What Can You Live Without?


Guess what went out now? The microwave. The irony is we sold our spare microwave at the last garage sale.

A hole in my kitchen

The one I sold was a counter top model and I need a built in. If you’ve ever priced built ins, they are outrageously expensive. On top of that you also need to buy a “trim kit”, basically a metal frame to make your microwave look like it was part of the cabinetry.

Only one trim kit can’t sub for another. Oh, no. That would be too convenient and cost effective for consumers.

Each trim kit only fits a specific brand. And you can’t mount the much cheaper counter top model in place of a built in. You can, if it fits in the hole, and if it can vent properly, but guess what won’t fit? Yup. The trim kit.

I’m seething because I don’t want to buy the same model I had before. It only lasted five years. It’s a Frigidaire Professional Series. Unfortunately, it might come to that. At least I won’t have to buy another trim kit. It’s ridiculously expensive for a piece of pressed metal. I hate the idea of Frigidaire making another sale from us after they soured me on this one.

The sad part about all this is it made me realize just how much we use our microwave. It surprises me how quickly we accustomed and embedded ourselves to technology–even me–Nanook from the Wayback.

I don’t think we even had a microwave until the 1980s, so why is it so hard to live without one now?

It made me wonder what else I’d hate to lose.

•  Cell phones
Handy, but I mostly use it to look up stuff on the internet.

• The internet
Wonderful as it is, the few times I’ve lost internet has been more of a blessing. I get so much more done without the distraction.

• Television
We don’t watch a lot of tv, but we do stream movies. Guess Greg and I would have to come up with something else to do. 🙂

• Printer
I’d really miss this. My hands hurt too much to print everything by hand.

• Electricity
The Mother of all Inventions. We have solar energy at Greg’s shop so we could theoretically live without electricity.

• Toilets
Okay. If there was one thing I absolutely would hate to give up more than anything else, it would be the toilet. I make no apologies. That’s the line in the sand for me.

How about you? What would you hate to give up more than anything?


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  1. Marianne

    When my hubs wanted to buy a camp at the lake (on an island), I told him I had two requirements: electricity and a flush toilet. Everything else I can live with (or without). Ditto when he wired the generator to the house. He asked: What’s most important to you? My response: flushing the toilet. Seriously … I lived in the boonies with an outhouse and no electricity, and I missed a toilet more than anything.

    Good luck with the microwave. We actually have a Frigidaire Professional series and have had for more than the five years yours lasted. So far, it’s working like a charm. Maybe yours was defective in some way?

  2. Electricity, computer, internet, coffee maker, car, fridge, stove, microwave, tv & satellite, cell phone (for emergencies only) – probably in that order. The first four, I need for work. All of them keep me safe and keep me sane, which keeps everyone else safe. LOL

  3. Sorry about your microwave. My friend’s built-in microwave recently bit the dust, too, so I heard all about the trim kit. I’ve had my counter top microwave for over 20 years and it still works great (**knock on wood**). It’s a Panasonic (if that matters).

    As for something I’d hate to give up: running (city) water. I could only imagine what life would be like without it: HORRIBLE!

  4. Oy on the microwave. But a warning about built in: we have a built-in double oven set up, with a GE microwave on top of a regular oven. Can’t remember how long… maybe 8 years or so. Recently, two things have broken on the microwave, the light bulb and the turntable. And it’s impossible to fix these things because there’s no way to get to them. The light bulb is no big deal, but the turntable has me pissed off. I have to cook everything in 30 second increments and open the door to turn the food a quarter turn at a time. It’s doable, but annoying. I suppose there’s some way to take the cabinet apart and pulls out the microwave, but darned if we know how to do it. If we are able to find someone to do it for us, it’s going to cost a bundle.

    We have no room at all for a counter model and you probably don’t either, but this is really a vote for having one if you can manage it at all.

    • Marlene: Why is that? My counter top microwaves lasted longer than I wanted them, but the built in always have some sort of problem.

      It can’t be just coincidence.

      re: counter space
      Counter space is precious. Still, had I known it was going to go out on me, I would’ve had Greg put in a cabinet in the place of the hole and put my microwave on the counter.

      It’s too late now because the cabinet refinishers are coming next week. The materials have already been ordered.

  5. We were with a microwave when our kitchen was being remodeled a bunch of years back. I was stunned at how much we used it.

    From your list, I’d say toilets are the most critical. And without electricity we wouldn’t have any of the other things (even cell phones have to be re-charged). But I think being without a cell phone would make me crazy the fastest. I’ve gotten dependent on knowing I can reach my family or they could reach me in an emergency. I’d worry myself sick without that.

  6. Linda: Brandy Jones on FB mentioned refrigerators and I totally forgot about that.

    I’d hate to be without a fridge.

    re: cell phones
    My whole family is like that (except me). They cannot stand not being in constant touch with one another. To me it’s too stressful always having to be ‘present’ when someone calls.

  7. Ironically, given this post, I never use a microwave, so I could “give that up” easily 🙂

    Toilet and running water, essential. Hot running water if you want to keep me happy (and no, I don’t go camping).

    As for my cellphone *sigh* I seldom give out the number because when I do I have to embarrassingly add – just don’t call me, because I never turn it on. I turn it on if I’m meeting people for lunch or something, otherwise it’s just for 2-step security verification. Yeah. I’m a luddite 🙂

  8. I like the built in ones, but you brought up a great point about having to have the trim kit. We have lived at places where they were built in and liked the look. When we were living at hubby’s parents’ house, they had 2 microwaves so we got used to having two of them. Then we moved into another place that had a built in one and we took one of his parents’ microwave, sold the other one (actually gave it away, it was big and bulky, we just wanted it gone) and then moved to our present house with no built in microwave. After a few months, we decided to buy another microwave since we liked the convenience of having two.

    I’m glad we have indoor plumbing and while I’ll skimp on maybe square feet in a house, I really want two toilets 🙂 (i.e. 2 bathrooms)


    • Betty: Our house is too big. When we were in the market there was another house that I thought was the perfect size and floor plan, but it was way too close to the neighbors so that killed the deal.

      re: two bathrooms
      Right you are! If we only had one toilet, my marriage might not survive. Greg hogs the bathroom.

  9. I’m with Mac on this one. The internet. And perhaps going with the toilet theme – toilet paper. As a child we had an outside loo with cut up squares of the Liverpool Echo. It did encourage you to read in the gloom and make sense of stories that never quite finished. It also left a nasty stain on the bottom.

  10. We constantly burn through microwaves and coffee makers. I know our very hard water is what kills the latter, but even when we pamper the microwave it still dies every other year or so. They seemed to last a lot longer when I was younger. Maybe they were better made in the old days.

    I really can’t live without the well pump and our carbon filter system. Not having running water is a huge pain, and there’s so much iron in the ground water here we have to filter it or everything smells and tastes like tinfoil. We had to install a new drainfield a few years back for the septic tank, and that gave me a whole new appreciation of having functional toilets. 🙂
    Without my Dragon (voice recognition software) I couldn’t work, so that would be next on the list. I have a laptop for power outtages, but working on it manually is so very slow.

    • Lynn: Wow! That’s wild that microwaves don’t last long. I wonder if it has something to do with the higher humidity. Saltier air?

      We’ve had no trouble with counter top models but this is the second built in we’ve had to replace. I smell a rat in the microwave industry.

      re: ground water
      My sister has a similar problem with her ground water. It makes me think that if I ever buy another house, it would behoove me to taste the water before I get excited about the place.

      • You might be onto something with the humidity — I’m in rainy lake country where it’s hardly ever dry. We don’t even have to water our grass most of the year.

        Carbon filters are a good compromise to using those expensive salt systems, especially when you get older and don’t want all that sodium they add to the water. My guy built our filter system himself with some PVC and a valved container for the filter. Costs about a hundred bucks a year for the filters (we do flush out and reuse the filters twice to save a bit more) and the water tastes perfect.

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