Monday, December 31, 2012

Be Careful. Your Microwave Might Know My Refrigerator And Your Car Might Be In On It, Too

Perhaps you remember last year during The Holidays when I was victimized by my house.  How my refrigerator quit right before Thanksgiving, the garage door refused to go up, and the fireplace billowed smoke into the living room, among other Domestic Tragedies.  What I neglected to confess to you in a later post was that my oven also went on strike in the middle of Christmas Cookie baking.  Luckily, a repair was all that was needed, not an entirely new stove.

This year, I felt confident, knowing I had a new refrigerator and a newly repaired stove and garage door.  We understood the fireplace's quirks, and I had posted a sign on the front door that the doorbell did not work, so no delivery person would ring in vain.  I was ready for The Holidays!

Oh, ha ha.  It is to laugh. 

Thanksgiving.  I went to pick up my fresh turkey on Tuesday afternoon.  "It seems a little...frozen in parts," I said to the butcher.  "Oh, no!" she said cheerily.  "It's a little frosty on the wings, but stick it in the fridge and it'll be fine for Thursday!"  Thanksgiving morning, after feeding the cats at 7:30, I pulled the turkey out of the basement fridge and unwrapped it.  It was frozen solid inside; I couldn't even wrench the neck and giblets out of it.  Panic.  Water bath thawing and cursing.  After all that, the damn thing popped its timer a whole hour early anyway. 

Christmas Eve Party Prep.  I go to the grocery store for a big shop.  When I come home, in the snow, I push the button on the keyfob to pop the tailgate so I can unload the groceries.  Nothing.  I go to open it manually.  Nothing.  I re-lock it and unlock it again.  Nope.  I'm standing there in the slushy driveway and the snow and cold with a car full of groceries.  So I go back in the garage where I have to wrestle with the backseat--fold it down, crawl in the backseat and the backend, and pull out the groceries.  And is this my only errand requiring the capacious tailgate?  Of course not. I have to go to the warehouse club and do all of this all over again. 

A few days later, I grab a glass to get some ice water from the handy dandy dispenser on the front of my year-old side-by-side fridge.  I press my glass against the ice lever and suddenly it belches a mixture of crushed and cubed ice with incredible force.  I remove my glass hurriedly, expecting the ice to cease, like it's supposed to.  But it doesn't stop.  IT KEEPS VOMITING ICE ALL OVER THE FLOOR WITH RECKLESS ABANDON.  I scream at it to stop, but it doesn't, of course.  I open the door, and it stops ejecting ice, but the motor keeps running.  I shut the door, confident that I've stopped the...cycle...and it starts spewing ice at me, at the floor, at the cabinets opposite in some sort of mad celebration of Appliance Independence.  I'm truly scared at this point, and I grab a wooden spoon and start poking, poking, poking at the lever, but it only spits ice at me faster and with more volume.  I open the door again, and it stops blurting ice, but the motor runs incessantly.  Frantically, I search for an ON/OFF switch, and I find one blinking red.  I throw it to OFF, but nothing happens.  I close the door and the avalanche begins anew.  Flinging the door open again, I take the ice bin off its pedestal on the door while the motor drones on.  Fearfully, I shut the door and I kid you not the thing still throws ice on the floor, but how? How? HOW!?  I grab my cellphone and call the appliance store that sold me this Hellish Beast.

Store:  Hello, and thank you for calling Appliance Store.
Nance:  I need Service, and hurry!
Service:  This is service, how can we help you?
Nance:  Hi, I bought my KitchenAid refrigerator there a year ago, and right now it's going crazy. It won't stop throwing ice all over the place.  I've switched it off, but it won't stop. Please send someone.
Service:  Well, the girl who usually schedules is at lunch and--
Nance:  This isn't something to schedule!  I need someone here now!  This thing won't stop!  The motor keeps running and it's throwing ice all over my floor! I need help NOW!
Service I understand, but I don't even know where the service guys are right now. I'm just filling in while she's at lunch.
Nance:  Please give my message to someone there that can help me as soon as possible. (hangs up)

To get to the final act, my icemaker spit out one last enormous clump of frosty ice, and then it shut off.  The appliance store called back and scheduled a service call for the 27th, and I had no icemaker for my Christmas Eve party of over 25 people.  One bright note in all of this?  The store agreed to backdate the repair so that it would be covered under warranty since the warranty ran out on November 26th.  The fridge needs a whole new circuit panel, which would also explain why my produce and cheeses often froze in the refrigerator side. 

I've been nothing but nice to that refrigerator.  My car, too.  The turkey's vengeful behavior, I could understand, but not that butcher.


  1. I suppose the turkey was a Tom turkey suffering from premature thermometer ejection.
    Otherwise, have you considered an exorcism?

  2. Wow! They say bad luck comes in threes and I have found that to be mostly true.

    Your events sound so familiar. One year, during a warm October, my husband had taken out our old furnace but not yet installed a new one when the refrigerator and water heater both died ---all three appliances had been in the house when we bought it and were long-overdue for upgrades. We figured we could do with space heaters and an electric blanket but not without hot water or a working refrigerator, so he had to deal with those first. And then, of course, the weather turned bitter cold.

  3. Oh Nance, I'm ashamed to say that I laughed until I cried about your maniacal ice maker - that is too funny (I understand that it was Very Annoying to you, but still...).

    We need to do something about our 17 year old washer. I was excited about getting one of the new energy efficient models - maybe a front loader so I can use the washer top as counter space (it's in the kitchen). But then we started reading the reviews (ugh), and THEN Mike found a part that might fix the old washer. I'm hoping that $15 will take care of the issue because suddenly our old washer is looking really good right now!

  4. Oh, Nance, dear Nance, what a nightmare! I agree with Silliyak, I would have called an exorcist when the repair service wasn't prepared to rush out immediately. It makes our Christmas surprises pale by comparison. When we got home from vacation, the garage door sproinged a spring, so we had to leave the car out during the first snowstorm of the year. Then we thought that the boiler on our ancient heating system was going wonky, but Gary the technician (who has almost become a member of the family over the years) made all well on Christmas Eve. Both elderdog and adolescent puppy came down with (to be polite) digestive disturbances to herald our return. But never, never, have I had to deal with a demonically possessed icemaker!

    A happy and prosperous New Year to you and yours from realprof and me.

  5. 2013 HAS to be better. This is what we get for thinking that technology makes life better. I does...but when things go wrong? They really go all the way!

  6. Rainbow--I hear you and second that. Do I want to go back to refilling and cracking trays? No. I just want things to work properly and lasting a reasonable amount of time. Not too much to ask.

    fauxprof--Thank you, and the same good wishes to you. It's just like I always have said, When you go on a vacation, you have to earn it first; when you come back, you have to pay for it. I'm sorry you had an unpleasant welcome. But now that things have returned to Normal, I'm glad you're back here in Comments. I am still awaiting my new circuit panel and scraping ice out of the bin, with a big bag of bought ice at the ready should the whole thing balk entirely.

    Bug--Oh, don't be ashamed! I was laughing later that same day as I told Rick about it. It would have been funny to see me frantically battling all that ice and watching the cats skitter about, all the while seeing my eyes get wider and wider as I realized that THE DEVIL WAS POSSESSING MY FREEZER.

    I read about the unfortunate side effect of those front loaders--the moldy mildewy residue that happens, and the extra cleaner you have to run through them, etc. Yuck. I will stick with my ancient Maytag toploader heavyduty machine with the broken knob, thank you. Good luck with your cheap repair. My metaphorical fingers are crossed!

    CJ--Of course it did. Never has a major thing broken or failed when it was "convenient." Our entire front yard had to be dug up the day after my dad died, and that was also the time when we had a major snafu with the transfer of title for a vehicle. We were left, the four of us, crammed into a tiny pickup truck seat to attend the funeral and all ensuing events, meetings, etc. because we had no title for plates for the car. The dryer also quit that week. Another "set of threes."

    Your hot water, etc. situation is common when you buy a house with appliances all the same age. It's like an epidemic! Ugh.

    Silliyak--LOL. Good one. Of course, I could have used that joke about a month or so ago...! Believe me, I have given more than a passing thought to having this house rid of whatever bad luck seems to be residing here!

  7. To quote my late beloved Genevieve, "Crapicola!" I don't know where she learned that, but it's perfect sometimes.

    I wish I could just have old old old appliances, because the newer ones all suck. We had to buy a new fridge a few months ago (our old one wasn't very old), and the one we wanted wasn't in stock. So we settled (which one should never do, one always regrets it), and bought what could be delivered in two days instead of two weeks. I hate the damn thing. Thank goodness it doesn't have an ice in the door thing, or I'm sure it would keep us up nights spewing crap around. Our stove broke two days after the warranty ran out, and they didn't honor it. One burner would NOT TURN OFF. Not good. The problem, as with the fridge, was cheap plastic parts put in, since they now make all appliances in China, and it's cheaper to use plastic than whatever they used before. Grrrr. The fridge guy told us that you can buy a top of the line fridge, and they still don't last, because the basic inside parts are all crap. Nice.

    Our latest adventure was a few days ago, when the outlet in the upstairs bathroom started making an angry popping noise. It blew out my beloved "blue canary in the light switch" night light, and then continued to make loud noises, scaring Maya. She called us up, and wow, it didn't matter what we did, it wouldn't stop making horrid noises. Then it went to a more electric hum-fizz noise, and then it started to smell like burned something. The faceplate was HOT. Ted turned off electricity at the breaker box, and the next day replaced it with a new outlet. So far so good.

  8. j@jj--I'm with Maya. All electrical things acting up scares me. If I smell something electrical burning, or if a switch or cord feels hot, I start to panic. Even Rick, The Construction And Home Repair Guru, will not do anything major with electrical wiring.

    And I hear you about how crappy new appliances are. They give a whole new boost to the term Planned Obsolescence. No wonder our planet is buried in trash.

  9. Wow— That is one scary ice capade story. The worst part being when something simply won't. turn. off.
    That's the sort of thing that always happens to me on a Saturday morning when there is no weekend repair service.

    Once when Mr. O. was out of town (of course) I got a horrible fright when the smoke alarm suddenly went off, but several decibels louder than it should. At least it sounded that way. There was no fire and no smoke. And. it. would. not. stop. When I tried to unscrew the "lid" and remove the batteries, it would not come off. I managed to get it to the point where it was hanging off the wall by some wires that I was NOT going to touch. Ever. At this point the neighbors thought there was an air raid siren going off. So I went to the breaker box and shut down everything in Grand Central Condo. And finally all was quiet. And cold. And dark. So thank goodness for cell phones and the fact that Mr. O. was already on his way home.

    Back to modern appliances vs. older models: Old fridges worked better because the parts were better quality and because all they had to do was:

    (1) Keep stuff cold.
    (2) Keep other stuff frozen.

    The combination of shoddy parts and fancy features is a deadly one that is making the purchase of buying household appliances almost as frequent as new computers. You said it best: no wonder our planet is buried in trash. It's no good saving energy if we are still creating more landfills than we have room for. And, really, what is the point of recycling anything when the raw material is already garbage that didn't work when it was new?
    *sigh* This is interesting: (and also depressing if you have a fancy fridge, but what the heck.)

  10. I'm with Maya, too! We were all freaked out a bit. Our 16 year old daughter wanted to sleep with us that night, and if we had a King size bed, maybe we would have let her. Thankfully, Ted had turned off All Power to those areas, so it wasn't dangerous.

    Another thing I don't like about our current fridge is how it turns on and off all of the time. That's an energy saver, and maybe it does. But if I have to buy more fridges every few years, what's the point? It makes me sad, because my Grandma got a new fridge, paid for by the power company because she's old and on a very limited income, and it is crap compared to her old one. Like it doesn't keep things frozen and it leaks onto her floor. And what is she supposed to do? There's no warranty on things provided to old people by the power company. Sigh.

  11. j@jj--Our fridge sounds like an aircraft when it runs and runs and runs. It's awful. Jared hates it like poison when he's home and in the kitchen. He is very sensitive to noises that are droning or repetitive. My nagging kills him.

    Your grandma's plight is sad. Can't she call the power co. and explain that it is not working, at least? Certainly it presents a safety hazard to her, with regard to falls and food spoilage.

    Ortizzle--I think every Major Crisis happens when Rick is not home to help. So upsetting.

    I read the article you linked, and it is absolutely infuriatingly true. My fridge repairman came out yesterday and replaced what looked like a computer motherboard in my fridge. The whole thing was shot. ON MY YEAR-OLD FRIDGE! He was smilingly incredulous. He said it was, perhaps, a power surge from a storm. Now my icemaker is behaving properly, and I am hopeful that this scary chapter is behind us.

    I definitely believe that the more bells and whistles there are on things, the more we have to worry about things going wrong. For years and years, I would not get a car with power windows and seats for that reason alone. Now, good luck! CARS HAVE THE INTERWEBS. Sam's car has a DVD player in the driver's side dash. I am frantic about him watching "Office Space" or "Gangs of New York" instead of keeping his eyes on the road while he drives his 40 minute commute to and from his job.

    There are some things from which I cannot retire.


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