Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Fridge

Doug's condo was undergoing renovations for several months before he passed away, which has further complicated cleaning his place up. As the men came to put in the new flooring, they had to move the fridge out of the kitchen, which meant I had to show up and move the stuff out of the freezer compartment for the day. Fortunately, Doug had a second condo, so I simply moved all the meat from his freezer (he had a couple months supply laid in) to the freezer compartment of his other place.

I fully intended to move the meat back at the end of day, but the flooring crew made a terrible job of it -- six inch gash in the middle of the kitchen floor, flooring over shims under the stove, and so on. Apparently their attitude was 'the guy's dead, so who cares?" But of course we care, and who ever ends up buying the place cares, so the contractor overseeing the repairs for the building insisted they do the job over. So besides my having to stick around for a few more days to supervise, I decided to wait the further repairs before restocking the freezer.

I then forgot all about it, and returned home to my family. A week later, I get a phone call on a Friday night that the neighbours are complaining about the smell from my brother's second condo -- the fridge has failed, and the meat has gone bad -- very, very bad.

I guess my first clue should have been that the fridge in the other condo was empty, since nature abhors a vacuum, and Doug was not one to let storage space go unutilized. But having just gotten back to my family in Lethbridge, I was unclear what I could do to fix the problem other than give the caretaker permission to throw everything out. But she was very loath to undertake the task, which she described as a lot worse than finding Doug.

So I phoned Pat, a buddy in Edmonton I hadn't spoken to in months, and asked him to take care of it for me. But when I phoned the caretaker back, she said they couldn't wait until the next day for him to arrive, and that they would deal with it. (But I still owe brownie points to Pat for agreeing to do it, even if in the event he didn't have to.)

When I finally got up again about a week later, they had thrown out all the bad meat, but he place still stunk pretty bad, several cans of air freshener notwithstanding. It was pretty obvious that some of the spoilage had leaked into the fridge itself, so I had no choice but to get the fridge hauled away. Even then, it took about another six hours of cleaning over two days to get the worst of the smell out; I left the place filled with odour eaters, so I'll have to see how effective they are when I next go up. But at least it is now down to a level that it is only unpleasant inside the apartment, and should not impact the neighbours. I tipped the caretaker for her enduring the initial cleanup, though I recognize that no amount of cash can really compensate for gagging one's way through such a job.

Just another distraction in a semester of distractions. I generally spend about 6-8 hours each day I'm in Edmonton sorting through Doug's stuff, trying to get the condos ready for sale, but it is very slow going, and I spend 3-4 hours a day with Mom, so there's not really any way to get more hours in to speed the process. It looks like I will have to move the family to Edmonton for July and/or part of August to make any headway. And of course, looking through his stuff, dealing with all the memories, and figuring out what is worth keeping and what isn't, is all kind of depressing.

On the upside, I do wear my iPod for cleaning/sorting and at 6-8 hours a day have now completely caught up on CBC's Quirks and Quarks, and am making headway on The Current, Dispatches, and a bunch of other stuff I don't normally have a chance to listen to, since control of the car radio seems to reside with Tigana and Kasia. CBC and NPR podcasting (radio on demand) is an incredibly wonderful development in my world.

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