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Sign of God in a flaming microwave

December 6, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
Moments present themselves sometimes that make you say, “Hey, God is up there watching me.”

Monday was a day off, so I decided to get an early jump on my half of the Christmas cookie baking. After knocking off the making of the chocolate chip dough, I set my sights on a kind of lazy-man’s Buckeyes, where a layer of great peanut-butter mixture is topped by a layer of melted chocolate chips and then refrigerated.

Recipe aside, the melting o’the chips involved sticking them in the microwave, our 10 or so-year-old off-brand microwave that was, no lie, made in Poland. I think we paid $30 bucks for it in 2000 or so. It was big enough to hold maybe half a chicken in parts.

I put the chips in a big Pyrex cup, fired up the microwave with its little egg-timer control thing and it burned the chips. Or I rescued them from being fully burned, spread ‘em on the peanut-butter mixture, refrigerated it, froze it, cut it and discovered that mmmm, these are now pre-Christmas cookies suitable only for family use, not company, due to the slightly off-putting bitter nature of the slightly burned chips.

But that’s not the story. What happened after I put the peanut-butter-chocolate slab in the fridge is.

The Drummer and I were standing in the kitchen, having one of our increasingly rare father-son moments when we heard a BIG electronic hum from across the kitchen. And the microwave was lit up inside like some kind of device from the original, 1960s William Shatner Star Trek. Glowing white hot, with a flame or two and these litttle lightning bolts shooting across the little interior of the microwave.

We unplugged it, waited for the glow to stop, opened it and smelled the obvious smell of electronics that had recently been on fire. It went out to the alley, in the trash pile, where it was immediately scooped up by That Guy With The Pickup Truck Who Picks Up All Discarded Electronics, Appliances and Furniture in Toronto. I hope he’s not firing up that microwave. It could be dangerous.

Near as we can tell, the little egg timer circuit had finally failed. It had been failing to turn off the microwave for a few months. You simply monitored it, opened the door and yanked the little timer to its off position, even when it looked like it was off.

This time, it turned itself on, apparently, to kill itself.

I got to thinking. What happens if Marcus and I weren’t home at the time? Or worse, what if we had gone out to the living room for some coffee and didn’t get to the kitchen right away? Or much worse, what if we were in the basement working on something and the kitchen above our heads really got to roasting, trapping up downstairs with the gas furnace and water heater?

Serendipity? Fate?

I see the hand of God. We were standing by when the microwave committed suicide and it saved us. And the house. And all its contents.

A joyous Christmas season indeed.

And I get to remake the peanut-butter stuff with the new, digital, really nice microwave to melt the chips. Those are for company.


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