The microwave won’t tell you that you accidentally added two additional zeroes to the timer. Coffee needs 30 seconds to heat up, not half an hour. Inevitably, you’ll hit “start” and move on to other things, intending to come back shortly to collect your warm coffee. After several minutes, it will dawn on you that the microwave shouldn’t still be rotating your java. As you hurriedly rush to the microwave and open the door, the carnage in front of you is not hard to miss.
“Stupid microwave,” you’ll yell to no one in particular. It’s not the microwave’s fault. You know that. It simply had a job to do, and it wasn’t going to stop until it was finished. The microwave isn’t a sentient being and can’t determine the difference between a cup of coffee and a solidly frozen piece of ground turkey.
Really, the only stupid thing involved in this entire mess is you – and the poorly constructed cup made of 94% recycled paper that can’t hold its contents for more than an hour, even under non-microwavable circumstances. Saving the planet and spending an hour cleaning the microwave on a Saturday morning? “Wonderful,” you say to yourself sarcastically.
Lost in this tragedy, of course, is the fact that you are now coffee-less for the day and void of hope.
What happens next is completely up to you.
Non-parental adults might seek refuge back in their warm beds, with no responsibilities forcing them to face the java-less day. For a father of two, that option is off the table.
Most folks would look at the reflection of themselves in the microwave door and decide to make a new pot of coffee or to go back to the coffee shop and purchase a new cup of joe. They would tell themselves that no amount of adversity is going to beat them. I admire these people. Sadly, I am not one to rise from adversity. I accept defeat and brood about it for a few days. It’s one of my endearing qualities.
“What did you do, dad?” asks one of my kids, while the other sniggers at my misfortune.
“I tried to microwave my coffee for 30 minutes,” I say.
“That’s too long,” says my other kid. “Does mom know your coffee threw up all over the microwave?”
“No,” I say.
The truth is, I was motivated to get the mess cleaned up before she arrived home from her yoga class. I was fairly confident that I could clean up the spill. The coffee scent emanating throughout the house was another challenge. Wives have impeccable noses.
It is with great pride that I announce to all of you that I became overcome with an immense motivation to remove all traces of what I now lovingly refer to as “The Coffee Catastrophe of 2017.” I cleaned the microwave with a fervor I didn’t think possible. The sponge and my right hand worked in tandem, like Starsky and Hutch. Even my children were impressed with this new-found enthusiasm. (The children haven’t yet learned that embarrassment is a great motivator.) In a moment of cleaning lucidity, I even sprayed the house with Febreze – linen-scented, of course. I had truly covered all my bases.
Five minutes later, I hear the front door open. In walks my wife, talking about what she learned in Yoga class. I had surmised that she had had plenty of chances to breathe in the air circulating from our home and that she hadn’t detected the odor of coffee. I was in the clear! Free from admitting my accident!
“Mom,” said my son, “Dad spilled coffee all over the microwave.”