Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fridges and loathing at Falling Downs

The instructions for switching the handles on the new refrigerator from  right to left side started on page 11 of the owners manual. They ended on page 18.

The Farm Manager has been lobbying for months for a new fridge. Not that there's anything wrong with the old fridge. Except that a couple of the plastic shelves in the door have cracked.

The reason those shelves have cracked is because, and I'm not going to name names, somebody crams way too much crap in there.

Personally, I'm a refrigerator minimalist. If there's more in your fridge than a twelve-pack and a jar of pickled eggs you're on the slippery slope to pathological hoarding. It's definitely not me who crams way too much crap in there.

Anyway, yesterday was the big day. We took the truck into town and loaded up a new Kenmore fridge at Sears. Got a damn good deal too - hundred bucks off because it was a "floor model."

They used to make the Kenmore brand in Cambridge, back when we still built appliances in this country. This one comes from Mexico, one of the manifold blessings that NAFTA brought us.

I hadn't really planned ahead, and all I had to secure the fridge was a thirty foot tow strap. That took a little ingenuity to wrap around the fridge and I wasn't feeling too good about the result. One wrong move and that new Kenmore was going overboard...

That actually happened to me once. Luckily it was an old Kenmore on its way to the old-fridge graveyard. Did that bend under the railway tracks with just a bit too much speed, and WHOOPSIE!!! As fate would have it, there was no one immediately behind me, so after a moment's hesitation I just kept driving.

That actually saved me the bullshit twenty dollar fee they charge you when you drop off an old fridge.

So I was driving real careful. It's one thing to lose an old fridge, but especially with the Farm Manager riding shotgun, there'd be hell to pay if I lost the new one.

Get out here to the ranch and gather up the tools I need for the handle switch-over. That is the one and only instruction in that owner's manual that made any sense. That's because they show you a picture of an adjustable wrench and a Phillips screwdriver and a 3/8 socket.

After that it rapidly became a nightmare. "If you have a model 1410, proceed to page 14. For model 1409, follow instructions beginning on page 12, and then skip to page 15 after step 3. For models 2410 - 2420 follow steps 1-7 on pages 11-13 and then follow steps 8-10 on page 15. Thank you for choosing a Kenmore."

I am not by nature a follow-the-instructions kind of guy, but I've been trying to get better these past few years. I read those instructions. Then I read them again.

As far as I'm concerned none of the pictures of handles looked like the handles on the fridge in front of me.

Meanwhile the Farm Manager was pulling the contents out of the old fridge. It's amazing how much stuff can get lost in a modestly sized refrigerator. I had no idea we had four different brands of hot sauce in the house. Five flavors of mustard. Three jars of olives, a jar of pickled hot pepper rings that looked a very unpalatable shade of grey...

After spending 45 minutes reading the instruction manual I finally tossed it in the corner in frustration. I'll just do this the old-school way - by intuition.

Had those handles swapped over in under a half hour.

Appliance manufacture used to be a big business in Canada. All the major brand names were built here at one time or another. I think Woods in Guelph was the last Canadian manufacturer, and they built their last freezer in Canada in 2009. Even before the Woods family sold out a couple of years before that, they had opened a manufacturing plant in Mexico.

That's all part of the NAFTA legacy. Thousands of manufacturing jobs gone to Mexico, and we're still waiting for all those new high-tech jobs that were supposed to take their place.

But I digress. We got the new fridge set up in the kitchen, and the old one is in the wood shed with a twelve-pack and a jar of pickled eggs.

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