Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It just shouldn't matter, right?

Life has been so great the last couple weeks. We're having our best garden in years, luck has been on my side with all the little things in life, and I've been going through every day with a smile on my face. I could make some comment about how it's not going to last "with my luck," but the fact is that life is always a mix of good and not-so-great and downright rotten things. And the downright rotten popped up Monday afternoon.

I opened the upright freezer and noticed several pieces of ice had fallen off the freezer coils. If you've never had an upright freezer, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about, but the shelves in an upright freezer are the things that emit the cold that freezes everything. Upright freezers are not frost free, so ice forms on the shelves over the months. You have to defrost the freezer to get the ice off the shelves. So, it's obviously bad news if that ice starts to fall off on its own.

I hoped that the defrosting had been caused by someone opening the freezer and not getting the door completely closed, so I carefully closed the door, making sure it was totally closed, and I waited. An hour later, I went back. I reached in and gave a tug on a piece of ice that was attached to one of the shelves. It popped off. Not good. After an hour, it should have been frozen solidly to the shelf.

Time to panic! That freezer holds all of our pork, lamb, and chickens. I called Mike, and we decided to have Jonathan buy a new freezer and bring it home. Jonathan was already in town at the junior college, and he was in the pickup. So, I called Jonathan and asked him to go buy a freezer. Somehow, he didn't understand. Half an hour later, he called me after talking to Mike, who asked about the freezer. Yeah, I suppose it's weird to be asked to buy a freezer when you're only twenty years old, but he was in town and driving the pickup. And besides that, how did he think I was going to buy a freezer from home? Miscommunication is a funny thing.

So, now I sit here typing, trying not to panic, waiting for Jonathan to get home with the freezer. Once he gets it home, we'll have to wait for Mike to help move it into the basement, and then the owner's manuals always say to wait before loading it up with food. But our food is melting! I hope my downright rotten afternoon doesn't turn into rotten food.

24 hours later . . . 

Jonathan arrived home safely with the new freezer in one piece, and Mike was an hour behind him. While we were waiting for Mike to get home, we cleared a trail between the front door, the basement door, the bottom of the basement stairs and the spot where the freezer sat. We measured the new freezer and the old one and made sure the new freezer would fit in that spot. But the fun really started when Mike arrived. The new freezer is 31 inches wide, and the door into the basement is 32 inches. Now, I know that sounds like it should work, but it doesn't. Did you know that a two-by-four piece of wood is not two inches by four inches? Well, a 32-inch door is not 32 inches wide. The only way we could have pushed the new freezer through the basement door would have been to remove the entire door frame down to the studs. If we had not built this house, I wouldn't even know that it was possible to do that. Possible, yes; easy, no. Mike looked at me as if I'd lost my mind when I suggested it.

Even if we did manage to get the freezer through the basement door, it probably would have been stuck at the bottom of the stairs, because there is only 31 inches between the bottom of the stairs and the basement wall. There used to be more room, but Mike added an insulated wall on the inside of the concrete wall, which sucked up four inches.

"So," Mike looked at me as if I should know what was coming. After a few seconds of silence, he continued, "Where do you want the freezer?"

The basement was not possible. It was getting close to midnight, so returning it to the store an hour away and buying a smaller freezer was not possible. Our food was starting to thaw, so waiting until morning was not possible either.

All the interior doors on the first floor are 32 inches, so the only two options were the living room or the dining room. After having the quickest pity party imaginable for myself -- and telling myself, You will not cry about a freezer! -- I told him to move the china cabinet into the living room and put the freezer in the dining room. And then I went upstairs to drown my sorrows in a tub of hot water with a dribble of lavender essential oil.

I don't think of myself as shallow, but it sure seems shallow to be upset about having a freezer in my dining room. It is not something you will ever see in Martha Stewart's Living, but I should be grateful that we have food to fill a freezer. I wonder if it's possible to not have some sort of soft spot for consumerism. Some people are into shoes or fashion or cars. I'm into kitchen stuff -- nice china, dishes, napkins, and a pretty dining room. A six-foot-tall behemoth of a freezer is not pretty, at least not by modern standards of interior decorating.

Life often feels like a test out here. Am I physically strong enough? Do I have the persistence that it takes to be a homesteader? Do I have the brains to learn all this new stuff? Am I emotionally tough enough to deal with the heartaches that inevitably come with raising animals? And tonight I'm facing a new test. Can I let go of the Martha Stewart dining room? It sounds so trivial compared to everything else in my life, but my choice seems clear. I can be miserable and cringe every time I look at it. Or I can be thankful that it's filled with delicious, healthy food that we raised. I can be grateful that I will save a lot of trips up and down the basement stairs because my new freezer is right next to the kitchen.


Robert said...

I've had a similar problem. Did you try taking the door off the freezer? Sometimes, that will give you enough relief depth-wise to get it through a door.

Ray Dixon said...

Two things:

1. Open the doors and wrap the freezer around door openings or just take the doors off completely and you can get a freezer just about anywhere.

2. The manual is right, you should wait 24 hours for the freezer to cool but not if you put a freezer full of food in it....anytime your freezer goes bad and you get a new one...fill it up immediately.

Michelle said...

I sure hope the others' advice works (and you haven't already filled it up in the dining room), because I would be in the same mental predicament as you - and I don't even have the Martha Stewart dining room!

Anonymous said...

You're handy people, you can build a cupboard for it! And in the three or four years before you get around to doing that, drape some pretty fabric over it :)

melanie said...

Feature a contest looking for "refrigerator art" from your younger patrons...you will have it covered in no time! (Easier than waiting for grandchildren to do it for you...)

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Robert and Ray -- thank you, thank you, thank you! Just measured, and the door is more than three inches thick, so removing it should do the trick. I just called my husband to tell him. I can't believe none of us thought of that, but I suppose we were all in a panic about the food thawing, and it was nearly midnight.

Michelle, thank you for your sympathy. I don't feel so shallow now.

canttalkdyeing and melanie, thanks for your suggestions. If Robert's and Ray's suggestions don't work, I'll need your ideas!

LindaG said...

That's what I had thought. Take the door off. But I would hope I'd not need to think of that at midnight. ;)
Hope you were able to save all your meat and stuff.

Susan B said...

Our upstairs fridge is dying....a new one is coming but not till tuesday. My day was spent going up and down stairs as I took the contents to our back up/overflow fridge. It.is.packed.

Mama Pea said...

I felt your pain while reading the blog post. Seriously. The hard thing is that these "situations," i.e., freezer in the diningroom, don't matter one whit to the males in our lives and that makes us question our (as you put it) shallowness. (I just came across a quote that I'm trying to imprint on my brain after about 100 years of putting everyone else first: If it's important to YOU, it's important.)

I knew you'd find a solution for a better place to put the freezer with a couple of days to think about it. Did taking the door off work? Sure hope none of your hard won food bounty suffered.


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