Thursday, June 16, 2011

I'm A Genius, If I Do Say So Myself

Archimedes discovered a way to measure the volume of odd shaped objects, when he noticed the water level rising in his bathtub when he climbed in. To this day, the volume of odd shaped objects is measured by measuring the water displacement when the object is placed in water. I had a similar epiphany this morning.

We had some bad storms last night, and the power went out about 11:00. I woke up this morning to find the power still off. Worried that the food in our fridge would spoil, I got our big cooler out and put the contents of the ice maker tray and the perishables from the fridge in it. As I was getting the ice from the freezer, I saw the enormous amount of frozen meat that I was going to have to cook tonight to keep from spoiling. While the cooler will keep refrigerated things cool, it won't keep meat frozen; and once meat thaws, you can't refreeze it. So I was faced with two options; put the meet in the cooler and cook it when I get home, or leave it in the freezer all day on the off chance that the power comes back on right after I leave for work. It was cool enough in the freezer that the meat would stay just as cool in there as it would in the cooler, even if the power was still off when I got home, so I left it in the freezer.

While I was taking my shower, it occurred to me that the power coming on right after I leave for work, and the power still being off when I got home were not the only possibilities. What if the power didn't come back on until 3:30? What if the meat got warm enough to thaw, and then refroze before I came home? I'd never know. Then my ingenious epiphany came to me. I reached into the cooler, and found a chunk of ice that had been at the bottom of the ice maker tray. You could still make out the shapes of the cubes, but they were fused together in a round chunk, sized and shaped kind of like a baseball. I placed the baseball chunk of ice in the ice maker tray, and turned off the ice maker. If the freezer gets warm enough to thaw the meat, the ice will melt. When the ice refreezes, it won't be shaped like a baseball, but like flat sheet in the shape of the bottom of the ice maker tray. If I come home and the power is on, I look at the ice. If it's like I left it, I'm OK; if it's shaped differently, I need to cook the meat.

Now, I know that this isn't too accurate. The meat might thaw at a different rate than the ice, but at least I'd know something.

I came home and found the power on, and the ice still shaped as I left it. The stove clock said 7:55. And since it says 12:00 just after the power comes back on, I could deduce that the power was restored about an hour after I left for work. In hind site, that might have been all I needed to know to figure out the meat was OK. But since I don't know how well insulated the freezer is, and I don't know how long the power has to be off before meat starts to thaw, the ice was a better indicator.

1 comment:

Tae said...

You're so smart! :) I miss you!

I can't remember your work or home email addresses off the top of my head, so please don't think I've forgotten about you or anything. I'm having fun, but I am a little homesick. It's kind of lonely being straight out here. :)