(This guest post written by Friar’s Mom).
I finally cleaned out my fridge yesterday. I want it to be spotless before I leave for out west in a few weeks, and my house-sitter moves in for the winter. I don’t want her to think I am a real slob.
For a long time now, I have been putting off the fridge cleaning. It’s a longish story that began in May.
We had invited the family for Mother’s Day Dinner. It was the Sunday before Jay died. We had a wonderful, fun-filled multi-course dinner. It was good to have the entire family together after our winter of skiing out west. I requested that Jay, my husband of forty-three years, make cabbage rolls. Everyone raved about Jay’s batch of cabbage rolls — best ever. He used an unwritten family recipe which he learned from his mom, about 15 years ago.
This time, Jay miscalculated his ingredients and had leftover cabbage. One whole head and a partially blanched half- cabbage remained. Frugal me, I had every intentions of making cabbage soup with the blanched one, and coleslaw with the other one. I put both cabbages in plastic bags and stashed them at the back of the bottom shelf of the fridge .
Jay died, four days after our family dinner, at which point my plans and priorities changed drastically. I kept putting off making soup and coleslaw. I was too busy with cycling, dealing with legal matters, family, social life, banking, gardening, etc. I completely ignored the cabbages. If and when I noticed them, they reminded me of the Saturday when Jay took over the kitchen and made the cabbage rolls. They reminded me that he would never make them again. They reminded me how tired he was when he finished, because his arthritic knee was so sore. They reminded me how Jay didn’t complain about making them.
Stored in plastic bags, the cabbages didn’t smell, so I just left them there. Eventually I forgot about them. Ignorance was bliss.
But I knew I would have to face those cabbages one day. I had no excuse yesterday. It was raining outside, which meant no cycling, and no yard work. Except for housework and cleaning out the garage and closets, I had no pressing priorities.
I began to attack the fridge. But even in the process, I continued to procrastinate about the real task at hand– and disposing of those cabbages. I washed down the outside of the fridge, the door handles and the dirty gaskets. I pulled out the fridge and vacuumed behind it. I cleaned out the shelves in the door, the egg shelf, and the butter keeper. I emptied the fridge shelves one at a time, removed them and washed them. I emptied and washed the vegetable crispers and the meat keeper.
And now then for the last task, five months after putting them in the fridge, I finally removed the two cabbages. Surprisingly, they were still very much intact. The blanched one had lost some of its firmness and had faded to a very pale pastel yellow. The whole one was in sadder shape; it had it sprouted from the inside, and its outside leaves had blackened. Not bad– no smell, no oozing liquid. Not an unpleasant surprise. I chopped them up on a cutting board, carried them outside, and laid them to rest in the compost bin.
I feel so much better, now that I have faced my nemesis.
Lesson to be learned: Don’t be afraid to face confront the cabbages in your life. They’re likely not as bad as you envisage them. You’ll feel so much better afterwards.
Deal with your cabbages, and get on with your life.