Now that I’ve tackled my freezer, I’m ready for Mt. Everest

image You may find it hard to believe, but I’ve come close to losing my life 23 times in avalanches. Each incident was absolutely terrifying. Each incident had me wondering if I’d be found in time.

And each incident occurred while standing in front of the refrigerator when the freezer door fell open.

The last time was less than a week ago, while I was looking for my water bottle. One minute, I was poised in the soft glow of the refrigerator light satisfying my thirst; the next minute I was buried beneath chicken drumsticks, hamburger patties, fruit-flavored Popsicles, and a frozen Tofurkey left over from our healthy food kick back in the late 1990s.

The reason for these recurring disasters is simple. Even though before shopping I measure the cubic inches available in our freezer, and factor in the rate of ice build-up in relation to our rate of consumption, it’s impossible to pass up a sale on things like pre-breaded, microwavable okra sticks. As a result, I return from the grocery store and try to defy the laws of physics by stuffing what amounts to an entire side of beef into a freezer roughly the size of Barbie’s Winnebago.

So, after recently purchasing a full-sized, stand-up freezer, I immediately began measuring and calculating the dimensions of our new storage capacity. Needless to say, my conclusion was that we needed more stuff.

However, before embarking into the frozen food section of the grocery store, it was necessary to embark into the frozen tundra of our existing freezer — a job that required a blow torch, an ice pick, and more than one call to the Centers for Disease Control. Though avalanches had emptied out most of our freezer’s contents over time, in its farthest reaches were a number of unlabeled Zip-lock bags that had been lying dormant since the unit’s first ice age. These items were no longer be recognizable as animal, vegetable or mineral.

(For our friends who will be joining us for dinner this weekend, disregard that last paragraph.)

In the end, the sum total of our tiny freezer required only one shelf in the new unit, leaving a cavernous void of unoccupied space. I felt obligated to fill this void with pork, chicken, jalapeño poppers, shoe-string potatos, a cow, assorted sea creatures, all members of the dairy family, 16 different kinds of bread, two kinds of waffles, one Zip-lock bag of unknown origin, and an entire case of pre-breaded, microwavable okra sticks.

As I stood admiring my handiwork I suddenly realized there was a problem: our smaller freezer was now empty. So I went back to the store.

For my neighbors who heard that terrible rumbling sound this morning, don’t worry; I’m alright.

And by the way, you can now make that 24 avalanches.

(Ned is syndicated with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, will be released this December from Port Hole Books. Write to Ned at

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

57 thoughts on “Now that I’ve tackled my freezer, I’m ready for Mt. Everest”

  1. Haha….you and my late father share the same passion for stuffing a freezer to maximum capacity. My dad had enough food in his for the apocalypse and never ate any of it!! When we cleaned out my mom’s house before moving her in the her new home, we found roasts (or what we hope were roasts) dated 1989! (and the Winnebago comment re-established my talent for having raspberries exit my nose….thanks!)

    1. I have a feeling I would’ve liked your dad. We could’ve gone shopping for our freezers together.

      And hey, at least they weren’t frozen raspberries 😉

  2. Cleaning the fridge is no joke. I’ve lost count of the times I screamed curses when a frozen pattie hit my foot. Thanks a lot, Ned, for rehashing those painful memories (j/k). Great post!

  3. I cant believe you wrote about freezers.
    Why just yesterday afternoon in the attempt to find dinner, I opened the “deep” freezer and with all intents and purposes of figuring out what the unlabeled ziploc bags were…

    I mean…hamburger DOES boast a purity of greenish brown….


  4. My freezer is empty. You are welcome to rent some space. I could use the income subsidy, and you probably could use some place to put a second case of pre-breaded, microwavable okra sticks.

            1. When I moved back to Oregon from Georgia, three of the things I missed most was Southern barbecue, real sweet tea made with hot tea and real sugar dissolved into it before chilling, and Waffle House. I know they are just greasy spoons, but there’s just something about the atmosphere and basic home cooking I really like. Even after being a chef for 10 years, there’s nothing like their smothered and covered and a good cup of strong coffee.

              1. When I moved out of Georgia I also missed the bbq and the tea. Fortunately I was still in Waffle House territory. It’s a guilty pleasure really. There’s one near my house. I think I need to go…

                1. On my days off, I used to spend my morning at a WH within walking distance of my apartment, drinking coffee and writing. I loved it. Coffee and a toaster waffle at work just isn’t the same…

                2. No, it’s not the same. There’s something about the air, thick with grease and the aroma of BO and coffee, that can’t be duplicated anywhere else.

                3. The hunters who are just leaving and the drunks who are just arriving…it’s a character mecca in there.

  5. My freezer is packed with the same things over and over– I rarely open it except to throw in whatever I bought at the store in my quest to become someone who actually eats her groceries. Then, when I open it to throw in my boneless, skinless chicken breast I have to dodge two more packages of the same thing that come sliding out because they were misplaced by an errant bottle of vodka the weekend before. Two weeks later I’ll recommit myself to a healthy lifestyle and buy more chicken to throw on top. It’s a vicious cycle.

    1. Yes, I can see we are kindred freezer spirits. I have discovered if I keep my Grey Goose in the back of the freezer, I am forced to take more frequent inventory of its contents getting to my vodka.

  6. Umm…I have three freezers, two of which are atop refrigerators.
    Do ya think I have room for anything? Nope.
    Do ya think that stops me from buying frozen things? Nope
    Do ya think it stops me from buying meat in bulk so I can cook one and freeze the rest? Nope.
    I’m hopeless.
    I finally gave one of the freezers (the outside one, which works most of the time) to Mr. Stuck, because he kept filling it with crab bait, frozen herring, salmon eggs in borax cure, and the occasional food item he wanted to hide from Number One Son and Number Young Son. I was tired of trying to fit actual people food in there.
    The good thing is, if that freezer goes out for good, what wasn’t crab bait before, will be. 😉

  7. I think the bigger problem here is not the size of your freezer but the crap you are apparently packing it full of. Do you know how bad pre-made, processed stuff is for you? Uck! Just the sodium content in most microwavable things and easy make dinner things is off the charts. Please consider the health factor when buying those on sale items. Do like we do and fill your freezer with meat. Yay Carnivors!

    Ok I’m done chastising, sorry but that’s a sore point with me lately.

    1. I have to admit, a good portion of what is frozen in there is pork-based items, like bacon… and more bacon… pork chops… and more bacon. If I could make a snow using bacon, I would. The frozen pre-breaded okra is used mostly to stabilize all the bacon.

          1. I have to agree. The only meat that I would choose over bacon (I know!) is Tasso. It’s a smoked pork and it’s unreal. It’s a Louisiana staple and I miss it SOOOOO much!

                1. From the looks of it and description, Bacon has met its match. Which is just another way of saying I could see myself making my ultimate BLT (add a fried egg and hollandaise sauce) with a side of Tasso.

                2. O.O Sounds nice. We put it (when we aren’t in Japan and can’t get it) in green beans, in red beans and rice, jambalaya, gumbo, I put it in a bbq bean dish. Sometimes I just put it in my mouth. lol My husband swats my hands away when he’s chopping it up. The options are limitless, if you can get your hands on it.

  8. Your story reminded me of one my mother told me when she was in Weight Watcher’s. Her group leader was storing Ding Dongs (remember those chocolate cake and creme hockey puck-type things covered in chocolate) in the freezer to resist the temptation. One day she was going to sneak one. When she opened the door it fell on her foot, breaking her toe.

  9. i am happy that you did not encounter any unlabeled and unidentified body parts. i blame the increased avalanche activity in your freezer on global warming/climate change and the government shutdown – potential conspiracy theory.

  10. So you have never been “burned” with overstuffing? I have lost hundreds of dollars on at least 3 occasions with electricity or freezer disasters. I use a formula calculated on the chance of said loss leading to a stress ulcer, adding to the appalling food loss bill to come up with my tolerance level. Sadly, that is ever less as it starts with what is actually in my bank account, then percentaged off the deplorable cost of all those overpriced freezer goodies.

No one is watching, I swear...

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