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Su Lum: Fixing the freezer

I think it was November that I wrote that I was glad for the big snow dumps because my ice maker had broken and who knew how long it would take to get that fixed. Luckily for my nerves, I didn’t know it would take three months.

The death of my old refrigerator, a couple of years ago, was cause for celebration when my daughter Hillery and her husband Bruce hauled away the leaking carcass and replaced it with a new Frigidaire, whose shining feature was a delivery system for ice cubes, crushed ice and purified water in the freezer door.

As with many of life’s embellishments, I didn’t know how much I would love having crushed ice and pure water at my fingertips until I got it. Maybe “pure” is a misnomer (as it is for most of our bottled waters), but it took the chorine out and I no longer had to deal with heavy plastic containers, feel guilty about disposing of the empties or get mad at the amount of room they took up in the trash.

When the freezer stopped producing ice, the fixing process got off to a bad start when the repair people, who will remain nameless, didn’t call me back, but after another nudge I got an appointment the first week of December. All very friendly, I’d leave the door unlocked and a blank check under a refrigerator magnet.

And lo, I came home after work and the freezer elf (I’ll call him Joe) had been there, taken my check, and left a bill for $90 which outlined all the work he’d done, ending up saying, “overall operation – fine.”

I looked into the tub of the freezer, saw six ice cubes, decided to let it get a grip on itself for 24 hours, then gave it another 24 hours to no avail and then called back to object. Thus began the saga.

At first, I’d get calls from Joe saying when he was coming back and asking me to leave the door open, but in the end I just left the door open all the time and wasn’t surprised, every week or two, to find him on his back on the kitchen floor with his head deep in the refrigerator when I came home for lunch.

He never evidenced perplexity, frustration or regret. With a totally flat affect, he would recite what he had done, and announce that it was definitely fixed, adding that I’d end up with a new freezer unit and it wouldn’t cost me anything.

Meanwhile, the storms had abated and scooping snow was no longer an option, so I filled plastic containers with the pure water (at least the water worked!), which I would whack to pieces with a screwdriver and hammer. Why buy ice trays when it would be fixed any day now, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week?

In mid-January, the water stopped working and I was hauling heavy water again from City Market. City Market now has a pure water (really pure, using reverse osmosis) system, inexpensive and downright cheap if you recycle the containers, but a huge pain in the butt if you’re used to getting water from your own refrigerator rather than lugging it, by the gallon, from the store to the car to the house.

Grrr. A little voice was telling me that if I vented my now overactive spleen, I’d never get my freezer fixed, but maybe, just maybe, if I could keep my karmic cool, I’d end up with some ice. During this time my phone broke, my car needed fixing, my furnace ran amok and was burning up my bedroom, and all of these got fixed – why not my ice-maker?

On his last visit, Joe said the freezer was definitely fixed, explaining, “I thought it was the zeep valve, it’s usually the zeep valve, but it was the peep valve, and then I …” I said, “Son, I’ll believe it when I see it,” but it was true.

[Su Lum is a longtime local who has cubes, crushed ice and “pure” water and is putting this behind her. This column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.]


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