What would Dad Do?

MicrowaveSeveral years ago when my boss asked me to handle the General Administration budget in our office, I simply agreed, ‘cuz, you know, boss. Actually, it didn’t seem like a big deal. The budget is mine to prepare in September, monitor from December 1 to November 30 and explain when it seems that, collectively, we drank more milk than a room full of kindergartners and used more pens than a bus full of 7th grade girls.

I’m sorry if that’s a little sexist, but when I was in 7th grade, girls were forever writing on their book covers in that billowy-all-flows-together font.

I didn’t expect that I would have to buy the new refrigerator, or the new microwave, or the new sink, faucet and disposer or covering a hole in the wall by hanging a monitor showing news and weather. I also didn’t expect that I’d be chipping ice out of the freezer on a bi-weekly basis.

The freezer has an ice maker. It doesn’t make enough ice for an office of 30 people, but it tries hard. It fills its poorly designed little ice bin as often as it can. People empty the bin in one of three ways. 1) They use ice. 2) They spill ice into the bottom of the freezer compartment when they gather the ice they are about to use, and 3) they slam the freezer drawer so hard that ice falls out of the back of the bin. Numbers two and three result in a glacier.

It’s a frost-free freezer. The way that works is that there is a heating element in the bottom and sides of the freezer compartment. Every now and then, the heater kicks in and melts any frost that has formed. The humidity caused by the melting either exits the freezer before people slam the door, or remains to become frost again. Somehow, the act of periodically heating and cooling the compartment is more energy efficient than cooling the compartment from behind an inch-thick layer of frost.

Frost is ice, but ice cubes are not frost. Ice cubes are not removed during the frost-free heating cycle, they are partially melted. The resulting water that collects in the bottom of the freezer, freezes – ‘cuz that’s what freezers do, they freeze things. As ice cubes continue to land on the rapidly forming ice sheet in the base of the freezer, they are assimilated because resistance is futile they are absorbed into the sheet. When the ice sheet fills the compartment up to the lip, the water that forms under it during the next defrost cycle is forced out onto the floor.

This is no laughing matter. This kind of action carved the major river valleys and filled the Great Lakes. This is what destroyed the land-bridge that used to connect Staten Island to Brooklyn. This killed the dinosaurs! OK, maybe that was teen smoking and those walnut-sized brains, but you see where I’m going – serious stuff.

Actually, water on the vinyl floor of your kitchen is very serious stuff. People can get hurt. Water can drain through “utility penetrations” a.k.a. holes in the floor and leak on the people below. We’ve had that happen and those people, they don’t like ceiling-dirt-laden water falling on them and their stuff.

I’ve tried in vain to correct our collective behavior by asking people to pick up the ice cubes that fall from the bin. I mentioned it again recently when I had send “that email.” You know, the one asking people to clean up crumbs, put food in the sink bowl with the disposer, run the disposer, wipe up the spills in the microwave, and replace the empty paper towel tube with a new roll. I also threatened to throw away any food left in the fridge past 3:00 pm on Friday

Judging from the responses to my email, I’ve concluded that we share this office space with two Devidians, aliens, separated from me and my coworkers by a temporal phase-shift. We never see them, but we see the crumbs they leave behind. Clearly, that’s the only logical answer, since everyone agrees that the memo had to be written.

Ask Dad
Key scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life” when George Baily looks up at this.

People jokingly started referring to me as “mom.” That’s cute, but when I was a kid, it would have been dad. My dad came into the yard and, in front of my friends, say: “get you’re a** back in the kitchen and clean up your mess from breakfast.” My dad woke me at 1:00 am and said: “go to the garage and put away the tools you used to fix your bike.” And, my dad threatened to shove indelicately dispose of the one remaining ice cube that I had left in the tray. If he was in charge of today’s ice problem, my dad would simply shut the water off to the ice-maker.

69 thoughts on “What would Dad Do?

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  1. These really are mom problems. Or at least, I thought they were. I can see how you’ve been nicknamed. Some people call this stuff the evidence of life, but I refer to them as things that will send me to the nuthouse. I sometimes let it lie til morning, but I certainly have awakened the children to remove their so-called evidence of life from the living room, the bathroom floor, the kitchen…
    I never realized how clean or tidy I’d lived until I went away to college. I shared a kitchenette and a bathroom with about 100 women on my floor, most of them lacking any apparent standards.

    Are you telling me that there’s a puddle somewhere under any frost free fridge/freezer? I kept rereading, but it is morning.

    Did I ever mention my husband claims housekeeping threw out two perfectly beautiful Pyrex containers he had in the company fridge? Shame he had to buy me lovely new Pyrex.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There should NEVER be a puddle under a frost free fridge. However, if you melt enough ice cubes, you will get one. It takes us about two weeks to generate the ice sheet shown busted up in the sink. At that point, water starts dripping out and I have to pry the ice out of the bottom of the freezer with a narrow screwdriver.

      Tell the Mister that I’m the guy that would be throwing his/your Pyrex away on Friday. We gave them an option. If it has your name on it, and a date on which we can ask you to remove it, it can stay. Otherwise, out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay, good, thank you — I have never had a puddle.
        Well I don’t believe they threw it out. I believe someone took it home and washed it, but you do make me think twice.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The poor woman who cleaned our fridge (prompting me to send that email) tossed everything because so many were growing stuff and possibly generating new and unusual life forms.


  2. LOL. Don’t let them take advantage of you, Dan. :)
    When I was much, much (MUCH) younger I was a receptionist at a small electronics company. There were only a couple of women there. The engineers got worse and worse about the condition in which they left the microwave. I finally left a note on it saying “You filthy b*****ds need to clean this up.” LOL, you should have seen the hysterics. They thought the boss left the note. I couldn’t understand why they were even more shocked to learn I left the note. But at the time, I didn’t realize they thought I was Alice in Wonderland. Admittedly there was a resemblance… :/ ;)
    Have a marvelous Monday. Hugs!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I hope it doesn’t come to that kind of language. Actually, they are all pretty good people, but between procrastinating because “i’ll get to it after I eat” or thinking “I’m sure it was a mess before that exploded” or “meh, Teagan will take care of it” – it grows.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for the good visuals and the hearty laugh. Dad would have been right back in the day when it was simple. Today you are trying to be nice and politically correct and as such no one hears your message. With my HR background, I can really appreciate the issue. :-) With only two of us, our ice maker produces more ice than we can use and we have to periodically empty it of those interesting frozen layers in the bottom of the tray or it continues to pump ice which falls out and into the rest of the freezer. But, I certainly don’t want to go back to filling trays. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed this Judy. I sent the email without checking with HR because, you know, “better to ask for forgiveness than permission” on some things. At home, we’re in the same situation as you are with the ice. We toss it our on the lawn every now and then. The ice cube trays, yeah, more memories of my dad just came pouring in :)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joanne. I wasn’t the one who had to clean the fridge. Hopefully we can stand strong and toss things out on Fridays like we said we will. Looking back, my dad did have style. At the time, I think we used different words.


  4. You’re making me really appreciate the ice-maker we have at my office, Dan. It’s tucked under the counter like a small dishwasher. I can open it anytime and scoop out all the ice I want.

    I know — I can feel the envy from here. Sorry! :P

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Serious envy Paul. If we ever have the kitchen redone (please, please don’t let that happen on my watch) I’ll look into that.

      The ironic part is: I don’t even use ice! I drink coffee all morning and then I switch to bottled water. While some people pour bottled water over ice, I think it kind of defeats the purpose. Thanks, as always for your support.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, boy–I can so relate to this one. At work, HR sends out the email with the subject line of:” I’m not your momma!!” Then it starts in about the fridge, the microwave (what do you mean you didn’t realize you left items burning in the microwave?). The fridge situation got so bad with everyone stuffing everything in there that every Friday at 4, items not labeled and dated (current date!) get tossed. Lots of Tupperware was tossed because it wasn’t labeled with the owner’s name, but the fridge is a whole lot cleaner now.
    Thankless job I would never want. Good luck, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the policy we just put in place Lois. No name? No date? No Tupperware anymore. It was bad. I only cleaned the ice, but I felt bad enough for the woman who threw everything out that I sent the email so it can’t ever get that bad again. I don’t want this job either, but, as they say, it beats the alternative. Thanks – I need all the luck I can get.


    1. I’ll like all three, but I’m going to reply to this one. Thanks for a fun series of comment threads. I actually wrote the email because someone else was saddled with cleaning the fridge. I take care of the ice, mainly because it’s my budget that gets torched if someone shoves a screwdriver through the freezer compartment wall and damages a cooling coil.

      I’m surprised to hear that about teachers. I would have thought they would be all about a shared sense of responsibility.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I think all of you need a Dalek at your side when it comes to ice makers and break rooms ;-). I’m not mentioning supermarket staff that actually work at a store marked five stars (highest ranking in the UK) for food hygiene, and most of them have a hygiene certificate. Break rooms are bearable. Don’t let me mention the toilets….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, that might be a good solution. I mentioned the men’s room once, in passing, and at a time when we had some very messy tenants on our floor. I mentioned the ladies room, only by reference to a comment that came to me (to pass onto the building manager) and I don’t want to even try to image what it meant.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I feel for you. So why am I laughing? Oh, it must be because I can relate to the office kitchen mess, or the refrigerator contraptions that don’t work right, or the single cube left in the tray. Ha ha. You’re dad sounds like he knew how to get things done, Mom.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Quite surprised to read that you send ‘those emails’. You’re actually changing my assumptions about the general public mentality in the USA. I’m glad my mother is not the administration head in your office. She was a no-nonsense woman. Kind hearted, but disciplined.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My Dad was the “hatchet” man, sometimes letting a few bad words fly; but mostly the “G– D” one or “J—- C—–” were let loose. WE were in trouble almost always “collectively” as: “This house was framed in a Democracy.”
    When I saw the way you were writing about the “pigs” (my word, sorry folks!) that work with you, it made me laugh. Not at your plight, not at how you are in charge of trying to round them up and make them behave, NO! I was laughing because we have a cleaning group who try all day to keep our large break room, which is bigger than my kids’ old high school cafeteria, almost bigger than our old basketball gymnasium in my dear old Bay High School, kept CLEAN! It is a full time job for three people, three shifts covered.
    They clean out and throw in the trash, everyone’s bags of food, they leave empty lunch boxes and I have heard swearing under breath by coworkers about losing candy bars.
    “Every Friday,” (this is what the sign says,) “The Stuff You Leave in the Refrigerator Will Be Thrown Out!” Still, I do feel bad about candy bars or bags of chips, but the company says we get bugs, pests like mice and rats and we even had a rather large snake show up in one of the racks! Food Attracts Pests! I don’t think you should have to be the one who gives the lectures, since this should be coming down from management above. I feel sorry for you, Dan.


    1. Yeah…sad that I don’t have that kind of power. I was drawn to STNG in writing this because I was remembering the episode where the Bringloidi woman is cleaning up after her animals and Riker says “the ship will clean itself” – “good for the bloody ship” was her reply, but right now, I’d settle for a self cleaning kitchen.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Point is, Dan, the people of our age were raised differently than the ones after us. Your complaints and requests are falling on deaf ears. Sure, there are those few younger people who have the same ethic instilled in them, but, unfortunately, they’re not the norm.

    Yes, I’m showing my age, but that’s what happens when I read accounts like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I empathize, Dan, OH how I empathize. People (especially men … don’t mean to be sexist here) tend to be slobs, making messes and not even thinking twice about them, because well it’s not their job to clean up. Hmmmmm …. Coming from a woman’s point of view, I would warn, once, perhaps twice, and then I would deliberately shut off the freezer with the ice cubes (can you disconnect the plug so that NO ONE can plug the machine in?) and put a sign on it that says ON STRIKE. Tape signs all over that room that go something like: MESSES WILL NOT BE TOLERATED …. CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF … DAN IS NOT THE MAID. I swear people do NOT see their own messes and many times are too darn lazy to clean up after themselves. TOUGH LOVE. That’s the answer! Don’t let them get away with this. Good luck, that is all I have to say! BIG (((HUGS))) <3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amy. Fortunately, I am not the one cleaning the kitchen (I just handle the ice flow). The (mostly) women who do clean the kitchen don’t complain as loudly as I do, so I tried to complain for them. We make the mess collectively, I think we should be able to keep it clean the same way.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh Dan, this brings back so many memories of my very first frost free/self defrosting refrigerator.
    I was 24 years old 7 months pregnant with Big Baby Boy, living in a rental duplex, but the frig was ours as the duplex didn’t come with one. Back then He-Man and I did the grocery shopping together every Saturday afternoon. When we got home and got all the bags of groceries in the duplex and on the kitchen table for me to begin putting it all away; I opened the frig to put stuff away and out came a flood of ice cold water! There was water everywhere! I took out the two bottom vegetable drawers, and more water poured out onto the kitchen floor and an inch of water remained in the frig.

    Remember I was 7 months pregnant with my first child… a bit emotional, just getting over the worst morning sickness evah- that’s another story, and contrary to my nature I was so overwhelmed I sat down in the front of the refrigerator and sobbed like a baby. Really sobbed! Hiccups and everything.

    He-Man was amazing! He got me through that and we mopped up the water/mess and got the groceries put away. The thermometer went out in the defroster. It was a mess. I can relate to not wanting to clean up the mess of the melted then refrozen ice cubes!
    Thankfully that hasn’t happened with our current frig which is the first refrigerator we’ve ever owned with an ice maker. I don’t know how I lived without one now that we’ve had one for 10 yrs. Ice comes in really handy!

    I’m not so sure I wouldn’t have a melt down again if it were adults causing the issues you’re having though! You’re a Saint! I hope they know that.

    My Dad was a Marine Corp D.I. he retired from the Corp when I was 5, but it carried over to real llife! He would have shut the ice maker off. He was tough, and there were many times throughout my childhood I thought he was a tyrant. Today I’m thankful for the lessons he taught me. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Deborah. I felt so bad for you as I was reading this. There is something so sad about a giant mess that you know you simply have to clean up. I’m glad you had help. Fortunately for me, I only had to remove the ice the week before last. A woman I work with had to clean the fridge. She filled the trash can with old food and the bags and containers they were rotting in. People just forget, and mom isn’t here to toss the stuff.

      We don’t use a lot of ice at home, but the ice maker is handy when we need some. I will always remember the days of spilling water from the sink to the freezer, in the freezer and all over myself, trying to deal with those trays. Not to mention the old aluminum ones with the levers that your hands would stick to. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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