*WARNING: this post is not for the weak stomached, easily grossed out, germophobic, or those prone to nightmares. Proceed with caution and DO NOT ATTEMPT TO READ WHILE EATING. Don't say I didn't warn you!*
It all started a couple weeks ago. One of the children left the door ajar a couple inches. Not far, just enough to thaw the door items, ruin the popsicles, and leave the other items slightly under frozen. Remember how we bought half a cow? We still had 1/4 of the meat left and I decided its cost was worth the risk; I shut the door so everything would freeze completely and continued on my way.
A week later I opened the garage door to a strange odor, strong enough to add "clean the garage" to my to-do list. By the next day the smell was strong enough to move "clean the garage" to a high priority. The next morning I wanted to plug my nose with cement. My nose bandanna covered to counter the smell, I went to work emptying the garage. When it was emptied, the smell persisted and was especially strong near the freezer. Turns out some of the meat had thawed enough for juice to get into the defrost tray, going rancid during the week. I cleaned it out with bleach and vowed to not let the kids near the freezer unsupervised. I told Peter we might need to look into getting a new freezer (ours was 10 years old, we bought it from a friend when they moved and it was not only slowly dying, it was getting harder to get a tight seal on the door). Peter thought I was overreacting.
Another week passed and entering the garage, I found the freezer door wide open. Everything in it was cold, but completely thawed. I could handle it once, but twice? No. The meat was unsalvageable. Grumbling, I shut the door, intending to throw everything out just before garbage day (and making Peter "We Don't Need a New Freezer" help). Out of site out of mind.
On his way out the door a few days later, Peter noticed a puddle of reddish juice by the freezer door. I rolled my eyes, told him the door must have been opened again, and moved "clean out freezer" higher on my priority list. It was when I went to clean up the mess that I realized something had gone terribly wrong: the freezer wasn't running. There was more than thawed meat inside, it was rotting meat. I hadn't really checked the freezer since deciding to throw out the contents. There was no telling how long the freezer had sat dead, it had to have been at least a few hot, summer days. There were maggots. I did NOT open the freezer door. In fact, I shut the garage door and determined that this problem was going to wait till I had backup. Backup that had opposed my new freezer idea a couple weeks before.
I will spare you the gory details. There were double layered heavy duty garbage bags, bleach filled spray bottles, a vow of vegetarianism (that lasted a whole 2 days), and a smell strong enough to gag both a mother of 6 and an emergency room doctor. You really don't need to know more. Except Peter did most of the work without even calling me for help.
Today the garbage man came and picked up our garbage (an automated system, so he didn't suffer). I sprayed down the empty garbage bin with water and bleach. Also, this morning the delivery man delivered our new freezer and carted away the old one (Peter had cleaned it well so it wasn't gross anymore- unless the picture of what it looked like before had been seared into your brain). Tomorrow I will both restock and move things out of our indoor freezer's now over-crowded half of the side-by-side combo. The best part? Our new, larger freezer has a high temperature alarm, a door ajar alarm, and a built in LOCK. Peter knows how to apologize in style.