By Allison Adams 08-17-09; Submitted to The Greeneville Sun on 08-20-09
My middle daughter and I had spent the last day and a half loading, hauling, unloading, unpacking, arranging, and rearranging a substantial collection of essentials into her teeny-tiny campus apartment. I was just about to surrender and head home when my daughter noticed that something was amiss in her kitchenette.
She stood facing her Junior Refrigerator and cocked her curly-haired head to one side.
“Something’s wrong” she declared.
“What is it, sweetie?” I asked, even though I already knew what it was. I noticed it almost immediately the day before.
I watched as she flung open the door to the freezer compartment. Her head disappeared inside momentarily, then reappeared with this report:
“THERE’S NO ICEMAKER! NOTHING’S IN THERE! CALL THE HOUSING DEPARTMENT! CALL 9-1-1! The students who lived here last year must have taken it with them!”
“Calm down! No need to panic. No crime’s been committed. I noticed yesterday that your refrigerator wasn’t equipped with an icemaker.”
“What? That’s so lame! What am I supposed to do?”
I rifled through a couple of Target bags and pulled out the solution to her problem.
“Use these”, I said, and I held up two brand new white plastic ice trays and a white plastic ice bin.
“You want me to use tiny plastic drawer organizers and a rectangular bucket?”
“These are ice trays. You fill them with water, freeze them, and voila! In a couple of hours you’ll have instant ice cubes, which you’ll turn-out into the bin!”
“You’ve got to be joking.”
“No joke. This is what we used when I was a kid. Nobody had factory-installed icemakers in their freezer. We had ice trays. Its quite nostalgic, really.”
“You mean archaic.”
“Now sit down here, and let me demonstrate the proper care and feeding of the ice tray.”
“This is a nightmare.”
“First, I’ll wash these trays.”
“But you just took them out of a sealed plastic bag. They’re brand new!”
“But who knows who handled them before they were sealed in the bag? There. Now we’re sure they’re clean.”
“I feel much better!”
“Me too! Okay. Now you fill the tray with water, being careful to use just the right amount of water in each little compartment. You know – now that I think about it, you probably ought to get a pen and paper to take notes. I need to teach you about Ice Tray Etiquette.”
“You’re killing me here.”
“Ready? Okay. First – Never overfill. Got that? If you overfill, you will have a very difficult time extracting the cubes from the tray once they’re frozen.
I remember the days when we used ice trays that were made of some type of metal. There was lever built-in to the tray divider, and when you pulled-up on that lever it would help to release the cubes. If you over-filled the tray you had to run the bottom of the tray underneath the faucet – just long enough to break the frozen seal – then whack the whole thing on the counter, and throw your body on top of the tray, as you simultaneously tugged on the release lever. This usually resulted in a violent ice explosion with cubes flying everywhere and all you’d be left with were a few shards. Very disappointing results.”
“This is fascinating.”
“So, don’t overfill. Second – Never underfill.”
“Oh good grief.”
“If you underfill, you’ll be left with skinny ice shingles that melt almost immediately when introduced to any room temperature beverage, which is really tragic.”
“No – this is tragic.”
“Third – Practice regular ice-making maintenance. Be sure to empty frozen ice trays into the bin. Then refill the trays – careful not to overfill, or underfill – and replace them in the freezer – careful not to spill any water when you set the trays in the freezer or never get the trays out again. “
“You’re really stressin’ me out.”
“It’s very inconsiderate to leave empty ice trays, or an empty ice bin. There’s an important cycle to maintain when making ice cubes: fill; freeze; empty; repeat. Say it with me …”
“Say you’re finished.”
“You can’t turn your back on the process or at some point you’ll find yourself iceless. Maybe you and your roommate should work out some sort of ice tray maintenance schedule. You know, - you take a day, then she takes a day …”
“I’m on it, mom.”
“I’m glad we could have this little talk.”
“Go home, mom. Get a life.”
“Call me when you empty the first tray. I want to know how it turns out. Better yet, send me a photo.”
“I’ll make you proud, mom.”
“I know you will!”