Once upon a time there was one refrigerator.
It was a decent refrigerator. Big enough for our family’s needs, not brand new, but basically clean. This was the refrigerator present in our apartment on the day we moved in. We had seen our apartment originally without much furniture, but the landlord promised to furnish it completely by the time we moved in. We were certainly glad to have a refrigerator; it seemed important. There was one problem, however. While the freezer worked just fine, the refrigerator part did not get very cold. It wasn’t sufficiently cold for us, and after fiddling with the settings and trying it out for several days, we realized it wasn’t going to work. The landlord called the refrigerator repairman, who, surprisingly came quite quickly, and confirmed that, even with adding some freon, this refrigerator really couldn’t be helped. Time for plan B: Refrigerator number 2.
It didn’t take long for the second refrigerator to come. Turns out it was just next door at the doorman’s place. This caused a little trouble as he announced when he delivered our refrigerator. His family had been using it since their refrigerator wasn’t working properly, and now that we needed it, he had to pay a lot of money to get theirs fixed. He definitely wasn’t happy. I felt bad for him, and a little guilty. I knew they didn’t have a lot of money, but at the same time, I just asked the landlord to provide a refrigerator; I didn’t realize it meant taking it from the doorman. So, he vented to me, but really, it was an issue between the doorman and landlord. Anyway, he delivered the second refrigerator and right away I was concerned.
It was a little on the small side. Not big enough for our family’s needs. I opened it looking for the freezer. Oh, there it was!
I usually like to make things ahead of time and freeze them, especially here in Egypt where you can’t easily get all the convenience foods. Where will I put my tortillas? And what about the off-season fruits and vegetables? And of course we need space for that occasional box of ice cream! Needless to say, I wasn’t quite satisfied with this refrigerator. But what do we do about it? The first one didn’t work so the landlord replaced it. And if we ask for yet another one, what will that do?
I forgot to mention that when the doorman brought refrigerator number 2, he didn’t take refrigerator number one out of the kitchen. He did manage to break the plug off, though, so that when we thought about maybe combining the two refrigerators and using the freezer on the big one, it was further complicated by needing to fix the plug. The other complication to that plan was space. The kitchen really couldn’t take two refrigerators. It was getting tight in there.
Oh well, make the best of it. That seemed our only choice. A couple days later, things were complicated by the presence of lots and lots of little ants. We had been pleasantly surprised by the complete lack of bugs in the apartment. Both ants and cockroaches were absent, and that was a wonderful thing. But all of the sudden, we had a colony of ants in the kitchen. It seems they were coming from refrigerator number 2. Ugh. A very small refrigerator with almost no freezer space, infested with ants. This is not what we signed up for!
I killed a lot of ants in those first few days. I mainly stepped on them or used a rag and smushed them or washed them down the sink. I was able to get a lot of them at once when they made a long line from the refrigerator to our trash can. I took the lid off the trash can and just ran water over it drowning all the ants who dared to venture out of their home. However, if you’ve ever battled ants, you may know it’s a losing battle. Somehow, they just keep coming back. I eventually bought some spray and sprayed the refrigerator down each night, then swept up the dead ants in the morning. Oh, and just to clarify, the ants weren’t really INSIDE the refrigerator, it was mostly in the back. But my main problem was that they were coming out of the refrigerator into my kitchen!
A few days later, we noticed the next problem with this small, no-freezer-space, bug-infested refrigerator. It did not have that handy “no frost” feature that more modern refrigerators have. This means that every so often, I would have to take everything out, unplug the refrigerator and let all the ice melt that had accumulated mainly all around the freezer box, and then wipe that up from inside and outside the refrigerator.
I don’t really know what the average period of time is that you usually need to do this … every six weeks, maybe three months. But, this refrigerator required defrosting every 10 days! It seemed to ice up quickly, and also as the ice grew, the space in the freezer shrunk … not a good thing. So, now I felt like I had a lot of maintenance on this piece of equipment, and I was getting a little stressed out about the refrigerator situation, as I started referring to it. When people would come visit our apartment, I would give them a tour, then show them the kitchen with two refrigerators in it, and briefly say we have a “refrigerator situation.” I think it became some sort of badge with me.
Well, things started looking up a month or so after receiving refrigerator number 2. We were gone all day and when we came back, there was a lot of water on the floor near the fridge. Yes, the refrigerator is broken! I was ready to sign on to that. But the landlord wasn’t so sure. She wanted to make sure the door had been closed all the way. I think it had, but I couldn’t be totally sure. Either way, it was kind of random as that was the first time it leaked water everywhere, and it still seemed cold inside. Maybe it’s not broken! Over the next few days, I tried to convince the landlord that this refrigerator had problems. I brought her to see it when there was a long line of ants coming out of it, and when the ice had accumulated. But she suggested bug spray and defrosting. I weakly explained it really isn’t big enough as I like to make things ahead of time when the kids are napping and I have a spare moment. I think we had a little problem. We REALLY wanted a new refrigerator, and they REALLY didn’t want to buy one. Jayson went to bat for us a couple times, but it didn’t seem to make them budge.
But eventually, budge they did. I can’t even remember quite how we ever got this refrigerator situation resolved, but I think the landlord realized that we weren’t really given what we were promised, and this refrigerator number 2 was not the best. So, we are happy to say we now have refrigerator number 3 in our kitchen, and numbers one and two are gone.
Although getting the first two refrigerators removed took some work in itself — the doorman and his daughter carried them out the door and into the hallway to the elevator, and we didn’t care to pay attention after that. It feels like we have a new kitchen … expanded. This new refrigerator is not huge, but it’s definitely sufficient and it has the “no frost” feature! We were so grateful and a bit surprised when she told me a new refrigerator would be delivered the next day! But I’m happy to say I now have some tortillas and strawberries in the freezer … as well as some frozen chocolate chip cookies to pull out when guests come.
And we hope that is the end of this tale, as we all live happily ever after with refrigerator number three … at least through the end of our year-long lease.