When I bought this house five years ago (HOLY CRAP! IT'S BEEN FIVE YEARS AGO!!), I had to buy a stove and refrigerator as they didn't come with this place.  Short sale and all.  I couldn't afford what I really wanted, which was a freezer on the bottom, double door job that would refrigerate the whole stinkin' world!

Honestly, what do I need something like that for?  Honestly?  I do not know!  But the space! And the fact that I would not have to bend down to dig stuff out of the fridge [read: laziness here] just sounds amazing.

Alas, I am a teacher. I can't afford those luxuries.  So, I bought cheap.  Read: it keeps things cold.

That was five years ago. Did I mention that?

A couple of weeks ago, I started noticing odd stuff like my freezer not freezing a 32 ounce bottled water that was left in there over night. Seriously? That should totally freeze, right?

Then there was the milk that went bad BEFORE the expiration date.

Oh yeah, and the tomatoes that went bad almost immediately after putting them in the refrigerator.

And all the leftovers that rotted much sooner than normal.  Trust me. I know when food rots.  My mother was the QUEEN OF LEFTOVERS and the GRAND DUCHESS OF SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS [that's fuzzy food left in the refrigerator waaaaay too long].

Then, last Thursday, I opened up my fridge to discover a luke warm temperature, water dripping from something or another at the top of the fridge, and for an added bonus, my freezer, for lack of a better word, defrosting.

Insert panic mode here!

I ran around the kitchen, grabbing as much frozen stuff as possible, running it downstairs to my deep freeze, sopping up water, throwing away a TON of bad food, and whining at the cat, "I can't afford a new refrigerator! I just can't buy a new one.  Which one of us is selling body parts if I have to buy a new fridge?!"

The cat voted for me. She never wants to do anything around this house!

As I am cleaning things out of the refrigerator and trying to talk myself off my proverbial ledge, I decided to unplug the stupid thing to see if it would reset itself, thus fixing everything.  It was when I was pushing the fridge away from the wall that I happened to look down and see a wad of cat fur sticking out of the back of my fridge, and a thought occurred to me.

"What if this just needs a good vacuuming out? What if there is so much hair and dust, the motor isn't able to do what it's supposed to do, and it has just decided to give up the ghost?"

I texted my dad my theory.  I felt like he should know I was thinking more clearly after receiving the "OMG MY FRIDGE WON'T WORK WHY WON'T IT WORK DO YOU KNOW I'VE ONLY HAD IT FIVE YEARS HOW COULD IT STOP WORKING SO SOON" text.  Like he is capable of doing ANYTHING from two states away!

His response: "Yes, that is a good possibility. When was the last time you vacuumed that thing out?"

Ummmm ... never?

Seriously.  In five years, I've never vacuumed out my refrigerator.

And here's where the story gets ... what?  Embarrassing? I guess I can't call it embarrassing. If it were embarrassing, I'd refrain from telling the story altogether, but here I am, laying it all out there for you.  So, perhaps I should use the word pathetic. Yes!  Here is where the story gets pathetic.

You see, for as long as I can remember ... say, four years, my refrigerator makes all kinds of crazy noises, and by crazy, I mean, RAUCOUS noises that could wake the dead. In fact, this past Christmas, my mom even asked me if my refrigerator should sound like that.

I was all, "Eh. It's sounded like that forever! That's just the way it is."

So, I pull out my vacuum and attachments, and I commence to taking off the cheap cardboard backing that covers the motor housing and coils and stuff. There's lots of stuff in there. None of it I understand or desire to.  Just know, it was all COVERED in a thick, sticky coating of cat hair and dust.

Now, you have to understand, my cat has long hair ... and a lot of it.  The very act of breathing causes hair to fly off of her body and go floating all over the house. So, it stands to reason that a motor that sucks up all kinds of stuff would suck up cat hair, especially when said cat with said hair stands right next to the fridge to eat and drink, an activity she does with a great deal of frequency. The feline LOVES to eat!

I spend, here's more pathetic, about 15 minutes vacuuming out every crack and crevice of that motor area, and all of a sudden, that thing just took off. Within an hour, I started detecting a cooler temperature.  The something or another stopped dripping, and the freezer stopped defrosting.  By the following morning, everything was nice and cold.

And the crazy noises?  They stopped.  That refrigerator runs so quietly, you hardly know it's on!

Apparently, it was begging me for close to four years to clean its inner workings out. I just ignored its pleas. Until, one day, in an act of desperation, it finally decided to start killing my food.

Here I sit with a number of degrees. I am a functioning part of society. They let me buy a house and everything. But I nearly killed my refrigerator because I didn't vacuum out the back of that dang thing.

Let's just say that my housekeeping might just leave a little bit to be desired.


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