Monday, January 12, 2015

Time for a new fridge ~ my column from Sunday's paper

My grandmother used to tell me of life in the South before electricity and modern conveniences. They kept some of their food in a well in the summer to keep it cold. We could have used a well this week. As always, there’s a story behind it.

I like my coffee, lawsuit hot…so hot that it removes a layer of enamel from my teeth and takes the hide off my tongue. Jilda, on the other hand, likes her java much cooler.

Monday morning when the coffee finished dripping, I opened the bedroom door and called to my sleeping bride in soft soothing tones. Are you ready for coffee?

She mumbles when she first wakes up. No one of this world can understand what she’s saying. It sounds almost as if she’s speaking in tongues, but she gets out of bed.

She doesn’t really stumble into the living room. It’s more like she careens off houseplants, the chifforobe and the cedar chest.

Once in the living room, she sat silently for a while with unfocused eyes. When she reached for her cup, it was still too hot, so she wobbled into the kitchen. Reaching into the freezer side of the fridge for a couple of cooling cubes, she stopped cold.

It took her a second to realize the icemaker wasn’t working and that she was standing in a puddle of water.

Suddenly, I understood exactly what she was saying. “Our fridge is dead!”

I went in the kitchen hoping it was something simple, but when I rolled it from against the wall, there was a small puddle of what looked like oil. It didn’t take a rocket surgeon to know that baby was dead.

Soon we were flipping through Consumer Reports and searching the web for a new fridge. We hoped we could find one that didn’t require us to mortgage the house.

A call to the local big-box store and we found exactly the unit we wanted. I was about to give them my credit card until I heard them say we can have it here in seven days. I explained that I would be killed and my body dumped in a local strip pit if it took seven days to get a fridge.

Then, we drove to Sides TV and Appliances and found the unit in the color we wanted. As it turns out, a mortgage wasn’t required.

A few minutes later, the new fridge was following us home like a puppy. We’d gotten about halfway home when a troubling thought crossed my mind. I looked over to Jilda and asked, “Did you measure the old fridge?”

“I thought you did.”

I hadn’t.

When we got home and rolled the old unit out of it’s nesting place between a wall and our kitchen cabinets and rolled the new one in place, it was about an inch too wide. Our hearts sank.

Our nephew Haven, whom I ALWAYS call to help me with stuff like this, stood there in silence for a long time.

I was trying to figure out how to break the news to George Sides Jr. that they were going to have to bring us another fridge and pick up the one they’d just delivered. Fret, fret, fret.

Just then, Haven said, “I think I can make this baby fit.” He got his hammer along with a screwdriver and a special saw. Soon there was sawdust, chips and pieces of molding all over the kitchen floor.

After about an hour, we pushed the fridge into its cubbyhole and it fit like a latex glove.

A while later, we heard ice cubes clattering in the icemaker and the sound was like music to our ears.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I like Haven all ready, my kinda guy. Fortunate that he could find a little wiggle room. The size (in width) was once standard so it is easy to make the mistake of ASSuming. We are still hurting in a washer/dryer situation in our latest 'home',or what was going to be our home, because I made an assumption on a dryer width.

    But I am glad you heard the ice cubes fall. Good article, I like it. Makes for an interesting read, one that I think (but try not say) 'Glad it isn't me!'

  3. My motto is "Measure twice, cut once, then call someone who knows what the f*** he is doing."

  4. Good thing you have a problem solver in the family...enjoy your new fridge! Good story...definitely entertains.

  5. Anonymous12:23 PM

    Our new fridge is taller than our old one, which JUST fit under some cabinets, so our handyman shortened one cabinet. The cabinets now stairstep, but they look & work fine!!

  6. Thanks heavens for Haven. It's uncanny how much he looks like my past next door neighbour who was the go-to guy for problem solutions like this. I'm glad you're up and running again.

  7. This was enjoyable and funny, but I'm sure less so for you! We all could use a Haven in our lives!

  8. It is good that you were able to replace the refrigerator so quickly. I think mine is contemplating a nervous breakdown. Enjoy the ice cubes.

  9. I remember a few years ago when we had to replace our dishwasher, I measured the old one and at the store was checking the sizes and had the sales person tell me they are all the same size I paid him no mind and checked and then said this one is bigger then that one he said it wasn't I showed him the tape measure and checked them and guess what I was right and his comeback it's only a tad larger I said that tad means it will not fit so don't tell me it doesn't matter, what an idiot.

  10. Omg, Rick I did the very same thing except it did have to go back and a smaller unit delivered in it's place. Problem was, we did the delivery! Takk about feeling stupid!

  11. You are not alone in the joy of buying a new fridge, anticipating its arrival, and then looking at space it would hopefully occupy. That is all I really want to tell you.

  12. I can't imagine soft, soothing tones and the offer of coffee in the morning. No wonder she loves you.



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