On Saturday the fridge was not delivered. Richard and I had spent the previous Saturday looking at fridges online, measuring, visiting the Sears at the Burlington Mall, walking routes from curb to kitchen, trying to find one that would fit.
Saturday morning Richard tied ribbons to things he wanted the delivery guys to see, loosened screws on the banister, cleared the path, made sure the doors would come off their hinges. We cleaned out the fridge and freezer as did our housemate. The back porch was full of food, as was the day care fridge downstairs. There was even a bag of produce in the dining room, which I was too lazy to bring downstairs and didn’t want to freeze on the back porch.
That morning I took my daughter to Mass Art for the first session of her first Saturday Studios class, where I sat in an auditorium of people of all colors, shapes, and sizes, all there to make art or to support a young person in doing so. When I left after the orientation, I talked with a African American woman on the way to the parking lot, another white woman and I convinced we knew the way, when in fact she did, and told her about my fridge. She had the same experience two weeks before, had to remove the entire frame of the door to get her fridge inside. Saturday was a cold and windy day with temperatures in the teens and a bluster strong enough to make us all run from building to car clutching at our scarves lest they blow away. I did not imagine, or know how to remove the frame of the door.
Instead, I cleaned my old fridge. I washed all the buckets and bins and shelves, walls and surfaces, put the thing back together empty, and left Richard on his own to accept delivery while my daughter and I went to a long scheduled writing and yoga workshop. Halfway in, I got up to get a cup of water and checked my texts. The fridge was not delivered..ah, well..
But today, I sit in my kitchen with a plan made by Richard and me and my friend and co-teacher’s husband Namgyl to have the same new fridge delivered again, with Namgyl and his moving crew on back up if the company we buy from won’t get the thing upstairs.
My house has narrow doors, small rooms, there are tiny landings and tight turns, lots of little spaces instead of the modern open floor plan. In order to get a new fridge into the day care or into our home, we must plan each step carefully, prepare for defeat, rise again in hopeful expectance, hokey way to describe the missed delivery of a fridge, but what is our alternative?
On Saturday when I was in yoga class and Richard was home post delivery failure, we independently imagined throwing the old fridge out before getting something new. Later my daughter and then Richard and son and I imagined stacking a collection of small dorm fridges in the kitchen rather than attempt to order another family sized fridge.
Our fridge is always crowded. This week we had five people eating from it, Richard, Jonah, Isabel, Miranda the housemate, and me. We like fresh food. Unlike the photos in the websites we used to choose our fridge, we don’t have lots of packaged juices and sodas, or fancy cakes on pedestals gracing a single shelf. We have lactaid, soy milk, almond milk, whole milk, and chocolate milk, orange juice, a million different condiments for thai (which I never make), japanese, chinese, korean, indian, american (ketchup, mustard in two or three varieties, chocolate sauce), jams and jellies, maple syrup and maple cream (one from Montreal, one from a farmer’s market, one from Ashfield), mayonaise (long expired) and veganaise, salad dressings and vegetables and fruits for the housemate in one drawer and shelf and for the family in another drawer and scattered, many cheeses, (mainstream from Stop and Shop, fancy from Whole foods, the farmer’s market, and a local deli, and vegan). We have vegan and regular yogurts, some expired and taken by the housemate downstairs who shares my belief that sealed yogurts never go bad unless they’re moldy and who packs lunch every day, and many, many glass dishes full of leftovers, fixings from last week’s tacos, indian lentils defrosted in the fridge switch attempt, gluten free pasta Richard won’t eat that needs to go as he has returned to Northampton, veggie chili and brown rice from last night, cous cous and corn an chick peas from day care lunch on Friday, black beans and white rice from last week, maybe some salad we didn’t finish on the weekend. It’s all there, for the taking by my kids who come and go, for school lunches, for dinners we when we are too tired to cook, for snacks after school or late at night, for home lunches when we’re home.
So, the dorm fridge idea won’t cut it. Though this week my son’s dorm fridge may return home. Which is the other part of my week and snow day. He’s home sleeping in his bed, not in his dorm. We debated cleaning out his dorm room yesterday, the first day after his Spring Break, after talking with the Office of Student Success about a leave of absence, but he’s not there, not clear, as so much of life is not clear, as so many of us in our lives are not clear, so he’s here and his fridge is there, and if we bring it home later in the week or on the weekend or at the end of the semester, it will have a home until it’s needed again, my older son’s dorm fridge sitting on the downstairs back porch, a hand me down from a friend who left it in our basement year’s ago, for it to be used later by our housemates, a college friend whose wife was studying at Yale while he worked here, a former day care teacher who was finding her way as an OT, and my former father-in-law, who needed respite from the life he couldn’t figure out in Texas, who kept his ends of deli cold cuts and cheese and a gallon of milk for his serving bowls of cheerios, and maybe a vegetable or two in the mini fridge, while he stayed behind closed doors in the corner room beside the kitchen as long as day care was in session and used the microwave he brought from Texas, Texas sized and still living on top of of the day care fridge I bought this fall, where the new day care housemate and the day care warm our food.
Life in appliances can tell a story, too. It’s a snow day, and I’m in my kitchen looking at the twenty four year old fridge my former husband and I bought when we were twenty four and new owners of the house. I can’t remember how it got here, and we are too estranged for me to want to ask him. I’ve stripped the fridge of the photos and mementos we have kept there, images of my grandma and me at my mother’s dining room table, of my kids and their dad and our good friends on vacation in Vermont, of my children and their cousins on my side in various stages of their childhood, one of my kids and my mom on her front porch, my older son in a hat and plaid shirt towering over the others, everyone smiling, one of my son who’s in his room, debating a leave of absence, riding on his dad’s shoulders on a beach when we were vacationing in Maine. I’ve piled the fridge photos and the notices for trash removal and yard waste pickup, the clipped collection of postage stamps, the other of gift certificates to local establishments long unused, and put them on the stepping stool I moved into the dining room to make room for the fridge, then moved them to the top of the fridge in the back right, out of sight, behind the big pottery bowl from Richard, full of chips, made by a potter he and his deceased wife loved, in a pattern similar to one he has in his dining room, where he may be now, sorting piles of paper as I plan do do here once I stop writing, greet my kids, and find my way to that.