The Cider Fridge Rules
April 24, 2008
Camera status: saved! A dry micro-shammy thing that was probably purchased off an infomercial many moons ago, back when I used to stumble home from bars and watch infomercials 'til morning -- damn, what a wild, crazy diamond I was back then -- lifted the crayon off the screen in about two minutes flat. The viewfinder was a tad more difficult, since Noah managed to really mash the crayon in there, but with a little help from a revolutionary new product (order now and get DOUBLE YOUR ORDER!) called a Q-tip, I was able to clean that up as well.
I possibly should have tried this, or you know, ANYTHING AT ALL before turning to the Internet, but...well, problem-solving is not my forte. I am not an Everyday Household Products As Practical Solutions Viking. I prefer to 1) panic, and 2) leave the problem for someone else to solve, lest I grab the Goof Off and allow it to leak into some tiny yet highly-sensitive electronic crevice and have the whole camera blow up in my hands like the Death Star, faster than you can bullseye a womprat.
Case in point: the rising levels of apple cider in our basement.
OK, so let me back up and explain that Jason and I operate our household firmly on a "smelt it/dealt it" system. You use the last of something, be it toilet paper or soap or whatever = you replace or refill it, right then and there. You toss a paper towel into the trash and it slides off the towering mound of garbage that's a good three inches past the brim of the can = put your shoes on; it's your turn to take it outside.
It's a fair system, but easily manipulated. Mostly by me. I will happily wander off to toss my paper towels into the powder room wastebasket for days on end if I suspect the kitchen trash is getting especially full and/or smelly. I will never admit that I actually don't understand how the under-the-sink soap-dispenser works and will wash my hands with dish detergent instead, I will then dry my hands on the ass of my jeans rather than retrieve a fresh hand towel from the dryer, and when confronted with a leaking gallon of apple cider in the basement refrigerator door I will just straight up ignore that shit until someone else figures out how to sponge up the three inches' worth of apple cider that has pooled into the shelf because seriously, that seems like it's going to take a LOT of paper towels.
OK, so let me back up some more. I did not buy the apple cider. I did not put the apple cider in the door of the basement refrigerator. I don't know why we had a gallon of apple cider in the door of the basement refrigerator and why it had sat there unused for six solid months. Thus, I ignored it. Jason likes to buy odd ingredients for recipes he finds online that he will never actually cook, but I am usually forbidden from finding an alternative use for them because NOOOO I WAS GONNA MAKE THAT TOMORROW I MEAN IT THIS TIME I SWEAR, even though I know he'll come home tomorrow and order a pizza instead.
(10 years of marriage this August, folks. We really should hit the how-to self-help circuit, since I'm sure we could be a real inspiration to dozens.)
Sooooo, our fridge tends to be littered with stray stalks of lemongrass and four distinct kinds of kale and smelly cheeses and the last time I looked closely in the freezer I spotted something that still seemed to have its head and neck and possibly an eyeball. Thus, I IGNORE THINGS. YOU CANNOT BLAME ME TOO MUCH.
And I ignored the cider at first. And then one day, about two months ago, when I opened the door to retrieve some bottled water, I realized that it was leaking. The rogue liquid was contained by a mercifully solid plastic shelf, but it was enough to pose a bit of a logistical problem, at least to me. Should I bail the shelf out, like with a cup? Would I need some sort of bucket? And what happened if I picked up the actual container of cider, only to discover that the shelf itself was stemming a total gush of the contents and it went everywhere? I have a lot of important piles of dirty laundry in that immediate area!
So I came up with my stop-gap solution: close the fridge door and go back upstairs, and then hope that Jason needed a bottle of water soon.
But then a problem arose -- Jason made trips to the basement fridge and said nothing about the cider, and the cider problem remained solidly un-taken-care-of. So I assumed we'd moved on to Phase Two of Operation Smelt It/Dealt It, which is a two-way battle of wills to see who can ignore a problem the longest. I tend to win these battles, especially when they are about clutter or dog poop or general squalor.
(I tend to lose the battles that involve insects inside the house and anything that requires the use of a power tool, because those are things JASON IS SUPPOSED TO DO FOR ME, AM GIRL, and he gets a tremendous kick out of watching me slowly wig out, yellow-wallpaper style, over a crooked curtain rod or OMFG THAT SPIDER OVER THERE DO SOMETHING DOOOOOO SOMETHING.)
(10 years! I believe the traditional gift is tin!)
Ahem. So. Cider. Rising. Leaking. Three inches of liquid slowly turned to four, and then last weekend I opened the door and a small amount of cider splashed up and over the side of the shelf and dripped on the floor, narrowly missing my pile of sweaters that have been waiting for the Dryel bag since...hmm...some of them are kind of cropped so I'm gonna have to guess mid-2004-ish.
I went upstairs and announced to Jason that I was Crying Uncle, it was time to break down and do something about the cider.
"What cider?" he asked.
I stared at him. "Please. You are not saying that you simply have not NOTICED the rising levels of apple cider in the refrigerator door? That has been there for TWO MONTHS?"
He stared back. "So...you're saying that there has been some kind of leaking liquid in our fridge for two months, and you've...just...IGNORED it?"
"I...uh...I thought you were ignoring it too. Isn't that the rule?"
"WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? WHAT RULE? JESUS CHRIST." And then he stormed down the basement steps while I stammered excuses about not knowing what to do and I figured he would because he's the engineer and I didn't know what towels to use because what if I used his good shop towels and the shelf/pressure/dam theory I had and I kind of thought maybe I could vacuum it up but that's probably not good for the vacuum, right? Right? Baby? You love me, baby, right?
Jason opened the refrigerator and looked at the cider. He gently picked up the half-empty container and swiftly placed it in the utility sink. Which is about two feet away from the refrigerator.
"OH!" I said.
And then he gently detached the entire shelf from the door and dumped the contents down the drain.
"OHHH!" I said again.
He rinsed the shelf out and snapped it back into place. He stared at me for a few seconds while I pulled a Lucille Ball face and sensed the years of feminist progress washing down that utility sink drain, and then he kissed me very sweetly and went back upstairs without another word.
The scene of my dark shame. Somebody should really carry that out to the recycle bin, don't you think?