Friday, 5 June 2009

What’s on your fridge door?

It’s a mark of a productive, busy, lived-in household to have things stuck with magnets to the fridge door – school timetables, the occasional fun snapshot, an amusing note someone left us, reminders to do certain things at certain times.

This is what I was thinking to myself this morning when, for the first time in (apparently) quite a long time, I actually took a good, hard look at my fridge.

It is, not to put too fine a point on it, festooned.

The door is practically full, so without batting an eyelid, myself and other household members have moved around to the sides. There is now hardly a square centimetre on the entire fridge that doesn’t have something stuck to it.

I looked quite carefully at the things that were stuck to the front this morning, because I was certain I would find among them useful items that had been put there for a reason. Alas, I did not. There were two toy spiders and a bird and a chameleon and a dolphin and a large, rather disturbing, furry bee. There was a frightening artwork created by my daughter out of a particularly nasty passport photograph. There were several photographs and postcards and items torn from magazines and newspapers. There was a municipal reminder, hopelessly out of date, and a little plastic bag, empty, bearing inexplicable Japanese-English instructions (‘Add water 400G on the product. About 4 hours it will grow up. One clear beauty satiety face will grow up. When the flower want to oxygen and nutrition, I will help you too much.’ Charming but puzzling).

Not a single thing on the front of the fridge was either current or useful.

On the bottom door was a set of magnetised Barbie clothes and (not in this picture, but modestly out of sight) a magnetised Barbie clad only in lingerie. I stared at these for quite a long time, trying to remember when I had put them there, and finally worked out that it was about 10 years ago (for my daughter, then aged 8). I am really not making it up when I tell you that I have not actually registered this little wardrobe in at least the last nine years.

There was also a piece of string tied to the door, which my daughter informed me I had ‘put there for the cats to play with’. (I can’t remember this; and I can’t recall ever having seen a cat play with it.)

Intrigued at how so much junk could accumulate without anyone noticing (or, you know, actually doing anything about it), I looked at the left side of the fridge: every bit as bad. A rewards system for my kids’ school marks dating back at least five years (and now, obviously, defunct). A feather. A tatty magazine cover (with me and the kids on the front) dating back to 1997. Yet more postcards and pictures. Yet another municipal reminder, as hopelessly out of date as the one on the front. Instructions on how to use a Cadac. A cartoon strip that I assume had relevance at some stage but means nothing to me now. A plastic bag that once contained prescription pills, now empty.

Again, with the possible exception of the Cadac instructions, nothing either current or useful.

Now in a state of some consternation, I moved around to the other side of the fridge. Here were more photographs, children’s drawings, an article torn from a National Geographic magazine and a map of the local winelands. Under this, written in various hands in indelible ink, was the growth chart of my children dating back to 1996. Aside from the growth chart, which at least has some sentimental value (although heaven knows why I chose to mark it on the fridge), only the winelands map was of any use – and it was mostly obscured by other, non-useful things.

And that’s not even to touch on what’s on top of the fridge (I’ve actually been too afraid to look).

I want you to be honest with me: does your fridge resemble mine? Even a tiny bit? Are there things stuck there that have been there for so long that you no longer know what they mean or where they came from? Do you just keep adding to the chaos (as, clearly, we do) or do you remove useless stuff and replace it with relevant items?

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MzHartz said...

You're missing something: a white board. And of course, the white board would be full, with information dating back 8 years, doodles, phone numbers now disconnected, and a grocery list of things I probably never purchased.

And I've noticed many things around the house that have been put there because "the cats play with it." An empty box in the living room. A plastic bag in the hallway (the one cat loves plastic bags and will attack you and lay on the bag if you try to take it away). Strings tied to various doorknobs and handles, most had a toy tied on the end that was chewed off soon after. We still have a loop of string tied to the coffee table even.

ali g said...

All our fridge magnets now reside along the front of the range hood over the stove as the latest fridge has a sort of plastic coating which dis-allows magnets.
There is a copy of a grandchilds note taped to the front however of a talk he gave his class about his 'Grandma's house' and that's all.
No string for the cats but all 5 usually sit in front of it staring at the doors.
They always make you feel you have let them down somehow as there is never ever any gratitude from them what-so-ever even after showering them with tuna, bickies, mince, cut up steak and chicken and half the food off your own plate.
Most of the time when you give them something they let you know that thats not what they wanted as they sit and stare at the offering with their ears back then slowly raise their faces to give you a sad soleful look as if you're a complete fool.
That's probably why I love them so much.

Muriel said...

MzHartz, my house is littered with (unpleasantly) surprising little cat toys - a moth-eaten pretend mouse with a bead in it (so it not only looks horrid, it sounds horrid too), balls with squeaky things in them that you stand on, with hair-raising results, when you go to the loo at night, stuff like that. And, yes, empty boxes, rattly plastic bags, strings here and there. You can't have cats and great decor sense, apparently. (Or children. Children and decor sense, that is, not children and cats.)

Ali G, FOR SURE that is why we love our cats! I get a real kick out of being regularly dissed by small furry creatures whose most effective way of showing you what they think of your efforts to make them happy is to turn around and present you their pencil-sharpener bottoms.

And I am APPALLED that they are making non-magnetised fridges! They should be taken out and shot!