My Cylinders Are Dirty And My Mother Told Me So. For Free.

For several weeks, I’ve been pretending that I haven’t noticed that our six-year-old freezer is not really freezing. Having recently replaced a 5-year-old washing machine, the thought of our reasonably young major appliances dying off one by one was more than I could bear, so I scampered off to my happy place where appliances never break, my thighs are thin and chin whiskers are only for cats. La-luh-la-luh-lah!

But then the other day I noticed that the veggie burger that I pulled from the freezer felt more like a sponge than a frozen burger. Although a veggie burger usually tastes like a sponge, it normally doesn’t feel like one until after it’s been nuked. Nonetheless, I convinced myself that Sean had been in the freezer and that he probably hadn’t shut the freezer door all the way. Denial with a twist of logic.

However. It was hard to persist in my denial when my mother reported that she got an ice cream bar out of the freezer — and drank it.

“Have you cleaned your cylinders?” she asked. “Your cylinders are probably just dirty.” I tried to not take that personally.

I just looked at her because I couldn’t think of one thing to say other than “What are cylinders?”

“About once a year, your father brings in the leaf blower and cleans out our cylinders,” she persisted.

The image of my father in the kitchen wearing protective goggles, wrangling the leaf blower and giving the refrigerator a hot air enema while my mom, also wearing protective goggles looked on and supervised made me laugh. There’s got to be a Far Side cartoon in there somewhere.

I seriously doubted that our non-freezing freezer’s problem could be attributed to something as simple as dirt because my theory is that dirt is what’s holding this place together. So I found my owners manual and called the service number and scheduled a repairman out for this morning.

Mr. Cheerful pulled a panel off the front of the fridge and reported with a little too much satisfaction that my cylinders were dirty. I thought my mom was going to high-five him.

So then. Recap. I paid $75 plus tax for a strange man to come into my home and tell me what my mother already told me so that she could say she told me so.

Edited to add: Maybe they’re not cylinders. Maybe their coils. I don’t know. Because I wasn’t paying attention. I’m pretty sure they start with “c”. I only know that this c-word thing is dirty and I paid some guy $80 to tell me so. As if I needed something else to clean. Someone needs to invent self-cleaning cylinders and coils.

Final Edit: I’ve just been informed by experts who are standing by that it’s a compressor. So I was right. It starts with “c”.

32 thoughts on “My Cylinders Are Dirty And My Mother Told Me So. For Free.

  1. I thought that I would catch-up on my favorite blogs before I went to bed because I was a couple of days behind. I just read “Dr. Spine” and “My Cylinders…” and OH. MY. GOSH!!! I couldn’t laugh hard enough!!! Between visualizing your mom’s high-five, the Mona Lisa smile, and Motomom’s “pumpkin” (not melons!) car part, I’ve laughed ’til I had tears streaming down my face! Thanks for giving me such a lift right in the middle of the week! Funny stuff!


  2. “because my theory is that dirt is what’s holding this place together” and “I was right. I starts with a C” is just darn funny stuff.


  3. I don’t know how old I’m going to be before my mother stops fretting about whether or not I’m taking care of basic household things, like vacuuming behind the fridge. In a way, I feel love, and in another, BIGGER way, I feel nagged. But lovingly nagged.


  4. My personal opionion is that things such as appliances and cars and televisions and computers (especially computers) should never break down. I just don’t have the time or energy to go shopping for such boring things. And calling a service person is against the law in this household where the husband is oh so handy!!


  5. Technical terms are so overrated. When the differential started leaking on my Jeep, (the big pumpkin looking thingy underneath) my husband told me I could tell the service tech my pumpkin was leaking, but not to say my melons were leaking. He’s helpful that way, the whole time I was in there all I could think was, “pumpkin, not melons. pumpkin not melons…” thankfully I got out of there without asking them to take a look at my melons.

    I wonder if you can advertise your new dirty compressor diagnosing skill now and make back some of the repair bill.


  6. Um, you probably don’t want to say something like “this c-word thing is dirty.” I’m guessing you get some strange hits from google searchers.

    The entire episode lends itself to being a learning opportunity for the kids: moms are always right.


  7. Oh. That’s why I pay the extended service/warranty thingie and let the Sears man come and do it every year.

    Yeah. Sometimes I just throw money at these things.


  8. You know a few years ago I got out my frig instruction book to learn how to change the water filter. It actually suggested vaccuming around/cleaning the coils yearly. Does Martha Stewart even do that? (or tell someone to do thatfor her) Never have I talked to somone who was about to do their annual coil cleaning…or maybe I’m just a neglegent appliance owner. Glad to know I’m not the only one!


  9. “because my theory is that dirt is what’s holding this place together.”…Can I have that framed and put on my kitchen wall?

    Too funny!


  10. Hmmm..dirt holds my house together too….my 2 1/2 year old oven stopped working 2 weeks ago-could it possibly be because I haven’t cleaned it since we bought it???


  11. Oops! Should really preview. That would be “paid” not “made.” Alhtough technically by agreeing to pay him I did make him tell me something about the appliance.


  12. I once made a repair man $40 to tell me that I needed to change the fuse in my dryer. I looked at him rather blankly because until that moment I hadn’t realized that dryers had fuses. Who knew?

    So, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that since I haven’t cleaned the coils/compressor/cylinder on my fridge since I bought it 15 years ago that it probably needs to be cleaned. Maybe I’ll work on cleaning the inside–you know, where I store the food–first.


  13. “There’s got to be a Far Side cartoon in there somewhere.”

    AM, you’re whole life could probably fit into that statement. Come to think of it, so could mine. It’s a good thing we’re related now. We can keep it in the family.


  14. I once bought a new refrigerator when mine quit working on a three day weekend and I couldn’t get a repairman out. In my (and my husband’s) oh so bright twentysomething logic we thought it made more sense to spend the money for a new refrigerator than to lose the contents of what was inside the one that had quit working. After buying a new fridge and moving the old one out into the carport, we finally got around to calling a repairman to look it over. His diagnosis: a styrofoam peanut caught in the fan had triggered the emergency shut off valve…Then we had two refrigerators 🙂
    Moral of the story, in addition to cleaning the coils, don’t let your children play with styrofoam peanuts on the kitchen floor.


  15. I once paid a repairman $80.00 to come tell me that the reason my refrigerator wasn’t working was because it was unplugged.

    Thank God my mother wasn’t there for that.


  16. Ouch. It hurts to admit our Moms know some stuff we don’t. But, as a Mom, I find that strangely comforting. Someday I can lord that kind of stuff over my own kids. Sweet.


  17. Always listen to your mother. And try not to roll your eyes while doing so, because she brought you into this world, and she can TAKE YOU OUT. My advice for the day.


  18. I loved the thought that dirt holds your house together. 🙂

    Moms are good for this kind of stuff. I hope yours is more sane than mine because mine would parade that in my face for MONTHS.



  19. So does this mean if I keep making that face it really WILL freeze that way?

    And it should be pointed out that even if you did believe Wivian the first time, someone would have to run the leaf blower. So technically you paid the guy to clean the damage coils. The confirming that your mother was right was just thrown in for free.

    Now don’t you feel better?


  20. Apparently mom’s know this kind of stuff which only confirms for me that Sean should get some sort of mom-refund. When his fridge stops working 20 years from know, can he call one of y’all who knows the difference between a cylinder and a coil?


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