How to survive without a refrigerator

Susan Condon Love

We noticed something was wrong with our refrigerator the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend. It just didn’t seem cold enough when we opened the door. Mid-morning it became apparent something was seriously wrong. There was a puddle of water pooling near its base, the result of all the ice in the ice-maker melting.

“Of course,” I thought. I had jinxed it by stating numerous times since we moved into our house the previous August how much I loved the refrigerator. It had what my dad used to call “all the bells and whistles.” It had the front water dispenser, but with all these digital displays that told us temperatures, offered us different ice options, and when the doors were open too long, gently scolded us with a “ding ding ding” soft alarm.

Loved it. And now, it was on the disabled list. With a holiday weekend looming and company arriving.

It was not the first appliance to die on us. Five weeks before Thanksgiving, our stove kind of exploded on me — with sparks and loud pops. My error was, apparently, using two burners at the same time. (Yes, it took me from August to late September to use two burners simultaneously. Don’t judge.)

Luckily, we had purchased homeowners insurance when we bought the house. It paid for a replacement stove of equal value. We made the switch to a gas stove, so all we had to pay for was a gas hookup.

Now, it was the refrigerator’s turn. Ten days after it stopped cooling, we got a repair person to the house. It turns out the compressor (apparently a big thing) had died. We chose to get cash for the repair — nearly $900 — and purchased a new refrigerator. I wanted one to match the stove.

It was then that we were told it would be July 2 before the new refrigerator could be delivered. And it was just the beginning of June.

So, for the last five weeks, we’ve been using a dorm-room size refrigerator that we tucked next to the kitchen table. That was for all the “must-be-cold” food such as milk and eggs. The big refrigerator was maintaining about a 50-degree internal temperature, so we took a chance and left our condiments, etc. in it. All frozen foods went to our basement freezer.

It’s not like we were hurting. Truth be told, we all got used to the arrangement. But as July 2 loomed, I started getting stupidly excited.

As I write this, I’m about to go home for lunch and see our new refrigerator. Our new baby. We chose the black stainless steel because, well, it’s pretty. We picked a side-by-side because we always liked that. It’s got a slot for frozen pizza! And the water dispenser on the front! I can’t remember if it beeps if left open, but I hope so.

It’s life’s little things that give me pleasure, like cold water and chilly Diet Cokes.

R.I.P. big white Kenmore. You have been replaced.

Contact this reporter at or 440-871-5797.

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