Tag Archives: frozen

The Polar Vortex

As I’m writing this, most of the United States is dealing with the chilling effects of the Polar Vortex. It’s freezing. And yeah, sometimes I’ll write a blog post where I complain about the weather, about how I get too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. But seriously, this is really cold. I wish I could take back everything I’ve ever said about the weather, because it all pales in comparison to whatever it is we’re experiencing right now.


I ride my bike to work every day. I don’t care if it’s raining or snowing or if it’s cold, I just bundle up, I’ll throw on a few waterproof layers in case it’s wet out, I’ll open my front door with my bike and I’ll say, “You call this a winter? Ha!”

And I did that today, but I couldn’t even get through that first sentence before physically recoiling from how cold it was. I was like, “You call this a …” and then the cold hit me all at once, the single digit temperature flooded the inside of my nose, and I’ve always heard people talk about having your nose hairs freeze upon contact with some really frosty air, but I’ve never actually had that happen, the sensation of ice forming up your nose, all the way up your head. I started coughing, I was like, “Holy shit, are you serious?”

Still, I don’t know, I’m stubborn, I figured I could tough out the fifteen minute bike ride. But I wasn’t even halfway there and I was regretting my decision. As I pedaled up the Queensboro Bridge, this arctic wind punishing me, trying to blow me down from the other direction, it made my face hurt, really badly. Even though I had gloves on, my fingers were losing all sensation. With one hand grabbing the handlebars, I concocted this ridiculous routine of blowing into my fist, then using that hand to deliver about a quarter of a second’s worth of warmth to somewhere on my face.

How do you live like this, Northern Canada? When I got out of work, as I walked to my bike totally dreading the ride back, I took my left hand out of my glove for just a second, just so I could do a quick unlock and start pedaling back, and I didn’t even know that this was possible, but the actual lock was frozen. It took me like five minutes just to get it through the hole, and when I did, there wasn’t any turning. It wouldn’t budge, it was completely stuck.

So I just ran for it, fuck that shit. If I had stayed outside just standing there, fiddling around with a bike lock for any longer, I wouldn’t have made it. If someone wants to tough it out overnight and try to pick the lock, be my guest, because if you’re willing to brave that type of cold just to steal what can only be thirty or forty bucks worth of bike parts, you’ve earned it, all right, you obviously need it more than I do.

And so I finally made it home. I stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way back, and all I’ve been doing for the rest of the day is sitting here buried under five layers of sweatshirts, I’m drinking coffee and I’m eating donuts. That’s it. I’ve already eaten like six donuts. Because no way am I ever going outside again unless I’m protected by a layer of warming fat. All of these hours of running and exercise, and what do I have to show for it? I can’t stop shivering. I’ve already taken like three hot showers, and my feet are still cold. No way, the next time you see me, I’m going to be morbidly obese. I’ll be fat, but I’ll be warmer. And whatever, I love donuts. I could sit here and eat donuts all day for the rest of my life. Bring it on Polar Vortex. Is this as cold as it’s going to get? Ha!

My freezer is kind of broken and I can’t get myself to deal with it

The ice cream in my freezer kept getting softer and softer, to the point where it felt almost like soft-serve in a pint, and while I could lie to myself, try to ignore my problems and think about how cool it was to always have soft ice cream on hand, eventually the decline in freeze got to the point where I needed to do something, I had to like look up something on the Internet or call up somebody to come and take a look at what was going on.


Even this thought took a couple of weeks to really plant itself in my head. Slightly above temperature ice cream is one thing, but that box of frozen hamburger patties? How long could I really continue to enjoy this stuff without worrying about all of the harmful bacteria that might start to take advantage of my less that optimally functioning freezer?

Still, there was so much inertia, I couldn’t stand to let another day go by without taking care of the problem, but I was frozen, unable to think of how I’d go from not doing anything about it to doing something, anything.

I think the root of it had to do with my not-so-irrational fear of freezers. That sounds crazy, but it’s not, it comes from a real, traumatic experience. My wife and I were living in Ecuador as Peace Corps Volunteers. We had this cheap-o refrigerator, so wildly out of synch with what we were used to dealing with back home. This thing didn’t have whatever our modern freezers have that prevents frost from accumulating and building up along the sides of the walls.

Again, it was this slow issue that never really warranted immediate action, but left undealt with, it was like one day we couldn’t close the freezer door anymore, the ice had literally snowballed it’s way into becoming this problem that had to be addressed immediately.

And so, with no Internet to look up how to take care of something that I would have never had to deal with back home, I imagined a reasonable course of action involved me taking a kitchen knife to the inside of the freezer, stabbing at the chunks of ice until I’d shaved off enough space for the door to close.

In retrospect, of course this seems like a stupid idea. You don’t just go hacking away at your problems. But at the time, I thought, OK, I’m getting somewhere, ice is falling off, this shouldn’t take too much longer.

But it’s an awkward stance, kind of half crouching down, jabbing my arm in an upside-down upward motion inside of a small frozen box. I hit something, I knew I had made a big mistake because it started hissing, a stream of gas blowing out of the freezer. I thought, that had to be the Freon, all of this gas leaking, this is what’s keeping everything cold.

I had to stop it. I had some silicon glue lying around and figured I’d stick my head in there and try to plug everything up. There were bubbles involved. I’d think I had everything patched up when there’d be a pop, more expelled gas. Finally the hissing stopped, and even though I had my fingers crossed, a few hours later it was obvious that both the fridge and the freezer no longer functioned in keeping anything below room temperature.

It was a nightmare, getting this thing fixed, it was like a whole month and a half with no refrigerator. I felt like a caveman. My wife was pissed. I’m still haunted by this story, every time there’s any sort of kitchen problem, it always comes down to me trying to stab my way out of everything. And that’s not even mentioning the paranoia I still suffer as a result of having probably breathed in way too much Freon. It never occurred to me that maybe I shouldn’t be sharing a two by two foot box with all of that leaking gas. What are the long term effects? Do my lungs seem cold to anyone else?

So it was with this fear that I approached my current freezer dilemma. Fortunately, the Internet told me that before I called in a serviceman to charge me several hundred dollars, all I had to do was first clean out the vent behind the appliance. Apparently it’s a dust-trap, and after a couple of years of neglecting to be cleaned, this build-up can cause the cold to be not so cold.

But again, moving the fridge was this impossible chore, jostling it into a position in which I could at least see the back. There was dust everywhere, that patch of unseen floor was practically blackened with soot. And when I finally got to where I was in a position that I could maybe do something about it, I realized that I didn’t have a vacuum, and that my dust-buster was out of battery.

I made a weak attempt at wiping off the grate with some paper towels, but there was so much more dust that I didn’t really accomplish anything. Still, what was I going to do? I moved everything back into place and set the dust-buster to charge.

The whole thing took me like fifteen minutes. I’m worried that it’s going to be another two weeks before I find the motivation to attempt the cleaning again. And there are so many variables. Will the dust-buster still have any battery? Would the half-assed cleaning with the paper towel somehow have been enough to prevent me from trying again? Why do I keep fighting the urge to grab a kitchen knife?

I don’t know, man, I’ve got to commit to some action, my ice cream’s like soup, like not totally runny yet, but definitely less than soft-serve, and the frozen patties are starting to look a little gray.

I like it ice cold

I want my ice cream cold, so cold that my tongue shouldn’t even be able to touch it, not safely. I want you to have to take it out of the deep-freeze freezer, you’ll actually have to put it in the microwave just to take it down a bit, just a couple of degrees, to where it’s still way too cold to touch, I still can’t lick it, I’d still get a major ice-burn on my tongue if I attempted premature contact.

And then I want the spoon to be warmed up, not in a microwave, obviously, you can’t put metal in the microwave. Maybe I could find some sort of a composite spoon? All right, give me a spoon made out of the same material they make hockey sticks and golf clubs. I want it to be light, like ultra lightweight, so now OK, you can go ahead and throw it in the microwave for a minute or two.

If you haven’t already, you should go ahead and buy two microwaves, because I don’t want to wait around while you’re messing with different power level settings for the ice cream and for the spoon. I want them both to be warming up at the same exact time.

All of my soda has to be ice cold too. Also, the carbonation has to be really powerful. But more importantly, really, really cold. But only slightly less important, the carbonation. Don’t talk to me about freezing points, I want a colder-than-ice Coca-Cola that somehow hasn’t turned into a block of ice. I’ve seen it done before, it was science class in high school, or a science TV show that the science teacher showed us on one of those days where she didn’t feel like teaching, it was something about not disturbing the liquid, or putting something inside of it, and it’ll stay liquid.

You know that sensation you get when you first take a sip of a really ice cold drink? Like you can feel it working its way down your esophagus? I want that with every sip, not just the first. And I don’t want to feel it just in my esophagus, I want to feel it all the way down, snaking its way through my intestines, that refreshing feeling chilling a path throughout my whole digestive system.

My soup also has to be really cold. I don’t care what time of year you’re supposed to traditionally eat gazpacho, I’d like it in January, February, if there’s an unseasonably cold stretch through March or April, I’m going to order gazpacho then also, along with other summertime soups, watermelon bisque … I can’t think of any other cold soups, but I know they’re out there, and again, ice cold, I want you to serve me a whole tube of Sensodyne as an appetizer, something to really numb up my gums, I want to hold a big mouthful and really let my whole head cool off.

Iced coffee, iced tea, ice, ice cold. And don’t bother with the regular ice cubes. I want ice cubes made out of iced coffee and iced tea. It has to be cold brewed, by the way. I don’t want anything that’s ever been heated up. I mean, yes, to some extent, I’m always going to have to acknowledge the fact that the earth was formed out of a ball of cooling molten rock, but that’s just it, it’s cooling, it’s getting there.

My favorite planet is Pluto. My favorite sport is ice hockey. If I got to choose a superpower, it would definitely be ice powers. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about talking about any of this nonsense. Give me a hot soup, go ahead, I’ll ice you dead in your tracks, that hot soup’s never going to make it over to my table. And then next idiot server who even thinks about sending over another bowl, he’s going to think again. He’s going to bring me the coldest one they’ve got. And then – zap! – ice powers to make it even colder, and I’ll be able to take it, no frost-burn, no Sensodyne, just straight up cold, colder than all of the Coors Light in the Rockies.

Because seriously, I can’t emphasize enough, I really like my stuff cold. Make sure you tell the chef, because I’ve got a thermometer right here. I’m going to use it, and I’m going to send it back. It’s all just a matter of how many times I’m going to send it back. Got it?