The Little Yellow Farmhouse: The No Longer Frigid Frigidaire


Along with the usual dreams of the new homeowner, when we purchased our new house, a refrigerator came with it.

Old Refrigerator

White, normal, boring, small refrigerator. Really, nothing special. At least it was (mostly) clean.

However, one of our battles during parties and big eating holidays (like Thanksgiving and Christmas) is the fight over refrigerator space. Turkeys need to be defrosted and brined. Wine and beer need to be chilled. Leftovers must be stored safely. What about the turkey noodle soup?

Shove, push, I know this will fit!

Smash.

Our old solution was an unheated but mostly protected back porch where we could chill the wine and beer or store the turkey while it brined. The normal winter temperatures of the high Rockies kept all of our overflow comestibles safely chilled. Of course, on those crazy below zero days, we had to make sure the wine or beer wasn’t left overnight or it would freeze solid and burst. The turkey didn’t fare so well with that phenomenon either.

And, if we had a party in the summer, the unheated back porch didn’t help us at all. A series of coolers filled our house for use as wine chillers, beer tubs, and at least one cooler for the party prep to hold marinating meats, cool salads, and other perishable party particulars.

The resident refrigerator was just too small, and with the absence of those chilling temperatures, we needed something to handle the holidays and parties. Two coolers made the trip with us, but we had a better idea!

As we prepared for the closing, we each separately read an article in the New York Times about a couple who remodeled their new home for a fraction of the cost by keeping an eye out for their desired appliances in places where they could find deep discounts like CraigsList and discount warehouses.

A quick search through CraigsList revealed a brand new 29 cubic foot LG stainless refrigerator, french door style with a bottom drawer freezer for about half the list price.

New Refrigerator

Oooooooooooh. Hey there, sexy! That refrigerator could solve allllllll of our food storage needs.

The seller flipped houses with his brother and, when this particular fridge was delivered, it didn’t fit in the space. After confirming it wouldn’t fit in either sibling’s house (because, you know, sexy refrigerator), they listed it on CraigsList.

Knowing that we would eventually be ripping out the walls of the kitchen, we set up a delivery date for a few days after the closing.

On the specified date, Steph scheduled a guy (again – CraigsList!) to come help get it into the house.

Let’s call him Gary.

About a half-hour before Gary arrived, Steph and I measured the new refrigerator and the doorway it needed to fit through.

Whoops!

As we finished removing the doors so the behemoth could enter our new home, Gary showed up. Darkness was falling quickly at this point.

He brought a friend/workmate along with him. They exited their vehicle and sauntered over to shake hands. The scent of marijuana whirled around us.

Hey, no problem! We’re from Colorado.

So Gary and George got to work. Jolly and appreciative that we were the ones who removed the doors, they strapped the fridge onto a dolly and hassled it up the six steps to the deck where the entry door stood.

We’d measured and knew that the refrigerator was only going to have about a half-inch of leeway on either side of the doors. Tight, tight fit. Our two gentlemen pushed and shoved and angled and hollered at each other, but finally the beautiful refrigerator sat proudly in our entryway. We paid them a bit of cash and two boxes of beer glasses we’d discovered in the dishwasher upon moving in. They set off for parts unknown, happy and ready to enjoy their preferred adult beverages for the rest of the evening.

We reattached the doors and called it a day.

The next afternoon, Stephanie tore out a wall and set of cabinets for the new fridge to fit. With that done, the old fridge moved into the dining room and the new one took its place.

Of course, now we had an old white boring fridge in our dining room. First, we thought it could go into Steph’s new workshop. But…

Did we really need another refrigerator with the gorgeous behemoth in our kitchen? Perhaps we should sell it. Or trade it to someone for hauling away the increasingly large pile of construction debris outside our house. But…

We always need more fridge space at Thanksgiving and Christmas and for parties. Maybe the laundry room?

Waffle, waffle, waffle.

Several appliance deliveries later, we ended up removing the laundry room door and tearing out part of the laundry room door jamb to fit the washer and dryer into their appropriate places. That action opened up that doorway just enough.

Oh yeah! Party fridge in the laundry room!

After several more days, Steph made the move. On the same wall as the old refrigerator, wire shelves and poles leaned, waiting for use. All of these changed locations, finding space in the guest bedroom and set aside in the den to be transformed into a useful storage space for our kitchen necessities during the completion of that room.

The fridge still couldn’t fit through the doorway until Steph removed the refrigerator doors. She completed this task and then called me.

“Okay,” She pushed the dolly underneath and tossed a strap around the fridge. “Can you grab that strap and make sure it’s set?”

I made sure the strap actually looped around the appliance, and then held the end so Stephanie could secure the connection. That done, I guided the journey to the laundry room. The entire trip was about fifteen feet, and I feel good that we only hit two of the three door jambs along the way.

Skillz!

The refrigerator trapped me inside the laundry room as Stephanie pushed and angled and tugged and muscled it through the door. I pulled where she told me and pushed as necessary. Finally, the small white fridge popped through and slotted into place.

At this point, because I rarely do things in the right order, I pulled out all of the shelves and brought them into the kitchen for washing. I scrubbed that refrigerator from top to bottom, inside and out. While I worked at the sink, Stephanie constructed the wire rack for kitchen storage behind me. We created an interesting little chorus for the dogs and kitties.

Me: Grunt, scrub, sigh.

Steph: “Okay, just got to get all four of these in – oh FUCK!”

Me: Scrub, grunt, sigh.

Steph: “Now I’ve got a system. Yes…yes…yes…oh GODDAMMIT!”

Me: Sigh, scrub, grunt.

Steph: “Here we go…. Okay, okay, okay….” CRASH! “I may need you to hold this steady.”

Me: (struggling to pull my scrubbing gloves off) “Okay.” (looking up at the tall, tall, tall poles) “Ummmm….”

Steph: “Do you need something to stand on?”

Me: “Oh. Oh maybe not.”

Her subsequent struggle and my general ability to help became adversely impacted by that particular statement.

However, the final two shelves of the wire rack took their place, no thanks to my assistance.

I got back to sighing and scrubbing until all the shelves stood drying on a line of towels on the floor of the laundry room.

Shelves, shelves, shelves

I placed the newly clean doors in the hallway and stood back to admire my work.

Lower Door

If nothing else, I can certainly scrub something clean.

I continued my streak by helping Steph clear out the kitchen necessities I’d stored in the cabinets during our move-in into the dining room to the new wire rack. Once those bits were safely stored, I began to replace the shelves into the fridge.

And discovered, much to my despair, several ants who had decided to reside in one of the newly cleaned shelves!

ARGH!!!! ICKKKKK! GROSSSSSS!*

Many ants died while others managed to escape – but not for long! I pulled out our spray bottle of ant killer and sprayed and sprayed. I covered the wall and floor where the shelves sat and then Stephanie tipped the refrigerator forward so I could spray behind and underneath.

Then I was off to the grocery store for a little necessary shopping while the air cleared!

On my return, Stephanie had reattached the doors on the fridge and removed one set of cabinets in preparation for tearing out another wall. I found her collapsed into her comfy chair in the den.

She certainly deserved a rest!

I walked to the door of the laundry room and checked for ants. Triumphant in their absence, I stood back to admire our handiwork.

As I stood there, I saw the shelves fill with special wines, local beers, and favorite picnic salads. A turkey brining in milk and brandy. The enamel bowl filled with a buttery dough for dinner rolls and cinnamon buns.

Adults excuse themselves to grab another beer. I pull a bottle of white from the depths and open it for a friend’s crystal glass. The birthday cake emerges with flawless frosting, ready for the candles.

Yep. Party fridge in the laundry room.

Party Fridge

Now we just have to get the rest of the house ready for the party!

*Please note: Many ants were harmed in the making of this essay. I do not regret my actions.

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