The un-handyman’s guide to a fridge problem

John Grindrod Guest columnist

John Grindrod Guest columnist

I’ve told you in the past about my dearth of knowledge when it comes to pretty much all things mechanical. Truth be told, I’ve developed a pretty full anthology of incidents which prove that, when it comes either to fixing things around the house or doing much in the way of home improvement, borrowing a theme song line from one of my favorite 1960s Westerns, “Have Gun Will Travel,” I’m “a knight without armor in a savage land.”

My missteps over time often have been a great source of mirth for my extremely handy friend, Denny Bauman. There was the famous lawnmower incident when I kind of forgot to check the oil over enough time for the engine to explode, shooting a metal fragmented projectile whizzing past my ear, a projectile that surely would have ruined my day or ended the rest of however many days I had left had it struck me in the forehead.

And Buzzy still chuckles about what has become known among my circle of pals as the 38-inch wrench incident. In this blight on my record as a self-reliant man, I was trying to put a charcoal grill together and when reading the directions sheet, I didn’t quite notice the slash mark between a “3” and an “8,” prompting a trip over to Buzzy’s to inquire as to whether he had a 38-inch wrench.

After looking at the directions sheet and then undoubling himself from spontaneous laughter, Buzzy went over to his tool box and brought back a 3/8 inch wrench. Honestly, the absurdity of a wrench longer than a yardstick just never occurred to me!

So, with those abject failures now revealed, while keeping equally embarrassing ones under wraps, what chance would anyone give me that I could actually fix a problem with my refrigerator? And, that leads me to today’s tale.

As for the state of the fridge, well, it’s the same one I hauled in over 30 years ago when I bought the house. As for the good news, it continues to hum along, performing its primary function, which is keeping things cool on one side and frozen on the other.

The problem has been with the icemaker in one of the early ice-and-water-through-the-door units. You see, the metal shelf upon which the icemaker’s reservoir sits over time has been compromised when one of the nubs that holds the shelf in place snapped off. For a long time, the nub on the other side was able to hold the reservoir up as long as I pushed the reservoir up against the back of the freezer before shutting the freezer door.

Well, finally, as happens when the added stress imposed on one doing the work for two becomes too great, the other nub partially cracked, and the freezer door wouldn’t stay shut, separating from the seal. Since the nubs were molded right into the sides of the unit, I saw no way this could be fixed.

Now, if you’re thinking, well, I guess it was time to grab the old car keys and look forsome good deals on a new unit, well, don’t you remember I told you the unit was still performing that primary dual function of cooling and freezing? So how in the world did the world’s most unhandy man fix the fridge without consulting the aforementioned Buzzy?

Well, I sat down and began to ponder just how important ice really is in a single man’s home at this stage in life. Surely when my beautiful little ladies Shannon and Katie were still under my roof, ice was pretty important to them for their glasses of pop, but that’s been more years ago than I care to count. Really, the beverages I favor — milk, bottled water, Gatorade and beer — really don’t need ice.

So, here’s what I did. I lifted the ice machine’s bar, rendering it non-operational, and removed the ice reservoir. Then I emptied the cubes from the reservoir into a large plastic bag and tied it off with a twisty and moved some items in the freezer around so as to empty the bottom shelf, where I now keep my bag of ice. I was even able to store some items on the shelf with the missing and cracked nub since they were lighter than the old ice reservoir. Now the door shuts without its separating from the seal. When the bag of ice runs out, I’m pretty sure I can find a place to buy a bag of ice to store on that bottom shelf.

And, voila, I’ve fixed the fridge! Now, I’m not certain Buzzy would have gone about fixing the problem the same way, but for this severely mechanically challenged guy, I think I just proved that there’s certainly more than one way to skin a major-appliance cat!

John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at [email protected]

John Grindrod Guest columnist Grindrod Guest columnist