There’s a long list of things a man was never meant to do. Changing diapers, painting toenails (for other people) and polishing the silverware come to mind. I’m convinced that cleaning out the refrigerator comes under that heading as well. Most men can gut a fish without problem, but the odor of rotten meat emanating from the chasm of forgotten foods in the back of the refrigerator will make even the stoutest heart take on the demeanor of a sissy. Not that I cried when my beloved Pamela hinted that the refrigerator in question was long overdue for an appointment with Mr Baking Soda and the saucy Ms Vinegar, two natural cleaners she favors, but I did protest.
“But Sweetie,” I whined, “I’ve got to change the oil in the Subaru so we’ll be able to start out vacation with a clean engine. Then I have to….”
“Do not Sweetie me, just clean out the fridge, or work isn’t the only thing you’ll be taking a vacation from. Understand?” She paused at the kitchen counter and gave me….that look. Not the look, that look. The look means I’ve been bad and punishment will include various and sundry tortures including but not limited to deprivation of a sexual nature. That look means it is a holiday, vacation or otherwise a day of no work coming up wherein the keys to the playground are within my reach if I just don’t stupidly mess things up. I understood completely. That refrigerator must be pretty nasty if I was getting a sex bribe right off the bat. A man of greater moral character would have changed the oil and done whatever the other thing was and never looked back. I not only looked back, I drooled at the prospect.
When my wife bribes me with sex, I’m a greedy politician with empty pockets and a long list of earmarks if you get my drift. Disneyland, Six Flags and Dollywood combined can’t hold a candle to my wife when she’s properly motivated. She must have wanted that refrigerator cleaned bad.
Now our refrigerator is not an ordinary refrigerator, it is an almost quarter century old Amana. One of the few appliances bought new by my cherished mother, it was passed on to me with love and has kept my soda and bologna coldly preserved for many years. Until my doctor removed both soda and bologna from my eat this and live list. As with most older creations, the ancient Amana tended to have a few idiosyncrasies all it’s own. It tends to leak fluid for unknown reasons at times, not unlike some people I know. This condensation causes a puddle to collect below the vegetable crisper drawers, allowing mold, fungus, penicillin and possibly the cure for aids to grow unchecked if left to its own devices.
Armed with my two earth friendly cohorts, baking soda and vinegar as well as an automotive ice scraper I headed to the kitchen, dressed not in combat fatigues, but in my pajamas. I figured I still look somewhat sexy in pajamas and they are more comfortable for all the bending and twisting and moaning and groaning required to properly clean a fridge, you dirty minded person, you. With visions of my sugarplum dancing in my head (ever see a sugarplum pole dance?) I zipped the ancient door open.
A general unpleasantness wafted gently through the air, reminescent of fine American and provolone cheese left to rot unnoticed in the lake of rancid water underneath the stuck vegetable crisper drawer. Unable to free the stuck drawer, I quickly began removing the contents of the shelves, wading through forgotten pepperoni, moldy fish and genuine antique hamburger patties. Lastly I removed the entire bottom two vegetable crisper drawers, frame and all. Only then did I manage to free the stuck drawer from the frame, revealing a putrid mass of moldy butter, wet, smelly cheese and a very rotten, malodorous piece of steak. I fought valiantly, my ice scraper flailing like a windmill in one hand, vinegar here, baking soda there and rotten, rotten, rotten stink everywhere. Triumphant, sick to my stomach, but with a bucket of defeated goo, I enlisted the aid of my favorite and only son to hurl the messy concoction outside where it could safely be dealt with when I recovered. From both my sick stomach and my much anticipated reward.
Now I’m forbidden to say just why the refrigerator got in such a mess, but it could be my Sweetie is about to campaign for a new model and just wanted to soften me up a bit beforehand. She would have been better off using the sex angle to blackmail me, but don’t tell her that.