a letter to my refrigerator

Dear Refrigerator,

Although we do not have an especially close relationship, you and I, I feel as though I should write to you and have my feelings out before you leave us for good. I hope that doesn't happen for a while, but lately you've been a little touchy, so I'm afraid we should prepare for the worst.

You came with the house, which we bought seven years ago. I don't know how old you were then, and at the time I didn't care. Home ownership was such a new and exciting stage in our young lives, the age of the appliances in our vintage kitchen didn't seem to matter. You are certainly newer than the kitchen itself, which still has its original white-painted metal cupboards with chrome hardware and porcelain sink. But you are not especially young.

Most worrisome, Refrigerator, is your shuddering gasp of a death rattle whenever the compressor shuts off. Over the last year or so it has gotten louder and louder. I know you are tired. I know you want a way out.

But, Refrigerator, please don't die. Not yet. I've adapted to your quirks. I've learned, for example, not to put anything in the back of the top shelf unless I want it frozen solid. I've learned to forgive the moron who designed the placement of the temperature knob to be in the perfect position for being knocked out of whack every time someone pulls out a jug of milk. It was probably that guy's first day on the job, and he didn't know that the appliance he designed was destined to live in a kitchen so small and poorly arranged that opening the refrigerator door would require that the table be scooted between 6 and 12 inches to the west, so help anyone sitting there actually eating a meal. I don't mind that the tracks for the cheese drawer have broken so the drawer never goes in straight. I don't even mind that we've had to put duct tape on the door to hold the shelves in three different times now. I suppose it was our fault for having too many condiments stored there.

But this morning, when the door wouldn't close at all, and we discovered that yet another piece had broken, rendering the bottom shelf crooked and unstable, requiring us to prop it up with cardboard pieces cut crudely from a box and covered with yet more duct tape, my husband Stuart and I had The Talk. We discussed what we would do when the inevitable happens. You see, replacing you is not so simple a task as just going to a retail establishment specializing in durable goods (as they say in economic speak) and buying a new fridge. The fact is, we want to expand and remodel the kitchen to accommodate the needs of our family. I don't mean to be harsh, but like the kitchen, you just aren't big enough for us. Unfortunately, there isn't space right now for a refrigerator any larger than you, so for now, you're all we've got. We've started to talk with a design firm, and we're moving ahead with the idea, but it's going to take some time to secure detailed plans and funds (oy), and until then, we need you to try your hardest to keep your chin up and keep cool. Literally.

If you leave us before we are ready, Refrigerator, we are screwed. We'll have some unpleasant choices to make, and quickly, because if there is anything in a household you can't live comfortably without for more than a day or so, it is the refrigerator. There are laundromats for when the washing machine goes, space heaters for when the furnace kicks it, and boiling water on the stovetop to pour a bath if the water heater crosses over, but short of buying bags of ice every two hours or running to the neighbor's house every time someone wants a glass of milk, you can't live without the fridge. If we have to replace you, we'll be forced to choose between buying a fridge too small for us that fits in your space, or buying an appropriately-sized one that doesn't yet have a kitchen to live in, which means we'll either have to move it or the table out to the living room until the remodel/expansion happens. None of these are attractive options.

So for the sake of my sanity, Refrigerator, hang in there. Stay with us until we figure this out. Please!




Rachel said…
love this : )

can't wait to hear more about your remodel!
Strangeite said…
9 years ago we bought an ancient dryer for $25. Being that it only cost $25 and had obviously been used, I didn't expect it to last long.

The first time it broke down was 3 years ago. I was resigned that a new dryer was in our future but figured that I would give fixing it a shot. What could it hurt?

After taking it apart, a few hours spent online finding the schematics (the dryer was from the early 80s I found out) and a trip to the dusty parts store that every city seems to have, the dryer was up and running better than at any time since we owned it.

The pride I felt in bringing this ancient piece of equipment back to life was indescribable.

The point of my comment is that you might have a couple of other options. First, you could probably find a used fridge that fits the space for less than $100. Second, it might be worth your time exercising your Google-Fu and finding the schematics for your model. A fridge is more complicated than a dryer, but not by much, especially if it is an older model.
Claire said…
Oooooo, a new kitchen! That's exciting!
Orlandel said…
PVC pipes can also be used to support shelves - just cut to fit and put caps on the ends for stability. Also, if the compressor goes out you can usually find a replacement for not too much. But I hope it makes to until you are ready for a new one! Nothing worse than feeling like you have to design the kitchen around the new appliance you just bought. (I want to start shopping for new appliances, but can't decide on stainless or black until I get my new cabinets done, so I wait...and wait....) Good luck!
Andrea said…
If it dies and you have to wait a while, can you put a new fridge in the new basement till you do the remodel?
Animal said…
As far as looking at used units go, and in Strangeite's price range, look for local auctions. I know that estate and consignment auctions I've been to usually have a number of appliances - some startlingly new! - that go for under $50. I was at one (granted, this is years ago, before the meltdown) where a matching 'fridge and large freezer went for $20. For the PAIR. Poor auctioneer couldn't get rid of 'em to move on to furniture (that no one wanted either…seems they'd all come for the Hummels), and I think some guy finally said "I'll take 'em both for one money" just to get things going again.

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