I think we may have accidentally killed our refrigerator last night.
What we know is this: last night, the fridge was running. Last night, one of us stuffed some things in the top shelf of the freezer compartment - behind which lives a fan that apparently runs the whole dadblasted thing.
Great big refrigerator. Leetle tiny fan.
Well, something happened and the little cheap plastic wall separating the fan from damage got caved in, and the fan was blocked or stopped or damaged.
We woke up this morning to a dead fridge, and puddles of water and black oil on the floor. We did the appropriate thing - we flipped out. I ran out to get a cooler and some ice. We saved everything we could - which was mostly condiments and cheese. (This USDA fact sheet proved to be a great asset.) I assumed the fridge had just croaked overnight and called the landlord to let him know that it was a dead parrot.
While I was unpacking the freezer, I noticed the caved-in panel. I moved the broken plastic panel away from the fan and whirrr! It started working again! Miracle of miracles! Saints be praised! We let it get down to temp again and jubilantly went out to buy some foodstuffs.
When we returned home, I unloaded the cooler and our brand new foodstuffs back into the fridge.
And then ... I noticed how warm the fridge was. And I noticed more oil leaking out onto the floor.
And then, Oliver said to me, "what daddy doing?"
"Daddy's going downstairs to curse."
Apparently, when the fan's running, it works fine. When the fan's off, it's not retaining cold. Fuckity.
So tonight, all of our cold stuff is sitting in a cooler on our back porch. The landlord's been called again. Hopefully, 1) we'll have a fresh refrigerator by Monday, and 2) the landlord doesn't see fit to charge us for breaking the fridge.
I don't really think that second part is either likely or legal. My guess is that it was damaged already, and that it was a matter of time before it died. It's just a little weird that moving a few frozen foods around would kill a perfectly healthy fridge, don'cha think? Anyway, I've got the Tenants' Union on speed dial just in case.