July 23, 2008

The Icebox Man Cometh....maybe

So I've been meaning to post this for a while, but have gotten caught up in...well, nothing much really, I've just been kinda lazy. But whatever. The problem is, when things aren't so fresh in my mind, I can get a little rambly. You've been warned.

So I've lived in my apt. for, oh I don't know, maybe 8 years, maybe 9 years, and I moved into it because my old apartment building decided to "go condo." So basically you either had to buy your place or move the heck out. Fortunately, they gave us lots of notice. (Not.) But I was lucky enough to find a place in the same neighborhood, on the same street even--creature of habit, what can I say--so I was happy.

My old place was a tad more spacious, but the problems outweighed the benefits. For instance:

It was always pretty cold in there in winter. So much so that once (or twice) I turned on the oven and sat near it for a few minutes. (I realize this was stupid, but hey, it's not like I climbed in it, or even left it on for more than 5 minutes, so leave me alone.) Since then, I've either become accustomed to the cold, or this global warming thing and other environmental changes have managed to make it seem warmer here than it used to.

So the old place--bigger, yet colder. Compare this to the new place--smaller, yet hotter. That's right. Instead of the weird baseboard heating thing in the old place, this apartment came equipped with a good ol'-fashioned radiator.

Heat, glorious heat, the kind that makes you want cold air.
Heat, glorious heat, sucking out moisture everywhere.

Blah blah blah.

The new building also has on-site management, which means a real live person is almost always down there during business hours, PLUS they have an answering service for those toilet emergencies that sometimes happen at inopportune moments. (Not that there are opportune moments for toilet emergencies, but you know what I mean.)

When I first moved in, there was a guy who worked in the office, and he kind of gave me the creeps. He was one of those guys who thinks he's a natty dresser, stylish, and too cool for school. He also looked like your basic swarthy megarapist. Well, he didn't really, but for some reason I just thought of him as the rapist. (Which reminds me of that Three's Company episode where they think Teri or someone is dating a rapist or something. His business card says therapist, hee hee, and for those of you into trivia and crap, he was played by Jeffrey Tambor. Jeffrey actually appeared on the show as three different characters, I think. But I really am digressing, aren't I.)

Anyhoo, the Rapist did not stay long, and then we had other management folks. I would get used to someone, and then they'd be transferred to a different building. Blah blah blah. The latest lady has been here over a year and a half, and I have taken it upon myself to maintain a good relationship with her.

What the hell was I posting about?

Oh yes. Anyhoo, I'd been in the new building a few years when I noticed that my stupid freezer kind of sucked. It would always form ice crystals on everything, and sometimes the boxes would feel damp, and things would be melty. Then the next day they'd be frozen solid. It was always a crapshoot, and it was kind of annoying. I mean, a freezer is not supposed to make your food boxes wet and flimsy, right? Your food is supposed to be FROZEN, not kinda mushy.

I checked the rubber seal thing around the door, and it seemed fine to me. I opened and closed the door and pressed it, and it didn't feel ajar.

So I told the manager at the time, an eastern European lady (not a rapist), and she said she'd take care of it. I went to work all la-dee-dah, yay.

But when I came home and inquired about it afterwards, she told me that I had packed the freezer wrong, and that they had just moved my boxes around, and that was the problem.


I know I was in my 20s then, but I had lived on my own before. Had had freezers/iceboxes before, even.

I'd bought food before.

I'd taken said food home and put it in the appropriate compartment.

I was pretty sure I knew how to open and close the appliance doors.

But damned if I didn't feel like a goddammed fool when she said this to me! I was mortified, embarrassed and horrified.

It didn't occur to me until a bit later to be pissed off.

I'm sorry, correct me if I'm wrong, but is there really a proper way to "pack your freezer" so things don't melt? And if there is, how had I managed to survive until now, when I was supposedly doing it wrong all these years?


So I did what I could to make sure I packed the fucking thing properly so my food wouldn't melt. But it's kinda hard to do when the back of the freezer has a little curvy part to it, so you can't actually put things right up against it. They always slide away from it, leaving a little gap. So you have to get creative.

I got creative.

Lather, rinse, repeat, over and over, add on a few more years. La la. La frickin la.

Cut to April/May of this year.

I'd noticed that my refrigerator's motor was sounding kind of funky, and by funky I mean, it took a fricking long time to cycle. Like there would be NO NOISE from it at all, for a really long time, and then the fan or motor or whatever would start all creaky-like and hum for a little bit, and I felt better. Because if there's humming, something is happening. If there's not humming...I get worried.

I know these appliances have cycles, and it's not always going to be noisy. But it's eerily quiet when your things are silent, when machines are supposed to make noise, and they don't. It's really rather unnerving.

I hate being unnerved by appliances.

Well, I checked the freezer one fateful day in May and lordy lordy, things were as soft as I had ever witnessed them.

Particularly upsetting was the fact that I had just purchased a box of small ice cream sandwiches from Walgreens that day, and now they were just piles of liquid goo.

I had only gotten to eat one of them before the tragedy, too.


Well, as luck would it have it, it was a Sunday night, so I waited until the next morning to report it. (I mean, it's sort of an emergency, but not really, it could wait a few more hours...I guess.) In preparation, I took off all my magnets and bills and put them in a pile.

When I told the lady downstairs (also eastern European, also not a rapist), she said she'd get a fridge in there for me right away, she didn't want me to be without one. She said she'd give me the one she has in the office, that she just uses for milk or a beverage every now and again.

I said okay and went to work.

While at work, I received a gift basket o' food from someone. Oh yummers.

It had mustardy-pretzel things, and a beef stick, and camembert cheese, and chocolate things, like truffles, and nut things, and more chocolate things, and a little serving dish for cheese, and a little cheese knife, and some yummy cookies, and oh my gosh it could not have been any better if I'd asked for ambrosia from the gods myself.

The timing of its arrival was very fortuitous, as I basically had nothing but "dry goods" at home. For dinner, I chowed down on that basket like I've never chowed down before. I'm not sure I even like camembert, but darned if it didn't hit the spot.

Anyhoo, when I got home, the lady told me they'd put the fridge in and for me to go check it out. I went in and saw...

an exact replica of the piece of sh*t I'd just gotten rid of.

It too was a white Hotpoint--and wtf is up with that brand name, btw? Isn't the point of an icebox to keep things cold, not hot? Irony or whatever does not belong in the marketplace.--refrigerator, although it was slightly whiter than my other one.

I opened the fridge and saw that my food had been placed inside of it. I noticed that it wasn't cold, but figured maybe it would take a while for it to get cool. I wasn't sure though. I also checked the freezer.

I went downstairs and told the lady that it wasn't cool, and when did they put it in, because I wasn't sure how long it should take before it was cold. (I mean, no harm in checking, right?) She came up with me and showed me where the air comes out of the fridge part, and said it would take a little while to get cold, and if it wasn't cold tomorrow morning, to let her know.

I said okay. Because it would be just like me to get a worse refrigerator to 'temporarily' replace my own piece of crap.

I should totally be a psychic, because that's exactly what happened.

Within a month's time or so, I noticed the same problems with the freezer. Only this time it was worse, because this time, the icebox part was freaking out too. I mean, the old one used to sometimes freeze my milk, but it was never to the point of being FROZEN SOLID! The old fridge would make what I liked to call 'frozen milk crunchies.' That's when bits of the milk are a little icy and you can chomp on them. I wasn't quite sure why the milk was frozen solid this time because I did not have the setting that high.

My milk was so solid it wouldn't even sloosh around if I shook the bottle. It was just a hard clunky object or weapon now. (You know, in case the swarthy rapist ever came back.)

I went to get some water from my Brita dispenser thing, but when I pulled the blue tab, nothing happened. It was then that I noticed that my water, too, had turned into ice.


So I turned the fridge setting down some to see if that would help. The milk never did melt. I took the water dispenser out and cracked the ice. That was actually kind of fun.

But still annoying.

Meanwhile, the freezer had another meltdown, not as bad as the first, though, because I didn't have ice cream sandwiches in it. In fact, I really didn't have a whole lot in there (call me paranoid) but what I did have was soppin' foppin' wet. For a while I thought maybe I'd left the door ajar.

But I hadn't.

Oh and the fridge also started dripping. Like from the area where the "cold air" comes out. It was dripping onto the top of my Kool Aid pitcher. Granted, that pitcher has been in my fridge for a longass time, and I never actually drink it, I think I must just have it in there to liven up the place with its bright red color, but still. A small pool of water had collected on the lid and I was unnerved.

I tried to figure out a way to stop the dripping, but the best I could do was stick a pot in there to collect it for posterity and turn the fridge up more.

The next morning, the water in the pot was frozen, and I was boiling mad.

I went downstairs to tell the lady about my problem. She said she would get me a temporary replacement (refrigerator shuffle, anyone?) because she didn't want me to be without a refrigerator. She said she'd get the fridge guy to look at it in a couple of days. I said okay and went to work.

But while I was at work, something was nagging at me. She had said this thing about the fridge guy (or Icebox Man) before. I never learned what happened. For all I knew, it was fixed and sitting in someone else's apartment by now. I wondered if I would get it back as my next replacement. I wondered why I couldn't just have a fricking new refrigerator. I mean, I've lived there a long time and I'm a good tenant (if not suspicious of my neighbors) and I deserve a fricking appliance that works. I'm tired of not being able to stock up on items for fear that they're going to melt or freeze or whatever. I'm tired of it, I say! I deserve a new fridge!!

So I mustered up some courage and called Manager Lady. Here's basically how the convo went:

"---- Apartments, Manager Lady speaking."

"Hi Manager Lady. This is Flapjam. I was just wondering, would it be at all possible to get a new refrigerator? I mean I'm on my second replacement and I'm just a little nervous about having another temporary one, so I just thought I would ask."

"It is not my decision to make."


"We have a contract with the Icebox Man. He has to take a look at it, see if it can be fixed, and then we'll go from there. We have a contract with Icebox Man. He won't be able to look at it for a few days but that is the process. We must go through Icebox Man."

"Oh, okay, I was just wondering. Thank you."

"Goodbye," she chirped as she hung up on my dreams.

Well. That settled that. I wasn't getting a new refrigerator, who knows if there's really an Icebox Man, and fuckity fuck fuck, I could look forward to another new old refrigerator aka temporary replacement. Yay.

I came home and there was another fucking white Hotpoint fridge staring me in the face. I opened the icebox. The air was very cool, unlike the first replacement when it was brought up. That seemed to be a good sign. Maybe we could make this work.

I put some of my magnets back on the fridge. The good Ande Rooney magnets that I like so much.

I went about my life and waited for the fridge to fail. It's had its moments and it certainly sounds weird, so I'm quite prepared for another round of Refrigerator Roulette.

In the meantime, I got my lease renewal last Friday. Looks like they'll be raising the rent 30 bucks or so. (The building has recently installed a media room where you can use a computer or fax machine for free, and it has wireless. They've also replaced the carpeting in the laundry area hallway, and are repainting the bike room and making an update to the tiny workout room.) They can do all this, but they can't give me a [new] fucking fridge that works.

The letter said they have enjoyed having me as a tenant and would like me to stay. I need to give them 60 days written notice if I want to leave, and my lease is up September 30th.

This offer expires on August 1. So basically I have less than 2 weeks to let them know whether I'm staying or leaving. (I mean, not really, but kind of, you know?) It pissed me off. Like, thanks for letting me have time to make up my mind, maybe find a new place, blah blah blah. Peachy! Oh but I can't have a fridge! Sign me up for that shite! YEAH!!

So I looked at a condo the other night, and am thinking about making the transition from renting to owning. It may be a long haul, and as Karen Carpenter said, I've (okay we've) only just begun. So don't start sending any housewarming gifts my way.


In the meantime, feel free to send me good kitchen karma. I fricking need it.


Blogger Mr. Chinchilla said...

Why the fuckity, fuck, fuck can't you post more often?

7:24 PM  
Blogger H. said...

Because, silly mr. chinchilla, I have to deal with life's little problems, like keeping my food cold. I can't just hide it all in my cheeks, ya know.

But thanks for the nice comment!

7:42 PM  
Blogger Jelly-Filled said...

Cool! About the condo possibility, I mean -- not the dud refrigerators. Hmm, big decisions and little time to make them, huh? I can't wait to talk to you and hear what the condo is like and all that good stuff.

7:19 AM  
Blogger Who Am Us Anyway? said...

You're a terrific writer, Flapjam, and your blog is addictive. So, first: what Mr. Chinchilla said.

But also: Now is a GREAT time to be buying. I bet you get tired of people telling you that but 'tis true,
'tis true ...

9:52 PM  
Blogger H. said...

LOL - you kill me, Who, because I *knew* you would mention something about buying. I am pondering, I am pondering, and Senor Blanco has said he can assist in whatever capacity (except for paying for it, dangit). But you know, if I need a loan or whatnot or have to go to a bank, he'll help me not get taken advantage of. :D

And gosh you always say nice things 'bout the blog here. I shorely do 'preshiate it. :D Addictive - yegads I will never live it down! ;)

10:19 PM  
Blogger H. said...

Oops - forgot to say, we will chat anon, Jelly. I will need some advice!

10:20 PM  
Anonymous rebecca said...

Oh, man... forget blogging, you should write scripts! Because this reads like a hilarious scene from a really good TV show to me. You know, those really good shows with great dialogue that always get cancelled after a few short seasons to make room for bullshit like American Idol and Paradise Hotel? THe really good shows whose DVDs make up my Netflix queue because there isn't anything on the 187,293 channels we get with an ugly dish slapped on the back of the house? Yeah, those.

No, don't forget blogging. I was joking about that part, but not about writing more. You should!

6:15 PM  
Blogger H. said...

Aw, thanks, rebecca! That is really nice to hear! And I know exactly the kinds of shows you're talking about. Did you ever see Wonderfalls? I think you would appreciate Wonderfalls big-time. :D

7:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home