Monday, January 17, 2011

Defrosting It Old School

Remember back in college, when you had the little cube fridge in your dorm room? Some of those space-saving fridges had a built-in freezer. It only had enough space for a couple of frozen dinners, but that was before the frost started to build up. That stuff would slowly surround the whole freezer like a tumor, eventually cutting into the fridge space. So come winter break, you'd defrost it.

Not a big deal. Unplug it, tip it backwards a little so the melt doesn't flood your floor. Stick a towel in there to soak up some of the resulting water. If you were lucky, you could jab a scissor into the ice wall and a huge chunk would fly off of the slowly warming surface like some titanic-sized ship hitting an iceberg. Now THAT was awesome.

Frost-free refrigerator/freezers started appearing in 1962 and these things were for people living on the cheap. Afte I graduated, I swore I'd never deal with that again, just like I swore I'd never drink another Busch 16 oz "pounder" no matter how cheap it was.

Then there came the freezer I bought a few years ago. I just needed something to store extra frozen stuff. I keep it in the garage. I don't think I spent more than $300 for it. Why so cheap? Because it wasn't frost free. It didn't occur to me that they'd still have these things around in the 21st century. I mean, I'm supposed to have a jet pack by now. If they're still making non-frost free units, what hope do I have for jetting across the skies of New Jersey?

Anyway, all this is a long way of telling you that I finally defrosted the thing. Several inches of ice, plus the freezer bag of soup that had managed to become one with the ice and the shelf it was lying on told me that it was time. That, plus the offers I was getting from local museums to do some exploring in the ice led me to shut the thing off.

I threw some towels in there. I put a pot of hot water in there. I watched the entire Bears/Seahawks game and the first half of the Jets/Pats game. Six hours later, there was very little progress. So it was time to break out the heavy artillery: the warranty-voiding flat head screwdriver, the large putty knife, and the ice scraper from my car. I started getting some of those satisfying ice slabs I used to get in college but it was mostly shaved ice. I considered getting some food coloring and selling some snow cones but it's probably too early in the season.

By 9:00, I had the whole thing dried off and ready for reloading. And I'll check on it more frequently this time around. Sure, like I checked on the baking soda thing I found in the back of the freezer which I was supposed to replace in June of 2009.

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