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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Life, Death, Toilets, Ice Makers and Motorcycle Axles

Don't know about you, but I hate mornings that start like this:  Reaching in to the toilet tank to pull up the rubber stopper thingie, getting wet to the elbow with water you aren't sure is bacteria free, flushing it, waiting for the tank to fill, replacing the crapper flapper thingie,  figuring out which is left and which is right to screw on the nut thingie,  washing the toliet bowl to free it from the remains of yesterday's use because no one had the energy to do this although the part was sitting on top of the tank all day because they were busy with OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS.  I mean, you would think that after THAT, the rest of the day would go pretty smoothly.  However, after you do THAT, you want a nice glass of ice tea, with crushed ice.  And that is when you discover that yet again, there is a motorcycle axle in the ice maker, thoughtfully wrapped in plastic.

Which is now wrapped around the crusher mechanism.  

This is not the first odd item to be stuck in my icemaker.  It's sort of a common situation at our house, but I have not heard others complain of anything similar.  It starts like this.  The freezer is crowded.  And disorganized.  People come to the freezer with a situation, like needing to freeze a motorcycle axle, or they are rooting through the freezer looking for the last fudge pop, or they need a place to put something that might spoil.  So the obvious solution is to put Whatever in the icemaker which is usually pretty empty.  These Whatevers have included but are not limited to: a dead parrot, a pound of hamburger meat and a buffalo penis.  I am actually happy to reduce this to ONE domestic episode when in reality, there have been dozens.  There was the dinner party when everyone's drink had little red flecks of flesh in them....you know, from the hamburger getting ground up into the ice bucket.....

But this time it's a motorcycle axle and I try to lift it out. I can't get my arm into a position where that works. I get a chair, jam it in the small place between the freezer door and the stove, climb on, wedge my head into the small opening between the icemaker and the top of the freezer so I can see that yes, my fingers didn't lie, it's a motorcycle axle, wrapped in plastic, on top of the ice cubes.  

OH there is the problem.  The action of the icemaker crusher thingie, like an axle itself, has snagged the plastic bag the axle is in.  SO, I reach for a steak knife (from the wedged chair) and start sawing away at any loose bit of the bag, thinking this will free it so I can lift it out.  But it won't budge.  I decide to move on from this til someone comes over to work on the addition.  I make ice tea with the ice from the trays - oh, I have ice TRAYS in the freezer because during the construction they cut the supply line to the ice maker, so I have to freeze cubes and then dump them in the ice maker for crushing.  

My phone buzzes.  Its a text from My Son.  The genius who put the axle in the freezer.  I am thinking it is some kind of apology.

No.  Earl is dead.

My Daughter-in-Law's Uncle Junior has died peacefully at home of the liver cancer he was diagnosed with two long weeks ago.  The minute the words were in the air, he started to fade. This has given his family time to organize his affairs and come in from all over:- Shug, ChaCha, and Suki in from the Carolinas.  A sister to Earl who is married to a Japanese Ballet Dancer has come in  from her home in the hills above Tokyo.  Other relatives from Oklahoma and Delaware.  His daughter Melissa put her life on hold and spent the last two weeks at his side. For two weeks, hushed voices, purposeful consideration of feelings, embraces, tears, laughter, memories.  Photo albums brought out and shared.  Communal meals with disaster-oles brought over by neighbors.  A switch to the time frames we have when everything else stops for a while, sort of like a snow day.  Some things fall to the side, the really important things come to the front.  Intensity.  Intimacy.  I am almost jealous of them because as a family they seem to navigate the toughest waters with grace and affection.  All of them emotional gymnasts, not afraid of the big feelings.  They don't flinch or look away when someone cries.  

So, I put the steak knife down.  Walk away from the axle.  Leave that for another day.  I'll buy ice when I am at the grocery store getting stuff to take over.  The stuff that sustains us during bad times:  wine, plastic ware, cheese, strawberries, paper napkins.  Ice.  Family.


1 comment:

Greentwinsmummy said...

oh Shirley I am so sorry to hear about Earls passing,it sounds as if his daughter & him shared some time of the most precious kind x

Am still slightly nervously giggling at the thought of a bison or heck was it buffalo I cant remember eeek! member in the ice maker gulp......

As always,life is made up of laughter & tears
x x x