Monday, 2 September 2013

Frozen milk and melted butter

What a holy mess.

Our beautiful KitchenAid refrigerator blew up on us this weekend. The nice repairman said the compressor was gone and that meant the $2,200 investment I made seven years ago is nothing but a piece of junk.

I wonder how many years seven is in refrigerator years.

It was working fine on Friday. Then everything in the freezer melted.

And that was that.

We had to bring in a last-minute replacement, a second stringer, which looks very much like its on its last season, final play. The replacement doesn't even have a bottom crisper drawer, and it's too small for the space allotted it.

Maybe it's so much worshipping of false idols, but I loved my false idol. It had a bottom drawer for the freezer where I kept all my frozen berries and meat now spoiled on the counters. It was big enough to hold a week's worth of groceries along with all the weird Thai and Chinese condiments that make cooking healthy worthwhile.

It was beautiful on the outside, too, gleaming with brushed steel and faux leather. And it was quiet, only making a cute little noise when you accidentally left the door ajar.

I adored it.

This fridge was more than a place to keep condiments. It was the first thing I bought seven years ago with my hard-fought-for divorce settlement, along with an equally charming stove. Before that, I was using a crappy fridge that froze the milk and melted the butter.

Fifteen years, I lived with substandard appliances and the KitchenAid was my gift to myself for raising three kids alone at the poverty line, then having to take their old man to court to pay for their university while he made and hid millions of dollars.

The talk show host Dini Petty always talked about her version of happiness being a full fridge. That's how I felt. The fuller the better.

Now, I have a future of frozen milk and melted butter again on this roller coaster of unemployment and fear and loss. Yesterday, I sat outside looking at the bundle of steel and faux letter that would meet its final ending on the curb with burnt out barbecues and broken furniture. It still gleamed like a perfect house with nobody home.

I sat down at the table, poured myself a strong one and had a good cry, realizing that there are fewer things we can depend on these days.

Our fridge will join the lawnmower and the vacuum cleaner on the curb of loss and bad endings, all recently departed. For now, we're cutting the grass with the neighbor's push mower and vacuuming the dog hair with our hands.

Shouldn't have to do that at our age.

It's been a hard few years of up and down employment, babies that are not fully paid for, dogs that have reached their expiry date. It just never ends.

Today, we will pick up the pieces, throw out precious groceries that spoiled and try to look on the bright side.

At least we have a fridge. And a roof. And each other.

Forgive me for saying this. The idols may be false but sometimes they're all that we have to hang on to.

Even then, sometimes, it just doesn't seem enough.

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