Years and years ago when my children were knee high to grasshoppers and not six inches taller than me, my parents asked me if we wanted their deep freezer.
“We never use it now that you are all gone and so if you want it, it’s yours.” It was at the moment that I realized I had become my parents with four kids and they had become some childless couple that could buy one of those frozen Schwan’s meals that would feed them and leave them with leftovers.
I was ecstatic to get the freezer. Because when you have four boys you are trying to feed, another place to store food is celebration worthy.
My husband and I have a list of things we want to accomplish every month of the year this year. Jake says he doesn’t remember agreeing to this but I have promised him he did indeed agree and doing so would make our lives (in theory) run a bit more smoothly. On the list he had added, “Clean out deep freezer.”
Cleaning out the deep freezer means eating the food that is in there so we can then defrost it and refill it with lots of fresh food.
Over the years, it has collected a lot of various unknowns. The boys go to a game ranch, return with “free meat” and add it to the deep freezer. My husband takes the boys to clean up leaves and the home owner realizes we have four boys so they send us home with a bag of frozen meat from, one can only assume, their deep freezer.
I have added the “buy one get one free” loaves of bread, the great sale on veggies, blueberries picked in summer heat, chunks and bags of cheese, coffee in case I absolutely run out.
But the deep freezer is no longer a place I “shop” anymore. I more or less know what’s in there and send one of the boys to go fetch something for me from it’s frozenness. (And then I hear my mom’s voice in my head sending me to get something from that same deep freezer as a little girl and her adding, “And don’t you tell me you can’t find it because if I go down and find it….” she trailed off while giving me “the look”. We made sure to find what was in the freezer, even if our hands become frostbitten.)
And knowing what’s in there is what keeps me from going to get anything from the deep freezer. In the deepness of that frozen box are hides and dead things.
Nothing freaks you out more than digging for that box of girl scout cookies and your hand rubs against the soft hair of a deer hide.
Or, say, you go to grab a loaf of zucchini bread and a squirrel is staring up at you. This happens to me, people.
They have plans to tan the hide of the deer AND the goat that are in there…but it I won’t let them use our one shower and home to do it so there the hides sit in the freezer.
And just so you know, Tanning a Deer Hide in the Bathtub is a real thing and the article is push-pinned in our bathroom just above the towel holder for drying our hands near the sink. It could happen. I live in fear that one rare day I’ll be gone all by myself for coffee and return home to all the boys in the bathroom tanning a hide. It could happen.
They didn’t have time to gut the squirrel so the freeze it so they can at least use it to try out their taxidermy skills. And then I find it’s beady eyes staring up at me from under the zucchini bread.
So I have to send the boys out there to find things for me. Today they found me a package of unknown meat from a highly reputable meat processing place. But when I picked up the package from where it was thawing in the sink, it began to shoot hamburger “juice” out at me.
There was no stopping it. I just picked it up and it began squirting at me as though it wanted to be put back into the deep freezer!
The deep freezer is dangerous to me, people. And not having a set menu plan and instead just a “what can we find in there and what can you do to make it taste good” dinner plan we are doing is tough on my nerves. I am not a miracle maker of meals.
There is one bright side to all this. The Schwan’s man got my order wrong the other night and so Friday night is PIzza night – that I know is good and since the pizza is right on top of the deep freezer, it should be really safe for me to retrieve it.
No being attacked by frozen hamburger on that meal!
PS My mom is absolutely delightful and my siblings and I never sustained frostbite. We just thought we were and that our mom was being mean to us…until we had kids ourselves and find ourselves saying the same thing to our children. One day I hope the boys look back at me with fondness when it comes to the deep freezer instead of torture. Love you, Mom, you know I do!!!