New refrigerator; Hearts

We got a brand new refrigerator this week! I have never actually owned a new refrigerator, and for that matter have never actually paid for one in my entire life. The ones that I have always had have been the type that are either too small or don’t work very well, so people just give them away. As I am sure you can imagine they have not been the most effecient appliances.

We currently have two refrigerators (well, three now) that aren’t up to par. One of which is a “Sears Coldspot Frostless” model. It is a full size unit and it works just fine, for about six weeks at a time, after which you have to unplug it for a couple of days to let all of the ice defrost. It should also be noted that this particular machine (by the looks and style of it) is probably at least twenty years old. I guess that the definition of “frostless” in the ’80’s was vastly different than it is now. Or it was just a gimmick name, either way that fridge is just a huge paperweight most of the time.

The other fridge that we have is an apartment sized one with a really odd name brand. I believe it is like “admiral” or “general” or some such, it always puts me in mind of the military when I read the name. It works fabulously all the time, the problem is that it has only two shelves, and all of the bars on the door that let you put jars there are long gone. Not to mention that the freezer space can be nearly completely filled with a single bag of ice, unless it was recently defrosted, in which case, with enough pounding, you might be able to fit two bags in. This one is porbably only ten years old, but it just doesn’t work for our purposes.

The wife and I had been discussing a new refrigerator for literally a couple of years before making the decision to buy one. After the luck that we have had buying used washing machines (we have two washing machines on the patio that were bought used, both of them crapped out long before they should have), we decided the refrigerator would be a new appliance. After having ogled many refrigerators in the stores over the last couple of years, we weren’t planning to be all that picky about it, we just wanted one that didn’t smell like mold even after you bleach the fuck out of it.

I actually did have two requirements for the new refrigerator, 1) It had to be full size, 2) It needed to have an ice maker. The latter was my justification for the purchase in the first place. My wife uses a lot of ice in her drinks, which she buys at convenience stores for anywhere from $1-$1.50 a bag. The ice is usually chunky little garbage that is hardly suitable for drinks in the first place. Now, if there is an ice maker in the fridge, and particularly since I have a 5 stage, reverse osmosis water filter which the water will run through, there will be good, clean ice on hand all the time without additional purchase. That will save at least $30-$40 dollars a year on ice alone (of course I still do need to buy the parts to hook the ice maker to the water system, hopefully tomorrow).

I have never really liked Sears all that much, mostly since almost everything they sell is horribly overpriced, yet this time that is where the appliance purchase was made…Well, kind of. The purchase was actually made on the computer I am typing on right now, but it was through their website. The refrigerator a Kenmore, 18.2 cubic feet, factory ice maker, and it has free delivery, if they make good on the rebate that is.

This brings me to the point of this whole story. If you have ever shopped for a new refrigerator you will notice that there are a lot of apartment sized fridges, and some even smaller, but when it comes to full size fridges there are ten 17.9 cubic feet ones to every one that is larger. Now I know why. It is all about math!

It seems that the advertised cubic footage of a refrigerator is the usable inside space of the refrigerator. Why is 17.9 so prevalent? Doorways. When I saw that I could get the 18.2 cubic foot fridge, with an ice maker, for about the same as it would cost for a 17.9 without an ice maker, since the former was on sale, I jumped on it. I didn’t even bother to look at the energy guide, since there is no way a new refrigerator can be less efficient than one that is a couple of decades old. I also didn’t look at the dimensions of the machine, that is where I ran into some problems.

If you have ever read this page before, you have likely seen me mention that nothing about my house is standard. The 18 inch thick walls are great for insulation, yet they make it difficult to standardize doorways; you try cutting through 18 inches of mud and stone to make a doorway one inch wider and tell me how it goes. A quick count while walking through the house shows that we have 16 doorways, of course only about half of them have doors on them, else you would have to open four doors to get to the toilet (no kidding). Only two of the doors are the same size, they are both outside doors (the front and side doors) and they are both exactly 32 inches. The rest of the doors vary from 26 inches (on a closet) to 36 inches (entrance to Arizona room). Keep in mind that the measurements are the actual openings, not subtracting for the trim molding.

If you have a standard tape measure around your house you can look to see that the numbers 16 and 32 are in red. 16 is in red since that is how far apart studs have to go when building. 32 is in red since that is the width of a standard doorway. It turns out that that is also why the standard refrigerator is 17.9 cubic feet, any larger than that and you can no longer slide it sideways through a doorway. My old refrigerator was 31 inches wide and 29 inches deep. I was able to turn it sideways to slide it out the door. The new refrigeratorw was 31 inches wide and 33.5 inches deep. My doorway is only 3/16 wider than 31 inches, and that is not counting the inch thick door or the hinges. There was no way to get it into the kitchen without some work. Thankfully, after taking the door off of the hinges and moving it aside, I was able to line the machine up in the doorway, leave through a different exterior door, come back in behind the machine and push it through. If it had been even 1/10th of an inch wider I am not sure if I would have been able to get it into the kitchen, even with a generous amount of vaseline.

Let this be a lesson to me. I should always measure my non-standard doorways prior to new appliance purchase.

• If you are not a fan of the card game Hearts you might as well quit reading now.

I have been playing the game Hearts (link neglected since I couldn’t find a site without a bunch of pop-up crap) for years. There are a lot of variations of the game, but they seem to follow the same guidelines. You want to take zero points. If you take a heart you take a point. If you take the queen of spades you take 13 points. It is possible to lower your score by taking points, however it is difficult since you have to take them all. This quote on the scoring of the game sums it up pretty well:

Winning the Game
When one or more players reach or surpass a score of 100 points, the player with the lowest score wins the game.
Shooting the Moon
Shooting the Moon is a special strategy in which a player tries to take all 13 Hearts and the Queen of Spades. If you manage to Shoot the Moon you can either add 26 points to everyone’s score or subtract 26 from your own.

Shooting the Sun
Shooting the Sun is even more difficult than Shooting the Moon: If you take all 13 tricks – that is, every card in the deck – you can either add 52 points to everyone’s score or subtract 52 from your own.

While my normal strategy in the game is just to not take any points, I have shot the moon a few times. I had never actually shot the sun though, and thought that it would be impossible. Again, if you do not know the game, you may not understand the difficulty. I have probably played tens of thousands of games without shooting the sun. Until today.

The sad part is that I didn’t have any idea that I was doing it as I played. I just wanted to make sure that I kept control of the cards so that I wouldn’t get stuck with the queen of spades and end up adding 13 points to my score. Oh well, I guess we takes ’em when we can get ’em.

Tune in next time to find out such fascinating things as how to treat a wart on your dog (use wart off), how to boil water (a pan and heat), possibly even how to cheat people out of a lot of money (email scams). Damn, I just gave away my next post…

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