Monday, February 26, 2007


(a weird tale in two parts.)

My middle son, the Incredible Bulk, has learned a new word.


It's funny and charming when he holds up a minuscule smear of peanut butter and exclaims: "Ewww!"

We also have the words: "bleh", and "crud", and "nasty", to describe yucky stuff.

Bleh is like those dark spots on a banana: nothing horrible, just needs to be trimmed off.

Crud is like what you might have on your face after eating: "Here, come let Momma wipe that crud offa you." It can also be on inanimate objects, like our refrigerator's Patch of Nameless Crud.

Nasty is reserved for really icky stuff: pet or livestock poo; things found on the tarmac in a parking lot; food that has fallen on the floor, been hiding behind a table leg, and discovered a week later.

Ewww, was coined one day by Boy, who stepped, barefoot, on a strawberry top that I missed and Bulk had tossed onto the floor.

Bulk loves it, bless him. He says it about everything; when his nappy wants changing, when he spills yoghurt and then puts his elbows in it, when he discovers a muddy patch in the walk outside.

Even I got to use it yesterday (thankfully, after they were in bed).

So, I'm making breakfast yesterday, and I go in the 'fridge for something and I notice that the rubber seal on the door is unusually warm. I puzzle over it for a second then move on - I'm busy - EGH has to get to work, babies are clamouring to be fed.

Fast forward to suppertime, which is a lot less hectic, and I realize that the door seal is very warm. I feel around. Nothing else seems warm, both the fridge and freezer are cooling.

Then I touch the metal front of the partition which separates the two sides (it's a side-by-side). It almost burns me it's so hot. WTF?

I hustled the babies into bed and dragged EGH in to verify I wasn't losing my mind. Nope. Front of Fridge Freakin' Flaming hot. So I unplugged it to cool down and give myself time to think.

Now, this fridge is a nice one, a top-of-the-line Kenmore (from Sears, natch) and a gift from Father-in-Law and his Wife (and v. much appreciated) when we first moved in. It's only four years old. It also has, in big letters on the inside, a toll-free number to call for repairs. 24 hours a day.

How much do you think they charge for a service call plus repairs at 8pm to a rural home 45 minutes from the nearest Sears? My guess is that I could buy a new freakin' refrigerator a Lowe's for that mystery amount.

So I pondered it for a bit.

See, I never just ring repairmen. I always try to fix it myself. I don't care if it's the car, an appliance, a lamp, or myself, I just hesitate to call in a professional (and shell out the money). It's NOT that I feel that I'm as qualified as they or more capable, but repair people these days have positively extortionistic tendencies. Fewer and fewer folks know how to do basic repairs to their homes and cars, people have less time, and everyone seems to be armed with a credit card burning a hole in their pocket. Repair people can charge what they will and the helpless masses just curse, shrug, and hand over the money saying; "well what can we do?"

Everyone just rings the repairman, takes their car in, runs to the emergency room. It's like we've become a society that doesn't realize that it's even possible to fix our own stuff.

But I digress ...

So the only two things that obviously come off my fridge are a panel low in the back, held on with screws, and the little vent thing in the front at the bottom. I grabbed a torch and the Shop-Vac and (don't laugh) got my gargantuan self onto the floor and set about investigating the front. It was dusty and there were a myriad of things dropped and pushed under by babies, but nothing really looked amiss. I cleaned out all the dust bunny warrens and went for the back panel.

As soon as I pushed it away from the wall i noticed something. A weird smell. A sick/sweet odour and a kind of burnt machinery smell. Hmmm.

So I wedged myself and Fiver back there and took that panel off. As soon as it was removed that odd smell came wafting out. I was instantly glad I'd eaten before attacking this problem. It was gagging me and I recognized it now; it was the smell of something dead.

It had to be rats*. Have I mentioned how much I hate rats ... and fleas and fire ants?

With EGH stoically holding the torch for me, I (after glaring accusatorily at the cats) poked around and hoovered, sucking up a huge amount of nesting material. The compressor was burning hot to the touch as was the 50 year old hardwood floor underneath because they'd chewed up the insulation for their nasty little nest.

After I got all the stuff out I still couldn't figure out why everything was so hot. Then I inspected the fan.

In a very Stephen King meets Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (the book not the rather more cutesy film) moment I discovered not one, but three dead mice. Two were lying on the floor under the wires, one was actually jammed in the blades of the fan, it's wee skull providing an effective chock that had the thing frozen.


Oh, and ewwwww!


*again, I'm talking about mice, not actual rats. Doesn't matter - horrible little blighters.

PS: in case you start thinking; "OMG, the woman has vermin in her house! I thought she was kidding about being a horrible housekeeper!" I assure you it's not me. The Burrow is simply 130 years old. There are hundreds of places for a mouse to get in. It comes with owning a vintage home.

PPS: the first commenter to post: "Oh, poor wittle mousies!" will get a suitably withering glance from me. Withering! You've been warned!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 10:13 pm   7 comments


At 3:14 pm, Anonymous queenmommy911 said...

I am *so* with you on this. Repairmen? Bah! I have internet access to pictures of the inner workings of most of the machines in my possession and am not afraid of getting a little dirty to try and save myself an arm and a leg.

Also, having lived in a house built around 1950 for over a decade, I know all too well about all the holes mice will find to get inside when it's been cold out. Ugh!

I hope you got the carnage cleaned up with minimal gagging and the fridge went back to normal function.

Have a good one!

At 8:48 pm, Blogger Danielle said...

After the mouse was dislodged, did the fan work again or did you need to replace it?

I recently bought mice as pets in my classroom. The only reason was so I could get over my fear of them. Now I have pets that I'm afraid of. Ewwwwwww

At 4:51 am, Blogger Anna said...

Oooh poor wittle wee mousies! (add cutesy pronounciation to annoy you EVEN MORE!) *runs and hides*

Sorry, but I'm LMAO at this post... Especially the beginning of it. Bulk has as many words for disgusting stuff as Eskimos have for snow, it seems! Should we worry? (Just joking...)

Regarding your recent posts about bad english/bad grammar/kids reading books, I completely agree but also have some mixed feelings about it all... We have a LOT of books in our house, DH and I are both avid readers, and Matilda has a very good collection of books she loves, and will ask you to read to her all day long if you let her. BUT, I'm very self-conscious of the fact that English is not my first language. I make mistakes some times. Spelling, mostly, and I am also more likely to make mistakes in grammar or syntax when I'm just speaking and in a rush. I just have to hope that all the books and her daddy's perfect command of posh english will be enough to offset my bad influence :P Meh...

If you don't make another post until then (and why should you?) GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR C-SECTION ON MONDAY. Looking forward to squishy fiver pictures.


PS: Oh! Oh! I forgot! Here's one for you... From the documentary "Pregnant in America" (might have paraphrased slightly, doing this from memory): Some man is complaining about c-section rates in the US: "The c-section rate in this country is 23%; that's almost one third of every woman!" (Yes, the middle third usually, but science works wonders these days.)

At 7:14 am, Anonymous mrschili said...

Oh - TOTALLY "eeeewww!!" I'm glad you didn't call a repair service; I'd have been mortified to find critters as the cause of my fridge problems. No judgement there, though - none at all; I grew up in a house that was built in the 1690's, so I know all about mice (and chipmunks, and bats and....) sharing living spaces...

Oh - and in my opinion? - little bastards got what they deserved...

At 10:58 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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2530 Hayes Street
Marne, Michigan 49435

"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence." – Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights leader

At 2:28 pm, Anonymous VegaVixen said...

Congratulations on your clever use of non-poisonous means to kill those pests, Blue.

Glad you discovered that problem when you did. That was certainly a fire waiting to happen! Egad! Hope you replaced the insulation.

At 4:23 pm, Anonymous Heather said...

We once came home to a horribly loud banging coming from the attic of our house. We found that it was a tree rat (huge freaking rats!) that had apparently tried to walk through the a/c fan just as it turned on. It knocked the fan off-kilter thus the horribly loud banging every time the fan went round. Hope your fridge is working fine now. Can't wait to see pics of fiver!


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