Sunday, March 24, 2013

My Crowning Achievement

I've gotten into the habit of spending most of my lunch hours at work going for walks. Working 9-5 doesn't exactly agree with me, and I find that by noon I can really use the chance to get some fresh air and stretch out a bit. Now that the weather is getting a little nicer, I will usually spend about 45 minutes walking around outside, before making my way back into the branch and attempting to heat and gobble down my lunch in the remaining 15 minutes.

Unfortunately, that meant that by the time I returned on Saturday to discover that the microwave was broken, it was too late for me to go somewhere to buy food. Apparently, somebody turned it on and it started to emit smoke, and when you're dealing with a device that heats things with radiation, people tend not to want to take risks. Many days, that just wouldn't be a problem for me. I often bring leftover food from the day before which is better warm, but totally edible cold. Unfortunately Saturday was not one of those days. I had brought a frozen cheese cannelloni which was essentially a brick. Eating it cold was not an option. I basically resigned myself to enjoying the mini yogurt I brought and then going hungry.

That lasted about five minutes. I was hungry, and tired, and the last thing I needed was to get cranky when I have to work with kids and teens all afternoon. I was also determined not to be beaten by a microwave. I took stock of my options and developed a plan. A wild and crazy plan.

My office has only one thing capable of generating heat: a kettle. Unfortunately, I could not cook my microwave cannelloni in a kettle. However, I was fairly confident that the microwavable container would float, so I decided to test that theory. I found the most durable plastic container in my office, and prayed it would not melt. I boiled the kettle, and set up a platform in the corner of my office, where if I spilled any water there was nothing to damage.

The container did float, thankfully, and the plastic tub did not melt, again thankfully. Already, this was a ragingly mediocre success!

I had to go back and forth from my office to the program, but I changed the water every few minutes. While this strategy was seeming more and more likely to work, it was not working very quickly. Ten minutes passed and it was still solid. Twenty and the sauce was beginning to soften. Thirty and the ice was gone off the top of the noodles. By forty minutes, the noodles were only frozen in the middle, and lunch seemed inevitable.

But wait! This lame story would be super lame without a last minute twist. While I was confident that it was only a matter of time until my food was edible, I began to question the integrity of the waterlogged microwavable container. These things are disposable, and not meant to stand extreme water for extended periods. While lunch may have been inevitable, so was disintegration. Now I faced a race against time! So much drama!

By fifty minutes, I had a decision to make. My food was lukewarm, even in the middle. It was edible. I like it hotter, but I was convinced that the container could not withstand another round in the tub. I made the decision, and I called it. I found a paper plate and transferred the pasta out of the sodden mess of a container. Lunch time!

I had beaten the system. I had triumphed where others would have given in. I got to eat lunch. Victory never tasted so mediocre, but I was hungry so I did not care. I was also even more glad than usual to be vegetarian. I did not have to worry about the potential consequences of undercooked meat, having none in my meal.

Hopefully next week we will have a new microwave, and I can cook my food properly, and in a reasonable amount of time.

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