Dearest, dearest friends,
Please believe me when I say this comes as much a surprise to me as it does to you.
Please do not feel as though I’ve withheld information.
Please do not feel as though I’ve been keeping secrets.
I think by now you and I have Built Trust in such a way that you’ll believe me when I say secrets are my worst thing. I mean, I rock the heck out of keeping Other People’s secrets, but I have very few left of my own. I pretty much tell you All the Things, or, as Greg likes to say when he’s being Particularly Complimentary of my writing, “She’s not inaccurate.” Like, I have two secrets at this point, tops, and one of them is that I put Cadbury Mini-Eggs in my bra so they get partly melty before I eat them. The shell is PERFECT for that — thick enough to hold in all the gooey chocolate without smashing, thin enough to shatter in my teeth when the chocolate’s properly prepared. Now, yes; one could technically hold the mini-eggs in one’s hands until they get warm-but-not-too-warm and accomplish the same purpose, but the bra speeds that process right up, and everyone knows the More Melty Mini-Eggs, the Better.
So I’m down to one secret now, and withholding information about adding to our appliance family is Not It. This was not part of the Plan, but life so rarely proceeds according to Planm right, friends? I’d like that on a bumper sticker, please: LIFE = Not Plan-Friendly. While sometimes the surprises are difficult and challenging, though, sometimes they’re AWESOME. Amazing. Serendipitous. And Just Delightful. This surprise is one of the latter, which is why I’m ecstatic to introduce the newest member of our family…
Genevieve the Refrigerator
Born in 1949, sweet Genevieve is a Hotpoint Super-Stor refrigerator, a behemoth in her day — top of the line, baby — and now a petite little darling.
I found her on Craigslist in a moment that can only be called Divine Inspiration.
Now, listen: it’s been a month, friends. A hard, long, amazing, awful, invigorating, life-draining MONTH. Situation Normal, in other words. Still, we’re TIRED. We’re very, VERY tired. In part because we’re made out of human, and as fallible and fabulous as that implies. In part because our kids who experience disability are in the midst of massive transitions to adulthood with all the angst and agony and triumph and sighing and paperwork one might expect. In part because OMG, AMERICA MAKES ME WANT TO FACEPALM TIMES INIFINITY. And in part because the Great Church Disintegration of 2017 continues to be laden with grief. There’s nothing quite like the heartbreak, friends, of watching my husband and young son curled around each other, sobbing because we’re no longer welcome at the camp we once thought was a safe place to learn and live and love each other well. And there’s nothing quite like the fierce joy of releasing things that were never really ours so we can pursue a wider grace and a deeper mercy and a love that knows no bounds. It’s all very Both/And around here these days. Loss and Longing and Love commingled. A month full of Neverending Tasks and Life Lessons and Clinging to Each Other and Really Big Feelings.
So I did what anyone in my position would do. I went online. I scrolled through Facebook. I read articles. I watched every Michael McIntyre video I could find. I drafted Christmas lists. I decorated for Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas, which is just one holiday now instead of three because I do not have time for 3 holidays in less than 2 months. There are pumpkins on my porch and stockings over the fireplace. The tree is up and fully decorated. I planned a living room remodel I’ll never execute, and then I planned two more. I ate 37 bowls of cinnamon rice crispies and made 3 giant pans of lasagna. I started selling furniture we’ve stored in our garage for far too long. And I shopped Craigslist for things I don’t need.
Which is when Genevieve appeared.
And the heavens parted.
And light shone down.
And Jesus said, “DO YOU SEE HER, BETH? SHE’S ONLY $300, AND SHE MUST BE YOURS.”
I agreed with Jesus except the part about $300 — sometimes Jesus doesn’t understand Craigslist pricing — so I offered $200 and bought her for $250.
Then I told Greg our Good News; that we were replacing our Much Larger, Modern, Functional, Ice and Water Dispensing Fridge with a Much Smaller Fridge from 1949 that Probably Works and Has a Tiny Freezer and No Ice Maker and Will Need Defrosting! ALSO, SHE’S SO PRETTY AND MATCHES OUR STOVE.
Greg was ecstatic.
Then I told him he got to drive two hours in the middle of his work day to deadlift it into our truck, but not to worry because I also volunteered my father and my spindly little 11yos to help with the lifting, and — BONUS — my pretty princess self to supervise.
He was over the moon.
And so Genevieve has joined our lives and our hearts. And I am love-loving her all the livelong day.
Please join me in welcoming this newest addition to the Woolsey home.
P.S. Little Ms. Genevieve lived the first 68 years of her life in beautiful old craftsman house here in Oregon. She shared her space with a wood and oil burning stove. When the house was purchased recently, the new owners decided to remodel the kitchen. God knows why. 😉 Thus the need for G’s rehoming. Our research says she may run quite happily for another 30+ years. Or she may crap out next week, in which case she’s getting a new compressor and becoming the world’s raddest kegerator. This is what we call a classic win/win.
P.P.S. As you may already know, given our crowd-sourced kitchen remodel project of yesteryear, Ms. G joins Betty the stove (1956) and Bud the Wiser, our bear beer bottle opener (2016). Betty, of course, is named for my grandmother, Betty June, who wanted Everything to be Fancy All the Time, and Genevieve is named for my great, great aunt, Betty June’s older sister. Bud is named for Budweiser because beer. We’re all doing well and settling in together, and so far Bud and Betty haven’t smothered Genevieve in her sleep, so I assume they adore their new sister.
P.P.P.S. Not to brag too, TOO much, but Genevieve is the easiest and quietest and prettiest little fridge that was ever born, and I loved her the moment I laid eyes on her.
P.P.P.P.S. Greg asked if he gets to have a 1950’s housewife to go along with Betty and Genevieve. I think Greg might be trying to commit suicide. Kind of like Death by Cop, except this is Death by Wife. Betty, Genevieve and I are still offended. Also, we three cuss like sailors.
Except that I JUST POSTED THE 2018 RETREATS. I would love (love, love) to hang out with you at the gorgeous Oregon Coast in 2018. Check out the link to learn more about the 4, small group retreat we’re offering this year — a retreat for book lovers, one focused on food and wine, one on writing, and one on mindfulness. If you’re looking for rest, respite and relaxation in a warm, welcoming community, these are the retreats for you. If you’re offended by stories about stuffing Cadbury Mini-Eggs in my bra, on the other hand, you might want to skip these. 😉
12 responses to “Introducing the Newest Member of Our Family… Genevieve the Refrigerator”
I’m just curious if you’ve had to replace the door gasket, and if so, if you have any tips? I have, what appears to be, the same fridge (at least the outside door is the same). It is the original that came with the house that I now live in that belonged to my grandparents. We used it as a secondary storage fridge and it is still chugging along just fine but needs a new gasket. Any tips are appreciated!
We have not, but I’m sure there are vintage appliance forums with willing advisors and tips. It isn’t magnetic like modern ones, so a modern seal might work but might make it harder to open.
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Genevieve looks absolutely LOVELY and I’m so glad you got her to join Betty. Isn’t it interesting how we’re so conditioned to modern appliances being basically “throw-aways” after 10 or 12 years, to relate to an era when appliances were actually built to last many decades!
Thanks for introducing us and we wish you many happy years together!
Oh, I LOVE it SO, SO, MUCH! If you need any Pyrex or Jadeite to add some color, I’m your girl. Just IMAGINE the kitchen we could build!
LOVE X infinity
Oh my goodness Beth! You are hilarious – love it. Thanks for sharing:)
I am new to your blog (and enjoying it) and grew up in a 50s kitchen (not half a nice as yours but with a 1945 Model C Chambers stove. Still I have to ask (using newness as an excuse) why you went back to the Hotpoint fridge. Surely it doesn’t use less energy. Surely it doesn’t hold enough food for the family. (Maybe you have a non-50s big freezer in the basement!) I’d love to know.
Actually, it appears to be more efficient than our previous fridge, now in the garage for overflow capacity. 50’s electricity was relatively expensive, and total house power was limited, so it turns out things were made reasonably efficient. This one is quieter (no fan), runs less often, and draws the same amount of current as my USB phone charger (2.2 amps). I was pleasantly surprised to discover all that. Yes, we make somewhat more trips to the garage for resupply, but we can also see the leftovers better, which reduces waste for us.
Welcome, Elizabeth! Good questions.
1. We did some research before buying this particular fridge, and what we found surprised us. We learned that fridges from the 40’s and 50’s are very efficient. Since there was an energy crisis at the time, appliances were made to pull far less electricity. By the time fridges were constructed in the 60’s-80’s, they were enormous energy hogs. Here’s one of the articles we consulted: http://www.denisbyrne.com/fridge.html The main issue with the Hotpoint fridge is the fact that it uses Freon, a CFC that depletes the ozone layer. Freon is now outlawed for that reason. So if Genevieve springs a leak at any point, we’ll have to ompletely replace her compressor and retrofit her. The chances of her leaking are fairly low, since she’s only been moved once (to our house), but it’s the main reason old fridges go defunct. Since it’s the production of Freon that destroys ozone, keeping Genevieve up and running isn’t causing any additional harm to the environment… essentially, her damage is done. So without a leak, she could go on ticking for decades, very efficiently, actually. (That’s more than you ever wanted to know, isn’t it?? :D)
2. We’re using our larger, modern fridge in the garage, so we still have a regular sized fridge and freezer for overflow. I’ve been working fairly hard over the past few years to reduce our family’s amount of food waste, and Genevieve is proving very helpful with that. That’s not why we bought her, but it’s turning into a wonderful side benefit. With Gen, who’s shallower than the Enormous Fridge, we can SEE all the food we have. Leftovers aren’t getting lost in the far depths only to resurface a month later, moldy and disgusting. Because I can see everything, I’m doing far better with using what we actually have before replacing it with more food. I read somewhere recently that over 1/3 of the food in the U.S. is thrown away. While other countries experience famine. Ugh. So, yes, it’s very useful to have the other fridge as a staging/storage area… if we had just Gen, it would be totally doable, but I’d have to shop a couple times/week… but we’re relying most heavily on Genevieve, and it’s an interesting study in food use so far.
I love your kitchen!! (And your blog) I am in Cornwall, England so my refrigerator is tiny. Also why is your kitchen so tidy?? I know for a fact that this is not usually the case!
Ha! It’s tidy ONLY for the pictures and ONLY because I wanted Genevieve to look pretty in her announcement photos. You’ll note you can’t see the kitchen table or the sink or the counters to the right… all of which are piled high. 😀