We have four ice cube trays in our freezer.

Actually, I'm lying. We only have one ice cube tray. We have three other trays that create small half columns of ice.

I love the ice cube tray. It was purchased new, or what passes for new, at a thrift store. It's classic. It is called the Magic Touch Spil-Gard. It's Carolina blue (natch) and it incubates eighteen ice cubes. The Spil-Gard is a small lip of plastic that guards spilling the water out of the tray and onto the kitchen floor. It works. You can usually get two 16 ounce glasses' worth of ice from a single tray. Like any ice cube tray, it sometimes won't produce. Half the cubes get stuck; the handle won't pull all the way up. But it's never anything that a short rinse under warm tap water won't alleviate.

The hemicolumnar trays I don't like at all. In the couple of years I have been co-owner of them, I have not found a successful way to manage their payloads. Inevitably two or three pieces of ice skitter out of their docks and shatter on the floor. I have tried to block them from dislodging with my fingers, but they're finger-shaped themselves and slip through my finest defenses. It is so frustrating. You need an entire tray to fill a sixteen ouncer, counting casualties on the floor. Their finest quality, and that's not saying much, is that they freeze faster than the Magic Touch Spil-Gard. Their product is ice, but their delivery method leaves a lot to be desired.

In our freezer, the Magic Touch Spil-Gard sits atop the other three ice trays, as befits its station but also because it sits better that way. The floor of the freezer is a sheet of ice that I irregularly chip through with a flat-head screwdriver. Water gets spilled on the bottom of the freezer: can you guess from which ice tray(s) that water's coming from? Not the Spil-Gard, I tell you.

It might help the situation one day to order some aluminum trays from the Vermont Country Store, fill them up and slip them into the freezer unbeknownst to anyone else in the house. That would be easy, but it wouldn't make the little icy columns go away.

Because my Smart Wife really likes them a lot. Better than my perfect little cubes. Imagine that.

Meanwhile, days come and go and in this house, there is always ice for your drink; love 'em or hate 'em, we always refill 'em. And you have a choice of ice here, so I guess that's an upside, too.


Sarah said…
The ones that you hate are made to fit into water bottles, so that the water you take with you is nice and cold. I couldn't really say why we have those instead of regular ones. Let's get new ice cube trays. I sort of like the crescent shaped ice cubes.
Deaconlight said…
I remember those aluminum ice trays with the pull up handle before those twist-the-tray plastic ones came along. Before icemakers were standard in refrigerators. Back when we had to put a pot of hot water in the freezer to defrost it.

In the 1990s Hubby and I would often drink bourbon and ginger ale. When we moved into our house in 1991, we inherited the refrigerator my dad had at his town home before he died in 1990. The icemaker had long since died so we were dependent on our new collection of green and blue plastic ice trays.

At the beginning of 2000, we renovated our kitchen. New cabinets, cabinet knobs with Corian encased in nickel-plate, countertops, paint, wallpaper, flooring, and expensive KitchenAid appliances were selected. We so loved the black-patterned countertops that Hubby still has the pattern as his computer wallpaper (its source downloaded from the manufacturer’s Web site long-forgotten). During the six weeks of reconstruction we anxiously anticipated our all-new appliances, especially the new side-by-side refrigerator-freezer with the automatic ice dispenser. No more messy ice trays for our Triple-A and gingers.

At the same time we were having our living room and master bedroom redone. By springtime 2000 everything was falling into place – all that remained was to take our 3,000-plus album collection and file it back into the record racks. The ice happily flowed from the new modern KitchenAid dispenser and the plastic trays were shoved somewhere out of site.

A few weeks later, a tornado visited our neighborhood and deposited three trees from two neighbors’ yards onto our house. Nothing, of course, compared to the loss you suffered with Katrina – so who am I to whine? But it did put us out of our home for 3 ½ months, during which our new appliances were left lifeless with no juice to power them. We were fortunate our neighbors let us run an extension cord from their house to ours to keep our fish tanks going.

Shortly after moving back home in the fall of 2000, the neglected appliances began to protest. The electronics on the stove were replaced three times but never worked properly. The microwave broke so many times we finally had to get a new one. While the icemaker itself produced ice, the dispenser was constantly malfunctioning.

Many months ago water began pooling on the floor. We recently spent a big chunk o’ cash to get the under-sink plumbing fixed because the renovators had done such a crappy job. That helped but water continued to appear on the kitchen floor, which is slanted because the foundation broke when the trees landed on the house. Finally, we had to turn off the water to the refrigerator. The consequence - no more icemaker.

I don’t know what happened to all our ice trays. I was only able to find two when we gave final rites to the icemaker. One of the trays lets me easily extricate the ice and dump it into the cavity where the icemaker used to deliver its freight. The other tray, however, is more problematic. When I twist it to loosen the ice, inevitably several cubes go flying about the room. So I still have puddles and less ice.

It’s great reading a column like yours to know I’m not alone in dealing with the flying ice. I confess I do look longingly at the dormant icemaker as I struggle to get the cubes to land into the ice bin. We have even resorted to buying bags of ice at the grocery store. Fortunately, the days of Triple-A and gingers have given way to cheap Cabernet and Pabst Blue Ribbon – neither of which are dependent on those little cubes.
Pat R said…
Wow!---DD you should do a daily blog like Peter's--you both have a gift for words!
Deaconlight said…
No, Pat, no daily blogging for me (unless I could find the time to write more about music for It takes a truly gifted writer like Peter to take something as mundane as ice trays to draw out such a passionate response from me. I must say since reading the "Ice" blog, my attitude about my defunct icemaker has turned from frustration to amusement every time I empty the trays now - plus my cube to ice bin ratio has improved! So while participating here has not necessarily been a life-changing experience, it has had added a slight improvement on my quality of life thanks to Peter!

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