“Happy New Year”… I’m saying it to everyone and typing it on letters but for me my new year started with a bump.
I’ve spent a truly lovely Christmas at home this year. 3 hours away from my flat and work, I had a really quiet and chilled holiday season with my parents and dogs.
Leaving a week before the big day with a little bonus from work and everything tied up before I left, I drove home in my pjs at 6am with a car full of presents and a mouth full of mince-pies. All my anxiety faded and although slightly empty and looking for something new to worry about, I was blissfully happy.
That rapidly changed on Tuesday this week.
Arriving back at my flat I knew I had to make at least 4 trips from my car to the first floor carrying many bags full of all the things you acquire over christmas – not fun.
I pulled up on the double yellow lines outside my front door to empty the car into the hallway before parking it in the residents car park. A small nagging doubt had appeared in my head a few days earlier and I half expected to come home to some sort of disaster, whether that was a burglary, fire, even squatters who had taken residence. I was wrong, but what I did walk in to wasn’t great either.
The lights didn’t turn on… strange.
My wi-fi box wasn’t working… really strange.
The smell in the kitchen was… worse than strange.
At some recent point during my absence the electricity had cut off. That’s not a problem for the lights or wi-fi, it’s a problem for the fridge-freezer.
I have a habit of stocking my food to the point that I won’t need to shop for weeks.
I was heart-broken to open the freezer door and see the leaking bags of soup and frankly disgusting looking ice cream floating in draws full of red liquid seeping from various defrosted meats.
Opening the fridge I immediately shut it as the smell hit me. Something was clearly off.
I sank to the floor and pondered the decision in front of me. Collapse on the sofa and cry or deal with it.
I’m a strong independent adult (sort of).
I dealt with it.
I switched the electricity back on and emptied out the freezer, throwing away the things that clearly couldn’t be saved and sorting through the stuff at the back that still felt cold.
I managed to salvage a few little parcels of mince and toss them into my wok along with a couple of fresh onions, garlic cloves and a can of tomatoes. Voila, 3 tubs of a base dish for spaghetti or chilli.
Now, I’m a slight sausage addict and I had bought two large packs from the butchers before coming back so I wasn’t too worried about the one’s I was throwing away. I was able to save a small tray full by throwing them into the oven to cook, then cool and wrap in foil.
I cleaned each draw from the freezer thoroughly (using a kettle for hot water as mine didn’t want to warm up) and took a deep breath before opening the fridge.
Apart from some butter and mayo nothing in the fridge needed to be there, I still pulled out each shelf and pot of jam to give them a good clean. I was just about satisfied until I spotted it. In the door was a cracked egg that had dripped from the top shelf onto those below – that was the smell.
Apart from the heart wrenching feeling I had throwing away my once frozen homemade roast beef and water filled ice lollies, I am grateful for the experience.
I am not happy about having to replace large amounts of my favourite food, I am not happy that I need a little tub of baking soda in my fridge to get rid of any residual smell
I am happy with myself.
I’m proud that I didn’t curl up in a ball and cry, that even though I felt so anxious, alone and defeated I managed to cope for the 4 hours it took to clean and still had the energy to unpack and cook a meal.
Something like this may not be difficult for a ‘normal’ person to deal with but it was for me.
It may have not been the best start to the new year but I’ve proved that I am able to deal with whatever this year throws at me.