Friday, February 19, 2010

The Stink

"I can't wait to go home to a clean house."

"I am SO happy we're going home to a clean house."

"Clean house, here we come!"

After Zeke left for Florida with my mother-in-law, I was afforded the luxury of one day without him in the house. Yes, I missed him, but I got a LOT done. I was able to thoroughly clean before embarking on my Blissdom adventure and vacation to Florida. Pride coursed through my veins as I basked in the glow of dust-free hardwood floors and clean-as-I-could-possibly-get-it laminate in the kitchen. The toilets shone, the shower smelled like bleach, and nary a crumb littered the high chair. We left for a blissful two-week vacation without a care in the world because of my hard work (insert pride here).

This is the phrase I heard from my husband as I was peeling my constipated toddler's limp body out of his car seat when we arrived at home two weeks later:

"Ummm, it smells a little funky, and I can't tell if something's rotting or if it's just damp."

Josh had gone in before us to turn on lights and such, and noticed a funk. The smell hit me as soon as I crossed the threshold. It smelled like...I couldn't even describe it. I sniffed at a couple of random cardboard boxes in the kitchen, knowing that I COULD have thrown a banana peel in one of them and forgotten about it in my rush to leave two weeks prior. Then I thought to open the refrigerator. The light didn't turn on and the smell worsened. It was the fridge. As Josh came in with some of the luggage I informed him of my discovery. Our first thought was "how did the refrigerator break?" The we saw it. The plug next to the refrigerator, above the stove, did not power the stove. It powered the refrigerator. And it was unplugged.

We unplugged the refrigerator (and, consequently, the freezer) before we left. TWO. WEEKS. AGO. The freezer was an even sorrier sight, and the main source of the smell. I had been stockpiling frozen food from Angel Food Ministries, and we had just received a shipment shortly before we left. Chicken breasts, turkey burgers, fish patties, chicken patties (which looked really good by the way! well, not by this point.) and leftover bread that I had made sure to keep for our return were all ruined. And that doesn't even cover what was in the refrigerator. Eggs, mayonnaise, butter, milk (well that we knew would be bad anyway so I wasn't too disappointed about it). All gone. No food in the house except for instant oatmeal and some canned goods. I'm glad I got rid of a bunch of eggs and apples and other produce before we left. I can't imagine the smell if those had been present. Ugh.

We unplugged this now reeking appliance thinking we were doing a good thing. We unplugged everything that had a plug, except for the stove. Well, we THOUGHT we were unplugging the stove, but it was the refrigerator. I can tell you honestly that I really wasn't that mad. The feeling I had was more along the lines of violation. Something had been happening in my house without my knowledge. Without my consultation, a process (namely, the decomposition of random animal and vegetable flesh) had started in MY HOME, and continued for two weeks. I assumed everything was fine and dandy. I worked hard ensuring it to be so. I led the charge for cleanliness, but in my absence, nature rebelled. I am reminded of Christmas 2008, when we found a rat (or two?) in our apartment. I felt violated then because this rodent was sneaking around behind my back stealing my Christmas cookies and peeing on my rug, giving my 8-month-old a rash. And here I am again; this nasty food violated my trust.

Sure, I guess it's our fault. {I won't tell you who REALLY unplugged the fridge, because if you follow me on Twitter you already know, and I would never say anything negative about him, and he feels REALLY bad, and I thought it was the stove plug too. AND he watched figure skating with me last night. I am a lucky wife!} But we set up the expectation that everything would be fine in our absence, and when we got back we were SORELY disappointed that things had been happening; food rotting, behind our back. And so we clean up, disinfect, and carry on.

Have you ever been let down by your own expectations, even if it was your own fault?


Sara A Broers said...

Life happens, never fun when it does! Next time I'm sure you will take a double take as to WHAT was actually unplugged!

Your Organizing Guru said...

At least you didn't have to worry about catching up on cleaning AND dealing with the fridge. :) There's the Pollyanna side of your coin, friend.
I've already recounted my stinky fridge encounter on your Facebook page.
Added dryer sheets into a clean, but still stinky, fridge are a great thing!

Kendra Lee said...

Ewwww - Simple mistake! Glad you took it with stride!

VanderbiltWife said...

Oohhh ick! I am so sorry! I'm sure that smell was NOT blissful!

I found a cockroach in our lovely house last night and I was practically hysterical. I do NOT want that intruder infecting my house and making me afraid to walk around without shoes.