The main problem with getting a new refrigerator is that, well, you have to get a new refrigerator. It’s an appliance I rarely consider and truly only think about when it doesn’t work properly. When it came time to replace our first refrigerator, it brought on the expected annoyances of such a purchase, and one that was completely unexpected.
The first issue we settled was whether or not to actually replace the fridge. Chrisie wanted to replace it for some time, but I resisted. That is, I resisted until I backed myself into a corner one afternoon when I asked an ill-timed question.
“Honey, what do you think about getting a new TV?” I asked.
“We already have a TV.”
“Yes, but what about a bigger television? One that’s the proper size for the space we have.”
“We don’t need a bigger TV.”
“Sure we do. Ours is too small for the space we have in the room.”
“It’s 40 inches!”
“Which is great for a room smaller than ours, but I did the math and the minimum size for our room is around 50 inches.”
“You did the math.”
“Yes, I did the math. There’s a formula.”
“You did math to prove we need a bigger TV. You are so weird.”
“Well, you married me, what does that make you.”
“Maybe, but we need a larger television.”
“Actually, what we need is a new refrigerator?”
“You can’t watch a refrigerator.”
“No, but it’s a need, not a ‘Leighton wants something new.’ Also, it’s more useful.”
“Useful?” I was incredulous, “A fridge is just a box that keeps things cold. A television is a window of entertainment. . . why are you looking at me like that?”
“Because you won’t stop talking about a TV when we need a refrigerator.”
“Why do we need a new one?”
“Seriously? Because we need a fridge that, you know, actually works. I’m tired of opening the door to find our lettuce sitting in two inches of water.”
She really should not have needed to explain. The fridge we bought when we first got married was then over twelve years old and had water issues. Meaning, water dripped from the freezer into the lower portion. We used bowls to catch the water, but that year old solution was not longer effective.
“We could just stop eating salads,” I offered. I looked at the expression that suddenly clouded Chrisie’s face, calculated the odds saying the wrong thing (they were astronomical), and quickly recovered with, “We need a new fridge. Noted.”
I trudged through the process of selecting and purchasing a new one, which was bad in and of itself. It was nothing compared transferring everything from the old fridge to the new one. This is a tedious process. The food is one thing (at least we keep our fairly clean and up to date so there’s no need to toss outdated food), but all the other stuff is what really causes problems. All the little magnets, notes, art, and pictures takes time to remove and create their own unique problems.
We keep enough photos to fill a small album affixed to our fridge with magnets. In fact, the front of our fridge was basically one giant photo collage (at least down to where the kids could reach). It all had to be moved. Fortunately Chrisie took care of that portion of the move the night before the new fridge was scheduled for delivery.
Later that evening, I was caught off guard by the appearance of our fridge. What should have seemed familiar looked alien. The old fridge squatted in my kitchen and looked completely out of place. I couldn’t place my finger on what seemed wrong until I noticed I was looking for specific pictures which were no longer stuck to it.
I ran my hand over the glisteningly clean surface, tracing where pictures of my children should be. I placed my hand on a familiar spot that used to contain the last group picture featuring our dear friend who passed away. It looked bare and wrong. The freezer was full, but the frozen moments were missing and I discovered I did not like that at all.
The delivery of the new fridge and removal of the old went smoothly. After they finished, I admired the sleek, more modern, lines of our new appliance. It looked fantastic. It looked new. It looked well-kept and as if it belonged in a magazine spread of fabulous kitchens. I hated it.
We have since covered it with calendars, photos, our children’s art, magnets, and a few specks of dust. Compared to its factory condition, it looks gaudy and used. The detritus of our lives litter its surface and make it completely unfit for any photo shoot. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our fridge is still just a box that keeps things cold, but it’s also a wondrous memory storage device that provides the perfect place to store them. I adore it.