Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chill out.

Over the past few months, I had heard the sounds of death in our home, and they were coming from our kitchen.
About every four hours or so, it sounded something like this: “KaaaaaLUNKALUNKALUNKA…kalunk.”
All eyes were drawn to the white elephant in the room — our 17-year-old refrigerator. When your fridge starts making a choking noise, you know it’s bad.
But like a patient who doesn’t want to admit she’s got a terminal disease, I pretended not to hear them. Maybe the noise would go away, I thought.
I should have been careful about what I wished for. The noise stopped all right. And so did most of the cold air in the fridge.
It was the soft ice cream that got my attention. No one expects to open a freezer and find soupy mint chocolate chip.
This is not a good sign, I said to my husband. Last year, he managed to bring our teenage stove back to life. Would a similar rescue be possible?
He shook his head.
I already looked it up, he said. A new motor would cost about $500. No one wants to invest $500 in an appliance approaching its third decade.
I took a look at our rapidly defrosting chicken, pizzas and Eggo waffles. I knew where this was going.
We needed a new fridge and we needed it now. We headed over to Home Depot.
I guess it’s no surprise that fridges have gone high-tech. It turns out that today’s “ice box,” as my grandma called it, has multiple “chill” zones, ice makers, water filtration systems and computer panels.
And LED lighting. LED lights are big, said the refrigerator sales guy. With a regular fridge, the light is located in the back, causing “shadows” to fall across the food. Not with a LED-lit fridge, he said.
Big deal, I thought. Who ever worried about shadows on the food in your fridge?
And then I opened the door of LED-lit fridge. Cool, blueish light flooded the interior. It was like watching a UFO from “Close Encounters” landing. There were LED lights on the side. LED lights on the top. LED lights in the back. The LED lighting would make our food look like it belonged in a “Bon App├ętit” photo shoot. It would probably make it taste better, too.
In an attempt to get over my newfound LED light obsession, I concentrated on cubic feet. With three teenagers, maximum fridge and freezer room is a must. We have been known to return from a Costco trip with 10-pound bags of frozen chicken and fish, sacks of French fries and cases of Lean Cuisines. An economy-sized appliance was definitely out of the question. We needed the big daddy of refrigerators.
Unfortunately, our nonexistent new fridge savings account wouldn’t cover the extra cost for both LED lights and a jumbo-sized freezer bin.
We’ve had our new refrigerator for about a week now. Sure, we don’t have LED lights, but we have solid ice cream.

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