I just read a Facebook comment (yes - even us old farts know about Facebook) by a friend of ours about the discovery of the use of a hair dryer to defrost a fridge/freezer. It reminded me of life before frost-free freezers and that very same method.
I'm not very good at maintenance. I will live in blissful denial that our fridge doesn't need defrosting until it contains more glacier than fresh produce. At this point I would normally bash chunks off the ice-stricken fridge with my best kitchen knife and a steak hammer. Resourceful, that's me.
This method, despite causing abject frustration to Stig, suited me just fine, until I was pregnant with Nicki and had taken to midnight snacking. I would sit at my kitchen table, basking in fridge light whilst I "made" Supernoodles. Given my compulsion for multi-tasking, I would chip away at the resident ice sculpture whilst I waited for the microwave to turn my noodles nuclear.
So one evening, heavily pregnant and starving, there I sat, chipping away. Then I heard a faint "puff" above the humming of the microwave. I'd got carried away with my rhythmic tapping and punctured the fridge. I mightn't have panicked if it hadn't have been for the high-pitch hissing sound that followed. If I'd have consumed the normal amount of alcohol that my non-pregnant self would have drunk on a Friday night, I would have been forgiven for thinking that there was a schizophrenic serpent overthrowing me in my own kitchen.
I contemplated going back to bed and pretending that the fridge must have had a spontaneous pneumothorax in the middle of the night, but being pregnant I thought I'd better be safe than sorry (For those of you who've never been pregnant; everything from cat poo to a north-westerly breeze to a farting tramp could maim your unborn child). I woke Stig up and explained what had happened, expecting my calm, reassuring husband to take charge and check that everything was fine.
Instead what I got was a bollocking...
"You've done WHAT?"
Followed by a scampering, desperate man. Have you ever had to travel down a flight of stairs in an urgent situation? In my experience it seldom goes well but it's amusing when you get to watch someone else doing it.
Having cannonballed himself into the kitchen, Stig forbade me to cross the kitchen doorway threshold with a Hitler-like salute. He then stood stock-still with his neck craned in the general direction of the fridge.
F****** Hell, it's leaking freon!"
I was instantly transported back to year one highschool chemistry, trying to remember what the hell Freon was.
"We'll have to get it out of the house" He said. Aw, my hero.
Actually my heart sank because it was 1am, I was seven months pregnant and I knew that I was going to have to drag a fridge down a flight of stairs in the middle of the night with him. I was also profoundly aware that my noodles were sure to be a cold, rubbery blob of stodge by now.
Stig then began rummaging wildly though the kitchen drawers.
"Tea Towels!" He shrieked at me, again in Hitler-like fashion.
I pointed at the secret tea towel drawer. He grabbed a handful of them (which instantly concerned me) and proceeded to fold one longways and wrap it round his face, covering his mouth and nose and tied it in a knot at the back of his head. Like a cross between a surgical mask and a tea towel-wearing child at a nativity play. He then folded another one in the same fashion and handed it to me. It's amazing how little verbal comunication is required in a marriage. He didn't say anything but I knew that I was expected to truss my face up like a gay ninja before he'd even consider letting me enter the kitchen. It was a moment that didn't need any words.
We then had to carry (one step at a time) the fridge down the stairs (our kitchen was on the second floor) and out of the side door into our garden. My one saving grace was that at least at this time of night, no one would see us. I really should have known better. Our neighbour later told us that we looked like desperately inept suicide bombers.
I don't know where Stig found the breath, but on the return journey up two flights of stairs to our bedroom he managed to lecture me about the advantages of regularly defrosting one's fridge, and not attacking it with a steak knife in the early hours of the morning.
So, with regard to the hairdryer solution, even thought water and electric don't mix, neither do steak knives, freon, paranoid husbands, and Supernoodles.