product (minus the glass tray, which was still in the dishwasher at time of triumphal photo):

Gleam of cleanliness or flash?  We report, you decide.

Naturally, the other appliances were waiting in the wings to usurp the spot and outlets Mr. Microwave had recently left behind.

And THAT is the extent of my counterspace in the kitchen.
Mission accomplished!  Apparently, though, Roger forgot he had lent it to us, so he was very surprised today when I brought him a microwave in a seemingly random act of appliance-giving.
Ants: we have them.  More and more each day, it seems.  Maybe I'm just getting softer in my old age, but these ants are cuter than the ants in some of our previous dwellings.  They are more brownish in color and their antennae are really pronounced and they seem a bit bigger than the usual black sugar ant.

Our first two apartments were delightfully ant-free, but every one since then (and that is four, including this one) has had ant problems to some degree.  It really bothered me the most at the Addie house, mostly because I found a huge pile of ant eggs (I think that's what they were) on top of the nice warm computer part.
Of course I took a picture of it…and still have it, 3 years later .  See? Those ants are not cute.  
I think what I dislike most about ants is their swarmy nature.  It's just kind of icky to watch a moving mass of insects trying to carry off its latest conquest.  On the other hand (as Allen pointed out), ants are the next best thing to a dog in terms of animal life helping us regulate the number of crumbs on the floor.  We are probably the ant welfare office.  

I wish the ants would go away.  But I am feeling more tolerant of them, although I must admit that I don't try to save them when they foolishly go into the dishwasher.  Your bad, ants, your bad.  (And I don't mean you're bad; I mean your bad, like your bad move.  Just clarifying!)
House musings: our lease here ends at the end of May.  What then, dear readers, what then?  The problem is that most 3 bedroom apartments are out of our price range.  Heck, even most 2 bedroom apartments are out of our price range.  This is the cheapest place there is that's within a reasonable distance of suburban life.

Or so we thought…

Last week, while perusing Craigslist in the vain hopes of a cheap place to buy so that we wouldn't continue paying rent forever with no return on it, I saw an ad for a manufactured home that was a mere $3500.  No, it is not missing any zeroes.  $3,500 cash, or best offer!  We made inquiries immediately and I'm going to go look at it tomorrow.  It's still small (644 sq. ft.) and is darned ugly inside, but that's part of the plan.  We wanted to get a fixer so that Allen could put his growing array of carpentry/remodeling skills to good use and increase the value of the home for eventual resale.

More pros include that it has a fenced backyard (yay!) and a shed (yay for Allen's tools and scrap buckets!) and the park rent is cheap (better than what we pay now) AND best of all, we could buy it without needing a loan from anyone.  Owning a house, even a manufactured house? Sounds good to me.  The park seems, well, sketchy and definitely full of eyesore trailers.  But you have to start somewhere, right?

"Word, yo." --Dave Ramsey

Other happenings around the house (i.e. shameless photo dumping of cute children):

Ruby gets Ben to play dress up with her.  He is a captive audience.

The handsome prince 

In a turn of dramatic irony, the Very Hungry Caterpillar finds himself the prey of a Very Hungry Baby.

And speaking of Ben, he turned 5 months old on March 4th, and is just as cheerful a guy as you could wish for.  

Max's 2nd birthday is coming up soon.  I am wondering what theme (if any) to plan.  Ruby had a farm party for her 2nd birthday but we also lived on a farm-type of place at the time.  Ruby also had friends her age to invite (although I am a stickler for the rule that says "Don't invite more guests than the number of years of the birthday kid"…2 kids for a 2 year old, 3 for a 3 year old, etc.).

Max doesn't really have any friends his age yet. He has known kids from various daycare/church nursery situations but we've never had playdates with them.  Maybe it will be another family party year.
In about an hour or so (if I'm trusting the weather to cooperate), my wonderful cousin Chandra Lowe will be arriving for a weeklong visit before she jets down to sunnier climes in California for a convention!  We are so excited to see her!  Yay yay yay!!!!
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  1. Love the bumbo (and the hat). Do NOT love ants.

    Good luck on your house hunting. :0)

  2. Hey, I notice that you are Cafe Bustelo people, too! It's like we were made for each other...


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