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this way to the fabulous egress
straight from the fridge, daddio
When I was a kid, there were certain things we didn't have. Not because we couldn't afford them, this isn't that kind of anecdote, but because my father, for one reason or another, wouldn't buy them. He had this weird economical streak that would come out in response to particular stimuli, to wit: He hated to pay for optional features on anything. The very thought burned him, like battery acid. His rationale behind this, when questioned, was a sort of two-pronged logic assault:

1) They cost extra and you can buy the product without them. Therefore, they're not necessary and are just a way for the manufacturer to chisel some more money out of you, which is morally offensive.

2) They're just another goddamn thing that'll break, and then you either won't have it anyway (so you could've saved your money) or you'll have to get it fixed (more money, and probably another piece of the conspiracy cited in 1) above, plus it's a hassle).

For this reason - despite the fact that he was a working professional engineer and making pretty good money - until I was in high school we never had a car that had electric windows or air conditioning; we didn't have any sort of automatic heating (or cooling of any kind) in the house; we didn't have touch-tone telephones, although, in fairness to Dad, those didn't work in the town where we lived until I was in the 11th grade anyway. He extended this policy even to items based on technologies he didn't understand, balking, for instance, at buying a computer with more than the stock bare-bones amount of memory in it.

That's the background you need to understand this next bit. When I was six or seven years old, my favorite aunt Dot started dating a guy called Mike, who flew a crop duster for a living. Not sure if you knew this, but those guys make some pretty good money too, and unlike my father, Mike liked to get top-of-the-line stuff (I guess when you work in aviation, you tend to associate anything less with a higher probability of being killed at work). He had a refrigerator at the house where he and Dot lived that had features I had never even imagined as a seven-year-old. The freezer went all the way up one side of it, and in the door there was this thing you could put a glass into and crushed ice would fall into it.

Crushed ice. From a slot on the front of the fridge.

This was witchcraft to a cold-beverage-loving kid whose father had a philosophical objection to electric windows in cars.

For a few years, I assumed that you had to live in a special kind of house or something in order to have a fridge that did that. Once I outgrew that admittedly weird idea, I assumed for several more years that fridges like that must cost a fortune, and so were the kinds of things that only doctors, other people who could afford to drive Mercedes-Benz sedans, and people who won them on The Price Is Right could own.

Then, one day, I was dawdling around the appliance section at Sears, bored to misery by the length of time it was taking my mother to decide not to buy any of the vacuum cleaner models they had on offer, and I discovered that they sold such refrigerators... and that, yeah, they cost more than the normal fridge-over-freezer ones like we had, but not that much more. I mean, I had been assuming that they must cost $10,000 or more, not an extra couple hundred bucks. I immediately began lobbying for us to get one.

Naturally, we never did. To make it even worse, the ordinary fridge we had was equipped to accept an optional ice maker, which was advertised with a giant label on the inside of the freezer compartment. It wouldn't have dispensed ice, the doors and the layout were all wrong, but it could at least have made it without us having to fart around with ice cube trays and all that business.

We never got that either, and the sticker advertising its availability remained, taunting me, for my entire childhood and adolescence.

Then I grew up and moved out on my own, but I was always renting and every place I rented already had an ordinary mortal refrigerator. (My place in California had one that was genuinely an antique, the kind where the freezer is a separate compartment inside the fridge and the door has a mechanical latch on it, so curious children can get trapped inside and suffocate.) When I moved back to Podunk and into the house where I live now, I was bemused to discover that this house had a fridge of precisely the same model as the one we'd had when I was growing up.

It even had the label in the freezer, advertising the optional ice maker it did not have.

Meanwhile, my mother had moved out on her own, and she had a fridge with an ice dispenser, because no longer required to listen to Dad when making big-ticket purchase decisions.

Well, yesterday, a truck from Sears came and delivered unto her home a new refrigerator, one of those giant chrome Fridge Of The Future deals with the double-secret special outer hatch (so that you open the door and the shelves-in-the-door are still inside the fridge - witchcraft, and the computerized what-kind-of-ice-and-cold-water-do-you-want selector panel, and the freezer that is a giant drawer (so the ice is coming out of a door that doesn't even back onto the freezer - witchcraft). And when the sweaty and out-of-sorts (it was a beastly hot day, as is today) but very obliging fridgermen were done installing it, they took her old fridge...

... and brought it over here, where they put it in place of my even older one and carted that one away.*

This was an unauthorized extra job for which they are heroes, even though they didn't have the time or the parts to do the plumbing. Dad - whose attitude toward such things has softened markedly as he's approached retirement age, may I just note - came and helped me hook it up today. In the process, we deranged all the plumbing lines in the house, and the faucets (and the cold water dispenser on the fridge) were producing this terrifying yellow water for an hour or so afterward, but that seems to have run its course now.

I turned 41 a couple weeks ago; I've wanted a refrigerator that dispenses ice from the door for well over 30 years. It's in there making its first batch of ice in its new home right now.

In an hour or so, I shall have crushed ice any time I damned well want it.

This may be the most ridiculous lifelong-dream-achieved story you read all year, but I don't give a damn, because I have my ice-dispensing fridge.

* Yes. That is a Spider-Man action figure with magnets in his feet. Every refrigerator should have one.

Current Mood: hell yeah ice-dispensing fridge

3 notes or Leave a note by the exit
cmdr_zoom From: cmdr_zoom Date: July 1st, 2014 11:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
mindways From: mindways Date: July 2nd, 2014 12:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Hooray! *happydance*

I was unconvinced of the merits of automatic icemakers until I started living with one. One of summer's minor tediums and occasional hassles (damn, out of ice at an inconvenient time) just... vanished.
yehoshua From: yehoshua Date: July 3rd, 2014 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)

You know, back in my day

We didn't have these "freezers." The only people who got cold food had to extrude the ice from a special gland that some fancy people were born with. They kept the ice cold by wrapping it with straw and sitting on it so it'd maybe hatch into more ice. And our drinks were actually usually pretty warm but we liked it!

Consarn it.
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