It happens every year just about this time. I start to miss winter.
I hate the whirring of the fans and I know they are just blowing in more moist, dank heat. Air conditioner? Not!! That’s because every time we have even approached the idea, usually on a bright spring day, I say we live in Vermont, you need an air conditioner maybe three times a year. You need air conditioners if you live in Alabama, not Vermont.
The one thing in this house that complains more than I do during this heat, is the refrigerator. It moans and thumps, especially at night. I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a new one but, in spite of increasingly loud sound effects, it keeps things cold. And isn’t that the point?
My son was visiting recently and stood perplexed in the kitchen marveling, “You make your own ice cubes! He said it in the tone that should be reserved for, “You spin your own wool!”
In Germany years and years ago we bought a used refrigerator for $25 and thought we had a bargain on our hands. It had two major drawbacks. One was that it did not keep things cold and the other was it was home to little back bugs who resisted every chemical
available, including buckets of ammonia. One becomes less fastidious when having to scrape little black things from one’s food every day.
I never got used to the taste of slightly sour evaporated milk which is what we then put in our already revolting instant coffee. The mini ice cube tray froze up only in the winter and then only every few weeks.
My parents had had a huge upright freezer and bought everything in bulk, due to the large amount of hungry children in our house. We got boxes of bread delivered to our back door where they would be ferried to the mammoth freezer and from there turned into hundreds of peanut butter sandwiches.
Years ago, before every refrigerator had freezers, you could rent freezer space in grocery stores. We had a big drawer in the basement of the local market. My mother would preserve stuff from our garden and provide us with great tasting vegetables all winter long.
She once got the bright idea that she could make our school lunches ahead of time and would not have to pack them each chaotic morning. She spent a couple of days making tuna fish and egg salad sandwiches, wrapping them in “freezer paper” and delivering them in labeled boxes to the freezer drawer downtown. The theory was that we would pick them up on the way to school so that they should have a chance to thaw by lunchtime.
They were god-awful, soggy, tasteless and most likely dangerous, although nobody got the food poisoning they probably should have. Maybe that’s because we chucked them at first chance and learned to skip lunch entirely.
I’ll nurse our fridge along to the death, which will surely come some sweltering day when the appliance store can’t possibly make a delivery. And then I will be forced to lie and say we have an infant in the house and need to refrigerate his special formula…like I did once before.