Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Why Do Stereotypes Have to Prove Themselves True?

All right, appliance gods, we have to talk.

First of all, there's the spelling thing. When I want to use the full name "refrigerator," it uses only a "g," but when I want a shorter way to say it "fridge" has a "d" and "g." What up with that? Do you know how many times a day I've had to remember that distinction in the last 7 days???? Which brings me to the larger issue.

My refrigerator is a glorified cabinet. No wait, it's worse than that because now it's full of melted ice water (from the brief attempt to keep it cold in there with an extra bag of ice we had), rotted produce remains (the stuff that wasn't worth saving), and the smell of warm barbecue sauce. My other cabinets definitely don't have those problems, no matter how bad a housekeeper I am. So make that, "My refrigerator is a big stinky cabinet." I mean, I love Rudy's Sause, but not enough to enjoy "eau de BBQ" every time I open the fridge out of mindless habit. (Why do I keep doing that? You'd think I'd learn. Especially since the only way to get to my fridge is to basically trip over the two big coolers in the middle of the kitchen floor full of ice and all my perishable food staples. I suppose if nothing else, maybe this experience will break my habit of mindlessly opening the fridge when I'm bored.)

How could I abandon my Rudy's Sause to the broken fridge abyss you ask? We all have to make choices in a moment of crisis. I did the best I could... Back when the fridge first started to go, the things made of predominantly vinegar seemed like they would fare better in the slowly deteriorating environment. I mean, better to lose the the mustard and bottles of salad dressing with only a few tablespoons left of whatever creamy dressing whim struck me when I was pregnant than risk a coup when Scott discovered we'd be spending another week where he couldn't drink milk. (Yes, you're doing the math right. I'm not making any announcements about being pregnant again. The salad dressings were past their expiration dates anyway.) The problem became compounded when my first and thoroughly useless repairman came on Friday and my fridge gave up the ghost. Or maybe I should say it gave up the rest of its freon. It used to cool at least a little bit. As I watched, the repairman opened up the back, pointed out a bad weld on what he called a previous repair (previous repair?!?!? your guess is as good as mine...), then touched the suspect spot. This commenced a loud hissing sound that signaled a new chapter in our refrigerator saga. No longer were we in the "mildly cool" stage. No, no! Now we'd progressed to "accelerate bad smells because it's musty and warm in here" stage. So in the interest of whining as much as possible, here is my timeline:

June 23, 2007 - We purchase a brand new (still has all the packaging tape and styrofoam) LG refrigerator from a scratch and dent appliances store. It indeed had some pretty significant cosmetic damage, but since I have two children under the age of 5, this seemed irrelevant. It comes with a full manufacturer's warranty, so everything will be fine, right? (On the cosmetic side of things, it was a good call. My kids have already generated two new dings on the front of this thing in the two months we've been using it.)

July 21 - We actually pick up our new fridge and start using it.

September 22 - We notice that our recently purchased ice cream is more of a chilly soup/foam. It never recovered from the trip home in the trunk. We wonder if we've overloaded the freezer and blocked air flow. We move a couple things to the chest freezer in the garage and turn the freezer a little colder.

September 24 - We notice that things have not improved in our freezer. We completely rearrange everything so that we have even less than before in the freezer and spread it all out in a nice even layer just begging to be frozen. Also, we adjust the temperature again. I begin hunting for our owner's manual. "Which box I haven't unpacked yet did that end up in?" Also, I must not forget to mention that, apparently oblivious to the mounting peril, I go the grocery store for our bi-weekly trip and stock up our fridge. How dumb could I be? But hindsight is 20/20...

September 25 - We try everything suggested in the owner's manual. We start cooking up our own ideas. We leave only a few things in the freezer and place a test cup of water in there to see if it will freeze overnight.

Wednesday September 26 - By morning, the cup of water in the freezer has succeeded only in forming only a very thin layer of ice which begins to disappear as the morning wears on. I decide to call LG. I spend my morning making touch tone selections and listening to hold music. They reffer me to someone who offers to come the next morning, but Claire has a preschool field trip we're all going on, so I put it off until Friday morning. If only I had known then that the freezer inadequacy was just the tip of the melting iceberg. After I set up a repair appointment, I realize the few things we've left in our freezer are now thawed and dripping everywhere. So I transfer what can be salvaged to the other freezer, then start to realize that my problem may be getting worse. Is it me, or is the fridge not quite cold enough? After an hour of conflict, I finally ignore the voice in my head that says, "The fridge is definitely colder than a breadbox (what scale can you use?), the food will be fine" and heed the alarmist voice in my head saying "How will you know if the fridge is cold enough? Do you want another upchuck festival?" (Man, that just keeps coming up, doesn't it? Sorry...) I pull out our cooler and borrow one from the neighbors. I scrounge ice from our house and our poor under-appreciated neighbors.

Friday September 28 - Repairman #1 comes. His name was given to me by LG, so why couldn't he fix anything? He doesn't "do" the sealed system. Well I don't "do" soggy cheese that has been floating in a cooler full of ice and water. So I call LG again and get three different names of other repair companies so I can call until I find someone who does "do" the main components of refrigerators. The first company I call sounds like it will work great. They can't quite squeeze me in that day, so I schedule them to come Monday morning. I try calling the other two companies and leaving messages to see if they can come any sooner. They never return my calls. Hmmm.... I guess we'll wait through the weekend.

Monday October 1 - Repairman is no show. I get a call at about lunchtime telling me that the repair guy is bogged down with some huge job that turned out to be more than they expected. He won't get to me today, he'll come the next morning at 10am so that I'll be back from dropping Claire off at preschool.

Today, Tuesday October 2 - Repairman is no show by 11:30am so I call to see what's up. He's behind but he'll come this afternoon. Well, that's all fine and dandy, but I have to pick Claire up from preschool at 12:15. Now, we all know how this works. If I go, I just KNOW the repair man will definitely come while I'm gone. But as long as I'm here, he'll never show up. I mean, afternoon seems like it would mean later than 12:30, but I'm not willing to bet a likely case of food poisoning on that. At this point, I'd rather eat the soggy ziploc bag of raw bacon we fished out of the cooler yesterday than risk not having my fridge repaired as soon as humanly possible. Ah ha! I need a substitute me! Enter my good friend Liz. I frantically call and have her come stay at my house while I go get Claire. She is under strict orders to pretend to be me at all costs if the repair people try to make contact. (What will I do when Liz finally finds a job? Then she won't be available for crisis impersonations and other sundry shenanigans!) Of course, the repair company does call while I'm gone. Of course. They tell her some sob story about how they're short-handed and over-worked. Cry me a river... Wait, I'm already up to my neck in river generated by melting ice in my kitchen. They tell her/me that they'll try to come later in the afternoon but that if I'm desperate, I can see if LG will just send me a replacement fridge. He also says this would probably take about 3 weeks. Gee, I wonder what I'll pick???? Anyway, at about 4:30pm today, I called to see if they were still going to come now that afternoon was rapidly turning into evening. They said they'll still come before they finish up for the day. I'll believe it when I see it.

Everyone jokes about how terrible it is getting warranty repair work done. Everyone jokes about how terrible repairmen are about coming when they say they will.

I hate living in a joke.

1 comment:

Kristi said...

Gretchen! Poor Gretchen! I am so sorry this is happening, I can't imagine. You somehow seem good humored about the whole thing though! Do you want to come over for dinner or anything? Your totally invited!