Friday, October 3, 2014

Defrosting the Freezer's Such Fun

We had a wonderful trip to England, saw the sea, saw relatives, enjoyed good food, good fellowship, and good conversations. And then we returned. Sadly, in our absence, our freezer was contentedly enjoying good fresh air. A jug of milk that I'd frozen for use on our return had decided to grow, and in growing had pushed open the door. As a result, the freezer's contents turned into floor to ceiling ice.

I considered using an ice pick to chip out the occasional dinner. But we live in Oregon. It hardly ever snows here, so we have no picks. I considered using an ice scraper to scrape off layers of white. But the layers were harder and wider than any scraper I could find. So I gave up. I simply had to defrost the freezer.

Step one: Open door. Remove any items accessible (they were few) and store in a cool-box. Since they're all frozen, I'm assuming they'll keep themselves cold.

Step two: Dig other items out from their icy tomb (this is where the ice pick would have been useful). Fill coolboxes and start piling cubes of ice-covered frozen meals into the fridge as well. Turn fridge up to high.

Step three: More things appear from the depths of the warming glacier. Clear out small freezer above the fridge and stack them all in there. By some curious magic, the contents of my freezer, apart from one recalcitrant packet, have all fitted into those cool boxes, fridge and mini-freezer. But the big freezer's still thickly white--there may be other treasures entombed within.

Step four: Giving up on whatever else is there, I put two large bowls of boiling water into the bottom of the freezer and close the door. I'm now committed to emptying said bowls of rather chilly well-dripped in water at quarter-hour intervals. Meanwhile I mop drips from the floor and sponge out the ice chips and puddles forming on the bottom of the freezer.

Step five: Will there be a step five? I keep hoping I'll open that door and find everything thawed, but it hasn't happened yet. Still, I'll keep trying.

And what have I learned? That when you remove the dross (ice, long out-of-date freezer meals etc; or extra words and scenes and descriptions from my novel, left in there because they can be), everything else (and everything good) will be so much easier to find and enjoy. 

Meanwhile, here are some book reviews, posted in those gaps between emptying bowls. I'd love to have some coffee, but my milk (well thawed now) is in the fridge and I don't think I should open the door with all those frozen things in there. (With my luck, the milk will be frozen again by the time I dig it out.)

So... coffee ratings and book reviews. While you grab your coffee, I'll content myself with feeling jealous.

Ragesong, the Awakening, by J.R Simmons, is a childrens science fiction tale, where two junior high students find themselves called to save an alien world. The world-building is fascinating, and there are some nice lessons within the story, though I wish the boy hadn't felt it so easy to leave home. Enjoy with an elegant, complex four-star coffee.

Another science fiction story for middle-grade students is The Star Agency, by R.E. Weber. It's the start of a series, and as such, has a fairly episodic feel and ending. I'm certainly curious to know where it will go, as its young protagonist learns to save the galaxy. Enjoy with a bright lively easy-drinking two-star coffee.

Unseasonal War, by David Englund, is science fiction for older readers, with hints of Superman, Lost in Space, and even those old original computer adventure games. It's a choppy read with lots of twists and turns. Enjoy with a dark, intense five-star coffee.

Eternal Mercury by Elaine Pinter offers bitter-sweet teen romance with depth and courage. Nicely told, inviting readers to ponder issues or life and death,  and introducing its own sweetly mysterious life after death, it's a good one to enjoy with a well-balanced, smooth three-star coffee.

The Marriage Wager by Karla Darcy is a fun light-hearted romance for older readers, set in Regency England, with rich lords, poor artistes, social commentary and plenty of fun. Enjoy with a lively easy-drinking two-star cup of coffee.

Finally, And they all lived happily ever after, by Crystal Connor, is a collection of short stories/fairy tales with a dearth of happy ever afters. A new adult collection, the author jumps from text messages, to letters, to lists and facts and more, making this a very visual book filled with surprises. With zombies, monsters, and magical queens, this is a collection to enjoy with a bold dark intense cup of five-star coffee, and don't share it with the kids.


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