My New Side Hustle – Refrigerator Repair!

Writing has been my side hustle while working on live variety shows, but I may have found a side hustle that I’m better at – – refrigerator repair.

            Ignoring the advice of everyone, we put hard wood floors in our kitchen. So, recently, when I awoke to find a puddle on the floor next to my refrigerator, a full-blown panic set in. Something had to be done, and quick.

            My husband  googled a video suggesting a cause. I half-listened as he explained the freezer drain was likely clogged. All we had to do was remove the cover and clear the drain. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Stop your yammering and get busy fixing there, mister.

            We haven’t stuck to traditional gender roles. My husband cooks. I do the laundry. I clean, and he does the fixing. I repeat, He. Does. The. Fixing.

            But recent knee replacement surgery meant he couldn’t get down on the floor to repair.

            “Wait, you want me to do it? You want me to repair our refrigerator?”

            “Yes. You just need to take the panel off and find the drain.”

            Panel, What panel? I searched up and down, expecting to find a helpful sign, perhaps neon and flashing “drain under here.”  Instead, the panel covered the entire back wall. “You want me to take that whole thing off?”

            “Yes.” He returned to the instructional video and his recliner, leg elevated and covered with an ice pack for sympathy.

            I removed our pizzas and tater tots, and tried to dislodge the panel. It was held in place with 6 factory-installed, frozen-in-place screws. 45 minutes of struggling and profanities later, success! The panel came off and I was treated to something I never thought I’d see in all my days . . . the inner workings of my freezer. A fascinating maze of white coils adorned with tiny square doohickeys, lined up like soldiers keeping my ice cream cold.

            I found the desired drain buried beneath two inches of frozen water, or as we call it in the refrigerator repair business, ice.

            I began attacking the ice with a screwdriver, doing my best Anthony Perkins Psycho impression.

“The video says not to pick at it because you could damage something,” my husband shouted. “It says to use a blow dryer.”  

            Like an archaeologist protecting a fossil, I gently blow-dried the icy drain. It began to melt and water dripped to the freezer floor. Was this the brightest idea, mixing electricity and water? Wasn’t this sort of thing advised against?  Why would my loving husband encourage such danger, and could it be related to his many questions about my pension recently?

            Another 45 minutes and the ice has melted. Yet the drain remained clogged. “Let’s just call a repairman. This hasn’t done a damn thing,” I said, sitting dejected and surrounded by melting food.

            Then suddenly, a miracle. I poured water in the basin, but this time it disappeared down the hole. “It drained! The water drained!” I shouted, excited as if I had won the Lotto.

            “You fixed it!” My husband said.

            “Well, you found the video and gave good directions,” I said, because I’m nice that way.

            That night my husband bragged about me on Facebook. His friends were impressed. Offers of repair work soon came my way.

            It felt good tackling something out of my wheelhouse, and I was pretty gosh darn proud of myself, so proud that I bragged to the tech guys at work at the Grammys that week. After they talked about time code triggers, screen offsets and sync rolls, I said, “Oh yeah, well have you ever fixed your own refrigerator?” I dazzled them with my knowledge of freezer coils and drains. They smiled politely, like one does when they’ve encountered a simpleton.

            But the day after the show, as if the gods needed to teach me a lesson about bravado, the puddle reappeared.

“No!  I screamed.

             “Oh, I was afraid that might happen,” my husband said.

            “Wait what?  

            “The video said that if it didn’t work then we’d need to do the whole process again and then pull out the refrigerator and open up the back.”  

            Oh, is that all?


            We, actually he, somehow got the refrigerator out from the wall, revealing a graveyard of toys, food bits and dust. Our cats were thrilled.

            I unscrewed the back panel and found the connecting drain. It wasn’t  just clogged, but damaged. I got to say those 5 words every repairman loves, “We gotta order a part.”

            A new rubber connector came and I installed it. I reassembled the inside and backside of the freezer, and pushed the refrigerator back in place.

            I’m keeping a watchful eye for that telltale puddle while I work on my latest writing draft. But now I’m hearing a strange clicking sound coming from the oven. That can’t be that hard to fix, can it?  Let me just take off the panel …

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4 comments on “My New Side Hustle – Refrigerator Repair!
  1. Gaia Winter says:

    Love that you accomplished something out of your wheelhouse! Entertaining story. Had to finish to see what happened!

  2. laura says:

    really funny! i was right there, rooting for you the whole time! and of course it’s something that the rest of us would have absolutely ‘called the guy’ to fix, so since this was nonfiction, even funnier!

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