David and I arrived at the appliance repair place to let them know that our refrigerator was still not well and to ask what they were going to do about it. And by not well, I mean that it was still incontinent; and by incontinent, I mean of course, that I’m tired of our thirty-something-year-old fridge continuing to pee on the floor, which it had been doing for nigh on a month by this point. We’ve had our refrigerator for a very long time, well… we’ve had it longer than we’ve had Lauren and Ryan, so it’s “family;” and I just wasn’t ready to put it down simply because it had a bad case of the “tinkles.”
You take into account that when housebreaking puppies there’s going to be a few accidents. It’s inevitable. Still, does anybody really expect that one day their refrigerator will do the same? I actually watched as it did its business right in front of me. I asked, “What are you doing, Fridge? What’s the matter with you?” At least a puppy would have had the decency to look embarrassed when confronted. Instead, our fridge had the audacity to just ignore me while continuing to do what it was doing.
That’s when I called the vet. I mean David called our homeowner’s insurance company while I got the mop.
HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE, YAY.
The Insurance Company eventually sent out an appliance repair person within two days after I…I mean, David complained that they’d literally ignored us for a solid week.
We will not be ignored, Insurance Company!
Again, not that I talked to them. But after my repeatedly asking David whether the insurance company had returned his phone calls (now well over a week) and David saying that he hadn’t heard back from them yet, I started getting annoyed. David told me, “Look, I’ve called. I’ve left messages. I’m not calling again and that’s final.”
Well, that just wasn’t acceptable. Call me “Squeaky Wheel,” y’all. Since David was done for the moment, I called their number on my phone and stayed on the line for over an hour until we were “next in line to speak with an available representative.” Then I handed the phone over to David because I sensed that I’d been brainwashed by the Muzak they kept playing over and over and over while I was on hold. It may be against the law to use subliminal messaging in movie theatres, but I don’t know that that’s the case when listening to Muzak while holding on a phone call. Either way, I wasn’t taking any chances because by then, my brain was mush.
“Yes,” David told the representative on the other line. “Someone was supposed to get back with us. I even left messages,” he said. “No, no one’s called us since I called a week ago Monday. I’m sure. It will be when? Another week? I don’t think that’s going to work. We’ve already been waiting for over a week. Yes, it’s our refrigerator. Oh, okay, that’s better. This Saturday? Great. Between noon and six? Yes, that’s fine. I’ll be here.”
When the repair guy came out, I wasn’t at home, which was probably a good thing. Or then again, maybe not. David informed me later that we had a torn gasket on the bottom of our refrigerator door that needed to be replaced. According to the repairman, the gasket was allowing outside air to seep into the refrigerator, which was causing a problem with condensation. So the condensation was filling up on the bottom floor (under the drawers) of our fridge (as water) and then it would overflow and trickle out onto the ground. Hence, we were having to mop up water every couple of days.
Not that I said much to David, but it seemed like there was an awful lot of condensation for such little air seepage, if you asked me; although no one did. But if that was, indeed, the case, then that also meant our fridge probably wasn’t staying as cold as it should, which meant that eating anything that could easily spoil — well, we were playing Russian Roulette with our food, were we not? And that, I did emphasize to David.
“No one’s going to get food poisoning!” he tried to assure me.
“Fine, then!” I said. “From now on you get to be our taste tester. We’ll let you eat first and if you aren’t sick within the next couple of hours, then Ry and I will eat.” If nothing else, that made David think twice.
According to my husband, the repair guy was going to have to order a part. Once the part came in, if he could actually get a replacement part that would fit, then he would be able to come out and do the repair. If he couldn’t find a replacement part…then…well, “let’s just see about getting a replacement part first and hope for the best,” the repairman suggested.
So we waited for the couple of weeks for the repair part to come in. Then we waited for the guy to come out and fix our fridge. Again, I left it to David to deal with this because I’m not supposed to “stress” according to my doctors. And I’d already been stressing for about three weeks on just this one thing alone — but those who follow my blog know — I had a lot of other things I was stressing about as well (and still am.) We’ll just call this “refrigerator stress,” the “cherry” on the stress sundae that was the entire month of July 2021.
So the repair guy did his best to fix our refrigerator’s torn gasket before realizing that the new gasket didn’t quite fit the way it was supposed to, which required him to — no surprises — call his supervisor. So after several minutes on the phone, he then delved back into the repair before declaring the fridge was fixed and went on his merry way, according to David.
I’m so glad I wasn’t there when he came out again.
THE CALL BACK
We got a call the next morning from the repair place to see if we received decent service and to make sure our refrigerator was working again. I’d already told David that the door had lost a lot of suction whenever I opened it. There was very light to barely any resistance when I opened the refrigerator door, which meant that if we weren’t careful, it would be easy for the door to accidentally remain open when we’d thought we’d shut it. If it stayed that way for several hours, then food might go bad pretty damned quickly. So that was a fun thought.
David and the person on the phone from the appliance repair store decided that we should wait a day or two to see if the new lack of suction issue was going to be a problem. David said we’d keep an eye on it to make sure this wasn’t affecting the temperature inside the fridge. Then they hung up. After that, David decided to check out one more thing. Lo and behold, guess what? Yep, the “condensation” problem wasn’t fixed after all. Again, liquid was pooling at the bottom of our refrigerator.
We called the appliance repair place back immediately but hung up after thirty minutes of waiting to speak to the next available representative. Over the next couple of days, David, again, left messages that the initial problem wasn’t fixed. Finally, three days later without anyone getting back to us, I told David, “Know what? Let’s just go down to their shop and talk to them in person. They aren’t that far away.”
The irony is that while we were on the road to their shop, a woman from the repair shop finally returned David’s call. David pulled off the road and stopped so he could talk to her. However, between her heavy accent (think Boris and Natasha-esque accents from Rocky and Bullwinkle), the outside traffic noises, and a weak telephone signal, David finally told her, “I can’t really hear you. We’re on our way to talk with you at your shop. We’ll be there in about ten minutes.”
When we turned into the repair shop’s parking lot in the industrial area of town, we noticed a big, burly guy standing outside in the heat. He was in his mid-forties to early-fifties and smoking a cigarette. I told David, I bet he came out here to see what crazy person was coming to “talk” about the incompetent service they received. What kind of repair shop keeps a bouncer around for security? What kind of repair shop actually needs security?”
David said, “He’s probably just another customer.”
We got out of our car and the guy approached David and said with a heavy accent, “Are you here to talk with me?”
David said, “It all depends. Who are you?”
I won’t go into all of what was said with the owner, Dmitri, who was not a bouncer — at least not formally. But at one point, Dmitri apologized with, “I know the heavy accent makes it hard to understand, especially over the phone.”
David said, “Oh. I’m sorry, I can’t help it. I’ve had a thick Texas accent all my life.”
Since he brought accents up, I wanted to ask Dmitri where he was from. Of course, I want to believe he’s from Russia because (of my stereotypical mindset) and his and his staff’s heavy Boris and Natasha-like accents. However, he might have come from say, Ukraine…and God knows I’m a little rusty when it comes to differentiating between a Russian accent and a Ukrainian accent…which both sound a lot like Count Dracula’s accent if you ask me. And I know for a fact that Dracula was from Romania…so…it’s a bit tricky. Knowing that some people are a little touchy about these things, I wasn’t going to create an international incident by inadvertently asking an offensive question or saying the wrong thing to Dmitri because my curiosity and ADD got the better of me when this was all about my refrigerator. Remember my fridge? The one that’s incontinent?
Here’s what David and I found out from Dmitri—
- Our old refrigerator was made in the US over thirty years ago. Today, most refrigerators are made overseas in China as are replacement parts. We don’t use the metric system. China does. Therefore, no replacement parts are going to fit perfectly because the measurements get lost in translation. That may or may not explain why we have less suction/vacuum seal with the new gasket in place.
- Also, we were told that new safety standards have been instituted. With less door suction, kids are less likely to get trapped inside.
- If we wanted, Dmitri could send another repairman back out to see if the forced-to-fit-in-place new gasket was causing the condensation problem we’re continuing to have. If they’re not able to fix the problem, then they’d notify our insurance company who will probably give us a new refrigerator from their stock or give us a specific amount of money to buy something different because Dmitri will write off our fridge as “unfixable.” In his estimation, this is what was most likely to occur.
- After discussing the problem further, though, and my suggesting that maybe the gasket wasn’t what was causing the condensation problem to begin with, Dmitri looked at pictures the repairman had taken and thought about it a little more and decided that maybe Varden, our repair guy, just went with the obvious problem (the torn gasket) but should have, perhaps, investigated a little further. It could be that there was something blocking the drainage line that was causing water to back up into the refrigerator. He’d send one of his best guys out to see if that was the case since Varden, with less experience, might not have encountered this issue before. He said he (Dmitri) was his “best” guy, but maybe he could send out his second best.
DRINKS ON THE HOUSE
At this point, I told Dmitri, “Hey, if you come out, I’ll have a cold…beer waiting for you. Well, cold-ish, all depending on how well the refrigerator is working.”
He gave me an amused look. I think he thought I was going to say “vodka,” not beer because…well, you know. But I wasn’t about to be so trite. He laughed and said I reminded him of his wife, who was constantly trying to get him to repair their Samsung refrigerator he had brought in from California. He said he still needed to make adjustments to it, but it worked perfectly as a garage fridge and it kept his beer on the icy side, just like he liked them. His wife, however, wanted the Samsung in her kitchen to keep food cold, not turn icy. “What can I say?” Dmitri explained. “I’m a repairman who has a fridge that needs to be repaired.”
“Ah, the cobbler’s children have no shoes,” I said knowingly. He looked at me without recognition of what it was I was saying. “I understand what you mean,” I clarified. Then I asked, “Well, if it gets down to it, and I have to get a new fridge and I don’t get to talk to you again, what brand of refrigerator would you recommend?”
Dmitri said, “Well, they’re all made in China now, so they’re all about the same. They last for a little while and then they break down. GE’s pretty good. I’d stay away from Frigidaire and LG. I’m sure that whatever your insurance company provides will be just fine. But if you want a really good refrigerator, then you’re probably going to have to spend $20,000 and get something high end like Wolf, Subzero, Thermador or Viking. There are other brands, too.”
“GE it is then,” I said. “Sorry, Dmitri, we just don’t have beer worthy of a $20,000 fridge.”
Dmitri laughed. “Hey,” he said as he walked us to the door, “Things break down. You fix them or replace them. I was born way across the world. Then I lived somewhere else. Now I live here. As long as I wake up, it’s a great day. Nothing else is more important than that.”
CONCLUSION ABOUT OUR FIELD TRIP
David and I decided that our trip out to the repair shop was well worth it. We learned a lot that we wouldn’t have if we’d talked to some person over the phone. And, hopefully, Dmitri learned that we weren’t just entitled assholes coming out to stir up trouble; that we were just perplexed customers with a sense of humor who would really like to get our refrigerator fixed.
Of course, in hindsight, I’m suspicious of Dmitri’s whole operation. It’s purely speculative on my part, but…could he really be a Russian mobster fronting as an appliance repair shop owner? Hello? “Did you hear what he said — that as long as he wakes up, it’s a good day, David?”
“Yes,” David said.
“Don’t you think that’s a little…too real? Like maybe he worries he won’t wake up…because maybe he lives a dangerous life?”
David says I watch too much TV.
A week later, repair guy, Varden, (the same guy who came out the last two times) was back for a third time. He asked David, “What’s wrong with your refrigerator now?”
David answered, “It has the same problem it did when you came out last time. Hey, didn’t you have long hair before?”
“Yeah,” Varden said. “I cut it.”
“It looks great,” David said.
This time Varden pulled the refrigerator away from the wall and looked a little closer in the back. It turned out that our drain line needed to be cleaned out.
Anyway, fingers crossed, our fridge is back in fine form. It’s been almost a week since it was repaired and we’ve seen no signs of water pooling in the bottom and no peeing. The suction on the main door is still weak and I suspect there’s nothing we’ll be able to do about that. Dmitri suggested that we could compensate if needed by adjusting the thermostat a little lower, “but not too low because you don’t want to end up with frozen eggs,” he advised.
We haven’t touched the thermostat, thus far. But as you can imagine, I’m keeping an eye on our half-full jar of mayonnaise…and also now, I kind of want to put an egg in the freezer to see what happens.
NEW STRESSES AWAIT
Anyway, gotta go. Our telephone landline is down for the third time in less than a month. David’s been on the phone holding for quite a while with yet another friendly telephone service representative. Jeezy Petes! What’s up with anything and everything mechanical or technological in this house? I’d love to say all of this…stress…is going to end one of these days, but I know it’s not. Well, hopefully, it will when I die, but I’m not ready to leave just yet. I mean, we just got our thirty-something-year-old vintage fridge repaired. My beloved almond aka beige fridge with a textured surface so it won’t show fingerprints is invaluable as far as I’m concerned. It has the freezer on top and the rest of it is just refrigerator. It has an automatic ice maker inside the freezer. Other than that, there’s nothing fancy about it. There aren’t any computer chips in it, just ice cubes. I’m hoping it and I will last another thirty years; though we both might need to have our drainage lines cleaned out once or twice.
Instead of stressing over never-ending stress, I think I’ll take David, my beloved husband and sharer of burdens great and small, an icy cold beer. Think I’ll have one with him.
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Okay, now music. This has nothing to do with the post above. During the middle of the night (a Sunday night/early Monday morning) after Lollapalooza 2021 in Chicago, I was just reading random things on my phone. Foo Fighters headlined that event and someone put the entire Foo Fighters concert online. That’s when I heard “Nausea,” sung by Dave Grohl’s teenaged daughter, Violet. It’s a song from the punk rock group X from the 1980’s. It’s a good thing I like this song because it’s been stuck in my head ever since. This version, however, comes from Jimmy Kimmel’s show. So, I guess this is my new favorite song, y’all. I hope you enjoy!
late addition video inspired by Christopher from Freethinker’s Anonymous’s comment below, y’all!
Sparkle on, y’all!