My debit card went whooooooosh as I swiped it to purchase a new refrigerator earlier this week!  I did not expect to need a new fridge right now as my current one is barely 8 years old.  Aren’t major appliances supposed to last longer than that? 

A couple weeks ago I noticed something seemed a little off or weird when I opened my fridge but I didn’t think anything of it.  Then, the next day it was obvious.  Everything was starting to smell ripe and all the ice in the freezer had melted.  The fans sounded normal and the lights were on but no more cooling or freezing was going on.

I tried the trick I did when I thought my dryer had stopped producing heat – a quick off and on flip of the circuit breaker switch was the secret – for now.  Presto – the dryer dries with heat again!

Not so much for the fridge/freezer.

Ugh.  I did some research online and talked to a few people who said yeah, it’s likely the compressor that has failed.  And replacing it is about half the cost of just getting a new fridge.  So after mentally grumbling about this I made a note to cancel the repair appointment I’d scheduled.  I decided I was just going to bite the bullet and get a new fridge.  No need to pay someone $100ish to tell me I need a new fridge, right?

I tried to reason with myself and think things like hey, it’s not the holidays, you’re not entertaining 20 people for dinner any time soon, so being sans fridge is OK, although a huge temporary pain in the ass. And it’s the equinox/start of fall this week, which is is a wonderful time for changes and new beginnings.

I did more looking around online and had a few models picked out, plus I knew what my must-haves would be: white on white and a bottom freezer drawer. 

And, I waited a bit before making my purchase.  I’ve been working hard to rebuild savings since getting back to work and really didn’t want to shuffle too much around, nor did I want to use credit cards.  So, I made it a good week plus with no fridge and just used a small, portable cooler with ice for perishables.  I researched online to get an idea of prices and all, and…more grumbling…started throwing away food that had gone bad.  Thankfully I had not had to do this since our big storm and blackout of 2006.  Many homes around here were without power for over a week that winter, and it was likely warmer by that time in my fridge than in the rest of my townhouse.  I hate throwing away food but there was no choice then or now.

So yes, admittedly, part of my reason for waiting to purchase was for another paycheck to hit my bank account.  Once that happened I set off ready to make a deal. I knew what I wanted and how much I wanted to spend.

I was surprised at how many discounts I got at the store.  They were already offering 15% off all major appliances and would have even deeper discounts soon after, which they promised to credit back to me.  Free delivery!  Free removal of my old fridge!  A $75 credit from the state of Washington as part of an incentive to get older, less energy-efficient appliances off the grid permanently.  AND a $100 gift card from the store itself!  I will likely use it toward a smaller, backup fridge which will go down in my garage.

And what a segue…my garage.  We’ll get back to that in a second.

Keep in mind that after a week or more with a no-good fridge it becomes prime for science experiments.  As in MAJOR MOLD.  When the sales associate told me I would need to write down the model and serial number of the fridge I was getting rid of for the state of Washington credit program paperwork, I about died knowing I’d have to open that fridge yet again.  So when I did that later in the evening I first opened the back slider door off my kitchen to get some fresh air, tied a bandanna I wear for hockey around my nose and mouth, held my breath, opened the fridge which now REEKS to high heaven, and jotted down the numbers.

I sure hope I won’t have a toxic mold situation in the house here.  I don’t plan to open that fridge ever again.

Fast forward to today and woo hoo!  The new fridge was on its way for delivery.  The two guys showed up, very nice and friendly, and I showed them where the old fridge was.  They had a plastic floor mat ready to slide the old one out and get it ready to haul away.

But then one of them asked a seemingly innocent question: is there a shut-off valve for your waterline?  [I have an icemaker in the freezer, so the unit is hooked with a copper waterline off of the water heater down in the garage – pretty typical stuff].   He pulled my old fridge away from the wall and his face fell – there was no waterline shutoff valve on the back of the fridge.

What does this mean???  His delivery partner came into my house and the two of them explained that they could not remove my old fridge because there was no water shutoff t-valve on the back of the unit.  And correcting that was something they are not authorized to do.

I stood there in my kitchen, looked at the two guys, looked at my fridge and just said FUCK.

What did it all come down to?  A fucking t-valve. Fuckety fuck fuck fuck.

And how fucking ironic that it was this SAME company’s delivery people who installed this very water line those 8 years ago!  Now, due to liability they can’t do that any longer, and due to code changes that work isn’t even acceptable any longer!  Can you believe this, people?  I explained this to them and who knows if they understood or cared.  I know it’s not their fault.  Times change and I’m pretty much a ditz with how things are supposed to be installed and set up.  They’re just supposed to WORK, dammit!

And how ironic a 22 cubic foot machine that was once a fabulous refrigerator has now been reduced to a disgustingly huge mold-hosting box, all for the sake of a missing t-valve water shut-off switch.  Which is likely going to be $100+ for me to have a plumber come out and install on an already now worthless old fridge.  I’ve got a voicemail into the guy who’s done a lot of small repair projects for me over the years so hopefully he is around and can help.

So…in the meantime we put the new fridge down in my garage, one floor down from my kitchen.  It’s plugged in and nice and cool inside, but I am reluctant to re-stock it with food.  Because once I get the t-valve on the old fridge installed I will then have to have the delivery guys come back, remove my old fridge and move the new one from the garage up to the kitchen where it belongs.  So I’ll have to empty out the new fridge beforehand.  Believe me, they are coming back to fix this problem for free – no question there.

OK, through all of this I do try to keep a sense of humor, but believe me, I’m frustrated.  I expected this fridge/freezer to last longer than 8 years. I take a teensy amount of comfort knowing this situation with an old-school-not-up-to-code-waterline-hookup is not unique; the guys told me they run into this very same problem every couple of weeks or so.  I also just recently had to replace my cell phone as it also died after just two years (battery wouldn’t hold a charge).  I’m thankful I can afford to make these changes but am frustrated that things are not lasting as long as I thought they would.

And now I have a perfectly beautiful new fridge down in the midst of my junky garage I’ve procrastinated cleaning out for over a year.

Guess this is another reminder to pay attention to my garage, just like the garage door karma issue earlier this year!