“For Anne to take things calmly would have been to change her nature…the pleasures and pains of life came to her with trebled intensity…The downfall of some dear hope or plan plunged Anne into ‘deeps of affliction.’ The fulfilment thereof exalted her to dizzy realms of delight.”
–Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne of Green Gables.

One irritating fact of kitchen remodelling is that valuable lessons are learned during the process that would have been handy to know before we began. The big lesson I learned today is if you fall in love with an appliance, buy it, even if you’re not ready to install it. Appliance manufacturers change their product lines more often than Apple updates iPods. I did this with the dishwasher and it sat in the entryway for 9 months but I got the one I wanted. I waited almost too long with the range; one store had only the floor model left with dents but, luckily, the other store had one in stock. And then, yesterday, I went to buy the refrigerator. This story really begins in 1987. As I wrote in a letter to CMB,

“Other news: the refrigerator finally died about two weeks ago. I bought a huge beautiful white one. They delivered it last Thursday. JQS was so impressed. (When you are poor, you’re easily impressed!) We hugged each other a lot. He smiled up at me and said, “Now we can live a normal life!” I guess our life was pretty abnormal with the old refrigerator. Do you remember the old refrigerator? Thawing it out every week. The food always going bad. Three years of that! It seems incredible to have a refrigerator where I can keep ice cream for more than four days. And I don’t have to keep the butter in the freezer to keep it from getting warm and going rancid.”

photo: refrigerator before

I had gone to Sears and ended up buying the biggest top mount refrigerator they had. The main reason I chose that model was it had tempered glass shelves. I hate wire shelving in a refrigerator. It cost more than $700 which was a lot for refrigerator in 1987. I had to justify it to my coworkers by explaining that if the refrigerator lasted 10 years, I only paid $70 a year for it. Well it lasted 19 years. What a bargain!

Actually, we’d still be using my refrigerator except that AJM convinced me that his side-by-side would make more sense in our small kitchen. Mine was so wide that it required a large door clearance. And his was newer. So we cleaned his up and gave mine to refrigerator recycling.

Within a week I knew I had made a mistake. (Compromise: when everyone loses.) The narrowness of the side-by-side makes it difficult to see things hidden behind other things and to get them out. And both of us realized that an old shabby refrigerator would look out of place in our new kitchen. I began looking for a new refrigerator.

Why are most refrigerators so ugly? They take up so much space and have such a visual presence in the kitchen and they all look like they were designed by folks who love Hummers. I didn’t like a single refrigerator I saw enough to spend good money on it. And then one day at Lowe’s we saw it. A refrigerator we both gravitated towards. A refrigerator we both liked at first sight, the Samsung RS267LASH. It didn’t have any bulky curves. All its lines were straight and sleek. The handles were thin and elegant. And it had tempered glass shelves. Bonus: ice and filtered water in the built in door. (I wasn’t looking for this feature but I think it will be nice during our Texas summers.) And it’s Energy Star rated.

For six months we visited our refrigerator every time we went to Lowe’s (about twice a week). I wanted to buy the refrigerator for Christmas. We had the cabinets up but the countertop installation got delayed until after the new year. We agreed that we that we didn’t want our new refrigerator scratched up when the countertops were installed. (And after what happened to the dishwasher, this was good planning.)

Samsung RS267LBSH

Yesterday I went to buy the refrigerator–and the last one Lowe’s had was the floor model. One small dent. Some scratches on the handle. AJM really, really, really didn’t want the floor model and Lowe’s offered to give us the new model for the same price as the old. This sounded like a solution. I went home and looked up the updated version. Aaaaaargh! This new model changed the two features which attracted me to the old model: the long thin handles and the monotone control display.

Like Anne, I was in the depths of despair. All those “if onlys” haunted me. (And then I felt guilty for making a big deal about a silly refrigerator. Who falls in love with a refrigerator? Well, I do. I had my heart set on it.)

Today I went back to assess the damage on the model at the south Austin store. Lowe’s is good about providing discounts on their floor models. Are a couple of nicks worth $150? I couldn’t decide. The computer listed floor models in the stores at Steck and in San Marcos. I drove to the Steck store where they had two models in black but not the platinum. They had the new model, though, and wheeled it out for me to compare. I helped the guy unpack it. I tried to love it but the first thing we noticed was some defect in the finish of the control panel.

So we called the San Marcos store and the guy there assured me that, yes, they had one on the floor with a slight nick on the handle but no dents. I drove to San Marcos. The floor model had a huge dent on the door and several nasty scratches. I drove back to the south Austin store and bought the floor model there.

I’m anticipating its arrival with less than unabashed happiness. On the bright side, at least neither one of us will be the first one to scratch it.

2 Responses to “Chills”

  1. Annie in Austin Responds:

    Good call on the tempered-glass shelves, one of my own absolute necessities. Another was the water filter in the door, because of that river-water smell.

    Have I already quoted this Peg Bracken story about Grace Hegger Lewis, the wife of Sinclair Lewis? Immediately after furnishing their first apartment, Grace Lewis kicked the tables & chairs, used a small knife to make nicks in the wood, and sprinkled water on the velvet sofa. She said that otherwise, it looked as if they were afraid of their own furniture.

    No such problem for you or AJM!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    That’s a funny story. And I’ve needed a laugh. In my life getting something new has been the exception, rather than the rule. I think that’s one reason we were so excited by that first refrigerator back in 1987. — mss

  2. DAS Responds:

    I don’t know about you, but we purchased the same model Samsung in Dec 2005. The shelves eventually would not hold milk or anything…$84 later for each side shelf. Then the middle shelves. In two years both fans and the ice maker broke. Samsung admitted the shelves crack. Lowe’s gave me a complete buyback. Love extended warranties! Good luck. I’d love to know how you are doing with your RS267LASH

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