October 13, 2010

A Cold Place in Hell

For all you lapsed Catholics, fear not, for I have discovered that there is, indeed, a cold place in Hell. While you may spend your days slaving away amidst a pool of fire and brimstone, if you go all the way to the back of Hell (near the bathrooms), you'll find salvation. For it here that you will find rows and rows of refrigerators.

Saturday Mornings

There are many ways to be awaken on a Saturday morning. My least favorite is a swift kick in the balls. My favorites are my son babbling to his stuffed bear or the soft clanging of dishes, as my daughters try quietly to fix themselves cereal.
Last Saturday, I heard the girls get out of bed and sneak down stairs. I heard the chair dragging across the kitchen floor towards the cabinet with the cereal. I smiled as the door to the refridgerator open...then I heard "DAD! The frige is all wet!".
Purchasing a refridgerator is one of those things you just can't plan for in life. It ranks right up there with a water heater. When it breaks, you stop everything and go shopping. Unlike other major purchases, you don't have time to research and make lists. You have hundreds of dollars of food spoiling, you have a pool of water on your floor and you have 3 kids whose hearts were set on Lucky Charms and ended up with toast. This is why I am convinced that there is special place in hell, reserved for the most wicked of us, where you are forced to refrigerator shop with children under 5.

Refrigerator Shopping for Dummies

If you've never had to go refridgerator shopping (and I never had), you'll be surprised to find that you can spend anywhere in between a couple hundred dollars and a Toyota. At the cheaper end, they are white and black and barely hold enough food for a bachelor. At the expensive end, they are sleek stainless steel and could double as a bomb shelter.

We tried to convince ourselves that we needed a behemoth Sub-Zero fridge. After all it won't stain, we would only have to grocery shop once a month and we could rent it out as a small apartment to our kids after they graduate from high school (because there won't be any money left for college).

Beside the dizzying array of options (including the optional rust proofing), the large appliance sections is designed like a gigantic maze. Rows and rows of appliances with small passages connecting them. It is as it was built for nothing more than playing hide-and-go-seek. For lack of a better word, it is a playground.

Shopping With an iPhone

The good thing about shopping with an iPhone is that you can do quick product comparisons, maybe read a quick review and make yourself more comfortable with your purchase. The bad thing is that you have to look at the screen, meaning you take your eyes off your kids for just a second...

There's a lot of things that go through your mind while you're running up and down the ailses at an applicance store frantically opening fridge doors and front-loading washers looking for one of your kids. Of course, I should have realized that a 18-month old can't open a fridge door, but I was focused on imagining the worse. I also should have noticed the Electronics section immediately adjacent to the appliances. This is where I found Oscar, entranced in front of a wall of flat-screen televisions watching a DirectTV demo.

All of My Fears, Realized

The trauma of Oscar running off...the awful morning...the Lucky Charms...the colors...the depth...the width...the height...the energy profile...all but me in a very weak frame of mind.

I have spend the last 5 years developing a compelling "Dad" persona for my kids. I'm a fun loving dad who isn't afraid to play in the mud, but still is tough and makes your finish all your milk at every meal. My dad persona strikes a good balance between today's 2010 modern dad and 1950's dad. Thankfully, I leave out the dead-beat dad of the 1980-90's.
Well, it doesn't matter anymore, for I have been exposed. It didn't take long for me to loose all my dad credibility as all of my insecurities and uncertainness manifested in under 3 hours. And then, in a moment of utter weakness, for the children to see their dad succumb to pressure of buying an extended warranty. Well, I can barely look myself in the mirror.

The Best thing

Despite everything, we bought a new refrigerator that day. I say that like we really had a choice. Now as I enjoy ice cold beverages, crisp lettuce, and an overall good feeling that the meat I'm serving my children isn't ridden with E. coli and salmonella, I focus on the best thing about our new refrigerator.

It came packed in a spaceship.