Today we decided to clean out the chest freezer. Naturally, when I say “we,” I mean “she.” The idea that a freezer would need cleaning out isn't one that would normally occur to me. For that matter, I'm one of those types of people (read: guy) who can't imagine why you scrub a toilet either. It's just going to get dirty again.
But being a supporter of the Constitution, I recognize the importance of "Domestic Tranquility," especially as it relates to my getting regular meals and physical affection. So when my wife, Patrice, determines a course of action, I spring to obey.
(Note: I AM NOT WHIPPED! I'm fully in charge of my household, and I can ask my wife to tell you so. Assuming she's not too busy.)
Cleaning out a freezer isn't all that tough. First you unplug it. I'm not actually sure why you do that. Tradition I suppose. Nevertheless, it's a man's job. I don't mean to be sexist, but as I'm always telling Patrice, women just don't understand electrical stuff like whats and uums and ampules.
Unplugging a freezer is the toughest part of the cleaning process. The socket is located behind the freezer, and somehow I forgot that when I originally pushed the empty freezer box into position. Now of course, the thing is weighed down with the one and a half cows, two deer, and half an elk I've put into it.
(Special note: The game meat in the freezer is not there as a result of my hunting. That's not to say I'm not a great hunter. In fact I'm so good that the moment that I pick up a gun, all the local deer and elk (and deer-shaped stumps for that matter) immediately stampede out of the county. No, the wild game in my freezer all comes to me from grateful hunters in the surrounding areas where I don't go to hunt.)
Anyway, since you can't possibly get your fingers between the freezer and the wall, you have to pry the plug out of the socket with something thin enough to slip between the socket and the plug.
I don't recommend a butter knife.
Once I stopped twitching, I helped Patrice pull the numerous containers and baggies out of the freezer. This would have been easy too if those packages weren't so darn cold. It was like lifting out little blocks of ice. You'd think that someone would come up with a way to warm those things up a bit.
Patrice is a major anti-clutter zealot, and when it comes to most stuff, if it's no longer in physical contact with your body, away it goes to Goodwill. (Except for all her "simplify your life" books.)
But when it comes to food, if you accidentally lean back in your chair at dinner be prepared to go away hungry. Out come the zip-lock bags and away goes supper to the freezer. She says it’s for making soup or something, but I suspect she's never given up on the biology training she got in college. At any rate, I was pulling bags out of that freezer that contained species previously unknown to man.
I held one up and said, "Okay, this doesn't have a label."
She opened the frosted bag and looked inside. "Eww! What the..? Oh, that's Mr. Pippy."
"Mr. Pippy. Your daughter's gerbil. He died ten years ago, remember? You accidentally kicked his Habi-trail ball down the stairs. She was keeping him until they came up with a cure."
"Well give her a call, tell her it's time to let go and that he's gone to a better place." I pitched Mr. Pippy into the 30-gallon trash can that would take him home.
"Hey! Alright!" I said, the next bag in hand. "Homemade ice cream!"
She grabbed the bag away from me. "Leave that alone! That's my contribution for the next garden meeting."
After removing the things we (she) decided were no longer useful, we (she) repacked the freezer. Then we (I) jammed my hand behind the freezer to plug it back in. (Note to self: Next time, remember to pull the freezer out a bit.)
I plugged the freezer in. And that's when I heard it.
Want to scare a man half to death? Tell him that he's about to receive 750 pounds of defrosting animal parts with an unrefrigerated shelf life of about two hours. I was dead, and I didn't even have the hope of cryogenic freezing. I began to mentally inventory all my local freezer-owning friends who weren't mad at me for chasing all the game away. I realized I had none.
I was just getting ready to haul all the beef off to the firewood pile for the world's largest emergency barbecue when the freezer rumbled to life. Patrice came to the porch door and said "When you shorted out the plug with that butter knife, it flipped the circuit breaker. I turned it back on. I thought you knew all about electricity? Ha!"
She went back into the house chortling evilly.
I fetched Mr. Pippy back from his round mausoleum, re-labeled his bag as ice cream, and put him back in the freezer.
Maybe I don't know as much about electricity as I've let on. But life has taught me more about biology than Patrice might think.