The Missus vs Evil Freezer

About three weeks ago, the smoke detector in our tiny dorm room started to beep. You know, the beep that lets you know you’re going to have to find a ladder and climb up to change the batteries that you’d forgotten the thing even needed. The beep that continues to go off every 30 seconds until you get off your butt and drag the ladder out of the shed. Yes. That beep.

Long story short, I tried to change it myself but didn’t have the right type of battery. When I went to the housing office to ask for a replacement battery, I was essentially told I’m not allowed to do anything myself in my own room, no matter how simple, and must always put in a maintenance request. I was also assured the maintenance people would come that same afternoon. Two requests and a week and a half later, they finally changed the battery. (I’d taken it off the ceiling in desperation after it beeped for the first four hours.)

Fast forward to last week. I contacted the housing office again to let them know that the freezer in our tiny dorm room refrigerator is almost completely frozen shut; should I put in a maintenance request to fix it? Their answer? “Just pour warm water in it and mop up the mess before it leaks downstairs. It should melt in about 15 minutes.”

Apparently easy things, like batteries, I have to wait for the big strong maintenance men to fix, but harder things, like moving and defrosting a refrigerator, I’m allowed to do myself.  (Makes about as much sense as anything else around here.)

The Mister wanted to move the refrigerator into the shower and spray it with warm water until the mess all ran down the drain. I have to admit, this solution is much better than mine. However, I can’t move the refrigerator by myself, the Mister’s in classes all day long and I didn’t want to potentially short-circuit the components in the back. This also precludes putting it outside to melt on its own, so I went to plan B.

defrosting the evil freezer

Plan B

I put all the cold food into ice-packed thermal grocery bags borrowed from a friend and put them in the shower so any leakage could be easily cleaned up. Then I took out all the shelves and lined the fridge with towels that needed to be washed anyway. Then, I spent the next hour and a half (not 15 minutes, mind you) pouring small scoops of warm water across the hardest outer portions and scraping the softer, inner ice into a bowl. The outer ice was tough enough to warrant the alternating use of a hairdryer and a pair of scissors-turned-icepick. Yes, I know. Not the smartest or safest way to do this, but I failed to see any better alternatives.

So, two soaked bathroom towels, three bowls of warm water and several scrapes and bruises later, I can at least see the plastic liner of the inner freezer section. The outer edges still have about an inch and a half of ice, but that’s a whole lot better than the 3-4 inches I started with. Still waiting for those last inches to melt and drip into a bowl in the bottom of the fridge. Good thing I didn’t have anything better to do today.

Lesson of the day: Never let your freezer seal itself shut.

Although I’m not really sure how this lesson is supposed to be followed when you only have a 4×12-inch freezer that doesn’t even keep things frozen at the maximum cooling level. How are you supposed to keep things from going bad if you can’t keep them frozen? What good is the freezer section in the first place if it freezes itself but not the food? I have no idea. Maybe the inventor of the tiny freezer will read this and we’ll all get an answer to one of life’s great dorm room problems.

Final score

The Missus – 5

Evil Freezer – 1 1/2

Have you ever had to defrost a freezer? What is the best way to tackle it?


6 thoughts on “The Missus vs Evil Freezer

  1. Reminds me of the old days. LOL!! By the way, don’t remind me LOL!! You are going to be one little tough southern housewife when you get back. I think you will look back and see it as a blessing. Love to you and the Mister.

  2. The last time that I defrosted a refrigerator I used a stand up fan. It takes a while but it works great. It is an awesome job to say the least. I enjoyed your column and will be glad when you get in your apartment.

    • It took up most of the day, that’s for sure. I never thought such a small space could hold so much ice! And then I had food all over the counter so I didn’t have room to easily make dinner and I didn’t have room to wash dishes and I kept having to get dinner ingredients out of the bags in the shower…. it was a mess. But at least the bags worked well and I don’t think anything went bad.

  3. That’s the same fridge we had upstairs that I took with me when I moved out. Worst. Freezer. Ever. So much ice, yet so little frozen foods…

    • Yeah, it is the same one. I had it for two semesters in the dorm in college and I don’t think it ever froze up. Or at least never froze up that bad! It was never very good at actually keeping things frozen either. I’ll be so relieved to have a normal-sized fridge and freezer here in a couple of weeks.

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