An unexpected defrost


Yesterday I got up in the morning and went to the kitchen set on the simple mission of picking up my breakfast and retreating. It was not to be. And I cannot blame it on the presence of anyone else, because each of the events that got added to the mission profile was something of my conscious doing.

When I opened the refrigerator door, I remembered a discussion the night before that we  would have sloppy joes that day. So we had planned to put the ground meat in the refrigerator to thaw.  But I didn’t see any. So I pulled the  pounds ground turkey out of the upstairs refrigerator freezer freezer and went downstairs to the chest freezer to add the pound of ground beef that makes up our three.

I had to dig down to find it, and then I found I couldn’t remove it from the freezer. There were 8 remaining ground beef packages, all on the bottom of the freezer, surrounding a bag of ice that had been put there during the second power outage that had caused softening and weeping of the freezer meats before refreezing started.

So I started a new project to free the ground beef. Not one, all. Hammer to tap it first, then a screw driver and hammer to try and pry them apart from each other, and the freezer floor. The dull thudding got the attention, slowly, of everyone in the house.

That is when I roused Nathan for his eye and expertise. Because I had decided that now was THE time to defrost the freezer, both freezers, and get them organized so we knew what we had. Bringing my consultant down, I detailed for him my idea, and asked for cautions and improvements.

On the all behind and between the two freezers (upright, chest) are two water faucets, hot and cold, used when the washing machine was in the basement. I intended to attach a hose to the hot water, and use as much hot water as needed to melt the ice holding the ice bag to the bottom of the freezer. Once removed I would pull the drain plugs and use hot water to melt the accumulated ice off the sides, dry it with a towel, and (last minute idea) clean and sanitize the surfaces with Clorox wipes.

Pulling the drain plug caused water to flow out, across the floor and toward the drain below the car. Some of it passed toward across the bottom of the stairs, while other progressed to under the stairs, where dirt, junk, and two bags of concrete mix sat.  Water would not be good for the concrete mix. I hailed Carly, had her fetch the shop broom, and sweep the water away from underneath the stairs and move it in front of them.

Once that freezer was deiced and the water stopped, I had he clear a section of the elevated shelf under the stairs and hoisted the bags of concrete mix onto its high and dry surface.

That left all the dirt and trash.  With the same broom I swept while Carly held the back that we dumped all the debris into.

I had emptied the chest freezer into the upright. Now i reorged and I moved the upright to the chest. Hot water sprayed on the shelves of coils deiced them and ran out the front, going under the stairs (now clean), until it was wiped down clean.

At this point I held an all house meeting. How do we want to divide our frozen foods.  We decided to put the meats in the chest freezer, and other items in the upright. Turned out to be quite a workable arrangement. I even had some of the meat in the upstairs freezer brought down, to free it up for more current items.

After the conference, Betsy drove off with the car on errands, and the garage was open — and I could see all the garbage accumulated under it, ready to plug the drain. So I had the final project, the only one not mostly done by me, of sweeping and bagging the trash in the open areas, assigned to the kids.

I went in for Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and left the kids sweeping the trash at 10 a.m. That was the best and most efficient freezer defrosting I can recall being a part of.



A Blast of the Past #154: Grün


September 2012 saw the movement to center stage of Grün as the character I created in cake and icing for Nathan’s Birthday. The character was, and still is, an original. Nathan took to drawing box shapes (squares, rectangles) and then adding faces to the boxes.

Grün got his name from the German word for green, since he had green eyes. This is one of the earlier evidences of Nathan’s predilection for the German language as his foreign language to learn in high school.

Weather Wether Whether


Definition of weather

1the state of the atmosphere with respect to heat or cold, wetness or dryness, calm or storm, clearness or cloudiness
2state or vicissitude of life or fortune
3disagreeable atmospheric conditions: such as
a rainstorm
b cold air with dampness
 to weather

in the direction from which the wind is blowing

Definition of wether

a male sheep castrated before sexual maturity; also a castrated male goat

Definition of whether

used as a function word usually with correlative or or with or whether to indicate (1) until the early 19th century a direct question involving alternatives; (2) an indirect question involving stated or implied alternatives 

  • decide whether he should agree or raise objections
  • wonderedwhether to stay

; (3) alternative conditions or possibilities

  • see me no more, whether he be dead or no
  •  —William Shakespeare
  • seated him next to her whether by accident or design
 whether or no or whether or not

in any case

  • they’ve only been married a very few weeks, whether or no
  •  —Thomas Hardy




Based on the above three words, the weather has been making it unsure whether we would finish staining the deck anytime soon. Thankfully, no wether was involved in the process.

The weather cooled down on Wednesday, so I sprinted through the second half of staining the second coat of red stain on the vertical boards, and then did a full first coat of clear stain on the horizontal boards.

Thursday the forecast called for cloudy skies, with rain starting around 4 p.m. So I got up and from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. put on the second coat of clear stain. The rain started at 9 a.m. Now it was whether the rain would wash that second coat off or not.  The stain was supposed to be resistent to rain after 4 hours, not 30 minutes.

Yet most of it stayed, enough that I mopped up the puddles Friday morning, let them dry, and had a third coat on by noon.

We had the deck furniture back out on the deck by  4 p.m., and at 7:30 p.m. began staining the underside (the people I talked to said you don’t do the underside, but the instructions on the stain can say, in small print, “for optimum performance, coat all accessible sides,” so I am going to follow my original gut to do the underside, since the stain company agrees with me.). At 8 p.m., after completing the underside of the one set of stairs, we started down the main deck.

I got about 5 feet along the first spacing between support braces, when I ran into something i couldn’t see, and a wasp flew by. I instantly backed up and called for Nathan to do the same. It took us awhile to locate it, but there were about  four wasps helping us locate the nest. We extricated our supplies, since the wasps were not interested in us, yet, and planned to come back after dark.

So the wasps determined whether or not we got much of the underside done. But we did spray that nest, and checked the rest of the deck to assure there weren’t any others.  The decks, and stairs, have been especially appealing to wasps this year.

So weather determined the timing and whether we got the deck staining complete. We have completed all necessary for immediate use and enjoyment, but whether we get the underside done anytime soon, to assure the longterm health of the deck, remains to be seen. Saturday is work, and over 95 degrees forecast.

A Blast of the Past #153: Disneyworld Chapter 6


The last day of our trip was done as the smaller group, with the New York delegation heading out ahead of us. We retouched areas of the Magic Kingdom that we had missed, experienced moments of heraldry and fantasy, and recreated a moment gone by with a different cast.

Actually, let me give you those two pictures first, and then the usual blast of pictures.

Back in 2007 my children had their first visit to Disneyworld.  They and their cousins were in Florida for a family funeral, and we had time to take one day out to visit Orlando.  It was a whirlwind day, we only did the Magic Kingdom, and expected to leave mid-afternoon when the kids got cranky.  Instead we stayed to close and the kids never got cranky.  The only tears were shed on the way back when our daughter realized how long it would probably be before she got back. Those were comforted easily then.

And the trip I have been showing in these six installments was that next time for them. During the 2007 trip the five cousins posed on Tom Sawyer Island by a ship’s bridge. During he 2012 trip I had our to pose at the same spot for comparison.  And here it is:


The difference of five, almost six, years, is obvious, as is the change of cast. I wonder if we ever will be able to assemble the original five in that same spot for the same pose…

Anyway, here is the sword and the stone, Alice in Wonderland, and all the magic of Mickey and the Magic Kingdom, on the last day in 2012