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Terrie’s New Refrigerator

October 10, 2011

This post will be far more remarkable to our kids than it will be to anyone else. They know how long Mom has been waiting for a new fridge. They also know what a tightwad I am. We have this bad tendency to cheap out every time we have to make a major purchase. We walk into the appliance department, only to wind up over at the scratch and dent area. We browse the new stuff, only to turn to Craig’s list.

We also tend to use up anything we buy. If there is any life left in an appliance, we just keep it limping along. I mean, really… Have you ever looked at the innards of a clothes dryer? There is nothing to one of those things that I could not (and did not) repair as a high school kid. So we just keep fixing and using and fixing and using. Terrie says that our current clothes dryer is at least 100 years old. I think that this is a bit of a stretch, but not by much.

Now the roots of our new refrigerator acquisition go back to a critical design flaw in our house’s architecture. Back when I was drawing up plans for the house, the kitchen area layout got a little crowded, and I finally decided to use the little nook under the stairs to place the refrigerator. This used up an area that might have otherwise made a nice little pantry, but the fridge wouldn’t fit anywhere else.

Now stay with me. You’ll see how this all ties together in a minute. When we put the fridge in the little nook under the stairs, it left a bit of dead space behind. I decided to tuck away a water heater back there behind the fridge. That, my friends was the critical mistake. Because when you buy a budget refrigerator and then keep it forever, you run a high risk of winding up with a 1000 pound appliance setting atop cheap little wheels that will no longer roll. This, in turn, will prevent easy access to the water heater that you will need to get to for occasional repair. Which brings us to last Thursday afternoon.

Anna casually informed me that the hot water was giving way to cold water just a few minutes into her shower. I immediately moaned, knowing that I had some repair work to do behind the refrigerator. You can see where this is going now, can’t you.

Saturday morning as I set out to fix the water heater, I put in motion the events that led to our trip to Lowes to buy a replacement element for the water heater and ultimately a new refrigerator. I had laid a piece of formica on the floor in front of the fridge to keep it from scratching, and I was heaving and sweating a storm and grumbling something about if I ever get this boat anchor out from under the stairway, I would NEVER push it back in again. So after getting my heart right and back into the Spirit, I casually approached Terrie and asked, “You know that new refrigerator you have been waiting for?” She looked up with an odd sort of surprise. “Let’s go get it.”

It’s not often that you can catch my wife in a state of slack-jawed bewilderment. I wish I’d had a camera handy. You know that slow-motion sensation that you get when you are in a sudden accident or something? She seemed to be frozen there for a few minutes. I was about to go get a defibrillator, when she snapped to and charged for the van.

The rest of the story is trivial. Suffice it to say that they delivered on Sunday afternoon, and Terrie is still pinching herself to see if the dream will vanish. You have never seen a woman with such an aura of contentedness, though I did see her give a sidelong glance toward the dishwasher.

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