Being that I am still incredibly poor, despite being gainfully employed to the Man, I have been living in (over-priced) hovels ever since I left the warm, cozy bubble of UC Irvine. The primary criterion in determining whether an apartment qualifies as a hovel seems to come down to one major attribute: the fridge. When I was forced by a city-wide monopoly to rent from The Irvine Company, every single apartment I lived in had a dishwasher, microwave, fridge, and in most cases a washer and dryer. I took for granted that this was normal. I had yet to learn that these basic appliances equal "luxury" in Southern California. Which is probably why the only way I could afford those apartments was with a minimum of three roommates.
I swear, it was THIS big!
So when I moved to my first solo apartment in LA, I was a bit shocked to discover that I was only provided with a stove. Since I had no money for a fridge, I had to borrow a tiny mini-fridge my mom used to keep in her classroom that was barely big enough for three cans of soda. The freezer section was roughly the size of a shoebox and was perpetually iced over. I'm sure that I've complained about this fridge before on Sporadic Sporkitudes, that surely put the 'mini' in 'miniscule.' When I set out to move from South Central to the slightly less-ghetto North Hollywood, the only thing I really wanted was a fridge. I had acquired a microwave, gotten used to the laundromat, and I rarely did dishes, even when I had a dishwasher. But you just can't live without a fridge. And it's not exactly something you can tote around in an '89 Mercury Topaz.
With this determination to get my fridge, I made a deal with my then-future landlady. The apartment did not originally come with one, so to close the sale, I made her buy me a fridge. Because I'm sneaky and awesome like that. But it turns out, she was sneaky as well and found a loophole. I did not specify that the fridge had to be in working order. So for the first few months, the fridge froze everything from milk to grapes solid, no matter what temperature I set it at. Then it was just lukewarm despite having a repairman look at it twice. Sure, it would be reasonably cool for a few weeks on and off. But it was all just to lure me into a false sense of security. That sonofabitch.
Not only unappetizing, but a waste of money. Sigh.
Finally, I just gave up on perishable foods altogether. This was extremely difficult, since I'm on a diet that requires lots of fresh produce, protein, and low-fat dairy. I used to live off of dairy products and I could never trust them in my fridge again. I'd buy milk and it would go bad within a day or two. Cheese instantly developed a fuzzy green overcoat. And forget about leftovers from eating out. Because of this fridge, I have developed a latent intolerance for lactose. Not cool, Devil Fridge. Not cool. (Literally, hahahaha!). Now I've been subsisting on frozen food and dry goods. Meaning oatmeal, bananas, peanut butter, and 100 calorie whole grain hockey puck bread. It gets old.
But at long last, I was able to score a fridge of my own, one that actually works! I will spare you all the details on how I acquired it (let's just say there was a cage match, some Indonesian headdresses, and a handful of magic beans in the mix). But after a great effort (mostly by my chivalrous Gentleman Caller), I got the new fridge up the stairs to my second floor apartment, and the Devil-Fridge out to the alley. It was picked up within minutes from a junk pirate who happened to be scouring for roadkill. (I also gave her my old stereo that I never use because I haven't bought a CD since high school when I was going through a wicked Broadway phase, and hadn't even turned the damn thing on in 4 or 5 years.)
My actual thumb, and my actual fridge. Isn't it purdy?
No go away, we wish to be alone...
To celebrate my good fortune, I went grocery shopping for the first time in months last night. You cannot imagine the freedom of being able to shop for the foods that you want (and that are allowed by a semi-restrictive diet), and not have to worry about whether it will fit, get frostbite, melt, and/or grow radioactive mold within minutes of placement in a mini mini-fridge, or Satan's Refrigerator. I was practically giddy with delight as I skipped around Ralph's, tossing all the dairy products I had missed so into the cart. Seriously, I got some weird stares. But I didn't care, and intestinal discomfort be damned! Hopefully this will be the last you ever have to hear about my fridge because I'll go back to taking it for granted. But for now, let me just say, if it's wrong to be sexually attracted to a kitchen appliance, then I don't want to be right!