Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Little Blue Button

When we first set up a household in India, we wanted to purchase only what we thought was practical. We also wanted to be a little more "green" with energy consumption. So we made a few choices...
We purchased a small, Indian made car. We decided not to get an oven, but to cook in a normal Indian kitchen. And we bought a small, simple refrigerator. At the time these all seemed like reasonable decisions.
The results:
The car has turned out fine. It's a little tight, but is efficient and reliable.
Life without an oven has run its course.... We really enjoy Indian food, but we've concluded our family needs a routine with a few more familiar foods in it. So we plan to get a little oven for our new apartment in Delhi.
This brings me to our little Samsung refrigerator. This is the choice that just won't leave me alone. The fridge is small, but functional. And it's very efficient with its four star energy rating. The problem is with the auto-defrost function... there isn't one. But there is a little Blue Button.
When India is hot and humid (like it is now in monsoon season) the ice can really build up fast, turning the refrigerator's little freezer compartment into a small, frozen cave. The small freezer door refuses to shut and then, finally, ice crystals begin marching their way down into the main compartment below. I can extend the inevitable by chipping away at the edges of the ice around the freezer door, but this solution doesn't last long.
When I start losing site of ice trays and the few odd items that will actually fit inside our freezer, I just push that little blue "defrost" button.... And I wait. For about three hours. Then I open the door to what has now become a slushy, drippy, watery mess.
If you are older than 35, you probably know what it means to manually defrost a freezer. Your mother used to put pots of hot water inside the top of your kitchen refrigerator to defrost the freezer box... And there were lots of old towels to keep the water from getting all over the floor.
To defrost our little fridge everything must come out of the icebox and the upper shelves. The Blue Button shuts off the fridge and warms the case surrounding the icebox. Then ice and slush surrounding the icebox must be chipped, shovelled, swept and finally toweled out.Once done, this icy slop is carted across a wet kitchen floor to the sink where it winds up as a mound of melting snow. The lower shelves, also now all drippy and wet, have to be dried off. Then I have to drain and dry the puddle of nasty freezer-water that has accumulated in the bottom of the fridge. The final task is to dry condensation off containers, vegetables and frozen items that I have tumbled and stacked on the kitchen counter. All of the items get returned to their respective places once again inside the refrigerator.
I do get some pleasure out of this whole cold, soggy, sweaty choice: The sight of a freshly cleaned and dried icebox, followed by the sound of that little Blue Button popping out. Our small Samsung refrigerator has turned itself back on.
Lesa says I put the "man" in Manual Defrost.


thenguyens said...

Sounds like it's time for some defrost training for Audrey and Evan. Is the fridge following you to your new place? Haven't checked in for a while. Looks like you are still on a wonderful adventure! When do you plan to return to Austin? Say "hi" to Lesa for me.

HouseBoy said...

Audrey wants to start doing the defrosting... which is fine with me! Since we haven't had a cook for the past few weeks, both of the kids have been helping me prep veggies in the kitchen - snapping beans, shelling peas and doing a little chopping. :)
As far as moving, we plan to be in India through July, 2011.

Heidi said...

Ooooh! Kids helping out in the sauna, I mean kitchen, eh?

As I think you know, we got a new car, a Toyota. It came with a DVD, and we watched it the other night. The way it was filmed, it was clearly made so they could do voiceovers for a number of languages. All I could think as I watched it is, this voice could have been Jonathan!

HouseBoy said...

Yes, we saw the picture of you with your new Prius! Very nice