Saturday, January 27, 2024

Ice(cube) Capades

[ Let Inga Tell You, La Jolla Light, published January 29, 2024] 2024

When you find yourself writing about ice cubes, is it time to hang it up?

I m aware I've written about appliances a lot lately because, well, failing appliances have been sucking up an ordinate amount of our time and money in recent months.

Sorry, folks: here comes another one.

A few months ago, I chronicled, among our various appliance challenges, the acquisition of a new refrigerator that had to fit into a very tight space and left us with exactly two choices. We re talking two choices of any brand in any price range. Fridges have gotten a lot deeper since the last time we bought one for our 1999 kitchen remodel.

We loved our previous sadly-deceased fridge and were hoping to reincarnate it. The fridge we ended up with was the same brand and exactly the same exterior dimensions as its predecessor, with, oddly, a lot less interior space. We can only assume its walls now have five inches of eco-excessive insulation.

The replacement, while hardly an inexpensive appliance, is a far (far) inferior version in every possible way. Even the door shelves on the refrigerator side are a thin, flimsy plastic. (Are they even actually plastic or something created by a hobby-level 3D printer?) It's like the designers sat down and said, How we can re-design this interior space to make it smaller, darker, chintzier, and guaranteed to annoy the s--t out of the owner?

One of the features that we didn't want but were forced to buy was a door ice dispenser. To us, it just screamed repair.

As it turns out, it s screaming a lot of other things too. And so are we.

This door dispenser takes up almost all the interior door real estate of our freezer so we have half as much freezer storage as we had before. Personally, we'd prefer to use our freezer for, say, freezing stuff.

But worse, it s really hard to get just the number of ice cubes you want from the door dispenser. Of course, with our old refrigerator, we just opened the freezer door and stuck our little hands into the heavy-duty ice bin and took as many as we needed. Theoretically, the door dispensers are more environmentally friendly because you are opening your freezer door less often. We aren't convinced.

Having never had a freezer door ice dispenser before, we've found there s a definite learning curve. Lesson one: It s all in the wrist.

You press your beverage glass against the sensor and ice starts to come out. You pull back quickly before too many come out. But you don't have quite enough so you press your glass against the sensor hoping for another two cubes. Next thing you know, there's ice cubes all over the floor. These are usually accompanied by bad words.

It's become a predictable script: ice can be heard filling a glass. Then: Wait! Stop! No! Fuck! (Sound of ice cubes hitting the floor).

So we've tried to make a friendly competition of the new ice dispenser as to who can dispense ice with the least number of cubes on the floor. Score is being kept.

When you get to our age, fun is where you find it. It also means your kids will roll their eyes and insist, "you guys need a life."

We have a life. It just happens to involve ice cube wars. So far, the ice cube dispenser is winning. And it knows it.

At Christmas, I tried to fill up a Ziplock bag with ice cubes to transport some perishable food on our trip to L.A. I held the open bag under the door spout and pressed, just as I would with a drinking glass. A few cubes came out but then stopped. I kept pressing. Was it jammed? I finally opened the freezer door to check and was greeted with a veritable avalanche of ice cubes which skittered all over the kitchen floor. Why this shouldn't have worked, I don t know. But note to self: next time fill the Ziplock bag with single glassfuls of ice.

Alternatively, one could remove the entire ice bin from the freezer to access ice to fill the Ziplock bag but its thin cheap plastic-esque material resists sliding out or back in. Best to let sleeping ice bins lie.

Maybe other ice dispensers work better than this one. But now I keep a separate glass in our tiny useless freezer filled with ice cubes from which I can then take as many as I need. Sometimes you just have to admit defeat.

Of course, we're slowly getting better with practice. But a day without a single ice cube on our floor would be a rare day indeed. The dog knows better than to stand anywhere near the fridge as ice is being dispensed lest she be in the line of fire. When even the dog has it figured out, pay attention. 


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