Refrigerator woes and the need for a house sitter!

Well, after two appliance technician visits and many phone calls to KitchenAid, I have learned more than I ever thought I would know about my refrigerator's operation. I have also gotten a hard knock eduction on "back door" purchases of major appliances. At the moment, my refrigerator is operating properly. But we are in "wait and see" mode. The work done may not ultimately solve the problem.

In a way, there is a bright side to this happening. We were here and I didn't lose much because of the back up fridge. I also only had one package of chicken in the kitchen freezer. So I lost mostly ice cream products and some homemade chicken broth I was keeping for Thanksgiving. Not big losses. But if we had been gone when something like this happened, we would have come home to quite a mess; like melted ice all over the hardwood floor. I had a package of frozen raspberries that I didn't even realize was there. I guess the bag had a small puncture in it. That was the messiest problem I had to clean up. But it would have been a bigger mess if I hadn't caught it immediately. And as a result of emptying the contents, I was presented with the perfect opportunity to thoroughly clean the inside of my refrigerator -- something I have been successfully avoiding for months. I just finished that little task!

I have never been concerned about having a house sitter any time we are away because we have wonderful, observant neighbors who keep an eye on any unusual activity in the neighborhood and we also have an alarm. But this experience has made me realize that we need to ask someone to stay here whenever we're gone for more than a day or two. I mentioned this to John last night and he agreed. We're going to ask a friend to stay here and keep an eye on things while we're in Israel.

When I was first advised that I might have a "sealed system failure," I was told (by the first tech) that a unit like mine would more than likely have a five year warranty on the sealed system (which includes the compressor). I called KitchenAid with my model and serial numbers and was informed that I was indeed covered under warranty, but they had to send someone out who was authorized to do warranty work. So I waited another day. Yesterday morning, that tech called to confirm our appointment and shared the bad news that, according to the serial number, this unit had no warranty. I was sure he was wrong or had written down the wrong serial number. So I just calmly called KitchenAid again and reconfirmed the warranty. Again, KitchenAid confirmed that I was covered. They even took his name and number and called him for me so there would be no further confusion. But the technician knew what he was talking about. The person on the phone was simply not looking deeply enough into the file (for the fine print). They were assuming, from my model number, that it was a normal purchase.

Turns out, any serial number with a 99 in it was sold in 'as is' condition and with no warranty whatsoever. The tech knew as soon as he heard the 99 that I had this type of refrigerator and he would be the bearer of bad news. I have to admit, as I did to the technician over the phone, I was struggling not to resent the messenger. After two confirmations of my warranty from the company itself, I couldn't figure out why this guy was so determined to take my warranty away. And I gently told him so. But he knew what he was talking about. He knew he wouldn't be paid if he did the work without charging me. And I can hardly blame him for being concerned about that little detail. I'm glad I didn't act ugly on the phone because he turned out to be so nice in person.

Apparently, there are what is called "back door" purchases (usually made by employees who are fully aware of the conditions of sale) in which a unit is sold at a greatly reduced price but without any warranty. And my builder must have come in contact with someone who could offer him such a deal. He did not, however, disclose this to us when we bought our new home. And we can't even determine from whom this refrigerator was originally purchased! (A friend of mine said, "He put all his money into trim work and ran out of cash for a refrigerator!" haha -- probably true.)

The tech turned out to be a very nice guy who lives close by in an adjacent subdivision. He was so kind and helpful. He felt terrible about my predicament. He said that I was the first customer he'd ever dealt with who had one of these units but didn't know it. He took one look at the "guts" and told me this refrigerator had been worked on before -- possibly in the factory. But there were valves that were not original. Since the refrigerator was running, but not cooling adequately, he said it was possible I had a very slow Freon leak rather than a bad component. Sometimes it is so small that you can't even find it. He suggested recharging the system, adding Freon and waiting to see how long that lasted. If it only lasts a week or two, we'll have to investigate other (more expensive) possibilities. He said if it was his refrigerator, he would try the least expensive option first and that sounded good to me.

As of this morning, the temps have returned to their rightful settings and all appears to be well. This could take care of the problem for a year or two (if it's a very slow leak) or less than two weeks (if it's a component). So the last thing I want to do right now is restock my freezer. I hope we get another year or two from this band-aid.

Enough about my refrigerator woes. Changing to a completely different topic, I have a great Thanksgiving dessert recipe I plan to share in the next few days. It's called "Pumpkin Upside-down Cake," but it's more like a rich pumpkin pie.

Lexi and I tried the recipe when she stayed with me and she has requested it for Thanksgiving. You line the oblong pan with waxed paper and spray it first. You put the pumpkin mixture on the bottom, then sprinkle yellow cake mix and nuts over that. And lastly, you drizzle melted butter on top. After baking and cooling the "cake" you turn it upside-down onto a platter and top it with a mixture of Cool Whip, Cream Cheese and powdered sugar. The cake mix, nuts and butter are now on the bottom and make a rich crust. You could even top it with Cool Whip alone and it would still be great, in my opinion. It was a big hit here.

I just wish Lexi had remembered to take the rest of it home with her so there was none left to tempt me! I have stuck pretty close to my diet this week, but I have had to take at least one bite of this dessert every day since I made it. It's just too good. I promise I will post the recipe.