Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Search is On

We have begun the search for a new refrigerator, and at the rate we work we should have it installed by Christmas. That's because Hubby has a particular process when it comes to buying these kinds of things, and it takes f..o..r..e..v..e..r. I'm pretty decisive when it comes to buying appliances. I walk into Lowes, look at my options, consider my budget and pick whatever matches my other appliances and gives me the most bang for my meager bucks. When our washing machine pooped out, I had a new one picked out, delivered and introduced to our dirty underwear within a day. However, advance notice of an impending appliance disaster triggers Hubby's research process that takes weeks and causes my hair to gray faster than usual. It's really better for me if we don't know a break down is coming.

Our refrigerator was purchased new in 1983, a year after I graduated from high school. It came with this house, and we paid $50 for it. We figured it was worth the $50 if it lasted another year or so. That was in 1994. It's been running on borrowed time for a while now. In fact, we have avoided talking about it so as not to aggravate the appliance gods who require a sacrifice whenever you have a spare dime in your pocket that you'd like to spend on something else. Kind of the "out of sight, out of mind" approach. Recently, the refrigerator started making an odd sound. We hold our breath and lock eyes every time it kicks off and on, wondering if this electric wheeze is the last. We think the compressor is going out, and we'd rather buy a new fridge than pay $600 to fix the old one. I braced myself when we came to this conclusion this week because I know what lies ahead; multiple trips to the store and reams of reading. Oh, and daily reports on his progress. I don't want this much organization in my life. It makes me nervous.

Hubby made a trip to Lowes Thursday and scouted the options. He then sent me by the store yesterday for my first sweep. In the meantime, he consulted the bible of big purchases, "Consumer Reports". Not the magazine..the annual directory. Hubby refuses to buy anything that doesn't get a good rating in that book. He reads...and reads...and reads. He compares brands ad nauseum. By the time we've finished this process, I will have heard the pros and cons of 27 different models, half of which aren't even in our budget or available to us. We visited Lowes after church today (third visit if you're counting) but didn't advance our search because Hubby couldn't remember the heighth of our old refrigerator. We came home, measured and spent an hour on the internet finding models that will fit in our kitchen. I had big dreams of a honkin' big white fridge with a freezer on the bottom. Those were dashed when we realized our kitchen cabinets are too low for anything bigger than 22.6 cubic feet. As usual, replacing something in a forty year old house is like trying to put a round peg into a square hole. Everything has to be modified, planed, squeezed or twisted in order to fit the dimensions of an older home. You usually have to settle for "good enough" instead of "awesome". I'm okay with that. I just wish it wouldn't take us weeks to get there. We settled on one model today that we both like, but if the past is any indication, we should have at least two more trips to the store and one or two rounds of reading before we can place an order. If I'm lucky, our old one will crap out tomorrow, and I can just pluck one off the floor of Lowes and be done with it. It would be like August.

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