My Refrigerator Phobia  (and other things that drive me crazy)


butter1.      Butter tray in the refrigerator. When Jerry opens the lid to the butter tray on the refrigerator door, he doesn’t close it. He leaves it hanging open as he shuts the refrigerator door. When I open the refrigerator, the lid to the open butter tray slams shut with a loud BANG. It sounds like a shotgun blast. It’s so startling that it takes me a few minutes of stunned silence to understand my refrigerator doesn’t intend harm. I realize it’s the butter tray lid slamming shut—again. The sudden blast brings on heart palpitations and a stressed feeling of refrigerator phobia that will require years of therapy. I need a Fridge-a-Phobia support group. I ask Jerry to please remember to close the butter tray when he’s done with it. He does remember for a while. Then one unsuspecting afternoon, I’ll open the refrigerator and BANG! Then I wonder, how badly do we really need butter anyway? I know, Julia Child said everything is better with butter. Julia also said to use cream when you’re afraid to use butter. Ahh, this duct tape wound tightly over, and around, and over the butter tray lid is helping me release tension already.


no stopping

2.      Anyone who doesn’t want to hear about my aches and pains. I’m in pain (due to a torn muscle caused when I attempted to lean over the car’s back seat to keep the groceries from falling over during one of Jerry’s wild turns). At any rate, I need someone to listen and offer sympathy and concern. But so far my only hostage, I mean person who will listen, is Jerry. I bemoan, “Jerry, my side hurts so bad that I couldn’t sleep last night as it hurt no matter which way I turned.” Jerry does offer concern, but then one-ups me. He states, “I woke up at 4 a.m. and my stomach hurt so bad I didn’t know if I’d live through the night.” That’s when it occurs to me to never tell someone about your pain if they are going to tell you that they have a worse pain than you.


3.      Arizona weeds. The weeds in Washington state could be annoying but they didn’t try to show off like the weeds in Arizona. The Arizona weeds keep on living when sprayed with Roundup weed killer. In fact, they grow even heartier and sassier after a douse of Roundup. They thrive in the desert’s hard clay, gravel-covered soil and when you glare at them, they smirk back in defiance. Arizona weeds actually have muscles and they flex them frequently. If you get too close to them, they’ll punch you.

TV happiness


4.      TV ads that promise a second product free when you order the product. “Just pay separate shipping and handling,” the announcer says. What he doesn’t say is the handling charge is $100 and by the time your item, plus free item, arrives–you will owe $652.

glow in the dark toilet seat

The toilet that calls to you in the middle of the night, “Come, I’m waiting for you!”

5.      Toilet seats that glow in the dark. If your toilet seat glows in the dark, you won’t need to turn on the lights when you head for the bathroom in the middle of the night. Your entire household will slumber peacefully as your glowing toilet seat directs you like a lit-up UFO calling to you from the bathroom. It sounds like a great idea, but I say…why not turn on the lights and wake everyone up? The dog, the cat, the parakeet, your spouse, whoever else, can get up with you. Why be alone at 3 a.m.?

Real people don't use this kitchen.

Real people don’t use this kitchen.

6.      Model homes that try to present the illusion of home decorator beauty. The shower curtains hang from the ceiling to the floor to give the appearance of bathroom spaciousness. Plastic fruit rests in artistic blown glass bowls poised perfectly on the kitchen counter. I’d like to see a model home feature reality so you’ll never say, “But the model home looked so much nicer than ours” after you move in. A real home has the hairball hacked up on the throw rug, a basket of laundry in the hallway, coffee cups with cold coffee set on the end tables, and squeaky cat toys scattered about on the floor.

It's the 1950s when the checker didn't have to ask you if you found everything.

It’s the 1950s when the checker didn’t have to ask you if you found everything.

7.      Cashiers who ask, “Did you find all that you wanted?” They really don’t care, but they’re told by the management to ask. “No, not everything,” you reply. The cashier keeps on scanning your groceries and pretends she didn’t hear. Please, for the cashier’s sake, don’t elaborate and say, “Actually, I couldn’t find the extra crunchy peanut butter.” This will cause much inner turmoil on the cashier’s part. How can she, or he, handle your unexpected reply? Here’s how. By continuing to scan your groceries and employ the distraction technique. The cashier says, “Looks like we’re going to get some rain today, wha’daya think?”

(I think I want extra crunchy peanut butter, that’s what.)

This is not the card Direct TV sent me. But I like it. It's personal. Direct TV should have thought of that.

This is not the card Direct TV sent me. But I like this card. It’s personal. 

8. Mail that arrives disguised as a personal greeting card. The card is addressed to me in cursive writing on a pastel pink envelope.  I get excited because it’s not my birthday and I’m getting a card from someone. I open it and discover it’s an ad for Direct TV. Someone in the promotions department at Direct TV decided to trick people into opening the card with a greeting card decoy. Otherwise, without their clever deception, people would know junk mail when they see it and toss it in the trash. Do the Direct TV people believe I’ll race to the phone and sign up for the service? “Oh hello, just got your card. How sweet of you. Yes, sign me up right away.”

resort fees

9.      Hotel resort fees. The fees tagged on after you are quoted a price for the room. The reservationist with the nice name “Madison” never mentioned, “Oh, and we have an extra resort fee to cover the Wi-Fi, bike rentals, self-parking, and your general admiration of our premises.” Here’s a message for Madison. I want to know the entire cost, not the hidden fees tacked on quietly, then posted on the outrageous invoice slipped under my hotel room door while I’m sleeping with the hope of keeping confrontation at a distance.


palo verde


10.  Trees that bloom in the spring with hundreds of blossoms. You look up at the tree adorned in yellow blossoms and say, “My! That’s a gorgeous tree.” Then one day, the tree strips and all the blossoms on every branch drop to the ground. Your yard is knee deep in dead brownish-yellow blooms. You call a landscape service (you are in pain and don’t want to do it yourself) to come clean up the mess. No sooner have you paid the landscaper then you look up and your tree has blossomed out in new blooms. But they no longer look as beautiful because you know the blooms are headed right back to the ground as soon as the wind whips the tree’s branches and spits the new blossoms in a heap all over the yard. This is a warning to my tree. You’re done for the spring and summer. Got that?

The Skagit Valley in Washington state has fields of gorgeous tulips in April. You don't ever see a weed, especially not sassy weeds like Arizona has.

The Skagit Valley in Washington state has fields of gorgeous tulips in April. You don’t ever see a weed, and you feel quite happy that you didn’t.

11.  People who use the term “at the end of the day.” Thankfully I don’t know anyone personally who uses this mundane catchphrase. But I often hear it stated on the TV, and it makes me crazy. “At the end of the day, it will be blah, blah, blah.” I don’t want to know what will happen at the end of the day.  Probably at the end of the day I’ll have dead blooms all over the yard covering up my thriving, show-off weeds. My refrigerator-phobia will be in full force because I won’t know if Jerry cut the duct tape and put butter back in the tray. The junk mail for TV service will fool me into thinking a cheery greeting card has come my way. At the end of the day, I’ll get my heating pad and tell Jerry about my pain on my right side.


Julia Child


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