When we pulled in to our garage after driving home from our trip to Cape San Blas at 3:00 a.m., I opened my car door to a really foul smell. The trash was collected the day before we leftfor Florida, so it didn't make sense why it smelled so bad. However, when you've been driving for 14 hours straight, all you want to do is sleep and identify the source of the smell in the morning.
I knew it was a bad sign when I could smell the stench all throughout our house - even up in our bedroom. I kept waking up throughout the night because I could smell it in my dreams. When Ryan and I woke up for good around 9 a.m., I said, "Ryan, I think there is a dead animal in the garage. I can't imagine what else would make it smell so bad in here." Ryan went out to the garage to investigate, and when he didn't come back, I knew it was bad news. I went out to the garage and saw that our deep freezer was missing.
I opened the front door to go outside, and Ryan told me not to go out there - that it was really bad! I saw flies SWARMING around a black trash bag that was filled with what I determined was months and months of freezer meals, frozen chicken/beef/pork, garlic bread, frozen desserts, homemade spaghetti sauce - need I continue? Apparently, the power went out while we were on vacation, and the freezer never turned back on.
I can't even describe how horrible the smell was. They call it racid for a reason! I felt SO bad for Ryan having to clean up the majority of it by himself while I watched Noah in the house. We had no idea how to dispose of all the food. Waiting until trash day was NOT an option. So, I do what all women do when we don't know how to solve a problem.
I called my dad! :)
I'm not sure how it happens, but dads just know what to do in situations like this. It's like an inherent characteristic that they have, and thank goodness they do! My dad, of course, had the perfect solution. He suggested taht we call a local grocery store and see if we could dispose of the food there because they likely deal with bad food as its shelf life ends. We called Target, and they said they couldn't help us. Surprise! Target is seriously the store I love and hate all at the same time. The products are great, but the employees and their policies could use some major improvement. Ryan called Marsh next, and they were happy to help us!! Thank you Jesus!
Disposing of the bad food was only part of the problem. We still had to disinfect the freezer, and it's hard to stick your head into a freezer when it smells that bad. I was really questionning if it was time to become a vegetarian. I lost count of how many times I washed out the freezer with vinegar, bleach, and various other cleaners. We let it "air out" overnight a few times. Despite all of our efforts, the darn thing still didn't smell normal. I knew it was free from bacteria, and if there was additional bacteria in places I couldn't reach, surely the cold temperature would kill it, right? I just couldn't see getting rid of it and buying a new one. I checked one of my favorite "how to" websites called eHow to find a way to rid our freezer of the leftover vinegar smell. I saw a post about putting coffee grounds into your freezer, so that is exactly what I did. I put several heaping spoonfuls onto a paper plate and put it into the freezer. A little less than two weeks later, the freezer smells almost normal with just a hint of coffee. Finally, I think we've gotten somewhere!
The timing could not be better because we have decided to take our organic/natural food situation to a whole new level. We have purchased hormone-free and antibiotic-free chicken, beef, and pork, and I couldn't be more excited! I already have the chicken. Our quarter cow goes to butcher today and will be ready in two weeks, and I ordered a half hog last Wednesday, which will be ready in about a week and a half. I will post more information about that endeavor at a future date!
Take home lesson of the day - next time we go on vacation, we'll have someone periodically check on the house, or do what we usually do and hire a housesitter. I am not cleaning out another freezer like that, especially with all this delicious, healthy meat we have purchased! :)