unpacking my fridge made me see my food as refugees. they’re leaving the failed refrigerator state of whirlpool princess series ET14AKXRWR1 for their new forever home of whirlpool WRT518SZFM. not all of them will make it, and there’s only so much room in my coolers that some had to be sacrificed. a few were even tossed in the trash, those too poorly damaged to be worth saving. when they arrive in their new home, they will be beat up from their journey: sweaty, smelly, they will look out of place in their new accommodations. but over time they will adjust and learn to love their new home.
i finished cleaning out the fridge by 11am. that was also the start of my 4-hour delivery window and i waited patiently by the phone for the call. earlier i'd already missed a call from walgreens to let me know my prescriptions were ready. around 11:30am the delivery service called me, said they'd be here in 30 to 90 minutes. "90 minutes? you mean 1-1/2 hours?" he said about an hour, but 30-90 minutes for some wiggle room.
at 12:30pm i saw a big semi truck rolling by, parking at the end of my street. by coincidence there was 4 car-length of empty parking space right in front of my house, but big trucks like these prefer to only move forward, not go backwards and parallel park into a space they may or may not fit into.
i opened the door for the delivery guy before he could even knock. he wore a mask so i put mine on as well. he came in to measure the doorway, to make sure they can get into the house. i know i've done my own measurements, but it makes total sense that the delivery guys would want to make their own measurements, just to be sure. he also measured my rear door as a backup in case they couldn't get the fridge through the front door, but he was confident it'd fit. he told me the fridge i got is a skinny model (28") so it should fit. he said he recently got the same model for a relative and they really like the new fridge.
while he went back to the truck to get the fridge with his partner, i tried to remove the door knob from my front door just to make more space. unfortunately it wouldn't come off, but i did take down the draft curtains between the foyer and the living room.
i just assumed they'd use a handtruck to wheel the new fridge into the house. it was my father we told me they actually use body harnesses to lift the fridge, like carrying a baby in a sling, except it's two guys and in between then was a heavy refrigerator.
the move was quick. when the first delivery guy was in the house measuring, he pushed out the old fridge to make for the new one. while he went out to get the new fridge, i was cleaning up the thick layer of dust underneath where the fridge used to be. in that timespan, before i was even finished, they were already moving the new fridge into the house. the movers were both brazilian, and they communicated directions in portuguese. i was afraid the fridge would bash into the door frames, but these guys knew what they were doing.
once the new fridge was in place, they put the body straps onto the old fridge and slowly walked it out of the house. the first guy came back inside to get me to sign some paperwork. he also asked if he could take a photo of the fridge, as evidence of the delivery. i joked if he needed me in the photo with a thumbs up. before he left, i fished out 2 $5 bills from my pocket and gave it to him as tip, one for him, one for his partner. for some reason i thought he'd try to refuse, like "this is my job, that's reward enough," but he accepted my money without complaint, lifted up his clipboard so i could just slip in the cash.
once they left, i received an automated message from home depot with a delivery survey; i gave 5-stars throughout. i went back into the kitchen to admire my new fridge, the whirlpool WRT518SZFM ($791 + $25 old fridge removal fee). for some reason i kept thinking of the monolith in 2001, this rectangular stainless steel slab that's just sitting in my kitchen. the fact that it had no handles made it look even more like a monolith. while the delivery guys were here i kept surreptitiously checking the fridge to see if there were any scratches. the most important part of the fridge are the stainless steel doors, and those were covered in protective plastic. the delivery guy told me to wait 30 minutes before taking off the plastic, because for some reason it made it easier to remove.
the new fridge was 18 cu.ft. (17.6 cu.ft. to be exact), while my old whirlpool princess fridge was just 14 cu.ft. it made up that different not so much in width, but depth and height. height especially, there was less than 2" of cabinet space clearance with the new fridge, while my old fridge had 5-6" of clearance. it was also very noticeable that the floor of my kitchen isn't leveled, as the fridge tilted slightly back. it doesn't affect the performance of the fridge but it could make the doors slightly harder to open (but easier to close). since the fridge was still empty, i could easily wheel it out, so i decided to put some cardboard shims to elevate the back of the fridge. even after 7-8 layers of cardboard, it only made a small difference.
about a half hour later i started removing the plastic protective film from the fridge doors. after that i decided to put the food into the new fridge. i read it takes 2 hours for a new fridge to come to the right temperature, but i couldn't wait anymore. besides, the freezer was already close to the freezing point (according to my infrared thermometer), and my frozen foods have been out since 10am, and it was already 1:40pm. that 4 cu.ft of extra space really makes a difference, what a luxury to have more space. i tried to give some organization to the foods but in the end i just place them according to size. the door bins are large enough to hold a gallon container of milk, or two half gallon cartons side-by-side.
it was only after i finished packing the fridge did i see a dent on the edge of the fridge by the freezer door. i don't think the movers did this, seems like a manufacturing error. it's not a big deal and doesn't affect the performance of the fridge in any way. i also remember my father telling me that new fridges these days aren't like my own fridge, where the inside was just styrofoam layers. the inside wall of new fridges are filled with insulating foam. i can confirm this because when i looked on the top of the freezer door, there was a hole where they injected the foam until the last bit of foam poked out from the hole.
some more observations: i opted for the stainless steel over the white ($70 difference). the stainless steel looks more modern, but it's also true what they say, it's a fingerprint magnet. luckily i'm not in the habit of constantly touching the fridge unless it's to get something. the fridge light has a bluish white glow. i prefer the soft yellow glow of my old fridge. it's an easy thing to fix, just get a new led fridge lightbulb, but let's see if i can get used this new light. the new fridge is hooked up to my energy monitor device. my old fridge was using around 2kWh of electricity a day. it'll take a few days before i can collect enough data about this new fridge, but it should come in less than 2kWh, being a new fridge and all. the new fridge is large enough that i can no longer slip the rug underneath the fridge. i'll either have to do something creative like push the fridge onto the rug, or get a new rug (i got this ikea rug when i first moved in 19 years ago).
while my new fridge continued to get cooler, i went out for a market basket supply run and also to pick up my prescriptions. i wasn't prepared for how how it was outside plus the humidity. i went to walgreens first to pick up my drugs. the pharmacist asked me if i wanted to get my flu shot. in august! the pharmacists at my local walgreens have an injection fetish, always trying to get me shots. i told her next time. i also got some smoked almonds before i left, including their new flavor cayenne pepper extremes.
market basket has now instituted mandatory masks after somerville pass a new law ordering all public indoor gatherings to be masked, including places of business. belmont did this 2 weeks ago. cambridge hasn't done it yet, although it strongly recommends people should wear masks indoors in public spaces, but it may just be a matter of time. my parents have never given up their masks despite the state lifting the mandate back in late april. they were ahead of the curve on that one. i decided to make sandwiches for dinner again, just because i didn't want to cook when it's so hot. i also restocked all my frozen vegetables - kale, spinach, broccoli - after i tossed out my old supply, too badly freezer burned to be appetizing anymore.
back at home, i put groceries into my new fridge for the very first time. it felt weird having so much space, not having to clear space for new food items. i probably want to get some fridge organizing bins at some point, it's a little disorganized the why i currently have things.
in the early evening my slanted fridge was bothering me enough that i went back to fix the shims. i discovered i could no longer push out the fridge now that it was filled with food, so i emptied the contents of the fridge for the second time today and put them in to the cooler before i could finally move the fridge. i found wooden shims in my closet, and made two long tracks for the fridge's back wheels to ride on and correct the slope. i ended up stacking two layers of wooden shims on top of the cardboard shims to finally level the fridge. it's a real mess behind the fridge, i almost want to look into some commercial shims designed for appliances that can support the weight of the fridge. i'm afraid the wooden shims might crack eventually. now that the fridge is leveled, the fridge closes much softer instead of a slam like it did before, and opens a bit easier as well.
for dinner i made a cranberry walnut chicken salad sandwich. in hindsight i would've preferred the buffalo chicken salad because i find the cranberry walnut too sweet. maybe i can add some sriracha sauce next time to make it less sweet and more savory.
in all the excitement of the new fridge, i forgot to mention something weird happening with one of my pileas: mushrooms have started to form. from time to time i've had potted plants sprout mushrooms. it doesn't hurt the plant, but it's a little weird seeing something else suddenly growing with the plant. mushrooms grow fast too: this morning they were just little eggs, but by evening they'd already formed stalks. i'm not sure what kind they are, just some generic small brown mushrooms.