When things happen in the haze of early morning awakening there is no evidence of reason – it’s simply panic – especially if the wife is in menopausal fog.
The evening before I’d been restless, out of sorts hormonally, and as my easy-going hubby had learned from experience, was best left alone to beat “it” into submission through a fit of cleaning. Rearranging the basement pantry at the bottom of the stairs, including moving the freezer by hip-sliding it back and forth had effectively exhausted the jittery nerves. I sighed and turned around, tripping on the blue laundry basket – my original reason for a basement trek. Shaking my head at the mysteries of menopause, I popped the clothes into the washer and headed upstairs to bed totally unaware of what would hit us in the morning.
Late hours dragging a loaded freezer had taken its toll, and the alarm startled me. Shaking off the drugged feeling, I headed for the basement to move my work clothes to the dryer. Padding down the stairs, I admired the neat pantry shelves, then turned to the freezer’s new location and stared in horror at the puddle of water eddying out beneath the freezer. What on earth? Had the old freezer I’d bought from my dad ‘given up the ghost’ during the night? Could I have broken something sliding it across the cement floor? I opened the door and stared in confusion. The light came on. I could hear the motor humming. Clumps of ice and frost I should have removed weeks ago were still frozen, but large drips of water were falling from shelf edges and pooling at the freezer’s base. It must have just started thawing. My screech “Ken, hellllllp!” brought my dear retired hubby tearing down the stairs, bleary, but wide-eyed and ready to rescue his woman. I sheepishly reported that it was the freezer that needed rescuing. It seemed to be thawing but was still running.
Mystified, my fix-anything man seemed flummoxed and we agreed I should call in late to work and request a house call from a 24-hour appliance repairman. He was already out on another call, so I left a message. While waiting for him to come, we decided to empty the freezer in case we had to repair or replace it. Our neighbors, who also left for work early, loaned us several coolers for the freezer contents and delivered them minutes later. They turned to leave with a warning not to stand in any water if I was going to use a hair dryer to melt the ice.
I’d never tried that, so as soon as our mini assembly line transferred the freezer’s contents to the coolers and the floor was mopped up, Ken plugged the hair dryer in the socket above the freezer and I became Annie Oakley with an “ice-gun”. Large chunks of ice soon began to melt when whoosh! Flames shot out from the hair dryer. “Hot flash!” Ken yelled, pulling the plug, and teasing me because just yesterday I’d opened the freezer to cool down from a flash of my own. Sleepy chuckles grew to laughter as he ducked into the workroom area of the basement blowing at the still smoking hairdryer like a cowboy with his six-shooter.
“Coward,” I chuckled, returning to the freezer. Figuring that Ken was retreating from my menopausal tidal wave, I developed a plan, setting a bucket behind me and to the right to catch chunks of ice as they loosened, then ran to the kitchen and put a few pans of water on to boil. I didn’t know that Ken, intending to help me, had gone upstairs to put on jeans and slippers.
Back in the basement I slid the steaming pans on the shelves and was soon chipping at the loosened ice, so I did not hear Ken come up behind me and move the bucket to the left so he could take over for me. I heard his yelp though because it was at that moment I grabbed the first huge fistfuls of dripping ice and tossed them over my shoulder to where I’d placed the bucket, hitting his bare chest instead. “Where were you,” he gasped, “when the curling iron had a hot flash?”
We burst into gales of laughter again and were laughing so hard we did not hear the doorbell ring. The sound of chimes in the background finally registered and Ken ran up to answer the door, automatically flipping the light switch as he bounded up the stairs. “Hey!” I yelled, and he stopped and turned the light back on with a groan and a loud “Oh, no” as his steps paused, then continued up to answer the door. Curious about Ken’s moaning, I joined the men in the foyer, just in time to hear Ken explain to the youthful repairman that he’d figured out the problem on the way up from the basement.
When he turned the light off, he’d remembered seeing a second plug in the outlet when we’d used the hair dryer. He realized that I’d plugged the freezer into the outlet on the light socket. When I turned the light off the night before as I went upstairs, I’d actually turned off the freezer too, and then turned it back on when I went down this morning. We looked at each other and burst out laughing again.
The repairman sheepishly watched us a moment, and, as though afraid of our reaction, slowly said, “I hate to tell you but you’ll still have to pay $40 for a house call.” We chuckled again and told him it was still better than we’d hoped as we’d expected to have to replace the freezer.
We invited him into the kitchen and while Ken was writing out the check the repairman turned to me and said, “Well, as long as the freezer has been off during the night you might want to clean it out. “ Before I could tell him that we’d already started, he continued, advising, “You could speed up the thaw with a hair dryer…” Ken’s twinkling eyes met mine and we couldn’t stop the giggles that welled up. Our laughter grew and when we finally paused for air, Ken hiked up his shoulders in a manly survival pose “Already tried that he gasped, adding sometimes“you’ve just got to laugh.”
Ken of course offered shared the gospel when he handed over the payment for a non-service call. The bemused young man smiled, seemed to study us a moment longer, then shook his head and confirmed that he’d never met a couple quite like us. (Living examples of I Peter 2:9 – a peculiar people )
We were smart enough not to ask him what he meant.