The refrigerator light was out for a good month. It was a wonderful month; since I couldn’t see a thing, I told myself I didn’t have to clean the refrigerator out. And the boys couldn’t so easily reach in and grab those sugary Trix yogurts; they were forced to choose a banana or apple from the fruit bowl instead.
Here’s why it took a month to get it fixed: our electrician was recovering from a hernia surgery. Seems every time I do call him, he’s recovering from another hernia surgery.
“I can’t fix this,” he grumbled when he finally was able to come, after giving me needless details about the size of his hernia, that of a golf ball, and how he had to pee all the time.
“The socket is shot.” It was actually melted. He told me I needed to call an appliance repairman. Then I wondered why I hadn’t thought to call one in the first place. I guess because it was about light. Electricity….
So I’d waited a month to find out I had to call someone else to fix the light. Someone who charged $75 just to walk in the door. The old dryer had been the first appliance we had to replace. We’d regularly been calling the appliance repairman ever since.
As I’ve learned, they don’t make appliances like they used to. “They’re not as heavy duty,” he told me, the first time he came to fix the new dryer that had stopped drying. And that he told me again, when our new washing machine stopped washing, and he accused me of doing too much laundry (look in my archive; you’ll find an entire blog about my washing machine woes). Since then, we’ve also had the dishwasher and stove replaced. All new appliances, that break more frequently than the old ones.
Except for our refrigerator. The old dog keeps on runnin.’ And it is dated, for sure – not stainless steel. No convenient double doors. No ice maker. No water filter. No nice neat freezer drawer on the bottom. The white handle is forever grimy, even though I take Brillo to it, but then the boys put their hands on it again, and that is that. I never wipe the exterior, as that would mean having to remove all the magnets holding up faded photos and the boys’ drawings of Star War battles and dragons.
The refrigerator was the last of the big appliances that had been in the house when we moved in, ten years ago. “How old is it, you think?” I asked.
He shrugged. “About twelve years…”
I asked what its life expectancy was. In refrigerator years, not dog.
He told me a good twenty. “If you were to buy a new one, it would be a lot less. More like ten years.”
Pretty much the life expectancy of every other new appliance in our house.
He extracted the socket, held up the melted mess to me. He was stymied. “Can’t remember the last time I’ve seen this happen.” Then he looked at me with great suspicion. “Did you leave the door open all night?”
I did. It had been so long ago, now over a month, I’d forgotten that. But I remember obsessing over whether all the food had gone bad, even though it was only open a crack. I wound up throwing away just about everything, deathly afraid of food poisoning. I’m one of those suckers who throws out a cheese stick a day after the expiration date.
Yes, I admitted. I had left the door open all night long.
That ‘ll do it.”
So I’d cost us $125. I told myself our boys had cost us more, if you add up all new screens that we’ve had to replace every spring, from their leaning on them.
We had to wait another few days for the order to come in for a new socket.
And then there was light. And the reality of the mold growing in the bottom of the colanders. Spilt liquids that had hardened on the shelves. Rotting leftovers of who-knew-whats pushed to the back of the refrigerator. Sour milk cartons.
I was faced, finally, with having to clean out the refrigerator. As I knew I would have to face cleaning out the hall closet – there too, if I didn’t turn on the light, I wouldn’t have to see the jumble of tossed sneakers and winter boots. Call me in denial. But it is that denial that allows me the time for this: blogging. And weaving. If I were to see the light every day….