I don’t know what crawled inside there and died…

4 minute read

December 24, 2008, 8:30 PM

The question is, what crawled in the refrigerator and died? Gross. This very short workweek was my week on kitchen duty in the office, and ahead of being closed for a week and a half, I cleaned out the refrigerators. I will say this, though – the refrigerators don’t get cleaned out nearly as often as they should.

My guideline for this particular fridge cleanout, given that the office would be closed for a while, was first and foremost for people to take home anything that they wanted to keep that might go bad during the time off. On anything that was left, I was pitching anything without a name on it, anything with an expiration date prior to when we’re supposed to come back, and of course, “fuzzy” stuff.

We have two refrigerators. We have a small one and a large one. I started with the small one. That entailed just pulling a trash can up next to it, checking dates, and pitching stuff. The small refrigerator is generally not too bad. There were a few fuzzy things in there, but generally speaking, it wasn’t too bad. Now the second refrigerator, that thing was nearly full. So I pulled up a chair and a trash can, and got going. The thing that usually gets me in trouble, by the way, is when I open a container of something with the intention of dumping out the contents and saving the container. There was this container of rice in there. The container looked fairly new, and so I opened it with the intention of dumping out the rice. BIG MISTAKE. That rice was thoroughly rancid, and smelled every bit of it. It’s one of those smells that makes a beeline for the nose and then lingers there for a while. What an awful smell. I did not know that rice could make that smell. It can, as I soon found out. And it is not pleasant. It’s one of those smells where, as soon as you smell it, you wish you had just tossed the container sight unseen, but too late now, because the cat is out of the bag. If you ever need to remove wallpaper, this smell will do it. Put a flower next to it, and the stench will make it will turn brown instantly. Yeeew.

The rest of it wasn’t as bad as the rice, though I ended up filling up an entire 23-gallon trash can with discards from the one refrigerator. Some stuff that I wisely didn’t open expired back in June. Goodness knows what those containers were like inside. I wasn’t about to find out.

I believe in all the refrigerator cleaning work, everything I saved could fit inside a shoe box. There really wasn’t all that much left when I was finished. But such is life sometimes with the office refrigerator. Stuff goes in and gets forgotten about, and it goes bad. It happened at CFW, it happened at Wal-Mart, and now it’s happened again at Food & Water Watch.

Then of course, dish calls are always fun. This is where we announce that people need to bring their dishes to the dishwasher so that they can be washed. You may remember my lolcat from last time. This time, with it being right before Christmas, I went for seasonal fun. This was Monday:

Frosty the dish-man was a jolly happy soul.
With a coffee-mug pipe and a soup-spoon nose,
And two eyes made out of bowls…

I know. Kinda lame. “Frosty the Snowman” doesn’t lend itself to particularly great dish-related writing. I did better on Tuesday:

On the first day of kitchen duty, my coworkers gave to me… a big dirty plate from DC.

On the second day of kitchen duty, my coworkers gave to me… two coffee cups, and a big dirty plate from DC.

On the third day of kitchen duty, my coworkers gave to me… three crusty spoons, two coffee cups, and a big dirty plate from DC.

On the fourth day of kitchen duty, my coworkers gave to me… four water glasses, three crusty spoons, two coffee cups, and a big dirty plate from DC.

On the fifth day of kitchen duty, my coworkers gave to me… FIVE CEREAL BOWLS! Four water glasses, three crusty spoons, two coffee cups, and a big dirty plate from DC.

And on the sixth day of kitchen duty, my true love foisted the job on someone else, since everyone only has one week’s worth of kitchen duty.

That one was good enough to get some comments from people. I was pleased with myself.

And then today, no dish call. But I got to leave early from work, so that was always nice. I was walking down P Street to the Metro, I’m talking on the phone with Mom, and who comes walking by but Ralph Nader. Yes, the Ralph Nader. I said hello. He said hello back, and we each continued on our respective ways. I don’t think he remembered me, though we did meet back in June 2007 when we hosted Nader for a lunch at work. Good to know that Ralph Nader bundled up for the winter, though – he had on a long, brown coat and a hat. It also goes to show that you never know who you’ll run into in the nation’s capital. As soon as I got a little bit past Nader, I said to Mom on the phone, “That was Ralph Nader that I just said hello to.” Just a random run-in on the street, there. How cool. Reminds me of how my friend Patrick met Mr. Rogers one time – just randomly, out and about in Pittsburgh.

And now, it’s Christmas Eve. Four days until I head to Stuarts Draft for a week. That ought to be fun. And before then, I have a house to clean…

Web site: How to clean out a refrigerator. I didn't go this far, mind you - I just removed the foul contents, and left the refrigerator itself as it was.

Song: Ralph Nader and Obama Girl sharing an office. I love it how this is loosely modeled on Full House.

Quote: So if I don't write again before Christmas, have a great time this holiday.

Categories: Work