150 lbs of Rotten Meat

August 6th, 2009 by Potato

There was a horrible, rotten stench in my parents’ basement the last day or two. I noticed it when running down there to grab a drink from the downstairs fridge. I thought it was a turnip that had gone rotten — it was looking a little wrinkly, but my brother said he noticed it too, before, when the fridge door was closed. We were afraid that the smell from all the garbage that’s been rotting in the garage had seeped into the basement, and unsure of what we could do to get the smell out if that was the case. I envisioned that liquid rot, garbage run-off, what we used to call “tracks” as kids, seeping into the drywall or the very foundation, impossible to get out short of a semi-major renovation.

Tracks, of course, being what the garbage trucks left behind, especially after running the compressor — pressed, pure, liquid, stench. It was always way worse than the garbage itself, and lingered sometimes for days after garbage day, visible as tracks down the road…

Anyhow. It turns out the union isn’t to blame for this unholy smell. The freezer in the basement stopped working, weeks ago by the look of things, and my dad’s collection of over 150 lbs of meat rotted in situ. That amount of meat was supposed to help us last through the zombie apocalypse; ironically, I fear it may start one. The meat dripped, and the formerly frozen berries were fuzzy, so things had got on for a while there.

The freezer is less than 4 years old, so I’m mighty unimpressed that it died so soon. What’s weird is that first off, it does still have power — the interior lights come on when the door is opened, and the weird status light I’ve never understood on the bottom is on too. There’s a huge block of ice on the bottom (not enough to keep anything except one or two things that were touching it cold; they’ve been thrown out to be safe of course), which is all the more curious. I don’t know if it’s a symptom, or perhaps even the cause (if it iced up so much it stopped the air circulation somehow).

My brother says that something similar happened once before with that freezer, when the door was left ajar for a few days: it wasn’t powerful enough to keep the food frozen with the door open. That I think speaks to the wisdom of the design of the old-fashioned chest freezers, with the doors on top, or even of freezers with drawers.

It’s possible that even if the compressor was working, with the door ajar the humidity from the outside air would continually condense where the cold air came out, forming a large ice dam before any of the food could be chilled; the defrost cycle might have added insult to injury by baking the rest of the food… It’s so disgusting though that I’m not really going to spend much effort in playing freezer forensics.

2 Responses to “150 lbs of Rotten Meat”

  1. Ben Says:

    So it was an upright freezer?

  2. Potato Says:

    Yeah, it’s like a regular fridge (or a regular door in your house for that matter), just one door that swings open for the whole thing.