Please, sit down. Take a sip of room-temperature water. How’s your blood pressure these days? I don’t want to induce panic, but I’ve identified a silent killer in your kitchen. A SPACE killer. A happiness killer. Every year this killer grows a little bigger, morphing and metastasizing, stealthily colonizing more territory in your kitchen, sucking up more energy, growing fat on the American propensity for frozen dinners, warehouse-club shopping, and produce from other continents.
This (space) killer is your refrigerator. It’s just too darn big.
In fact, Projectophile’s scientific team found a direct correlation between the size of the average American refrigerator and the average American coffin: I’ve always had a hostile relationship with the refrigerators in my life. As a child, one-pound bricks of frozen hamburger meat would topple onto my head every time I peeked into our family’s over-stuffed freezer.* That appliance never once apologized.
Perhaps as a result, I’ve spent my entire adult life picking fights with refrigerators. Poor Scott has endured my grudge with refrigerators for more than a decade. The first time I brought him back to my apartment (circa 2004), he noticed that I had pushed the refrigerator into the pantry. Lucky for me (and our future children), major appliance shuffling wasn’t enough to scare him away.
In the first apartment Scott and I shared,** I was so frustrated with the fridge blocking the flow of my tiny kitchen (you could touch both walls with your arms spread), we moved the fridge into the dining room. Here’s the kitchen, with fridge intact.
When we bought our condo in 2005, the fridge was a giant Black Hole, blocking a window, and sucking all the light energy out of the room: I refuse to choose between cold food and sunlight, so we pushed the fridge into a distant, lonely corner of the kitchen. Our last rental apartment (where this blog was born), the fridge was again the size of a small bus, its girth and awkward placement causing us again to be deprived of an eat-in kitchen. I hate to think of the hundreds of miles I’ve cumulatively walked to deliver food all the way to the dining room. This ivory beast would stand there, half-empty, mocking us with its largeness. Not long after we moved there, the little ones (aged 2 and 8 months in this picture) found a way in and decided to take inventory: Before we moved into the Babushka House, I decided to take my life back from these overgrown, tetrafluoroethane-fueled bullies. The original Babushka had her old fridge (now gone) in the back corner of the kitchen, blocking a window to the back yard. Here’s an aerial view of the Babushka kitchen when we bought it: So, instead of blocking a window, I decided to squeeze a fridge next to the stove, without blocking the entrance to the front hall: The problem is, the fridge would have to be TINY – by today’s portly fridge standards – not to block the hallway. On the advice of a friend whose brother is a slum landlord, we hit up a store that specializes in “urban” appliances: cheap, used, and (most importantly) small.
The Hobbit*** Fridge was delivered exactly an hour before we moved. Happily, I was able to pack everything from our previous (massive) fridge into this one, with room to spare! The only thing I had to sacrifice was my gas tank full of soy sauce, which the children determined to be too large for the Hobbit Fridge: Here’s the east wall of our kitchen today: To give you a sense of scale, here’s me posing with the Hobbit Fridge. Scott says I could be a refrigerator model. I think that’s a compliment. And the best (actually worst) part is the easy access for the Hobbits! Let’s just hope he doesn’t find Mommy’s fancy cheese. On second thought, I think my Refrigerator Modelling career may have to wait, at least until these two retire (where IS all that wind coming from?):
* One-pound of hamburger meat was the foundation for nearly every weeknight meal in 1980s Midwest America: Taco Night, Spaghetti Night, Meatloaf Night, Hamburger Helper Night, Raw Hamburger Meat Night.
** “Shared,” as in, I paid the rent and he slept there 6.5 nights a week.
*** Hobbits are know for their small size and habit of eating constantly, much like my children.