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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ice War

“Greater men that I have been defeated by ice.”

This was the phrase that ran through my head as I applied hot towels to an ice dam that formed inside my wine cooler. The explanation for the two inch-deep coating of ice on the back of the refrigerator has to do with confluence of humidity, heat and cold. The resulting ice caused six cans of soda to freeze, three of which - exploded. Coke, Pepsi and club soda coated bottles of water, wine and soda that were neatly placed in rows nearby. The sticky liquid evaporated to a glue-like consistency that was syrupy with sugar. The glass door of the refrigerator and the glass shelves were glazed in dehydrated soda.
I have to confess, that for an instant, I considered taking my bottle of ice tea and shutting the refrigerator door without taking appropriate action. It would be so easy to turn a blind eye.
My inner good do-bee voice steered me clear from the dark side. I went into the kitchen to assemble equipment. First, I put on a kettle of water to boil. I located kitchen gloves,
several dish clothes, a big bath towel, a sponge and a plastic spatula. While the water heated, I removed the sodas and water from the refrigerator and washed each one.
I isolated the ones that had exploded from the rest. I brought the glass shelf into the kitchen and used hot water and soap to dissolve the sticky soda sludge. I left the shelf to dry on a dish towel. I heard the whistle of the kettle so I poured the boiling water into a large pot. The back wall of the mini-fridge had a crop of ice that was about 10” high and 24” wide. It was at least 2” thick. Kneeling on a pillow, I could lean in and lay down towels that had been soaked in the boiling water. The ice showed little sign of melting after doing that repeatedly for thirty minutes. I decided to go at it like a warrior. I balled up a bath towel and laid it on the floor of the fridge. With a fresh pot of boiling water, I was able to pour water directly onto the ice, soaking it up with the bath towel. Finally, I saw the ice shrink about an inch all the way around. At this point, I was lying on my back because my hips were arguing with me about doing this project to begin with. I chopped away at the ice with my plastic spatula. For all my troubles, I got slivers of ice in my face. Nothing more significant than that. My mind cast ahead at what needed to be done in order to put this project to bed. Ice and all. I still had to wash and put away about thirty cans of soda and water. It was at that instant I conceded defeat for today.
Over the next ten minutes, I did cleanup duty and returned things to order. Towels went into the washing machine. The pot was rinsed, dried and put away. The spatula was dried and put away. I put away the soda and water and ice tea -- minus six cans of soda and an inch of ice- placing them back into the clean refrigerator. The glass door looks so much nicer without the veneer of soda coating it.
The ugly truth, however, is that the ice won. I did not succeed in removing all of it.
All I could do was make sure none of the soda cans or bottles of wine could come directly in contact with it. The ice, short of my unplugging the refrigerator and waiting overnight, was victorious.
Not just the Titanic was defeated by ice.
Day 37

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