My Refrigerator, My Life

If you want to learn more about me, look at my refrigerator.

There’s a picture of two men playing with their little boys — my husband with our son and my brother in law with his. I keep it there to remind me of precious things. Like time. My son is in college, my brother in law left us too soon, and his son just got married.

Actually, there are lots of pictures on my refrigerator. Some are left over from Christmas — the “special” picture cards of my favorite people that I leave there for months and months. Sometimes until the new one arrives a year later.

The pictures are mixed in with SAT scores, ACT registration receipts, report cards, cartoons, witty quotes clipped from the newspaper, maybe a funny column (ahem).

Then there are the magnets. We’ve got Happy Bunny with his sarcastic sayings (“You’re dumb and that makes me sad”). A retro snoopy that used to hang on my husband’s childhood fridge. Magnetic business cards courtesy of the orthodontist, plumber, library, insurance guy and other “free” versions.

Some magnets are work related — from movies or publishing houses. Some are souvenirs — in case, which is quite likely, I forgot the field trip from hell to the Outer Banks or the streets of New York City with a wind-chill of -4.  At least the little ceramic one from a mother-daughter trip to California makes me smile.

About twice a year — in highly unpredictable, unscheduled moments, I’ll look at the outside of my fridge and teeter on the verge of a major anxiety attack.  It’s too crowded. It’s too cluttered. That’s a stupid picture. What a tacky magnet. What color is my fridge anyhow? I bet that perfect hot mom down the street, Gladys Wartzburger doesn’t have a cluttered refrigerator door. She can probably see her well-coiffed reflection in hers.

All the color and shapes and activity makes my heart race and, before I know what my hands are doing, they’re peeling every last report card and appointment reminder off and tossing them into the closest kitchen drawer. Well, not exactly the closest — the one right next to the fridge holds my corkscrew so I don’t want to bury it under junk and memorabilia.

The downside? I see all the dirt the magnets hid and have to clean the doors but I feel good for a few days. I feel like my entire house is cleaner, organized and orderly. Heck, my whole life feels more orderly and serene with that shiny, bright white unadorned refrigerator glistening over there in the corner of my kitchen.

Then my son brings home a test with red ink scrawled across the front: “Excellent job! Best essay of the semester! 100%” And it’s from a college professor. College professors still write on tests? Stick.

The mail arrives. That sweet cousin of mine keeps having the cutest babies. Stick.

My daughter bursts in the door with a blue ribbon from a horse show she didn’t think she’d even place in let alone win. Stick.

The eye doctor graciously sends the third replacement copy of my contact lens Rx. Stick.

My niece has magnets made: “We’re getting married 7-30-11! Save the date!” Stick.

I step back and realize the cycle has started all over again. I can never really live with blank, uncluttered refrigerator doors. At least it hides the dirt.

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  • An experienced priest I once knew said that to really get to know a person, you can’t just have a conversation with him. You need to get yourself invited over to their house for dinner. That way, you can see how they organize their lives, the things they consider important and unimportant, even the way they arrange their rooms. I think your cluttered refrigerator says an awful lot about you and it all sounds good!