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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Ice Not for Whom the Bell Tolls

It’s always sad when you lose a loved one. The void that’s left, the feeling of helplessness, all the things you wished you’d said or done before the end. But one day, they’re just gone, suddenly, and you can only try to pick yourself up and move on.

I know. My ice maker just died.

Now, before you go writing this off as trivial and slapping #firstworldbeveragechiller tags all over it, hear me out. This ice maker was pretty important to me. I used it almost every day, it never failed me — until it completely failed me — and it’s quite probable that I was the one who killed it. Accidentally, but still.

So there’s a lot of guilt here, among other things, which I’d very much like to drown in a stiff drink. But I’d prefer that drink on the rocks, which is out of the question because MY ICE MAKER JUST DIED.

The universe, she is a cruel and unyielding bitch.

How did I murder my beloved cube-dispensing friend? As these things usually happen, by trying to help it.

“It’s only when we detect slight subtle changes in the product that we think to check. Like, when the water comes out like green tea, or the crushed ice smells like feet.”

The ice no-longer-maker is on the door of the kitchen freezer. Every few months, an indicator lights up inside the freezer to tell us that the water filter for the unit is probably bad, and we should immediately swap in a new filter.

Naturally, we never see this indicator. Presumably not for several weeks, anyway. It’s only when we detect slight subtle changes in the product that we think to check. Like, when the water comes out like green tea, or the crushed ice smells like feet.

At that point, it’s my job to replace the filter cartridge. I do this by asking my wife where we keep the filter cartridges, and if she’ll go get me one, and where in the freezer do I have to stick it into again? Oh, and can you make me a quick gin and tonic because I’m exhausted with all the work I’m doing over here.

Neat, please. No rocks. For the love of god.

Thus equipped, I lie on the kitchen floor and fight with the old filter, which screws into this mysterious cylindrical hole inside the front of the freezer. It’s only accessible with the door open and is a royal bitch to get in or out, which means risking third-degree frostbite from my scalp to my nipples every goddamned time the water tastes funny. It’s like being a Brita salesman for Eskimos, or something.

After much struggling and wildly creative cursing, the old filter finally does release. And after a quick blanket warmup and check for facial gangrene, I dive back in to wrestle the new filter into the hole. It’s a less-than-delicate procedure, and not nearly as sexual as you may be picturing.

(Unless you like it rough, at minus-twenty degrees and with a jackhammer, in which case all bets are off.

And wash your hands before you touch me. Gah.)

This is the procedure, and I’ve done it many times. Afterward, the manual says to run three liters of fresh water through the system to ensure safety, so I dutifully pour one glass, dump it in the sink, and declare the filter “fixed”. So it has always been, and the water and ice has flowed freely since.

Only this time, only the water flowed. Not the ice. I re-assumed the position and jiggled the filter, which now seemed much less enthusiastic about either going in farther or coming back out. I twisted it. Nothing. Shook it. Nada. Cursed it and kicked it and threatened it with pliers. Bupkis.

That was over a week ago. And we haven’t seen a single cube since. Our ice maker, I fear, has met an icy maker of its own.

So what, you might ask. Suck it up, quityerbitching and use a bunch of ghetto ice trays like the rest of us. And you have a fair point, I guess.

Only I can’t go back. I won’t. The missus and I dealt with ice cube trays for our first umpteen years together — and you know what we found? We are completely at odds on tray management strategy. Way apart. I’m talking miles here. Troy and Sparta. Sherman and Atlanta. A complete Cold War shutdown, and I’m so serious I don’t even care about the awful pun intended.

So, yeah. The ice maker is pretty darned important.

I won’t go quite so far into hyperbole as to say it saved our marriage. I’m not the sort of person who simmers on the “little things” until they erupt in a flash of “MY MOTHER WAS RIGHT ABOUT YOU AND I NEVER LIKED THOSE PANTS AND WHY DO YOU ALWAYS SMELL LIKE DORITOS?!” meltdown.

Of course not. Instead, I write about them. Much better.

The point is, the ice maker has kept the peace in our blissful household for over three years. And now, as we lay it to rest — freon to freon, dust to dust — I shudder to think what ice-related horrors lay in store.

Or maybe those shivers are just the frostbite. Either way, all my drinks will be “neat” for the foreseeable future. Rest in peace, my icy friend. We hardly knew ye.

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