Sea Nymphs & Ice Dispensers (But Not James Taylor)

We recently bought a new refrigerator. Which means we paid money for an appliance that might not show up for months. Or maybe it’ll be here tomorrow. It’s all one big guessing game thanks to supply chain shortages.

But at least we can still get our hands on toilet paper, unlike last year. Knock on wood tree pulp.  

Fortunately, we’re not in any hurry. Our current fridge, which we inherited with the house, is a 1994 Whirlpool that works just fine. That’s amazing! Think about it: this refrigerator was humming along when Forrest Gump told us life was like a box of chocolates. When O.J. Simpson decided to go for a slow ride in a white Ford Bronco. When Tonya Harding’s henchmen took a whack at Nancy Kerrigan’s knee. The same year that Amazon, Yahoo, and the Wonderbra debuted Proof that they don’t make things like they used to!

I’m referring to appliances, not bras.

In any case, this delay saved our bacon. (Figuratively speaking. Our literal bacon is safe and sound in the current fridge.)

After scouting around, we found the perfect fridge. We wanted a manufacturer known for appliances, not smartphones. A side-by-side with French doors and a bottom freezer. Water and ice dispenser. This one checked all the boxes.

Ideally it would have been white, to match the other appliances in our kitchen, but guess what? Hardly anybody makes white refrigerators anymore. I know stainless steel is all the rage, but I’ve never been one to bow to the latest trends (see: our groovy wood-paneled basement straight outta the ’70s). Being a Frigidaire and not a Samsung, this one was about as close to perfect as we were going to find. While admiring it, the salesman asked if there was enough space for it in the kitchen.

“Oh yeah, definitely!” I said without hesitating.

A week and a half later, Tara texted me at work.

Umm, we have a problem with that fridge. It’s not going to fit under the cabinet.  


Sure, there was plenty of space for the refrigerator horizontally. Vertical space was another issue. It turns out they really don’t make fridges like they used to: nowadays, they’re a lot taller. Houses built in 1974 did not anticipate the size of refrigerators built in 2021. Our new fridge wasn’t just a little too tall, either: it was a full four inches bigger than we had room for. And it’s not like we ordered some freakishly gigantic appliance: 70” is pretty much the going size.

I hopped online to see about ordering a different one. The tallest our space can accommodate is about 66”. Out of the 250+ refrigerators this place was selling, only a handful were available in that size. Not only would it have been very difficult to find one we liked that would have fit; we would surely have settled. And when it comes to a major appliance like a refrigerator, we don’t want to settle.

We knew what we wanted, and also, what we didn’t want: a smart refrigerator. Nowadays, you can buy a fridge with built-in Wi-Fi or a barcode scanner or, good lord, a TV screen mounted on the door that shows you what’s inside. Isn’t that what the door is built for?! If I’m watching TV, it’s going to be Dateline or MasterChef or the latest Netflix documentary or HBO Max series. NOT my leftover lasagna from three nights ago!

With settling out of the question, there was only one solution: take out the cabinet. But I’m about as much of a handyman as Homer Simpson is a rocket scientist. So, I googled handyman. Some dude named James Taylor came up. Kind of a goofy-looking character who seemed he’d more comfortable with, I don’t know, maybe a guitar instead of a tool belt, so I picked a different fella. He showed up at a few minutes past 7 a.m. and, rather quickly, solved our dilemma.

An odd thing happened this morning as Not James Taylor started taking down the cabinet. Let me back up by saying that all the kitchen cabinets are original to the house and were hand built by Doris’s husband (our house’s former owners). They’re good quality, too. In great shape. I was sitting there in the kitchen, playing Words With Friends on my phone, and at that precise moment my computer opponent played the word DORIS.

Which, umm…shouldn’t even be a legitimate word? According to the rules of WWF, you can’t use proper names, geographical locations, foreign words, or slang terms. The only definitions of “Doris” I can find are:

  • In Greek Mythology, Doris is the daughter of Oceanus, wife of Nereus, and mother of 50 sea nymphs called the Nereids.
  • An ancient region in central Greece, home of the Dorians.
  • A region in SW Asia Minor.
  • One’s girlfriend, wife, or significant other (UK slang).

I immediately shoved my phone in Tara’s face. We often joke that Doris is looking over her old house, making sure we don’t screw things up too badly. She probably wanted that cabinet to stay. I’d have liked that too, but you know what I like more? My new Frigidaire side-by-side. Sorry, ol’ gal.

Not James Taylor then asked if we wanted to install the cabinet somewhere else. Never one to turn down extra storage space for her thousand and one cleaning supplies, Tara suggested the utility room. Voila!

(Don’t worry. She made sure the freezer door would still open. How funny would it be if she had to call the guy back to remove the cabinet again?)

So, now we wait!

Well, first we paint the wall above the fridge to match the rest of the kitchen. And then we wait.

25 thoughts on “Sea Nymphs & Ice Dispensers (But Not James Taylor)

  1. You are right, Mark, how the supply shortages are having a huge impact. Huge laugh out loud on “saved our bacon.” Darn on the cabinet situation. I have seen photos from other bloggers where they found out the fridge did not fit until after it arrived in their home. Tara is obviously a smart lady…she married you, after all, Mark.🙂 Yes, save the cabinets. You are making progress and it looks great!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When we moved into this house there was an ugly almond colored Montgomery Ward fridge. It had probably been here since the house was built in 1974 and it was the first thing I got rid of. I’ve regretted it ever since. We’ve been here 19 years and are on our 3rd new refrigerator. It’s ridiculous how easily they die these days.
    But more importantly, I’m amazed you got a contractor there so quickly. They’re so busy here you’re lucky to even get a call back.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Even houses built in 1991 didn’t anticipate appliance sizes in 2021. We recently found just ONE microwave that would fit in our built in cabinet for it.

    Our fridge was the opposite issue as yours. The previous one was taller than what they make now, so we had this hole above our new fridge.we hired a woodworker to make a built in wine rack and he matched it perfectly, so we were very happy, but what a process.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We had the same issue before we remodeled out kitchen–trying to find a short refrigerator that would fit under cabinets. The GE fridge we got fit well but was ill-made and didn’t last (whereas the old Whirlpool in the garage from the 80s or 90s is STILL chugging along).

    It’s a good thing you salvaged that cabinet. Wouldn’t do to make Doris angry. Bet you wouldn’t like her when she’s angry.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. In July, we ordered 2 “chouches” (bigger than an armchair, but smaller than a loveseat) for our living room. They will be delivered in . . . March! Talk about delayed gratification.

    This post really resonated with me. First, our refrigerator/freezer (same design as yours) has wooden panels on all the doors that match the wood of our kitchen cabinets. It’s custom, so if/when our fridge ever goes, we’re screwed. Second, I often think of our previous owner, who lived here for decades. His name was Robert (RIP) and every time we do something major to the house (like the recent remodel/addition – not sure if you saw that post), I wonder if he would approve. Third, when Robert did remodel his/our kitchen, he took all the old cabinetry and counters and installed them in the unfinished part of the basement (the workshop area). SO practical. Not sure I would have thought of that, but it’s perfect for storing all that basement-y crap.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, cool! I mean…that’s not really the right word…but it’s nice to know somebody else who is living in a house where a person died. We’ll have to swap ghost stories if and when they occur.


  6. I’m laughing at NOT James Taylor and Doris keeping watch over her home. FOREVER.

    The new fridge will be so pretty and I know you’ll both enjoy it. I hate to break it to you though, stainless isn’t a trend as it’s been around for at least a dozen years. I think it’s a mainstay. But I do agree with you that we don’t need any appliances that are made by the same people who make smartphones.
    I love opening my door to check the contents. I can hear my Dad (RIP) over my shoulder: ARE YOU TAKING INVENTORY? Why, yes Phil, I am.

    Liked by 1 person

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