07 January 2008

At What Cost Refrigeration

As I mentioned a while ago my downstairs refrigerator/freezer decided that refrigerating and freezing were no longer on its To Do list. Perhaps, like Bartleby, it just preferred not to. So on New Year's Day Husband and I made a pilgrimage to Sears and looked for replacements. Did you know that you can now buy refrigerators with televisions in them? With obesity in this country at an all time high do we really need to encourage people to watch television 3 feet from the refrigerator? In Son's case the only exercise he regularly gets is the trek from the television to the food and back.

We chose a replacement fridge/freezer that had absolutely no bells, whistles, smoke, mirrors, or anything else. Just one cold chamber with a couple of shelves, and a colder chamber with one shelf. Total cost of 2 cold boxes including delivery and taking away the old one ran us around $500. Not too bad for the overflow and beverages that are usually kept in the basement. Little did we know that fate was about to throw us a bit of a curve ball.

I should perhaps mention that the old Bartleby model was the upstairs fridge when we moved into this house 12 years ago. Because of various problems that we had with it (all relating to bells and whistles by the way) it was demoted to the basement. Husband and I moved it ourselves. I don't remember exactly how we did it, other than the fact that there was a lot of gravity involved in the stairwell, but we did it and it fit without any modifications having to be made to anything, other than popping the laundry room door off its hinges.

When Delivery Guys got here and saw the old Mr. Freezy there was a lot of talking amongst themselves, measuring various things some looks at me which I can only describe as displeased, and then they set to work. Job one was to take the old doors off. Now if you have ever had a refrigeration unit stop working you'll be aware that the inside doesn't smell... nice anymore. So before very long my house smelled like decomposing old food. At this point I was called up to Daughter's room for something so I don't know exactly what happened next, but I do know that the end result was some pretty large dents in the stairway walls, and more disconcertingly, a large amount of a mysterious fluid splashed on the walls, the (carpeted) stairs and the basement floor.

I have spent the last couple of days trying to find exactly the right word to describe the smell of this fluid. Some of the top contenders: rank, fetid, reeking, putrid. It was bad. It smelled like someone died in my basement and then got left there for a long, long while. We set about cleaning it up as soon as Delivery Guys left. First I sprinkled it with some granules I bought at the pet store that are supposed to odor absorbing. I guess if you have a normal odor they might work, but this is no normal odor. Next we got out the Bissell Big Green Clean Machine. Again, we used the only cleaning solution we had which was for pet stains and odors. Apparently pets aren't capable of making much in the way of odors.

At this point the stains on the carpet were pretty much gone, but the smell, the smell just lingered. Next treatment, a commercial grade cleaning machine fluid. It didn't do any better than the pet formula. At this point I was gagging just walking up and down the stairs, so I went to Sam's club and got a huge bottle of Febreeze. You may think that an entire bottle used on 12 stairs and an area of carpet 8 feet square might be overboard. You'd be wrong. For the rest of that day the basement smelled like grapefruit, which was a huge improvement.

Stink molecules being what they are, the nice smell lasted about 24 hours. At that point the carpet was dry (and sticky) and the Smell started coming back. We have reached the point of Googling crime scene cleanup sites to find out what they use to clean up a real dead body. If we can't find something that works we will be down to our last option. Husband is already trolling tile stores and mumbling to himself about square footage, grout, and the like. In the end there is a very good chance that our $500 refrigerator will end up costing us 10 to 20 times that.

Oh, and my socks aren't going to match even a little bit.


Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

Boy that is really going to cut into Hubby's racket re-stringing budget.

MadMad said...

Oh, my goodness - I'm gaspy just reading this! You poor thing! Why can't delivery people not mess things up? Argh! And then, to top it all off, non-matching socks! I'm so sorry! But at least the socks are cute, right?