I went home to Georgia recently, staying with my father while my sister–who’d moved in with my father to help care for him–went back to her apartment and moved all her things out.
I’ve gone home three times in the past four months. Each time, my father and my sister were both quick to tell me that the ice maker in the refrigerator was broken. My sister also confided in me that she thought it was time to replace the fridge, since sometimes food went bad quickly. This was a concern, but it was one I quickly put aside in favor of larger worries.
The first time I went home to Georgia, it was because my mother had broken her hip in late December. I wanted to help make the home more user friendly for her, so she’d be able to move around freely after getting back from the rehabilitation center. My sister and I did a lot of clearing out, rearranging of furniture, etc. in order to make sure my mother’s walker would not get caught on anything, or snag on a rug. So, I didn’t bother to think about the fridge.
The second time I went back, it was for my mother’s passing. And so, through all the grief, turmoil and upheaval, I still didn’t think about the fridge. There were just too many other things to think about. But when I came home to my immediate family in Maryland, I started worrying. I wasn’t worried about just the fridge, for that can seem like such a mundane matter. I was worried about all the changes that would be happening soon. I was worried about things breaking down in my father’s house. I was worried about making things easier for him.
I went back the third time to help my sister move into the house, and was once again reminded of the fridge. It was obviously on it’s way out, and I decided it was time to find my father a new one. I started pricing fridges. I started checking online, looking at prices, comparing, trying to find the right fit for the house. I kept running into issues, and most of the stores were completely out of stock! Even beyond that, I couldn’t just find a fridge. I also needed to convince my father that he needed a new one. He doesn’t like change all that much. I was anticipating reluctance. Opposition. I needed to plot my way into getting him his fridge. I needed to get devious.
I was going to make him get a new fridge. (For his own good, of course.)
I came back to Maryland, plans spinning in my head.
And, a few days later, my father called.
A friend of his had taken a look at the fridge.
He’d fixed it.
“How?!” I’d asked.
The friend had taken a look inside the fridge. Spotted a dial. Turned the dial down. It controlled the temperature. The fridge got colder, and the ice maker started spitting out ice cubes again.
Just like that, all my tentative ploys were useless.
It’s the little things like this that remind me that maybe, instead of starting with the big ideas, I should have just looked at the fridge manual first.