Huh. Well, what do you know? Sometimes, my husband is paying attention.
Not long ago, in this very space, I bemoaned my ever-advancing age as evidenced by all these midlife signs like being increasingly interested in new appliances, specifically boring ones; i.e., refrigerators. I mentioned this in the area we call the “tagline,” where we reporters list our emails and phone numbers, which, by the way, we only expect readers to use if they have really, really nice things to say.
And then boom! Like that, he was all of a sudden fridge shopping. He actually read to the very last line!
Or, maybe it was because a door handle pulled right off our 12-year-old Amana.
Either way, worked out for me because here I type, my ears filled by the stereo hum of refrigerators.
It’s actually quite soothing — if I don’t think about the electric bill.
Ah, a fresh fridge. It’s kinda like having a new baby around. Better, even, because the appliance is (slightly) cheaper than a kid, and there’s no diaper-changing required. Although, I gotta admit, cleaning out the old fridge was every bit as horrifying as that parental chore. I know at least twice in its reign as First Fridge we pulled out the shelves and drawers and scrubbed until the whole thing was sparklingly clean. But at some point after that, a bottle of root beer exploded and left a sticky brown trail down the backside.
Even if we don’t buy a new fridge every 12 years, I suppose it’s probably a good idea to go ahead and pull out the contents anyway. I unearthed a bottle of Kansas City barbecue sauce that had expired — two years ago. And now, in a true test of how much my family loves me, and if they really read this column as they purport to, I will admit that I dabbed this sauce on some chicken without realizing it had expired. No one got sick, still, I decided I should toss it along with the Hidden Valley Ranch dressing that also expired in 2014 and a bottle of hoisin sauce, which I’m not even sure why I had, and which oddly was lacking a use-by date. But, it was definitely time for that condiment to go. We also had not one but two half-devoured bottles of maraschino cherries, right next to each other. Weird.
The dilapidated, old fridge had a busted dispenser that spewed water for an hour after you stopped pressing it, a nonfunctioning ice maker and ready-for-a-gang-fight plastic bins with jaggedly broken trim just ready to cut you. Still, like the Rocky of refrigerators, it trudged on — continuing to both cool and freeze. So, we’re keeping it around as backup. Which is incredibly awesome because I could use the extra space. I like to grocery shop one and one time only during the week and that means the fridge is packed tighter than a subway car at rush hour, which makes for challenging conditions. Things get shoved to the back where they can’t be seen so then I think we don’t have sour cream when we really do, and I buy a second container, and then I am forced to do things like bake excessively, turning out sour cream-chocolate cupcakes and coffee cake, trying to use up the stuff before it goes bad.
Also, an overstuffed fridge means no one can spot the leftovers, so they languish uneaten only to be discovered weeks later, green and hairy and ready to be pitched, which come to think of it, may exactly be part of my family’s plan.
Best of all, a second fridge means enough room for the necessities of life. We do have three children, including two teenagers, which means we need to keep our immune systems up and running with lots of Kilt Lifter, er, Kefir and white wine … vinegar. Yeah, white wine vinegar! You’re supposed to guzzle that by the gallon.
And though I know it’s just a matter of time before someone gets a little too handsy and breaks the nifty Glide ’n’ Serve drawer, for now I will enjoy our spiffy LG with dual icemakers and enough fancy lighting to put a makeup mirror to shame. In fact, I’m going to start getting ready in there.
Also, super cool, I just discovered a secret half shelf tucked underneath the milk compartment. No one else has discovered its existence because it’s still sheathed in protective plastic. Hello, new place where I shall hide treats I do not wish to share.
And, just to show that I’m raising my kids right, and perhaps it’s not as old-ladyish as I thought to enjoy a new refrigerator, the first thing No. 3 did when he had some buddies over was show off the new beast.
They were impressed, which speaks well of today’s youth. Of course, I think they were mostly excited because they, being 12-year-old boys, knew it was full of food.