Domestic Disaster Strikes Again.

When I opened my refrigerator this morning, it was dark.  And not cold enough.  I stared at the milk, and the fruit, and the two-liter bottle of Coke, bewildered.  How?  Why?  Woe!

When I topped off my Coke before retreating to the bedroom at 11 pm last night, everything was normal in the refrigerator.  The light was on.  The ice was cold.  Now the light was off, and the ice was just a little wetter than it should be.

Clearly it wasn’t just a burnt-out light bulb.  The freezer was dark, too.  And the needle on the little metal thermometer sitting on the shelf behind the blackberries was a notch or two above the acceptable range.

I dug out the tattered piece of paper on which I had long ago written the key to the breaker box in the garage.  Maybe a breaker had flipped during the night, although I couldn’t think of any good reason for that.  Nevertheless, I went out and reset the appropriate switch in the antique breaker box.  All I accomplished was to turn off my computer.

I had a couple of jobs to do at the Scorekeeper this morning that I could neither put off nor dump on someone else.  Besides, I hadn’t figured out who to call.  My last refrigerator had never required a service call until it died of old age not long after the passage of Hurricane Ike.  So I drove up to Houston (no traffic today–I had no idea so many people took the MLK holiday off) to the Scorekeeper, took care of some necessary tasks, and set out to find a refrigerator repair service.

First I tried the service I use for plumbing and such.  They repaired my water heater last year.  But they don’t do appliances.  So I called the company where I bought the refrigerator a little less than three years ago.  They would be happy to send someone–Wednesday.  Some unspecified time on Wednesday.  Forty-eight hours, at least. 

When I evacuated from the path of Hurricane Ike, I took along the mini-phone directory for the Seabrook/La Porte area, and it has lived in the bottom of my inbox ever since.  There are still times when a paper phone book comes in handy, and this one had several pages of ads for appliance repair services looking for business in my corner of the Houston area.  The first number I tried, however, was no longer in service.  The phone person at the second one informed me that they don’t repair LG appliances.  The third, however, would be happy to send someone out this afternoon, between four and six.  Just be sure I answered the phone when the repairman called, or he would go on to his next appointment.

I knew, thanks to years of applied experience with Murphy’s Law, that if I was late getting home, the repairman would be early.  When I arrived at my back door, the phone was ringing; by the time I got in the house, it had stopped.  I checked the Caller ID.  It didn’t seem likely that a local business was calling from an Out Of Area number, but I wasn’t about to take the chance.  I pushed the call-back button, something I never do, and had a brief conversation with an earnest woman at the Alzheimer’s Association.

Dave the Repairman showed up about 4:30 and had no trouble diagnosing the problem in the complicated circuit board he uncovered on the back of the unit.  Even refrigerators run on electronic magic these days (maybe that’s the part repair shop number two doesn’t work on).  The problem was a simple blown fuse.  Unfortunately, the genius designers of this particular refrigerator soldered the fuse into the circuit board.  Not replaceable.  Dave was undaunted.  He did something involving a wire and a soldering iron that should last until he returns on Saturday with a new (and expensive) circuit board.

There are things around the house I know how to repair (I have lamps I’ve been rewiring periodically for decades) and others that can be replaced with more ease and less expense than they can be repaired.  But unexpectedly opening a dark, non-working refrigerator demands professional help.  And no matter what that circuit board coasts, it will be less expensive, and a lot less trouble, than replacing the refrigerator.

I looked through the light, cold refrigerator this evening–the garbage truck comes tomorrow–and didn’t find much to distrust.  A partial package of uncooked sausage went into the trash, but the fruit and vegetables and such were fine.  In the freezer, the stacked packaged dinners were unthawed.

The ice cream bars, though, they had to go.  The lo-cal fruit pops, on the other hand, were solid.  A sign from the universe regarding my eating habits? 

But I slurped up the Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream soup.  There wasn’t that much left in the carton.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cheryl Bolen
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 10:45:48

    Yes, those new refrigerators have a lot of electronics. A caution here: be sure to put a surge protector behind your refrigerator. TWICE I had to buy a new –well, very expensive part –for my $2,000 refrigerator because of electrical surges which caused it to die. Fortunately, the second time it happened, the repairman told me why and about the surge protector. It hasn’t happened since. And the first one happened just about the time the refrigerator turned 3 years old, the second a couple of years after that.

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    • Kay Hudson
      Jan 17, 2012 @ 11:39:59

      I have a surge protector on my garage door opener, so I asked the repairman about that. But he said in his experience they don’t work very well and cause as many problems as they prevent. And I’m not at all convinced it was a power surge problem–nothing else in the house shows any symptoms, not even the cable box/DVRs. It may just have been one of those “stuff happens” events.

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