in the market for our third refrigerator
Thursday, September 18 2014
Gretchen and I would be signing a contract and paying a five-figure deposit on our new investment property in Kingston this afternoon, and I didn't know until the last minute that I'd be biking into Kingston. If I could drive, I wanted to try to make a transaction that required cash. But then I looked in my wallet and saw tumbleweed. And without an ATM card, that was how it would remain. So after showering and getting dressed (two things that always excite the dogs), I snuck out into the garage (something they never suspect to be anything but a brief errand), jumped on the bike, and rode into Kingston. Since this was the first bike ride since the new bridge was installed across the Esopus on Wynkoop, I could go off-road and drive along dirt roads in the corn fields for part of the trip, a path that always reminds me of the times I venture off-road (sometimes even by bicycle) in Grand Theft Auto. I have to say, Hurley Avenue is not as fun to bike on as Hurley Mountain Road. Though the cars are moving more slowly, there are a lot more of them. And, at the hour I was biking, there was even a schoolbus that, had I been going a little faster, I might have had to stop for and wait for it to disgorge its children. (Depressingly, it seems that all parents of bus-riding children without exception wait for their kids at he end of their driveways. I sure hope this means there is a non-trivial risk of abduction by the makers of Solyent.)
I met Gretchen at precisely the correct time at the lawyer's office on Fair Street in Uptown, meaning my 6.9 mile bike ride had taken 35 minutes (an average of only 5 miles per hour!). Meetings with lawyers are infrequent buy rarely exciting, and this one was no exception. The only highlight, if there was one, was discovering that there is a mutual easement with the neighboring house regarding the shared driveway to our respective garages. At the end of the meeting, Gretchen wrote a rather large check drawing from our shared checking account.
There had been another refrigerator emergency this morning, one requiring me to yet again take a head gun to the frosted-up cooling apparatus at the back of the freezer part. That was the last straw for the eight-year-old refrigerator, so after our appointment with the lawyer, we drove out to a mom & pop refrigerator store on Broadway called Feiden's, with the view to maybe buying a refrigerator right then and there. But we'd neglected to bring the height and width measurements, so the best we could do was examine units that generally looked to be about the right size. Refrigerators have become more energy efficient in the past eight years, and there have been other design changes as well. Now, for example, freezers located on the bottom have doors that act like drawers that pull out instead of being hinged on one side. But there were a number of similarities too. For example, in the fridge that most seemed to fit our needs, the system for circulating air between the freezer and the refrigerator had a disconcerting similarity to the one in our current refrigerator. The failure of that system is what has us in the market for a replacement. That replacement won't be cheap, either. While the old one had cost about $1000, this new one was about $1400. We took a business card and said we'd go take some measurements back at home.
Instead, of course, we drove out to 9W and went to Sears to look at the refrigerator options there. We soon had the help of Sean, a cheerful and grotesquely obsese salesman. It wasn't long before we'd found the perfect replacement, one that resonanted with me far more than any of the options at Feiden's had. It was the Kenmore Elite 24 cu. ft. Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator ($1400). I was struck by the attention to details, such as the placement of the temperature and freezer setting readout in the frame of the door instead of in a soffit hanging from the ceiling taking up valuable room. Gretchen was excited by a special full-width "pantry drawer" for storing small items that tend to get lost. Despite all this, though, we were leery of the Kenmore brand because of the premature failure of our last refrigerator, which was a Kenmore. But Kenmore isn't really a brand so much as a re-brand of a constellation of other brands, and, if Sean was to be believed, Kenmore Elite is a higher-quality brand than regular Kenmore. Also, the apparatus for piping cold air from the freezer to the refrigerator looked completely different from the failing one in our refrigerator. Though we sort of liked the model with the stainless steel surface, we decided that, for our purposes, the bisque-finished model was better if only because magnets would be able to stick to it. In any case, it will be great not to have to deal with the impossible-to-clean dimpled finish of our present refrigerator. We still didn't know the exact dimensions of our available space and would have to close the deal later, either on the Sears website or by phone. Sean was being so helpful that she wanted to be sure he got his commission, and even communicated this to him.
While in the Sears, Gretchen was also salivating over the various KitchenAid mixers, having become disenchanted with the Delonghi she's used for something like ten years. She used to have two KitchenAid mixers, but sold them a long time ago because a magazine had convinced her that the Delonghi was the way to go.
We celebrated our progress on the investment house and refrigerator purchase with our typical sformato-centered meal at La Florentina. It was still fairly early in the evening and the only other diners in the restaurant looked to be retirees who would have taken advantage of an early bird special had one been available. Gretchen said she wasn't feeling very hungry, but she managed to eat a quarter of the sformato during the meal and another quarter soon after getting home. I'd eaten a bowl of minestrone and nearly all of a big steam-filled balloon of bread, so I only managed to eat a quarter of the sformato myself, leaving another quarter for breakfast tomorrow.
Back at the house, an email sent to me by Sean hadn't gotten through (I think Godaddy has spam bouncers that I don't know about and am powerless to disable). So Gretchen called him and completed the deal. We might have liked Sean, but his attempted hard sale of a high-profit maintenance plan was extremely annoying. Statistically, it always makes more sense to bet that the gadget or appliance you are buying will run maintenance-free indefinitely, particularly if one has the skills to make repairs. But even if one doesn't, it's very rare for an appliance to die as young as our last refrigerator did (at the tender age of eight).
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