The Fridge

Mark bought a new refrigerator. *sigh*

Don’t get me wrong–it’s absolutely beautiful. The refrigerator portion has double-doors opening up to a wide cavernous space with pull-out adjustable shelves. The freezer door at the bottom has nice storage choices, including a pizza slot. The drawer in between the two sections has its own temperature control and can be used for deli meats, drinks, vegetables or any other items requiring a special temperature. We use ours for sodas. Can you image the relief of not having to drink a soda that is 2 degrees warmer than its ideal temperature? How have we managed to cope?

The delivery men arrived, deftly moved the new appliance into the kitchen and the old one out to the garage. They used a simple contraption consisting of two pieces of wide webbing that slipped under the refrigerator and then attached to harnesses. After everything was hooked up, they simply stood and walked the refrigerator to its new location–it looked extremely easy.

The new fridge was hooked up, all lights shining, inside cooling; all that remained was to slide it into the space vacated by the old fridge. *Bam*–It didn’t fit. There was enough room at the top between the upper cabinets (where we measured) and enough room at the bottom between the cabinet molding on the floor (where we measured), but the middle countertop protruded a ¼ inch too far.

So, Mark did what any man would do–he yanked out the cabinet. After that, the fridge fit perfectly. In place of the missing cabinet, we put an open wire-mesh shelving unit which we managed to cover with enough junk to hide the stripped paint and glue globs left by the delicately removed cabinet. Perfect! Total time spent by the refrigerator delivery men: 30 minutes.

Now all we had left to do was to get rid of the old refrigerator. The thing about the “old” refrigerator is it’s about five years newer than my primary refrigerator in West Virginia. My secondary “basement” West Virginia refrigerator is a rusted out appliance that looks like it was made before the age of electricity. We decided to move Mark’s old fridge to West Virginia, move the West Virginia fridge to the basement and recycle the rusted-out West Virginia basement fridge. What could be easier? I’ll tell you what could be easier… open-heart surgery for a blind-deaf-mute doctor with only one hand would be easier; climbing Mount Everest with two broken legs and a migraine would be easier; putting my dog on a diet would be easier (well maybe that’s going too far).

I have a pickup truck. I think by West Virginia law I must own a pickup truck. We leaned the “old” refrigerator against the truck, heaved and slid it right into the bed. Then came discussions of elaborate ways to secure the appliance before we simply strapped it down. Easy. This was going to be a cinch. Elapsed time: 30 minutes.

We arrived in West Virginia after dark. Thinking it would be nice to get the fridge up the seven steps and under the covered porch, we set to work. We slid the fridge off the bed, eased it to the ground and stood it up. Easy! We didn’t have a webbed refrigerator harness, but we did have my brother’s handcart (which we borrowed a year ago and are hoping he forgets about–a very useful item!). We placed the fridge on the handcart, protected it with cardboard, wrapped it with straps and wheeled it over gravel to the bottom of the stairs. Upon reflection, we really should have simply backed the truck up to the stairs, but no worries, we were on a roll.

Mark positioned himself on the stairs and I beneath the fridge. Mark pulled and I lifted and with great effort, we managed to get the whole rig onto the first step where we both needed a break. The problem is, the first step is only an inch off the ground and the steps are open, so instead of the handcart’s big wheels rolling up the back of the steps, they wedged into the opening. After much debate, which went something like this: Mark – “Let’s do this tomorrow;” Rose – “Okay;” we lowered the fridge back to the ground, covered it with a tarp and went to bed. Elapsed time: 30 minutes.

The next day we weren’t any stronger, but we were smarter. Mark laid two long 2x4s on the stairs. We laid the fridge on its side and pushed it to the top. Easy! Once again we were thinking of moonlighting as refrigerator movers. Elapsed time: 30 minutes.

With the fridge safely up the stairs, we loaded up the rusty basement fridge and drove it to the recycling center. I thought it should go in the bin with the steel cans since a magnet can stick to it, but Mark suggested the section specifically set aside for appliances.

Back at the cabin, we placed Mark’s “old” fridge–now my “new” fridge–back on the handcart to wheel inside. *Bam*–it hit the edge of the opened door. No matter how we turned it, the fridge was not going to clear the door. So, with much debate and minimal dismay, we took the door off the house. A small hurdle, which didn’t slow us up too much. Elapsed time: 30 minutes.

With the fridge wheeled off to the side in the dining area, we decided to move the West Virginia fridge to the basement while our ramp was still set up. We stacked all the food haphazardly onto the kitchen counters and with gravity on our side, easily slid the West Virginia fridge down our makeshift ramp. Once we had wheeled it into the basement (through the convenient double-door walk-out access), we were ready to put the “new” fridge in place. Elapsed time: 30 minutes.

My kitchen is separated from the dining room by a long counter top leaving a walkway between the counter and the wall. We wheeled the new fridge through that area and *bam*–it hit the counter top. No matter how we turned it, the fridge was not going to clear the counter. So, with minimal debate and much dismay, we took the doors off the fridge. Elapsed time: 30 minutes.

We wheeled the “new” doorless fridge into the middle of the kitchen. The day was ticking away but with the rusty fridge gone, the West Virginia fridge in the basement, all we had to do was put the doors back on and shove the new fridge into place.

We slid the fridge into place and *bam*–it hit the top cabinets. It was too tall. The fridge was not going to fit under the cabinets. So, with much debate and much dismay, we decided to remove the cabinets.

While I cleaned out the inside of the *new* fridge (funny after being in Mark’s garage for over a month with the doors open, it was a little dirty), Mark went to work on the cabinet. After a decade, that cabinet had grown attached to its location and was refusing to release its screws. We grabbed the power drill from the basement–battery dead–elapsed time to recharge: 30 minutes.

Mark, I, and the power drill took turns and finally removed the four screws that attached the cabinet to the wall, but the two that attached it to its neighboring cabinet would not budge. We finally not only admitted defeat, but also admitted that the screws were stripped. Elapsed time: 30 minutes (per screw).

It was now 7:30, we were tired, hungry, frustrated and irritable. We reattached the refrigerator doors, crammed all the food into our new fridge (with its convenient central location in the middle of the kitchen), then grilled some nice steaks. With the front door still off its hinges and propped over the opening, we enjoyed a leisurely dinner and polished off a well-deserved bottle of wine. We took the time to reattach the front door before falling into bed. Elapsed time to reattach the front door: 30 minutes.

The next morning we left everything as is and headed to the local casino. We lost the money we should have used to pay experts to move the refrigerator, but really, at this point it was too late.

A quick trip to Lowes on the way back and we returned with a heavy-duty stripped screw removal kit and some heavy-duty drill bits in case we had to drill the screws out. A stripped screw removal kit works by drilling a hole into the center of the screw and then using a customized bit which screws into the drilled hole and unscrews the screw.

Mark drilled the hole in the first screw and then applied the customized bit. The screw reluctantly turned… once, then twice… it was working!! This was going to be easy! Another turn, then *snap*–the customized bit broke. You’ve got to be kidding me.

However, the screw head was out far enough to grip it with a pair of pliers. Mark grabbed and turned, grabbed and turned, grabbed and turned… grabbed and turned…*pant* *pant*… grabbed and turned… until finally the 2 inch screw was out! Just one more to go. Elapsed time: 30 minutes.

Luckily, the screw removal kit had three customized bit sizes, so Mark tried the larger one on the next screw. This time the bit didn’t break, but it lost its “grip” on the second turn, so we were back to the pliers. After a few twists with the pliers, the screw was releasing its hateful grip. In fact, it was unscrewing with remarkable ease… Hmmm… It popped out–well half of it popped out. The remaining half still had its evil clutches firmly embedded in both cabinets. Deep breath… deep breath… deep breath. Elapsed time: 30 minutes.

Renewed by our gambling fix we took this setback in stride. Mark proceeded to drill out the snapped screw. Smoke poured from the opening, but before long, the innocuous piece of metal that caused us so much grief, was out. Elapsed time: 30 minutes.

We eased the cabinet to the floor and pushed the new fridge into place. As we reveled in our accomplishment, we declined to notice the chipped, dinged paint from where the cabinet used to be. In fact, after stacking packages of napkins, paper towels and paper plates on top of the refrigerator, the scars in the wall are barely noticeable. Perfect!

Total time for refrigerator delivery team: 30 minutes.

Total time for the Mark/Rose delivery team: 2 and a half days.

If Mark buys a new stove, I’m out of here!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *