Several 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.
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.