No Longer Attracted

These magnets are now homeless because for the first time our refrigerator is not magnetic.

This afternoon we took delivery of a brand new stainless steel refrigerator, and I was dismayed to find out that my magnets will not stick to it. Now I have dozens of magnets with no place to go, and I have no idea where to put our calendar.

Our old fridge (an LG…DO NOT BUY!!!!) died the other day, after eight years of temperamental service. It was a sleek and beautiful French door model, and it still looked brand new. But it was full of annoying quirks, such as a beeper that sounded if you had the door open for one minute, which made it a hassle to put groceries away. The food in the back of the fridge frequently froze; the vegetable doors were prone to cracking and falling off track; the gaskets twice became flaccid and useless. Finally, last Monday, I noticed the ice in the ice-maker was melting and the food in the fridge had grown warm. The refrigerator would hum briefly, then I’d hear a click and it would be silent. After researching and talking with repair guys and with friends who’ve buried refrigerators, we got a grim diagnosis: a busted compressor, which is like Alzheimers for fridges. Faced with at least a $600 repair bill – and filled with tales about LG’s notoriously slow delivery for parts – we decided to replace it instead. We shuttled our food to a 30-year-old GE refrigerator in the basement (which still runs beautifully although it guzzles power like Gatorade) and went shopping for a new one.

So today Lee and Chad, two burly delivery guys from Frank’s Appliance Store, took away the LG – which still looked

Our new refrigerator: gorgeous but no magnetism.

beautiful, like Blanche DuBois being carted off to the asylum – and brought in a new Amana, a dead ringer for the old LG. But when I went to put the big magnetic clip on the new fridge so I could hang up the calendar, it did not stick.

This is a disaster. I have never owned or rented a refrigerator without owning at least one magnet to go on it. My first refrigerator magnet was a plain black button on our battered fridge at a rental in Avalon, New Jersey, where I’d spend summers with friends when I was in my 20s. It held a cartoon from Cosmo magazine that had a woman saying to a guy at a bar, “Yes, I’m multi-orgasmic…and you?”

Over the years we’ve collected enough magnets to remind us of all the places we’ve been, the friends who gave us the magnets, the places we have dined, orthodontists and repair companies that have taken our money. For about a year our refrigerator was covered with hundreds of magnetic words from which we could create our own witty phrases. My favorite was when our son Ben anchored a photo of my husband to the fridge with the words “no” and “patience.”

Now we have magnetic bottle openers, magnetic clips strong enough to hold a big calendar, magnetic goofy sayings, magnetic photos of Hearst Castle, Nantucket, the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. We have a very hard time parting with them…if they are not on the refrigerator they go into a drawer.

The magnets of course collected papers to go under them, until our refrigerator looked like a cluttered bulletin board, the papers rustling when we open the door, which is frequently. It looked tacky but I couldn’t help myself. Whenever we’d have people over I’d usually take all the magnets and paper and store them somewhere so that the refrigerator looked sleek and glamorous. Then the day after the party I’d carefully place the magnets back on the refrigerator in an attractive grid pattern and weed out some of the papers, so that it looked at least like a neat bulletin board. But within days the clutter had returned like a toenail fungus that won’t go away, and the fridge looked junky again.

So now I have a refrigerator that will end my magnet addiction for good. It will always look as pristine as it did in the showroom last night. My guests will admire it. But I’ll have trouble remembering appointments, school picture days, and when they collect the recyclables until I have a new system. And I’ll need to visit the old magnets in my junk drawer to re-read the stories they told.