Friday, September 10, 2010

Don the Gas Masks People, I'm Cleaning out the Fridge!

One time my sister told me she discovered she had been inadvertently holding her breath every time she walked by the kids' bathroom.  I laughed heartily, and thought, hmmmm, I'll have to watch out for that one.  So imagine my chagrin when I realized that I had been inadvertently holding my breath every time I opened the fridge.

To be honest, I discovered this a couple days ago.  But when the odor began to hang on, even after I'd closed the fridge and started breathing once more, I surrendered, and started cleaning the fridge.  Yes, I know, the town of Floyd is thankful that the vultures are no longer circling.

While cleaning the fridge, I ponder on the number of uneaten leftovers, and wonder why I bother sealing up the uneaten food, knowing most of it will never get eaten.  Then I look at the sheer volume of leftovers, and wonder why I bother cooking at all.

Leftover coleslaw.  Does anybody eat this stuff?  I love me some fresh slaw, but only eat it at potluck dinners.  Making--a.k.a. spooning it into a dish--and eating it at home just seems, nasty, and a little depressing.

I encounter my spaghetti sauce that I had felt so smug for adding to the Prego:  parsley, basil, rosemary, and meat fried with the same plus a fist-full of savory and other random Italian seasonings.  What resulted was a mess of flavors we had to choke down after chewing as little as possible.  I still remember my kids' poor faces when they encountered the long sprigs of rosemary.  Why did I save it?  Well, because my mother is apparently trapped in my mind.

This would be the same reason I saved a large pot of inedible potatoes salted far beyond perfection.  The mother in my mind said, "Those were expensive potatoes!  You can't throw them out!"  So I froze them until I had satisfied the voice in my head, then secretly sneaked into the kitchen one night when she must have been sleeping in a far nook of my encephalon, closed my eyes, and tossed the offensive spuds.  Where they went, I may never know.

Today as I continued rifling through the fridge, smelling potential suspects, I discovered that I had apparently created a crude sort of beer with a jar of barley water that had been sitting in the door of the fridge since last summer.  Interesting to note, it's not hard at all to make nasty smelling, fermented beverages that no one would ever want to drink!  Just ask the tomato plant that got to be the recipient of the stuff, another experiment to see if I can rid the area of some bothersome beetles and caterpillars eating my tomato leaves.  It may instead rid the area of some green bulbs that wanted to grow up to be red juicy fruits that could have gotten shoved into the back of the same fridge some day.  Only time will tell.

I end my project when the sink is full of empty containers.  The fridge may not be finished, but a full sink is the maximum of my dish-doing ambitions, a.k.a. the most my dishwasher will hold.  This tidbit of information tells you just how large my sink is, which is big enough that I was able to bathe in it one day when the water filter was stopped up, a story for another day.  It also tells you about the even larger number of leftover Gladware containers cluttering up my cold storage.

In the end, I have to bag up my trash and take it out to our deck box, where we keep our bags of trash until we can drive them to the dumpsters.  We of course don't have curb-side pick-up like those fancy city-folk in Bent Mountain.

The deck box is the third and hopefully final solution to our trash dilemma.  I used to set our bags in the garage, and Kevin would take them out each morning on the way to work.  But that attracted mice, and it was a bother to walk all the way downstairs.  So then we bought a large outdoor trash can which the wind and dogs laughed at as they knocked it over and spread the contents amongst themselves.  Finally, a deck box screwed down to a utility trailer parked behind the house was Kevin's final idea.  This one seems to work, as long as we reflexively hold our breaths each time we walk by it.  Some skills just come naturally.

Part of the reason the trash is so stinky, and cleaning out the fridge is so dreaded, is because I don't have a garbage disposal.  I have felt very sorry for myself for the past year, and often gripe and complain about this fact to anyone who will listen.  My husband refuses to install one, for several reasons I think are flimsy at best.

When I self-righteously whine about this to my friends here, most of them stare blankly, with a slight twitch of their mouths that seems to say, "I lived without electricity or running water for 3 years in the early 90's.  I think you'll survive."

And so I do survive, but often I wonder if not having this little amenity is just giving me really good practice in holding my breath every time I open the lid to the kitchen trash.