A Blessing or a Curse...?
March 4, 2016
We had a mishap at Hudson HQ last week. I arrived home to hear the sound of running water and a trickle running along the kitchen floor. At first I berated myself for not closing the washing machine door properly… before I realised I hadn’t put the washing machine on!
A close inspection revealed that the cause of the problem was not laundry-based… the fridge-freezer was malfunctioning. A quick “google” (other search engines are available) indicated it was a “Freon gas leak” (I’d never heard of Freon either…) and the options were turn it off for an hour and
a) it will work perfectly;
b) it will work but the gurgling will be audible and it could give up in an hour, a day, a year;
c) It won’t work at all.
We were C).
Not working and full to capacity following my online shopping spree just 48 hours earlier. At the point that we had to unload the freezer we realised that items were already starting to defrost and so decisions had to be made. Not being in a position to easily “take up space in someone else’s freezer” we decided that as the daily temperature was not rising above 6 degrees and was touching freezing during the hours of darkness, that we would “repurpose” a recycling box to use as a temporary storage space for those items which could safely be eaten if they were “chilled” rather than frozen.
Having discarded all the fish and rehomed the “salvageable” we then set about finding a replacement. Another internet search found a suitable model and three local outlets who all declared “next day delivery available”. However having gone through the “ordering process” we came to “delivery slot” (which thankfully came before “make payment”) only to discover that the earliest delivery slot was six days away (and would require use of precious annual leave to be in at the “time to suit you”).
Initially irked, Lovely Husband and I then decided it’s only six days… it could be worse. I advised that meals might be a bit “random” (on the basis that food needed to be eaten on a “need to use first” basis) but a bit of “supper spontaneity” could be interesting. Two days later it became clear that it wasn’t as easy as it seemed. Apart from the fact that every time we made a hot drink we would both automatically open the fridge before realising the milk was “in the garden”, it was apparent that the daytime temperatures were not cold enough to keep the food fresh. Tomatoes, peppers and onions were fine… the lettuce and beetroot leaves were not.
Similarly the block of cheddar was holding up nicely… the tubs of “light soft cheese” now had liquid in them. The bread was edible but endless toasted sandwiches with sausages was not going to my waistline any good. We realised that we had two courses of action.
1. Resort to takeaways. We have chip shop/Chinese/Indian/Pizza/ and all manner of “chicken” outlets at the end of our street (and also could pick up the phone and order home delivery).
2. Shop on a meal-by-meal basis until the replacement white goods were “up and running”.
Mindful that most of the fast-food options were not going to help me lose “the final stone” we went for option 2.
I had already started visiting the supermarket on my evening walks to pick up “reduced” bargains of fresh fruit and vegetables but with a fully stocked freezer had not had to trouble myself with any other shopping. Now it was clear that milk would need to be a daily 1 pint purchase; salads and cooked meats would also have to be bought the night before so that the chicken/steak/tuna salads for lunch could be left “in the garden” overnight and still edible the next day.
As I generally made it back to HQ before Lovely Husband I agreed to pick up “dinner for tonight and lunch for tomorrow” options on a daily basis. It was an eye opener. Buying individual yoghurts (to have with fresh fruit for breakfast) was considerably more expensive than picking up a six pack – but we had the luxury of a different flavour every day. The fresh fruit was often reduced and so was a bargain (and although we briefly toyed with tinned peaches and pears we couldn’t work out exactly what that would mean in terms of “sugar content” and therefore the calories would be… so decided to stick with fresh as I was in the supermarket anyway).
We did buy “sterilised” milk but weren’t keen on the taste… and having spotted the “once opened keep refrigerated” instructions realised we were no better off with the “long life” variety.
Instead of buying a whole loaf or multipack of bread I would pick up a couple of rolls (if we were having bread with our evening meal).
Tinned carrots and peas seemed like a good idea – but again, not sure of what additives might be included and, given the availability of “reduced” items, we stuck to “uncanned”. I really quite liked the idea of not knowing what would be on offer – who knew that Asparagus and green beans could be a great combination? It was “business as usual” regarding store-cupboard staples (whole-wheat pasta; brown rice; potatoes (and sweet potatoes) and we made it through the six days with a little extra effort; less control over “menu planning” but without resorting to a single “takeaway”.
The new fridge-freezer is now in place and tonight the plan is to do “a big shop” (I’m northern… a “big shop” is in my DNA)… but I’m not sure that I will be stocking up to the hilt. I’ve rather enjoyed the past week of having to think on my feet when it comes to what we plan to eat. Necessity made me walk to the shop every evening (and I rather enjoyed the peaceful stroll at 7pm), LH has enjoyed seeing what I’ve come back with and we’ve spent time together in the kitchen cooking a “later than usual” supper.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m delighted to have a “fully functioning” kitchen again. Mayonnaise and salad dressings don’t come in “individual serving sizes” and so we just did without (but I confess I did grow to love the “squirt of lemon” and “drizzle of balsamic” that was my salad dressing substitute – both “calorie free”). I’ve also enjoyed the challenge of the last week; the randomness of our meals… and I admit that I’m very proud that we didn’t take the easy option and rely on the High Street Bakery for a lunchtime pre-prepared sandwich or pasty and home-delivery pizza (with almost compulsory garlic bread and wedges).
Today food choices are everywhere… the vast selection available is astonishing; the opportunity to eat what we want, when we want, and however much we want is “ a given”. Food is something that we approach almost subconsciously – even I , who since embarking on my weight loss journey believe that I was far making decisions far more consciously, was surprised at how the failure of the fridge could impact on my shopping and eating habits even for a short period of time.
I was also surprised at how the positives (cut price fresh fruit; the benefits of an evening constitutional every day; a wide variety of choice rather than “bulk buying) and the negatives (an extra 30 minutes in my already busy day; having to pay more for “individual items”; not being able to plan ahead) balanced themselves out overall.
I’m not pleased that the freezer broke – but that’s mainly because I hadn’t planned on having to fork out for the cost of a new one – but given what I’ve learned over the past six days… I’m still not certain whether, in terms of my approach to nutrition (and given the fact that I still managed to lose 1lb despite things being more “out of control” than I would have liked) it was a blessing or a curse…
Have a wonderful WLR weekend.
With a hug
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