In the spirit of the recent Thanksgiving holiday I’ll admit that I have first world problems and sometimes I let them annoy me. I should be (and endeavor to) be damn thankful to have ‘em. It’s wise to periodically step back and remind myself to shut up and be happy.
One example started several months ago. We bought ALL the bacon! OK not ALL the bacon but a whole pig. Everyone knows that joy and bacon are basically the same thing, so imagine the stratospheric high of having well over a hundred pounds of pork in the freezer. Mrs. Curmudgeon facilitated the purchase and all I had to do was smile; something I’ll continue to do so long as the bacon supply holds steady.
Unfortunately I’m not just a fan of bacon (who isn’t?) I’m also a coffee snob. A paranoid coffee snob. If you think things might get dicey if war in the Middle East blocks oil shipments you have no idea what really matters. Oil may run civilization but coffee is civilization. An interruption of the coffee supply, no matter how minor, would turn me into a walking catastrophe within hours. I am not alone. Coffee matters!
Thus Mrs. Curmudgeon has stockpiled several packages of coffee beans (roasted but not ground). I like to store them in the freezer because that assures a darned long shelf life. (I have experimented with roasting my own beans… a subject for another post.)
When you’ve got a flock of chickens, a shitload of coffee, and lots of bacon you’ve put a backstop on certain parameters of misery. There’s a lot of uncertainty in life; plan for breakfast!
Along with the pork and coffee, we’ve stashed several chickens and a turkey in the freezer. I’d forgotten how many meat birds we’d raised. Quite the happy surprise. There were a few odds and ends and also, inexplicably, we’d stored some vegetables and one battered frozen pizza. Vegetables? Food that comes in cardboard? How’d they get in there?
Then, because I’m awesome (or lucky), I went out and shot a deer. Yay me!
You can see where this is going can’t you?
I had well and truly exceeded our freezer space resource. I had to remove every item, carefully consider it’s size and dimensions, orient it amid the other packages for optimal space utility, and then slip it into it’s tiny allocated area. Often I’d stop, go back, and rearrange everything previous. This would rescue a few precious cubic inches of space into which I’d cram another package of deer grind. I also exploited the freezer that’s part of the kitchen refrigerator. I did the same with my crappy old “beer fridge” in the garage. (Note: all men who are not recovering alcoholics or the Pope should have a spare fridge in the garage and that fridge should be filled with beer. That’s just common sense.)
I had to remove a few packages of coffee and eat the pizza. I nuked some vegetables and ate them too. (Was it squash or what? I can never tell with orange things.) Something in unlabeled Tupperware freaked me out and there was a half pint of Ben and Jerry’s that looked suspiciously antiquated so I fed them to the chickens. I don’t know how old that stuff was but the birds lived. In the end I got the deer (and everything else) properly stored. Whew!
The whole freezer is now a giant meat Tetris.
Unfortunately it’s just too damn full. If I open the freezer it might very well bury me in an avalanche of frozen steak happiness. Therefore I’m going to get an “axillary backup freezer”. It’s kind of a hassle but I’m OK with it. After all, the only thing better than one freezer full of food is two freezers full of food. However, I can’t help but grumble about the hassle and expense.
First world problem: you’ve got so goddamn much food that one freezer won’t hold it all.
The second freezer will be smallish. I want it that way. Not surprisingly, rearranging the main freezer in a logical manner will wind up filling most of the “backup freezer”. If I have a good ice fishing season or choose to hunt another deer I’ll skate close to filling the available space again.
First world problem: you buy a “backup” freezer but you’re so goddamn uptight about acquiring food that you might fill that one too.
Then I started worrying about my wussy little generator. I don’t have as much backup power as I’d like. That’s OK; nobody has everything they want. I had (barely) enough generation capacity to keep the one freezer and one fridge cool (unless the power goes out in winter, in which case it won’t be an issue for months). My beer fridge wasn’t part of my plan but has only things like bottles of beer. Duh! If the power goes out I’m not going to screw around with it. I’ll drink all I can while it’s cold and warmed beer bottles can always be cooled again.
First world problem: In the event of a long term power outage during hot months you have to get drunk fast.
Alas the new freezer exceeds what I can easily keep powered but another (or bigger) generator would cost more than I wish to spend. If the power goes out I’ll just have to cook like there’s no tomorrow.
This reminded me of my next problem, I’d forgotten to refill the BBQ grill’s backup propane tank. There was no avoiding it, another trip to town to refill tanks is part of my future. I grumbled about that a bit too.
Then it dawned on me; first world problem = “shut the hell up”. I reworked my mental view and smiled the rest of the day.
First world problem: In the unlikely event of a long term power outage in a hot season you have to get drunk fast and eat all the steak and BBQ you want for several days in a row.
I still lust for a newer bigger generator but having made my plans for a steak and beer bash in the event of a power outage I can’t bring myself to fear that fate. I think it’s wiser to shut up and leave the complaining for non-first world problems.