Thursday, September 9, 2010

Resigned to New

(Cross-posted with babywhumpus)

I love my International Harvester refrigerator. They only made them for seven years, and mine is a 1952, I think. It came with the house, and I made sure to write it and the 1951 Tappan range into the purchase agreement.

They both still work, and they have been our fridge and stove for the past nine years, rumbling along like the beautiful workhorses they are. This summer, however, the thermostat on the oven went, so I can't bake anymore. (It shoots from off to 500 in a matter of minutes, rendering all cookies dark puddles of carbon.) And I grew tired of emptying out the freezer every two weeks to defrost it. It would be caked with ice to the point of barely opening, and the food in it would be buried like a baby mammoth in a glacier. It sucked the cold out of the fridge leaving bottles sweaty and cool and vegetables flaccid as a... well, let's just say limp and lifeless. With the two-year-old running at peak intensity, there's little extra time for such things as defrosting, and I could no longer remember what I had hauled down to the chest freezer in the basement, causing me to repeat food purchases, laying in a stockpile against some near-future armageddon, perhaps sometime soon after the Minnesota governor's race is decided.

I came to a decision: the stove would have to be fixed. After perusing the new choices, I felt only despair that we seem to have lost all sense of how to make something utilitarian have real style. Plus, nothing had the same usefulness of my Tappan. Coincidentally, an almost exact model showed up at the ReUse Store, so we bought it for parts. It's in the garage. I still have to get the thermostat out and swap, and here's hoping that it works. It's on the list.

The refrigerator would have to be replaced. Almost all the new ones are ugly (I don't like stainless steel, and the white ones are lifeless hulks), and the 1950's-styled models are just a bit out of my rational price range. We settled on one that, while not terribly attractive, has made our lives better in an ineffable and completely materialistic way. It keeps food cold, it has a bottle rack for beers (though no bottle opener on the inside handle latch, like the IH). It's not "femineered" like the International, but what is, really? I put an old metal bottle opener on a strong magnet on the outside of the new fridge, and the old one is, you guessed it, in the garage. It still works, it just needs to be restored a little bit, and I want to find someone who will do so or who will at least use it and take care of it.

Another thing on the list.

But I got to take "defrost" off the list, so it all works out.

1 comment:

jem said...

femineered... that is the word I've been looking for all my pink colored tool set.

I understand the older appliance affinity. Looked for 6 months for a "new" gas stove. found an older, damn near perfect model within 5 minutes of entering a secondhand appliance store. Has griddle in on the 5th burner and a tall narrow cabinet for cookie sheets next to the oven compartment. Love it!