Our refrigerator is slowly dying.
I picked out a new one, and ordered it.
Before the delivery guys came, I cleaned the old fridge, throwing away old and unidentifiable items. I disposed of leftovers that had gotten pushed to the back and overlooked until they turned pretty colors. I tossed out salad dressings whose “Best by” date was two years ago.
I was ready.
The new refrigerator arrived on a hot, hot day in late May. The temperature hovered around 85, the humidity around 80.
They backed the delivery truck to the house and I went out to meet them. “Can we see the place this is going?” one asked, and I showed them in.
They nodded approvingly at the large sliders they would bring the refrigerator through. One pulled out a tape measure and measured the other two doorways it would have to pass. They looked at the dying refrigerator and asked if they were hauling that one away.
Yes, yes, yes. Everything was a go.
They wiggled the old fridge out and put it on a hand truck. The whole process gave them a trial run (in reverse) of getting the new fridge in. It all went smoothly.
While they lugged the old one out to the truck, I quickly cleaned the floor underneath since I knew it wouldn’t see the light of day for a while.
They brought in the new fridge, shiny white and wrapped in plastic, and a box that they set on the table.
“This is your ice maker,” one of them said to me.
“Wait — what?” I asked. “Isn’t it already installed?”
“No, you have to call a plumber for that,” he said, and nicely explained all the reasons that was so.
“But when I called and ordered, no one said anything about that,” I told them.
They apologized as they unwrapped the new refrigerator, but I knew they couldn’t do anything about it.
As they tried to wiggle the new fridge in the old spot, they stopped to realign many times. Too many times. I knew there was a problem.
“Ma’am,” the spokesman said, “we have a problem. See how this is bowing out here?” he asked, pointing to the side panel from the cupboards. “This unit is about a 1/4″ too wide. And up here,” he pointed at the cupboard above, “you’re a good inch too low.”
I looked. He was right. We stood there silently studying the refrigerator that didn’t fit.
He finally broke the silence. “What do you want us to do?” he asked.
“Are there choices?” I asked.
“There are always choices,” he said, smiling and dripping with sweat.
The other guy was sweating even more. He said, “I think your husband can fix this.” I don’t think he wanted me to consider the other choice.
“We can leave it here and your husband can make some modifications so it will fit,” the first guy said, and I looked at him doubtfully, not doubting my husband’s skill of course, but doubting this old house. “Or we can bring the old one back in.”
The other delivery guy was pleading with me with his eyes.
“I am so sorry,” I said. “Can I fix you some ice water or something?”
They both looked at me, waiting for me to say the dreaded words.
“I think I want the old one back,” I said.
I walked behind them, carrying the ice-maker-in-a-box so they wouldn’t forget it as they hauled the new refrigerator out. Then they brought the old one in again.
Here’s a peek inside my refrigerator this morning. Nobody can tell that it was recently cleaned out.