A lot has been happening at the McKendry house the past few days. We discovered mice, for one thing, whooping it up in our crawlspace. We've been finding evidence of them everywhere -- in our box of Christmas ornaments, in boxed-up baby clothes and fabric, books, suitcases, the tent, folding chairs, rolled-up carpets, bags of beanie babies, and of course in the food storage. So we've been hauling everything out of the basement and doing a thorough cleaning and using this as an opportunity to pare down. I don't know how long they've been down there - it can't have been long - but they've made the most of our inattention.
And then while we had the basement torn apart, the furnace quit and we woke to a 17-degree (Celsius) house and the dogs curled into teeny balls trying to keep warm. My husband skipped work to wait for the repairman, who got the thing going but told us it will need replacing soon.
While he was testing things, the repairman apparently unplugged the chest freezer, and didn't plug it back in again. We didn't discover it until last night. A lot of the food couldn't be saved, including most of the produce from the garden that I'd put up, the freezer jam, and the boxes of meat pies, spanakopita, and sausage rolls (i.e. the expensive stuff). But some of the larger meats were just starting to thaw and were still frozen in the middle, so my husband spent the evening cooking hams and a turkey, spare ribs, beef stew, and curry chicken, in order to rescue what we could. I turned the melting tomatoes and hamburger into spaghetti sauce and set aside the thawed berries to make huckleberry jam and strawberry shortcake (which I did today), and I think the rescued pumpkin will become bread I can freeze again.
My noble husband let me go to bed and stayed up so he could mind the oven and crock pots overnight. At two o'clock this morning I could hear the electric carving knife as he carved up the turkey. Such a thing, to fall asleep to the mingled smells of turkey and curry! And to wake to find the fridge full of about ten meals' worth of food, as if elves have been visiting the kitchen in the night. My husband got to bed at four o'clock this morning, which is about the time I get up.
And that is why, in the midst of disarray and loss, I find myself feeling extremely lucky and grateful. Not every woman has such a husband! Not just heroically hard-working and self-sacrificing, but a talented cook who can whip out multiple meals at the same time and still remember to set aside the little picky bits of the turkey for the dogs. And beyond that, I woke to a spotless kitchen, all dishes done, crock pots scrubbed, and meals sealed in containers awaiting the freezer -- once it's cold again.
So what did I learn from all this? 1. Check your freezer every couple of days. 2. Watch the repairman. 3. Huckleberries make the most beautiful violet juice...such a pretty contrast to the white bottom of the freezer. 4. Don't store stuff, lighten your load, and don't get too attached to things. 5. I've married Superman.