Several years ago, Joe and I were having some kind of conversation that involved the big freezers that people keep in their garages and basements. I used the phrase “deep freeze” to describe them. I no longer remember the conversation except that Joe thought it was hilarious that I used that term for home freezers. He just thought they were called freezers. He thought a “deep freezer” was something used in industrial kitchens, labs, and factories, I guess. Ever since then, whenever the term comes up, there is another silly debate and polling among friends about whether my usage of the term is appropriate. Turns out, the majority of the people we run into noddingly agree with me.
Ever since we bought our house, the idea of buying a deep freeze has come up every few months or so in passing. It would be nice to have the extra freezer space so that I could cook in bulk, so that we could order meat from local organic farms in bulk, so that we could take advantage of sales on frozen pizzas, whatever. We never did get around to actually doing it.
Then, a couple months ago, Joe’s parents called. Some friends of theirs were moving back to Korea and they had a deep freeze they needed to get rid of. They were going to throw it away, but it still worked. Did we want it? Well, SURE! Gotta love free stuff. So they brought it over
and Joe’s dad lugged the thing to the basement while his mom played with Julie. That night, we briefly discussed where we were going to plug it in, but since the only good place was the outlet where Joe’s little dorm fridge that he used for beer in his office/dungeon, we put off a decision and left it to sit waiting for a real need.
Then, last month, a group of my Mommy-friends decided to spend an evening at Let’s Dish, a place where you go and assemble a bunch of semi-cooked meals and bring them home to put in your freezer and enjoy at your leisure. We do these mommies’ night out things once a month, and this sounded like both fun and a great way to avoid the “what’s for dinner” conversation for at least a couple weeks. I signed up and put it on the calendar. The date is for tomorrow night. So a couple of nights ago as we were laying our heads on the pillows, I remembered to remind Joe to plug in that deep freeze. Our regular freezer is full of homemade baby food, rhubarb, frozen pizzas and burritos, and other mainstays of our diet.
Tonight, as I was sitting on the futon watching Olympics on the DV-R (what a wonderful invention) Joe comes up from the basement and says “I was plugging in the freezer in the basement, and I opened it up…I have some bad news.” And the look on his face was pretty grim. One of the things that Joe and I have in common is that when someone says “bad news” we immediately think of the worst. I was thinking maybe there was a dead cat inside, or maybe a rat or…well, I had some scarier thoughts. “What?”
“You know those little salty dried sardines that my parents like to eat?” (I asked him later – the korean word for those nasty little fish is something like myulchi)
“Uh huh…” (and in my head, I was wondering if this was going to be better or worse than a dead cat)
“Well, when I opened it up, there were a bunch of them in there and the smell almost made me puke”
After some further discussion, and my finally getting it out of him that he didn’t look that closely because the smell was THAT bad, we decided to go put a couple of boxes of baking soda in there, and spray some smell-eliminator stuff that we keep for the diaper pail. I grabbed a couple ziploc baggies thinking I could grab the myulchi and get rid of the odor source.
At least I was prepared, and did a great job of holding my breath long enough to open the door, put in the baking soda, spray the spray…and grab some nasty, sticky, rotting dried fish. They were stuck to the metal racks, and all over the bottom of the inside as well. After a second venture inside the freezer, I realized that the damned thing is going to need a good hosing out, and probably a huge dose of bleach. Then maybe, just maybe it will be useable. I really don’t want to have to spend $300 on a new deep freeze, and in any case, it’s too late to get one delivered before tomorrow night. So we hauled it out to the back patio, and I’m praying that tomorrow Julie takes a nice long nap and I get the priviledge of hosing out the nasty rotten fish from my new-to-us deep freeze.
What I want to know is, didn’t the people who gave this freezer to Joe’s parents know about the myulchi? Didn’t Joe’s dad look inside the freezer at any point? Why on earth didn’t he SAY something? We could have hosed it out immediately before letting those stinky little fish fester for two more months! I guess it’s one of those in-laws things. I am so tempted to call them right now and ask, even though it is after 10 at night. But, I can’t bring it up myself. Hopefully Joe will ask them about it and even better, do it in front of me so that I can hear the answer for myself.
The deep-freeze inside joke has either died or will rise to a whole new level.