I had just rolled out of bed and shuffled to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. My son wanted an omelet with cheese and salsa for his breakfast, so after filling my mug, I went to the fridge for a dollop of coffee creamer for me and eggs for my boy.
And I stepped in a puddle of water.
While a wet floor was surprising to my fresh-out-of-bed feet, logic kicked in. If a water glass wasn’t positioned properly under the fridge’s in-door water/ice dispenser, water would spill out, cascading over the side, down the door, and onto the floor. I assumed the puddle was an accident, wiped up the mess and went on making breakfast.
Later that morning, I went to fill up my water glass. Again water was flowing over the tray and down the door. Again I wiped the mess, but this time not without a smidge of annoyance. Seriously? Just line the cup up already! I lined my own cup up, selected ice and pushed the lever. Water came out before the ice cubes. My brain noted the oddity, but I went about my day without thinking much more about it. Until lunchtime, that is.
I pulled open the freezer, taking out a bag of chicken nuggets. Instead of frozen solid, the bag was mushy. Still cold, but not frozen. Then I started poking other items. Where things should have been rock-solid, my index finger made indentations. Suddenly the water puddle made sense. The freezer went out and the ice in the door melted, flowing out the dispenser.
With the kids’ six extra hands, we made as quick of work as we could, bagging up all the food from upstairs to pile in our small deep freezer in the basement. We stuffed as much as we could then used an old infant car seat to weigh down the lid so it would stay closed. The food saved, I hustled back upstairs to finish making lunch. As I pulled cottage cheese and cherries from the fridge to round out our meal, I realized something. The fridge temperature was also too warm.
After lunch we again rounded the troops, this time with my husband’s help, loading all the fridge’s contents into coolers and plastic bags. I connected with my in-laws, asking if they had extra fridge space. Thankfully, they did. We loaded all our refrigerated items in the back of the van and the kids and I set out to the farm to unload. The miles that separated us from our milk wouldn’t be convenient, but at least we’d save our stash.
While we took care of the food, my husband checked out various appliance components. We occasionally had to defrost the fan, so I hoped it would be something similar. And fixable. I loved the fridge and didn’t want something new.
When we moved into our home three years ago, this fridge was a tremendous provision for our family. We needed a larger fridge than had come with the house, so when I saw this 29 cubic foot, french door style fridge for sale on a local swap site, I snatched it up. We knew upfront it would need a little maintenance to get it in tip-top shape, but my husband is handy and he knew what to do. The fridge was exactly what I wanted, right down to its exterior color and style. Since bringing it home, it has functioned well for our family of five. Up until now, that is. My husband suspected the compressor had failed, but he put in a call to a trusted local repairman to verify.
Over the phone, the repairman had my husband touch a few of the lines from the compressor. One should be hot to the touch, he said, the other cold. Both lines were room temperature. The diagnosis: failed compressor. According to the repairman, it wouldn’t be worth our money to replace the part. We’d need a new fridge.
I balked at his assessment. I did not want a new fridge! I liked this one. His solution to our broken fridge wasn’t one I wanted to hear, so I asked my husband a few questions: “Are you sure there’s no way to fix it? Could we find a used compressor?” His explanations also weren’t what I wanted to hear, but I knew I needed to capitulate. I know nothing about the mechanics of a refrigerator/freezer combination. As much as I wanted to keep my current appliance, people who know way more than me were telling me it wasn’t wise to spend money and time fixing the old fridge. The repairman has spent years troubleshooting and fixing, and if he said it wasn’t worth it, I needed to listen.
Sometimes bending to expertise is hard. But it’s not all-together complicated. We might not always like a professional recommendation, but that doesn’t mean it’s not well-founded. When it comes to fridge repair, my opinion falls flat to a professional’s knowledge. While I’m good at some things, professional even, I’m not someone you should listen to when it comes to compressors and circuit boards. Not every opinion equates to valuable knowledge.
So, a new fridge is in our future whether I want it or not.
Malinda Just has been writing Lipstick & Pearls for the Free Press since 2008. To read more of her writing, visit her blog, www.malindajust.com, or find her on social media @MalindaDJust.