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Jonas and Lady Kenmore

It all started out so nicely. I went downstairs very early this morning to enjoy the freshly painted, cleaned, spruced up garden level apartment - you know – just for a minute, as it was being turned over to new tenants tomorrow. I took my coffee and asked alexa for classical music and opened the door, enjoying the clean, fresh morning air and uncluttered sparkling space inside.

So peaceful.

The cat came in, as he does, announcing his arrival and jumped up on the windowsill behind me. Apparently he misjudged or thought the window was open (they had been open all day yesterday in the beautiful weather) , because he landed behind me with a thud, which caused me to jump, my cup falling to the floor and shattering, sending coffee and white porcelain pieces all over the (clean, sparkly) floor. Our carpenter/painter came in the open door at the same time, amid the fresh chaos. The cat, the cup, the coffee everywhere.

He was there to secure an end cabinet piece over the fridge. I gathered the pieces of the broken cup and walked to the kitchen to look at the cabinet, and after he left to get his tools, I looked down and realized that I was bleeding all over the (clean, sparkly) kitchen floor. Ugh. Grabbing paper towels I wrapped one around my finger, went in the living room, wiped up the coffee spills, and then cleaned the blood off the kitchen floor. I thought as long as he was here, I’d pull the fridge out to have him look at the icemaker water line. As I was pulling the fridge out the end cabinet piece came crashing down on my wrist. The good news was, the nails missed me, the bad news was a large bruise popped up immediately on the bone. But there was other good news - the former tenant had left one of those gel face masks in the freezer (thanks Rachel!) which made a pretty good ice pack. I wrapped it around my wrist and thought while the fridge was pulled out that I’d better clean back there. Ugh. Now I was dirty in addition to being bloody and bruised.

Constance Chatfield-Taylor
Constance Chatfield-Taylor

The fridge was an ancient ‘Lady Kenmore’ and had been the top of the line years ago, and still worked great. It had all the bells and whistles of its time, and was trimmed in fancy wood paneling. I am a sucker for great old appliances that are well designed. I just had to give up an old jenn air fridge at the Mill House in the country as it just wasn’t keeping food cold enough. My son JJ called as it was being taken out and a new one was being installed. ‘Mom, did you vacuum the coils? Its probably all it needed – that’s a good fridge’. Well no, I told him as it was being removed. ‘What?! Why didn’t you ask me, I do know a little bit about refrigeration,’ he said. He is a paleo/keto chef in Salt Lake City with his own business. I watched as it disappeared through the door.

And here I was in the kitchen of the apartment with an ancient but wonderful Lady Kenmore. As Jaime was fixing the end piece on the cabinet, I asked him how to get to the coils. He motioned to the covering at the bottom – ‘down there,’ he said. ‘remove the panel.’ OK, I thought, I’ll just look. I pulled off the panel. What? ‘I don’t see any coils.’ He got off the ladder and leaned down and added the light of his phone to mine. ‘That’s because they’re covered in dirt. I’m surprised its still working.’

I got the vacuum and lay on the floor and started cleaning the coils. It was addicting. Little by little you saw the outline and then the coil itself. I could just feel the fridge breathing easier. I did not want to unplug it as Jaime suggested, but was glad he was there in case I really hurt myself. I was actually enjoying it, you know – kind of like ironing pillowcases, there is such visible IMPROVEMENT -and for a split second I imagined traveling around and cleaning refrigerator coils for fun. Of course I made a big mess and had to clean the floor but here it was barely 9 am and I had already had so much fun!

Serenity having been restored in the sunny apartment, I closed the door quietly and went upstairs to take a SHOWER and start my day. Maybe I’d bring a glass of wine downstairs tonight to enjoy the clean, sparkly apartment and beautiful evening.


Or maybe not.