One of the disasters that befell us during my brief hiatus, here at home, was that we lost our refrigerator. I don't mean it ran away... I mean it just up and stopped working.
At first, we thought it was repairable, and so did the repairman. He carefully cleaned and dusted and tinkered, and in the end we got back a wheezy, grumbly thing that sort of made ice and sort of kept things cold... but it had "last legs" written across it.And about 5 days later, the whole thing just gave out.
It probably didn't help that the refrigerator was built in 1968. After we found that out, it was hard not to admit that 40+ years of work for a fridge is pretty damn good.
These moments - power outages, the death of an appliance - are a reminder and a wake up call to just how for granted we take some of the most basic technologies. My mom and I both quickly realized that the miracle of refrigeration is something you miss most when you need... ice cubes. Without ice for beverages, everything just seemed that much worse. I was reduced to filling up a large cup with ice to bring home after work, just in case.
(And, if you don't know, Starbucks is a place where one can get, on request, a cup of ice or water or both for no charge. Yes, we think a lot of people take too much advantage of it... but after this month's experience, I'm a lot less judgmental of the requests. I've been there... and sometimes, people just need ice and some water.)
Living without a refrigerator can be done, we found, for a little over a week without going completely mad. Towards the end, the constant dining out (it sounds fun but gets old, fast), the lack of ice (not to mention ice cream), the limited options when one is desperate for food... all became a bit much to bear. And when the nice lady at Sears said the refrigerator we wanted was unavailable for 3 weeks, we both blanched... and picked a more expensive one that could be delivered in 4 days.
Our new refrigerator, then, is something of a wonder. I've realized that, because of where I've lived (the three houses of my parents, the last purchased in 1978; as well as a string of apartments until I moved here with mom), I have never lived before with a refrigerator made after 1980. They've clearly made some advancements. The thing is amazingly quiet. It's incredibly brightly lit. There's a lot of storage space and its inventively laid out.
But, even more scandalous... we now have ice and water in the door.
I don't know about you... but ice in the door was for other people. Fancy people. Decadent people. People who couldn't be bothered to run the tap and break an ice tray. We are not those people. We don't even have a dishwasher. Even my sister, who has a pretty high end kitchen, doesn't have ice in the door (they do have freezer drawer on the bottom, and its stainless steel, so its pretty glamorous. And don't get me started on her Viking stove).
So here we are, a couple of weeks later, living in glorious decadence with the refrigerator of some other, far more fabulous home. I really expect someone (maybe from thjose government panels conservatives fear so much) to show up and tell us that are fridge is simply not appropriate, and cart it away, and return us to the slightly smaller, freezer on the top (did I mention we got a side by side? I know! So bourgeois!) days we used to know and love.
And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to put my fancy Irish butter into our specially cooled butter holder. :)