3.20.2009

ralphie, help!

you will not believe what just happened to me.

i was packing our lunch for our day trip tomorrow, and since my last remaining ice pack leaked yesterday, i was making another tray of ice to use in cooler instead. (our ice maker has been broken for ages, so we put trays in that little bin up top since it's otherwise unused freezer space.) so i filled the tray, spilled a bit, and stuck it in the freezer.

("spilled a bit" is the foreshadow there, but "stuck" is really the key word.)

well, apparently my wet index finger and thumb found a metal bar inside the ice maker, and were instantly and firmly stuck. really stuck. who even knew that metal bar was there, hiding behind the plastic case up high where it can't be seen? uh oh.

i tugged a bit, no luck. i glanced around for some sort of tool... not sure what i was looking for, but in any case, our kitchen is arranged such that the freezer is practically in the hallway, so there's no way i could have reached anything other than a box of oatios. contemplated flinging a foot toward the counter in hopes that my water bottle would roll my way, realized that wasn't going to work. it was my right arm stuck in the left-side freezer, so i couldn't really open the fridge side, let alone reach anything of use in there.

i should point out that i'm alone in the house but for a preschooler and baby (both asleep) and three dogs, two of which are post-surgical and locked in a crate -- in the kitchen no less, watching me with interest. i suppose i could have, in theory, yelled loud enough to wake eva all the way upstairs, but i'd rather rip the skin off my fingers than traumatize both my kids to that degree (nevermind the case of frostbite i'd have by the time she could help).

i was still calm, and remembered what i learned growing up on the tundra, what everyone tells you to do when the predictable happens and you get your tongue stuck to a metal pole -- you wait. wait until your body heat melts the ice and then you will be free. well, i only stuck my tongue to a pole once as a kid and this was before i was offered this sage advice, so i've never personally tested this theory. until now. i don't know if it only works with tongues not fingers, or if the freezer makes it worse than the outdoors somehow, but i waited as long as i could and the stuck-on patches didn't even get smaller.

or, it seemed they didn't anyway. i couldn't see my fingers (or that damn bar!), and it's hard to assess since they were getting so cold. by this time, it was really starting to hurt quite a lot, and i'll admit, the cool-in-a-crisis me was walking out the door, leaving time-to-panic me still stuck in the freezer. sure, it's funny, (i thought), but i've exhausted my options and i can't just live in the freezer from now on. here comes the inevitable -- similar but more dire versions of this thought have gone through the minds of many a hiker trapped under a boulder or logger trapped under a tree -- i'm going to have to just do it. i'm going to have to rip off my finger skin.

oh, but i really, really don't want to! i gave it a tentative little tug. apparently, it's not as easy as you might think to rip off your own flesh. but man, was it starting to hurt... or maybe you have to do it bandaid-style and just go for it? i was thinking this one through when inspiration struck! i had it, i thought of the solution, and it worked! (obviously it did, or i wouldn't be typing this... i'd still be in the freezer or nursing some sizable finger-wounds instead.)

now, let's just pause here for a second. anyone remember "encyclopedia brown"? i used to love those books, and loved that feeling of satisfaction when i could figure out the mystery on my own before checking the back of the book for the answer. so let's all have a little encyclopedia brown moment, shall we? you have all the clues you need to solve this problem (not to mention you have the benefit of it being thusly narrowed for you, rather than having to scan my entire kitchen in a panic as i did).

did you figure it out? probably it's obvious, but no cheating. scroll down after you've made your guess.

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(guess, you smartie-pantses, if only because then you can gloat in the comments section...)


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the ice cube tray! i had just put it into the freezer, so it was filled with water (versus, say, ice). after some maneuvering, i managed to get it out with my free hand and pour the water over my stuck fingers. (there was a momentary panic when i thought all available water was gone and one finger was still stuck, but turns out there was enough to go around after all.) my fingertips were blanched completely white in a weirdly-defined shape on both fingers, which looked pretty freaky, even for someone who grew up routinely dealing with 40 below temperatures. after the painful "thaw" stage was over (yeowch!) things seem fine, though, and i think come morning i won't even know it happened.

except, i will know. i'll not soon forget the time i managed to get stuck in the freezer with no one around to help. though perhaps it was better that way -- remember that woman in the 80s who famously got stuck in her dishwasher? rather than helping, her husband video taped her and laughed his karmically-challenged head off, then sent that into america's funniest home videos. that said, i'm sharing because i don't mind being laughed at, as long as it's happening while all my fingers are a normal temperature and i'm free to move about the cabin.

9 comments:

Lora said...

I thought you were going to say that you got milk from the fridge. I wouldn't have thought of either solutions with a frozen finger and without a nudge from you that there was a solution.

Lora said...

I triple dog dare you!

Victoria said...

I guessed right!

Sorry it took you so long to do the same :)

Thanks for sharing - I needed a laugh!

Natalie said...

this was classic! thanks for sharing! before i thought of the ice cubes, I thought you'd expressed some milk onto your fingers...! ha!

Raji P. said...

LOL! Great story!

Kristy said...

well done, victoria. (can you move in and keep me safe from my kitchen appliances?) natalie, that's funny, several people guessed expressed milk. i would have tried it had i thought of it, but in my state, i probably would have just managed to freeze milk to my fingers.

Eliza said...

I knew it!! I was thinking, "what about the water in the ice tray?" and yay! it worked! Glad you got unstuck!

Kristy said...

from the comments (here and in person), it seems people are roughly evenly split between "omigod i would have freaked out and been stuck there forever" and "that's so obvious about the ice cube tray". :) i've also been asked how long i was there. i have no idea, probably less than a minute, but it felt like much longer!

Mindful Mama said...

Awesome! Thanks for the laugh. I guessed wrong... I was thinking of juice or something in the fridge.