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Monday, July 1, 2002

It's a good thing I buy ice cream by the pint. It would be better if I didn't buy it at all, I guess, but when you have to decide whether to eat it or throw it out — and I mean right now! — it's easier to put away what's left in a pint carton than to try salvaging a half gallon, even if it's Dreamery New York Strawberry Cheesecake.

The reason I had to eat all that ice cream, plus a dozen taquitos and a couple of Croissant Pockets, was that (on the advice of a very helpful reader, for which deepest thanks) I found that frost was clogging the freezer quite badly. So I decided to try defrosting my frostless refrigerator, at least before I junk the thing. If it doesn't work, I'm not out anything except some food that wasn't going to be worth much when I got back from vacation anyway.

As we all know, I'm mechanically inept. That's nothing more than a simple, elemental fact. When I thought there might just be a little frost inside the freezer compartment, I didn't have any trouble using hot water to melt it off. Then when I realized that most of the ice was hidden behind the inside panel and that I would have to get it off, the real fun started.

Little tiny hex screws. If you don't have the right size wrench, there's no way in the world you're going to get all those little tiny screws out of the way so you can take the panel off. My tool kit (no, I really have one) doesn't have much in it, because when I take out a screwdriver I don't bother putting it back in the same place. Luckily I've never ever used the graduated hex wrenches, so they were right where they should be.

The only problem was making them work. One of the screws was wedged up so tightly against the plastic housing for the temperature control that I almost gave up. Another was a different size from the other seven holding the panel in place. I'm not good with small tools in the first place, and these little complications almost made me give up.

In fact, they did make me give up, except I kept walking away and then coming back and trying again. I wanted to give up, and I really thought I was giving up, but for some reason I couldn't just leave the job half done. Maybe the whole refrigerator would have defrosted all by itself just fine if I hadn't bothered with the tiny screws, but I couldn't leave things alone.

This took up my entire afternoon, with a few breaks to catch my breath and answer the phone. Once I got the panel loose, I realized I couldn't take it all the way off unless I was willing to fiddle with the wiring, which I definitely wasn't. So I stuck my hand in behind it to loosen up the hardened frost, with some success. But man! There are some sharp edges inside there! It's a good thing I have a good supply of band-aids.

Now I have to decide how long I'm going to wait until I try to screw the panel back on and see if I've fixed the problem. I might just let it go until I get back from vacation, just so I don't have to deal with those little tiny screws before then. I don't intend to buy a lot of perishable food this week, since I'm leaving Friday.

Anyway, you've no idea what it means to me when a reader of this journal comes through for me like that. Even if it doesn't work, I'm not out anything and the fridge will still have to be repaired or replaced. But think of all the money I might have saved that I can put toward something useful, like a tractor or an aquarium or an enough ice cream and taquitos to restock.

disassembled freezer

I got it apart. Will it ever go back together?

It's funny that I feel as if I accomplished something today, when I hardly got any real work done at all, and no vacation prep at all. But every chunk of frost that I chipped off and tossed in the sink gave me a sense of satisfaction. The bigger the chunk, the more satisfying. There isn't any logic to it, but that's the way it is. It was almost like real work.

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One year ago: Can't Help Believing
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