Friday, October 17, 2008


This week has been a bit wild. Leaving for two weeks in England means working hard in advance to tie up as many loose ends as possible at work. Last week it felt as if we were all in overdrive and a couple of us got sick, Ang's husband Frank, who I work with, being one of them.

On Thursday, just before he succumbed to a bad strep throat and finally gave in to the thing that had been creeping up on him, his final words were, "Belinda there's a movie you have to watch called Touching the Void." I wrote the title down in pencil on a napkin. I pay attention to a man who sounds like he's uttering his final words and besides, Frank can always be relied upon as a source of good movie recommendations.

On Friday I arrived home from work at 7.00-ish, to find our stand up freezer door ajar and it was obvious that it had been so for awhile because everything in the door and at the front of the shelves was well into thaw mode. I groaned at the sight of a big puddle on the floor. Drastic action was needed immediately.

I hate wasting food, but I hate the thought of food poisoning even more, so I began to rescue what I could, but threw out what couldn't be salvaged. The next day I decided to thaw out the freezer completely and really sort out what needed to go. Yikes! I found food from 2003 in there.

I was grateful for the fact that our recycling now includes a green box for organic waste. I really did my bit this week with my freezer purge. By the end of Saturday though, it was a thing of beauty; clean, pristine even, and containing only edible food.

That evening I remembered Frank's movie recommendation and, feeling the need to zone out with something relaxing, I found the napkin and peered at my pencil hieroglyphics of a couple of days back. I was pretty sure it said, Touching the Void, and when I asked at the video store, they recognized it and walked me over to the Action Movie section. "Action?" I thought,"Well, that means Paul will enjoy it too."

The movie turned out to be an amazing PBS documentary about two British mountain climbers who succeeded in scaling a peak in Peru that no one else had been able to conquer, but the real story was the journey down, which turned into a nightmare of epic proportions. I don't want to spoil the story for anyone else who might like to watch it, but it is an incredible true story from which many leadership lesson can be drawn. Joe does quite a bit of swearing, but if I got into the situation he was in, I would be swearing too.

One of the things I took away from it was that through sheer dogged determiation, and a refusal to accept the word "impossible," what seems impossible can be done.

I used that thought throughout the days since then as inspiration to plug through the week. I can report that a turkey has been cooked and turkey soup duly made from the leftovers. I also made carrot and coriander soup to use up carrots. Since I leave tomorrow for two weeks, and am leaving a husband behind who will not eat raw vegetables, everything in the fridge had to be converted into freezable food. Right now a tomato bisque soup is on the stove and will be processed and frozen tomorrow. I am really grateful that God gave me the strength to make good use of the food so that it didn't go to waste.

Frank is back with us after a miserable Thanksgiving weekend being sick.

In a week of thanksgiving I am grateful for Frank's recovery and for God giving me inspiration to get through when I needed it.


Susan said...

Um, Belinda... I don't think that stuff in a freezer that's older than five years can actually be classified as "food". :)

You've inspired me, though. I think in our chest freezer downstairs there has to be some used-to-be-food that is from the last century! I think I'll make that my number one project today! (Clean out the freezer.)


Dave Hingsburger said...

Hope you have a wonderful trip to England. We make our annual trip soon and I'm already looking forward to our time there. We love being there as the country gears up for Christmas ... It's become part of our tradition.