Our Refrigerator’s Last Cry

Picture from Abt Appliances

When we returned from vacation last week at eleven o’clock at night, my husband opens the door and calls out “Amy, you need to come hear this.” “Hear what?” I was unloading my tired, but still very awake daughters from their car seats. Maybe it was the excitement of being home or a few too many M&Ms and gummy bears from the airplane that had them still going, but getting out of the car had been tough. Then when I finally stepped in the kitchen I heard it: the last cries of our refrigerator.

As I was investigating what happened, I opened up the freezer and discovered half melted popsicles. A sure sign that something was wrong. Hoping a power outage was to blame I looked over at the oven clock, but the numbers weren’t flashing and everything else in the kitchen seemed to be running fine. Too tired to deal with it all, we hauled in the luggage and went to bed.

The next morning the sound was gone and now all we heard was this faint whimpering buzz. Hoping this meant good things, I opened the freezer and found the ice cubes were melting and now leaking out of the ice and water dispenser. Upon inspection the fridge was what I would call lukewarm. We had just paid to have an unrelated problem with the fridge repaired two weeks before this. Surely this was not a good sign.

Oh the sadness of having to clean everything out of my fridge and freezer.

We went out to Best Buy to purchase a mini fridge. Frustrated with our old fridge we also took some time to look at new refrigerators. We optimistically took home print outs of new counter depth refrigerators we thought would fit our space. Then just when we had decided to move on and purchase a new fridge I made a terrible discovery while measuring: all the new models were at least three inches taller than our old cabinetry allowed. So I called the repairman out again. The same gentleman who had helped repair it before was back, but unfortunately the outlook on fixing the fridge looked bleak. The sound we had heard was the end of our compressor. So now we have a new challenge finding a fridge.

The only models that fit our existing space are the tall skinny refrigerators made for small lofts or studio apartments. Sure those svelte chrome beverage fridges look pretty, but what about room for all those condiments I love to cook with and there certainly isn’t room for a big soup pot in there. These models might have worked in my single years, but now it would be a problem. There is no room for the four gallons of milk we go through a week. Somehow in the last five years the standard refrigerator has grown taller. Gone are the slightly shorter models that worked with our now vintage cabinetry. So we are going to have to get creative with the existing cabinet above the fridge and find a way to wedge a new refrigerator in that space. I am crossing my fingers and saying a few prayers that the smallest model out there works, but in the meanwhile I feel like I am back to college living out of a mini fridge. Serving what I affectionately call market to table meals served fresh from the grocery store each day.

I am reading Rick Bragg’s memoire about his mother called The Best Cook in the World and there is a part in the book where he talks about how many stoves his mother has cooked out, burned out or used to the last spark. His mother lives in the country so she has kept all thirteen of them as a reminder. I am sure my neighbors and husband would object to keeping our fridge as a memento, so I will just have to document it here. I have officially cooked or frozen my way through one refrigerator. After this let’s just hope it’s a while before we need a new one. Meanwhile, my new mini fridge is inspiring renewed creativity with cooking and blog posts. I have a few things that I planned that will have to go on the back burner for a bit, but I am back from vacation and hungry to write and cook more.

A picture from our vacation in New Mexico. I am trying to remember the pretty views and not think about the two to three weeks it’s going to take to get our new fridge.


  1. I am so sorry you are going through this! Indeed there’s been a market shift toward massive fridges lately. We were fortunate to be at a point in the cycle where this didn’t come up in our previous house. Hang in there!

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