You can tell an awful lot about a woman by the contents of her freezer.
I have a friend who, despite having three kids, has a truly immaculate home, unlike my own home with three kids which seems to be rife with kid clutter and dog dirt. Whenever I come home from her place, I am inspired to tidy up just a little. If nothing else, to at least wipe the dogs’ drool off the patio door. Well, this time I went for broke: I cleaned out my bottom-drawer kitchen freezer!
There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about my kitchen freezer. In fact, a freezerful of je ne sais quoi. As I was cleaning it out, I was not at all surprised by the number of containers with unidentifiable contents, or the amount of food with freezer burn beyond rehabilitation. I was, however, a little grossed out with the amount of dog hair I cleaned out of my freezer – which seems to be immune from freezer burn. Pretty sure this explains the string of declines for any dinner invites I extend.
Delighted with my Saturday morning’s accomplishment, I gathered the family (except the dogs) around the kitchen frig and presented them with my handiwork. “Ta da!” I announced, to a primarily indifferent audience.
“What’s that?” asked my husband, pointing to a little square Tupperware container amongst the ice cube trays and frozen treats. “It’s Fishy” I whispered. “It’s fishy?” he asked. “Why does fish get its own corner of your freezer?” which would be a very good question in a normal household. “Shhh! Not fish,” I corrected, “Fishy.”
“Fishy’s alive?!” screamed my daughter jumping up and down. Sigh.
“No honey, Fishy is not alive. He is still very much dead. He just happens to be still very dead in our freezer.” A now thoroughly confused husband then said, “I’m going to regret asking this, but what is a dead Fishy doing in our freezy?”
“Well, when he died, we were on our way out the door and didn’t have time to give him a proper funeral.”
“Sooo, when exactly did Fishy die?” asked my husband, glancing over at the fish bowl on the kitchen counter that contained a very much alive Beta fish.
“Three years ago.” I answered “Give or take …”
Needless to say, after having her dead fish replaced with a new alive one, the urgency surrounding a proper pet burial had diminished, and we all sort of forgot about the whole thing – until today.
Despite the wasted food and a long-overdue funeral, I truly feel like I accomplished something that morning.
The patio door, however, is still covered with dog drool.
This essay was written for the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. It didn’t win but was great fun to write. I put on my best “Erma”. As many of you know, I learned so much from the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop held every other year in Dayton, Ohio, its faculty and most importantly its attendees. You can read the winning entries here.