My wife and I bought a new refrigerator. We had to. The old one conked out. The new one keeps Cold Duck cold and frozen yogurt frozen. But when we close the refrigerator door, the freezer door swings open and the frozen yogurt unfreezes. On lucky days, we avert meltdowns when, after a minute of open door osmosis, we hear the warning chime. But if we wander out of earshot, our Eskimo Pies melt like the Wicked Witch of the West.
I crank up my print-reading gizmo and listen to the fine print in the Owner’s Manual. “Warning! Achtung! Do not operate this appliance in a bathtub or while standing in a puddle!” Meaning a puddle of unfrozen yogurt? Under “Troubleshooting,” I hear remedies for problematic ice makers in four languages but not a word about freewheeling freezer doors.
“Call the repairman,” says my wife. “Show him how the door swings open. Show him the dent in the freezer door. Show him how the dent in the freezer door matches the bump on your head.”
Next day, I explain to Rodney the repair man how risk becomes injury because I’m blind and can’t see when the freezer door swings open. Rodney tightens a bolt and loosens a screw and torques a nut and tells me the refrigerator is not level, that it leans forward and that’s why the freezer door doesn’t stay shut. Then he tells me it’s an installation problem and not a repair problem and, since he’s a repair man and not an installation man, he can’t do anything about it.
“We’ll have to tip it back and jam a stick or something under the front of it,” I tell my wife when she gets home from work.
“Tip it back? That thing weighs a ton,” says my wife. “Wait, I’ll get the jack from the car.”
“Won’t work,” I reply, already having considered, then discarded the jack idea. “No, one of us will tip and one of us will jam.” Then we sit, weighing certain concussions versus probable crushed fingers.
That was three weeks ago and the freezer door still swings open. But we’ve made progress. When we remember, we hold it shut when we close the refrigerator door. That keeps the ice packs icy so I can put them on the bumps on my head for the times when we forget.